1963 Corvette ZO6 Gulf One with the 327/360 Engine Heads to Auction

1963 Corvette 327/360 Z06 "Gulf One” Heads to Auction
1963 Corvette 327/360 Z06 “Gulf One” Heads to Auction

We are looking on the Vette Vues Magazine blog at the 1963 Corvette ZO6 Gulf One with the 327/360 engine that is heading to the Mecum Kissimmee 2022 auction. (LOT F157)

UPDATE: The 1963 Corvette ZO6 Gulf One bid to $2,400,000 – The Bid Goes On

This 1963 Corvette ZO6 Gulf One with the 327/360 engine is the most successful production racing Corvette of the C2 Era.  It is going up for auction in the John Justo Collection at the Mecum Kissimmee Auction on January 6-16, 2022.  LOT F157 estimated worth is $3,000,000 – $3,500,000.  This extraordinary Sting Ray’s historical significance cannot be overstated. This 1963 Gulf One remains the most highly original of all the original racing Z06 Sting Rays.

One of 14 early-production 1963 Corvette Z06s assigned to top road-racers by Chevrolet.  This 1963 Corvette ZO6 Gulf One with the 327/360 engine has been restored and preserved to race-ready condition.  Photo Credit: Mecum Auction
One of 14 early-production 1963 Corvette Z06s assigned to top road-racers by Chevrolet. This 1963 Corvette ZO6 Gulf One with the 327/360 engine has been restored and preserved to race-ready condition. Photo Credit: Mecum Auction

The Corvette Sting Ray was introduced in late 1962 and was almost a constant national champion in the SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) racing events.  

But Corvette Chief Engineer Zora Arkus Duntov took the car to a new level by slipping an obscurely labeled RPO ZO6 into the mix.  The Z06 Special Performance Equipment package included almost everything a racer would need to go racing, except perhaps for a helmet and fuel.

This special performance equipment included large, heavy-duty drum brakes with cerametallic linings, vented backing plates, finned aluminum drums, and internal cooling fans, along with a dual-circuit master cylinder.  

The ZO6 also had stiffer front and rear springs, heavy-duty stabilizer bars, and shock absorbers.  It also had a long-distance 36-gallon fuel tank and finned aluminum knock-off wheels.  

1963 Corvette 327/360 Z06 "Gulf One”  Engine
1963 Corvette 327/360 Z06 “Gulf One” Engine – Photo Credit: Mecum Auction

The powertrain consisted of the L84 360 HP fuel-injected 327, the M20 4-speed manual transmission, and positraction.

When you include the ZO6 option this would add $2,480.20 to the price of the car.  But for those who wanted a track-ready all-out race Corvette, it was worth every penny it cost.

1963 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GULF ONE - The Most Successful Production Racing Corvette of the C2 Era
1963 CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06 GULF ONE – The Most Successful Production Racing Corvette of the C2 Era – Photo Credit: Mecum Auction
1963 Corvette ZO6 Gulf One Rear Photo
1963 Corvette ZO6 Gulf One Rear Photo – Photo Credit: Mecum Auction

Of the 21,513 production Corvettes in 1963, chassis number 2227 was the first of two Z06s sold by Yenko Chevrolet to the Gulf Oil Racing Team led by Gulf Executive Vice President Grady Davis.  

Grady Davis was a racer in his own right and planned to campaign the cars as part of Gulf’s fuels-and-lubricants research and development program.  

The car was delivered to Gulf personnel at the St. Louis plant in October 1962, then driven to corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh.  It was then prepared to Davis’ specifications and rushed to Puerto Rico for the first and only Puerto Rico Grand Prix.  Dick Thompson, the “Flying Dentist,” was at the wheel where the Gulf One scored its first class win of its career.  

1963 Corvette 327/360 Z06 "Gulf One”
1963 Corvette 327/360 Z06 “Gulf One” – Photo Credit: Mecum Auction
1963 Corvette 327/360 Z06 "Gulf One” Historical Photo
1963 Corvette 327/360 Z06 “Gulf One” Historical Photo

After an A-Production victory at Marlboro, Maryland’s “Refrigerator Bowl” in January 1963, the Gulf One was prepared to FIA rules for Florida’s Daytona Continental and Sebring 12 Hours races.

In February, Dick Thompson scored a huge third place overall and first in GT3 at Daytona behind two Ferrari GTOs.  But in March, he was disappointed with a gearbox failure at Sebring after impressively qualifying at the front of an international field of sports and prototype entrants.

Thompson barnstormed Gulf One across the country, winning 1st place overall at the SCCA President’s Cup at Marlboro, Maryland, and the A/Production class at Danville Virginia and Road America.  

In all, Gulf One saw more racing combat in more venues than any of the other “Specially Assigned” factory Z06s and was always at the front of the pack.

In 1991, collector and racer Rich Mason purchased Gulf One and commissioned specialist Chet Bunch to perform an extensive restoration.  The car was prepared and finished exactly as it was on the starting grid of the 1963 Sebring 12 Hours.  The restorations even included the unique rear fender flares, which was a last-minute requirement by the FIA to cover its extra-wide Firestone racing tires.

Some of the other special features on the car include two-bar finned aluminum, knock-off wheels, a modified fuel filler, running lights, Plexiglas windows, manually operated headlights, rear deck-mounted fiberglass brake-cooling scoops, and a special hood designed to improve airflow through and over the front end.

Since its restoration, the Gulf One has gathered numerous awards: 1993 NCRS Special Interest Award at Cypress Gardens, Florida, Corvettes at Carlisle Chips Choice Award, Best Competition Car at the 2013 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, 1994 Bloomington Gold Victory Lane Special Collection, 2009 Grand Finale Special Collection and was inducted into the Bloomington Gold Great Hall in 2013.

The car was sold at the Mecum Kissimmee auction on January 24, 2009, for $1,050,000.  Later that year, this photo was taken on display at the Bloomington Gold event. Photo Credit: Vette Vues Archives
The car was sold at the Mecum Kissimmee auction on January 24, 2009, for $1,050,000. Later that year, this photo was taken on display at the Bloomington Gold event. Photo Credit: Vette Vues Archives

This historical racer has been featured in numerous magazine articles and is well-documented and is authenticated to be one of the first 14 1963 Z06 Sting Rays purpose-built for racing.  

1963 Corvette 327/360 Z06 “Gulf One” was the first car prepared with the advanced race technology developed specifically for the Z06 and was later adapted for use on the prototype Grand Sports.  

1963 Corvette Regular Production Option Z06 Specifications:

  • Fuel-injected 327/360 HP
  • Muncie M20 4-speed transmission
  • Positraction rear differential
  • Vacuum-powered Kelsey-Hayes dual-circuit master cylinder
  • Heavy-duty brake drums with cooling fins
  • Special sintered metallic brake linings
  • Forward-operating brake self-adjusters
  • Front brake air scoops
  • Vented brake backing plates
  • Heavy-duty stabilizer bar
  • Heavy-duty shock absorbers
  • Heavy-duty springs
  • Fiberglass 36.5-gallon fuel tank
  • Five cast-aluminum finned wheels with two bar knock-off lock nut

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