Corvette Mike Showroom
1963 Chevrolet Light Weight Comp Coupe Riverside Red
Red w/Black interior, Fuel Injected 327/360hp, 4-spd manual transmission.
Harry Mann Chevrolet / Gary Pickens 1963 Corvette “711” Vin# 30837S102899 Racer. Also, Stared in the Elvis Presley and Ann Margaret Movie “Viva Las Vegas”.
Summer of 1962 was filled with anticipation for the all new “1963 Corvette” featured in numerous publications, Hot Rod, Motor Trend and countless others. General Motors and Chevrolet were targeting, the coming of age, post war baby boomers and seized the opportunity. Performance, performance, performance was the name of the game, the new Corvette’s sleek styling and redesigned fuel injection was an immediate success. However, the clouds were beginning to darken with “rumors” of Ford’s introduction of its new nimble sports car, the Cobra. The ultimate showdown came at Riverside on October 13, 1962, the inaugural race between the two, Corvette and Cobra. All the premiere Southern California drivers participated along with a host of other top teams and drivers, most notably Alan Green Chevrolet from Seattle. In the crowd was another competitive driver employed by Harry Mann Chevrolet, Gary Pickens. After the Corvette’s triumphant win at Riverside Gary approached Harry Mann Chevrolet intending to purchase a new “Special Performance Package (Z-06)” optioned Corvette coupe. Unfortunately, the option wasn’t available to the general public, due to a number of engineering issues. The “Special Performance Package (Z-06)” finally became available after December 14, 1962 without the 36.5 tank and Quick Take Off Wheels. Being the competitor Gary was, he had no intention of waiting. Utilizing Harry Mann’s resources, purchased a red fuel injected 63 Coupe, modifying the car adding, roll bar, competition brakes (Z-06), removing as much weight as possible and 711 was born. Gary successfully campaigned 711 at many of California’s tracks, Dodger Stadium, Del Mar, Riverside, Laguna Seca, Santa Barbara, Pomona and others. One of its most distinguished accomplishments was in Elvis’s 1964 movie “Viva Las Vegas” with Ann Margaret. In addition to being in the movie, it was one of Gary’s biggest paydays. In late ‘63 Gary decided to sell 711 with its new 64 competition engine, the original was destroyed during one of the many races and sold.
In the 1963 October 18-25 issue of “Motor Racing” Pickens advertised his ’63 as:
“Lightweight Competition Sting Ray Coupe. Race ready, factory Z06 options, 8 wheels and tires, 2 rear ends, ’64 racing engine, productified, financing and trades accepted, call Gary Pickens, Harry Mann Chevrolet. AX4-6191”
This issue of “Motor Racing” is contained in the huge binder of photos; many by Peter Luongo, race standings and before restoration shots of the car as found some 40 years after Gary Pickens ran that exact ad.
The car was purchased from that ad and raced with Z06 brakes by a local California couple, says Peter Luongo who knew Pickens well and was a photographer during his racing career. It was in 1972 that another couple bought the car in the Hollywood Hills and used as a daily driver for a number of years before it was retired to the garage to collect dust and fond memories. It was painted black at that time. 40 years later, with the same ownership it was discovered purely by accident thanks to Mike Scott, Corvette racer and historian, simply by attending a Long Beach swap meet while he set up his booth selling old vintage Corvette parts. All the racing mods were still in place like; the roll bar, the Z06 backing plates, the original factory drilled holes in the inner fender to support the air cleaner, stiffer brackets to hold in place the rear cross member, and the two brackets welded on the front frame to aid in the event of a clutch exploding. Call it an antiqued scatter shield, says Mike Scott. Being in Southern California all of its life, the frame and suspension were like new without any rust. In 2012-13 “711” underwent a complete and sympathetic \"As Raced\" restoration by Nabers Bros. in Houston Texas, using as many original parts as possible, including much of the interior, like the original seat covers ( showing wear), center console, instruments, glove box door, door panels and steering wheel all with a patina that only decades of use produce. A true testament to the type of care this old vintage racer experienced in its 50 years in Southern California. Gary Nabers of Nabers Brothers Restoration claims it was the nicest race car he ever restored. That’s a huge statement coming for a guy that has restored many of the great ones from the era.
It not only runs and sounds great, it also looks beautiful having just taken 2nd Place in the Race Car division of the prestigious La Jolla Concours D’Elegance in La Jolla, CA in April 2013. Then it traveled to scenic Lake Tahoe for the NCRS Regional meet to be signed off for the American Heritage Award. A feat not easy to come by in the world of certifying rare and original Corvette Race Cars. From there it most recently completed the inaugural Basilone Rallye through 26 miles of Camp Pendleton’s USMC training facility. A first time ever in the history of Car Rallye’s. Lastly, on to the show field of the Dana Point Councours June 23rd to finish its West Coast Campaign.
“711” a racecar symbolic of Corvette’s golden racing legacy.
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