1967 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray 'A.O. Smith' Coupe
$100,000 - $120,000
Lot Location: Long Valley, New Jersey
RM | Online Only - OPEN ROADS, NORTH AMERICA 23 - 30 JULY 2020
From the Collection of Edward Terry
- Desirable and rare late-production A.O. Smith-bodied coupe
- Lynndale Blue over teal blue vinyl; white “stinger” hood
- 350-hp, 327-cu. in. V-8 engine; four-speed close-ratio transmission
- Delivered new to Surf Chevrolet of Point Pleasant, New Jersey
- Frame-off, concours-quality restoration by Keith’s Kustoms of Bernardsville, New Jersey circa 1980
- Rarely exhibited; held in climate-controlled storage since restoration
- Offered with owner’s guide, jack, spare belt, and restoration photo album
Introduced in 1964, the second generation of “America’s Sports Car” was even more of a bombshell than the first. Dubbed “Sting Ray” for its distinctive styling, this new Corvette series was completely new apart from its engine and front suspension. Utilizing a new ladder-type chassis frame and stronger body support structure, this would be the first U.S. production car to utilize an independent rear suspension.
Over the course of the C2 Sting Ray’s production run, which spanned from 1963 to 1967, styling remained largely the same (albeit with some subtle changes). Four-wheel disc brakes and a big-block engine became available in 1965, and with a long list of options and colors, enthusiasts could mix and match to their hearts’ desires. Many Corvette enthusiasts consider the final year of 1967 to be the most desirable and shapely of the C2 Sting Rays.
Now offered from the finely curated collection of Edward Terry, chassis 194377S114376 is no ordinary 1967 Corvette Sting Ray coupe; it is by all accounts a supremely rare machine. The provenance of this coupe presents as an exemplary, compelling footnote to the long and storied history of the Corvette—the opportunity to acquire such a rarely configured chassis is not one to likely come again anytime soon.
Of the nearly 22,940 Sting Rays produced in 1967, some 2,361 coupes were reportedly bodied by A.O. Smith of Ionia, Michigan, a Chevrolet assembly contractor since 1954. In theory, the company—a specialist in fiberglass manufacturing—was to join, assemble, and paint bodies in Ionia and then ship them via rail to the main Corvette plant in St. Louis for completion. In practice, depositions from St. Louis line workers state that these A.O. bodies were quite commonly “quirky,” often requiring inspection, repainting, or reshaping.
Further, egregious failures in the painting and detailing of the new-for-1967 big-block “Stinger” hoods quickly revoked the plant’s responsibility to produce big block bodies. Though A.O. Smith’s contractual obligations required it to produce a volume equal to that of Chevrolet’s main Corvette plant (which equated to roughly 12,000 bodies per year) from 1964 through 1969, a series of continuous technical challenges, quality control issues, and worker strikes experienced at Ionia effectively brought the contract to a halt midway through the 1967 model year.
According to production figures compiled by Noland Adams, Corvette historian and founder of the National Corvette Museum, in The Complete Corvette Restoration and Technical Guide - Vol. 2, A.O. Smith had met production quotas only in the ’65 and ’66 models years; even then, quality was inconsistent and tooling was sometimes lacking.
By the time that chassis 14376 was assembled on 10 March 1967, the Ionia plant was likely already staffed by second-shift workers from St. Louis finishing out the remaining bodies (as A.O. Smith line workers were striking). Still, the large rivets, hood latch, trim tag, and other nuanced signifiers all verify that this chassis is an exceedingly rare A.O. Smith body. The accompanying Official Completed Production Date and Shipping Report confirm that chassis 14376 was completed in St. Louis by 22 March 1967.
The car’s 327-cubic inch, 350-hp carbureted “L79” V-8 engine is paired to a Muncie four-speed manual transmission. An incorrect, Impala-sourced engine label affixed to the air cleaner states that a 327/300 configured V-8 is installed, but examination of all systems and stamps verify that the correct 327/350 powerplant is in fact retained.
Mounted at a later point was a set of cast aluminum knock-off wheels, red line tires, and side rail exhausts. Included with the car is a spare exhaust, missing the pieces that go through the bumper. Additionally, a set of 15×6-inch rally wheels are also included in the sale. The car is also equipped with a big-block-style “Stinger” hood, though when this hood was fitted is inconclusive.
Since entering the Terry collection in 2002, this ’67 Sting Ray coupe has greatly benefitted from his careful custodianship. As with each of Terry’s select acquisitions, it has been kept in year-round climate-controlled storage and rarely exhibited over the past 18 years. Thanks to Terry’s care, the older restoration—executed by Keith’s Kustoms of Bernardsville, New Jersey—presents in “time capsule” condition. A full photo album documenting the complete restoration of this chassis is offered as one of several pieces of supplemental documentation to this exceedingly rare late-production A.O. Smith Corvette.