If you were to compile a list of America's most iconic cars, the second-generation Corvette would probably be somewhere in the top ten. It's not too much of a leap to suggest that Jay Leno owns the other nine you'd put on the list too, but in this episode of Jay Leno's Garage we get to see his pristine 1963 Corvette—the single-year car with its iconic split rear window and decorative hood vents.
Leno explores those two iconic details but also examines others you might not have known about—from the rear-mounted gas cap with its ball-style latching mechanism, to the car's incredibly intricate hub caps. These lasted only a year, owing to their complexity—seventeen pieces went into each one, already deemed financially uneconomical by the time the 1964 car debuted.
Jay's car is about as original as '63 Corvettes get, retaining all these details plus its fuel-injection system and unique exhaust setup, the four-speed transmission and its simple, iconic interior. Then Jay does what we all wish we could—take it for a spin. It looks as good on the road as it does in Jay's garage. Sounds good, too—and with 360 horsepower from its 327 cu-in V-8, it goes pretty well too. Jay describes it as a car that's "fun to drive swiftly", though old-school tire and brake technology deters him from going any faster.
But going fast is only half the point—few cars look faster standing still than a C2 Corvette. Check out the video above and see for yourself.