Auctions and Brokerage
H. Judson Holcombe, Warren, Michigan (acquired new via Gene Hamilton Chevrolet in 1963)Les Talcott, Troy, Michigan (acquired from the above circa 1966)Rick Boyd, Detroit, Michigan (acquired from the above in 1982)Tom Stone, Oswego, New York (acquired from the above in 1994)Current Owner (acquired from the estate of the above in 2013)
Road America June Sprints, 1963, Holcombe, No. 14SCCA Divisional Waterford Hills, 1963, Holcombe, No. 114Waterford Midsummer Trophy Races, 1964, Holcombe, No. 56SCCA Divisional Waterford Hills, 1964, Holcombe, No. 158SCCA Regional Grattan, 1965, Holcombe, No. 56Waterford Midsummer Trophy Races, 1966, Talcott, No. 56
Concours d’Elegance of America, Michigan, 2012Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals, Chicago, 2014Bloomington Gold, Indianapolis, 2018 (Gold Certified)
For 1963, Chevrolet debuted the all-new Corvette Stingray, which featured a major redesign and, for the first time, fully independent suspension. That year, General Motors also introduced the first official competition package for the Corvette: Regular Production Option (RPO) Z06, described in factory literature as “Special Performance Equipment.” This package, which added $1,818 to the $4,038 base price of a Split-Window Coupe, transformed the Corvette into a thoroughbred racer.
Included in the Z06 package was the 360 hp fuel-injected engine, a close-ratio four-speed gearbox, and heavy-duty suspension with upgraded coil springs, tube shock absorbers, and front stabilizer bar. One of the most important upgrades was the braking system, which was completely different from what was used on production Corvettes. To improve cooling and eliminate fade, GM engineers developed special brake drums that incorporated impressive cooling fins and fans, ventilated backing plates, sintered metallic linings, and “elephant ear” scoops. This system also employed a dual-circuit master cylinder and vacuum power booster for improved operation under hard use.
Customers looking for an extra advantage in racing could request an optional 36.5-gallon fuel tank (RPO N03), which increased capacity by 82.5% for improved range on both road and track. Although it cost $202, just 63 of the Z06 Corvettes built were equipped with the Big Tank.
The Z06 presented here was completed on February 20, 1963, finished in the rare and striking color scheme of Tuxedo Black over black upholstery. Destined for use on the racetrack, it was ordered with the optional Big Tank and specified without power windows or radio. The car’s first owner, H. Judson Holcombe, worked in the chassis engineering department at the GM Tech Center and used his 10% employee discount to purchase the car, which was delivered to Gene Hamilton Chevrolet in Warren, Michigan.
Holcombe was no stranger to high-performance machines, having raced English and Italian sports cars for over a decade. As his new Z06 Corvette was to be used as both a daily driver and weekend racer, Holcombe subtly modified it for racing. This included the installation of a roll bar, Nardi steering wheel, and bypass pipes for the exhaust system. He also fitted a 4.11:1 rear end for better acceleration and removed the fuel injection emblems to confuse his competition.
Holcombe campaigned the Z06 in A-Production races at Road America and Waterford Raceway through late 1965, when he was assigned to Vauxhall in England. Anticipating the move, he sold the Corvette to Les Talcott, a fellow GM engineer, who continued to race the car in local events. Talcott got married in 1967, retired from racing, and stored the Z06 until 1982, when it was sold to Corvette collector Rick Boyd.
Mr. Boyd started to restore the car and gathered documentation regarding its racing career, but the project never progressed beyond initial stages, and he sold the car in 1994 to Tom Stone of New York. During Mr. Stone’s ownership, the Corvette was restored to its 1964 racing livery and made its concours debut at the Concours d’Elegance of America in Michigan in summer 2012.
When Mr. Stone passed away in 2013, his estate sold the Z06 to the current owner, an Illinois-based collector with a passion for limited-production GM performance cars. After displaying it in a special racing car class at the 2014 Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals in Chicago, the consignor decided to completely re-restore the Z06 to its original, as-delivered appearance.
Corvette expert Automotive Specialties in Longview, Texas, was commissioned to restore the chassis and driveline to the highest show-quality standards, while Tri Power Automotive of Libertyville, Illinois, refinished the body using NOS RM leaded acrylic lacquer and original interior materials that had been sourced at great expense. The consignor describes the restoration effort as “completely over-the-top,” and attests that “virtually every nut and bolt is correct, in keeping with how these cars were built in 1963.”
The exacting nature of this work was validated when the Z06 was presented for judging in June 2018 and received Bloomington Gold Certification. The judging sheets and original certificate are included with the sale, along with a correct glove box package, NCRS shipping data report, restoration photos, correspondence and affidavits from former owners, as well as photographs and documentation relating to its racing career.
Today, the one-year-only Split-Window Corvette remains one of the most iconic designs in the history of the American automobile. As a result, any one of the 10,594 Split-Window Coupes built for 1963 remains highly desirable, but the 199 factory-built Z06s are simply in a league of their own. With just 63 Big Tank examples built – and far fewer surviving today – the appearance of this car at auction represents a unique opportunity to acquire what is likely the finest example of a rare breed of competition Corvettes.