Auctions and Brokerage
Lannie “Tommy” Thompson, Gainesville, Florida (acquired new via University Chevrolet, Gainesville, Florida, in May 1963)Brumos Porsche, Jacksonville, Florida (acquired in May 1968)John Armour, Chicago, Illinois (acquired 2008)David Hidalgo, New York, New York (acquired via Colin Comer circa 2012)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
National Corvette Restorers Society, Indiana Chapter Meeting, Valparaiso, Indiana, August 2010 (Top Flight winner with a score of 99.4)Corvette Nationals, Chicago, Illinois, November 2010
Launched in 1963 with Jet Age styling nothing like the fins of the 1950s, the second-generation Corvette was an immediate and unbridled success. This particular Split-Window Coupe was ordered in Sebring Silver with a black vinyl interior, and is distinguished by the performance options most beloved by Corvette devotees and true driving enthusiasts: option RPO Z06. This rare and special option package consisting mainly of upgraded brake and suspension components was created by Zora Arkus-Duntov to give private racers a head start in preparing their Corvettes for competition.
In 2008, this Corvette came to the attention of David Glass, proprietor of D&M Corvette in Downers Grove, Illinois. Reportedly sitting since the 1980s, it was painted red, in need of restoration, and showing evidence of past competition use. Mr. Glass quickly suspected that this was no ordinary 1963 Coupe. Telltale brake and suspension components suggested that it could be one of the 199 rare and elusive cars equipped with the Z06 Special Performance Equipment option. The Corvette was sold via Mr. Glass to John Armour, his close friend and longtime customer. Impressed with its overall condition and intrigued by the car’s components, Mr. Armour had D&M begin its restoration, and tasked himself with tracing the car’s history.
Using the factory’s dealer information on the chassis number as a guide, it wasn’t long before the identity of the Corvette’s original owner emerged: Lannie Thompson of Gainesville, Florida. Against significant odds, Mr. Armour found Mr. Thompson and, upon recounting the details of his new purchase, Mr. Thompson confirmed that he had in fact ordered the car new. He also revealed that for 45 years, he had retained a file on the car, which contained his original sales contract, delivery paperwork and, miraculously, the coupe’s original window sticker! This precious document, saved for nearly a half-century, cites the chassis number as well as the Z06 option package on a single sheet of paper, proof that the car was the real McCoy.
Recounting his days with the car, Mr. Thompson told Mr. Armour of his visits to Sebring with a college buddy. Both Mr. Thompson and his friend dreamed of becoming race drivers, and his friend, John Morton, achieved that goal by racing successfully for Shelby and BRE. The racing connection of 3873 was furthered when Mr. Thompson loaned the car’s fuel-injection unit to a team racing a Corvette. In 1968, Mr. Thompson traded the Z06 to Brumos Porsche in Gainesville and the car’s interim history is currently unknown.
With Chassis 3873 having been confirmed to be one of the 199 1963 Corvettes optioned with the coveted Z06 Special Performance Equipment option, the restoration took on a new importance, and Mr. Armour immersed himself in tracking down dozens of correct pieces to assist in D&M’s proper restoration of his car.
Restored in its original colors, the Z06’s restoration was completed to a very high standard, and upon its concours debut in 2010, it received Bloomington Gold status and earned an NCRS Top Flight Award with an impressive score of 99.4. As is the case with nearly all Z06-equipped examples, 3873’s engine is a replacement unit, though Mr. Armour has had the block re-stamped with this car’s proper number.
Not long after its completion, the Z06 was sold via noted enthusiast Colin Comer to David Hidalgo of New York in 2012, then again more recently through Mr. Comer to the consignor.
The Z06 presents today as a very competent example. It is accompanied by its original owner’s file, including the all-important original window sticker and early documentation. The Z06 has been upgraded with a taller rear-end ratio for more relaxed highway cruising, and the original differential accompanies the sale.
With its dual-circuit brake master cylinder, finned brake drums and elephant ear air scoops in place, this extremely special Split Window coupe is worthy of serious consideration.