THE CAR AND ITS OWNER
1964 Chevrolet Corvette coupe owned by Chuck DeRicco
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
All Corvettes are collectible to one degree or another, but among the more coveted models are the "Sting Rays" built from 1963 to 1967. Conceived by General Motors designer Bill Mitchell, the cars feature bulging fenders, a tapered rear roofline and plenty of power. The Sting Rays were the first Corvettes to offer a fixed hardtop coupe and the 1963 got special attention for its unusual two-piece split rear window, a feature deleted in 1964 due to visibility problems.
DeRicco's sleek silver coupe with red interior is fairly rare, with about 8,300 built. It sports a 327-cubic-inch V-8 engine pumping out 365 horsepower, a four-speed manual transmission and "Positraction" rear end. He notes that his car was "the 'Rodney Dangerfield' of the mid-year 'Vettes mostly because of the lack of disc brakes." Standard four-wheel discs were introduced the following year.
HOW LONG HE'S OWNED IT
WHERE HE FOUND IT
"I was really looking for a convertible at the time," DeRicco says, "but my wife said, "Go look at the coupe; it might change your mind.' The rest is history. I had several collector cars over the years, but 'Vettes have always been my first love. When I retired, I started my search." He found his car through a Newsday ad and bought it from an owner in Greenlawn.
"This Corvette received a full, body-off-frame restoration by a previous owner, with photo and receipt documentation," he says. "It is a numbers-matching car that runs and drives great. Parts are easily found through a network of parts houses. One is located right here on Long Island."
TIPS FOR OWNERS
"When buying any collector car, always buy the best car you can afford," DeRicco advises. "Body work costs a small fortune today. It's far easier and safer to do the mechanical repairs yourself and leave the body work to the pros. Remember: an old car is an old car. No matter how good they look, you will have to turn a wrench."
"When new, the convertible sold for $4,037 and the coupe for $4,252 for the base 250-horsepower three-speed," he says. "Based on the condition of my car, I should get ten times that, but it's not for sale." The NADA Guides puts an "average retail" value of $53,070 on a 1964 coupe with the 327/365 engine and four-speed transmission.
"Living on the east end of Long Island, I get the chance to drive my car on the open roads that it was designed for," DeRicco says. "The more you use the car, the better it runs. If the roads are clean and dry, I'm out there. What makes it even better is you make lots of friends with the same interest."