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I Want To Believe! 1965 Chevrolet Corvette With 9k Miles

Trust, but verify.  That’s a phrase that every car enthusiast should live by when it comes to purchasing a vehicle.  As we all know, sellers sometimes embellish or flat out makeup stories about cars that they are trying to get rid of.  Sometimes the gullible get burned.  Other times, a buyer finds a car that turns out to be something very special.  As I look at the pictures of this Dan D. discovered 1965 Corvette, I wonder if this story is too good to be true.  The fact that this gorgeous Corvette is for sale on craigslist in Vancouver for the astronomical price of $135,000 is odd enough.  Being an air-conditioned car with the radio delete option is even stranger.  The cherry on top is that it has just 9,409 miles on the odometer!  Got your attention yet?

In the picture above, you can see the first bit of evidence.  The odometer reads 09409 miles traveled.  109,409 is very believable for a car of this age, even if it is in great shape.  Corvette owners are usually fastidious about keeping their cars perfect in every way.  Or, it is common to reset an odometer when a car is completely restored.  Maybe someone restored the car, and the 9,409 miles were carefully driven on beautiful, sunny days, or from the trailer to the show field.  Ultra-low mileage Corvettes have appeared before.  There was a 1954 Corvette that was entombed in a wall by its owner.  If the mileage was true, I’d need to see some old registrations as proof.

The passenger rear view reveals to us a car that is seemingly free of cracks and paint blemishes.  The paint shines like a new penny, and the chrome is perfect.  Of course, the good looks of a Corvette Sting Ray coupe tend to overwhelm any details.  These were stunningly beautiful cars when new, and the good looks haven’t diminished in over five decades.

Moving to the passenger front view, the car is still seemingly without blemish.  Some minor work could be done to adjust the gaps in the hood and headlight panel fit.  Many people look at cars of this era through the lens of modern car ownership.  Despite having a reputation for being great cars, quality control, paint, and panel fit are worlds better than they were in 1965.  There are photos out there of an assembly line worker adjusting mid-year Corvette passenger doors with a huge rubber mallet.  I wonder if the NCRS Judging Guide has a section telling how many points to take off for incorrect mallet marks?

Inside, we see yet another oddity.  This car was apparently ordered with air conditioning but had the radio deleted.  Air conditioning was added to just 2,423 Corvettes that year.  If you wanted that option in the big block 396 cubic inch engine, or the fuel injected small block 327, you were out of luck.  Radio delete numbers are hard to come by.  It is possible that 1,449 Corvettes left the factory that year without a radio.  The odd thing is that the radio delete option was commonly selected for all-out performance and racing cars.  Yet these folks didn’t want anything to do with a 300 horsepower base engine and a two speed Powerglide automatic.  Everything else, save the cheezy aftermarket floor mats, looks brand new.  Almost too brand new.

Under the hood, we see that the ignition shielding is absent.  This helps to prove that the car was delivered without a radio.  The alternator is moved to the driver’s side, which is opposite of non-air conditioned cars.  Air-conditioned cars had to have the compressor mounted on the passenger side.  This created a situation where an access door had to be cut in the driver’s side fender for battery removal.  Everything else looks like it rolled off the assembly line in 1965.  In fact, even the exhaust manifold looks as if it were cast yesterday.

Is it the real deal?  Maybe.  The seller lists a ton of awards the car has earned.  Two are huge in the Corvette world.  It has won both a Bloomington Survivor Award in 2004, and a Duntov Mark of Excellence Award from the National Corvette Restorers Society in 2005.  The Bloomington Survivor Award is for cars that are 80% or more factory original.  The Duntov Award is even more impressive.  Only 1,407 cars have won a Duntov award.  This achievement basically signifies that the car is about as close to factory correct as possible (97.5% in judging), and that every item on the car works as it should.  Both are awards that are pretty hard to come by.

Despite all of this, this car needs a lot of documentation to justify its huge price tag.  I want to believe it is all original, but it is so amazingly perfect that my spidey senses are tingling.  What happened to the car from 2005 to present?  Was it repainted?  Or, was it fully restored to factory correct condition?  I so want this car to be an absolutely perfect survivor, but I am just not there yet.  I need documentation upon documentation to feel comfortable on this one.  What is your opinion?

 

Comments

  1. PatrickM

    I like it but, not for $135K. No thanks

    Like 8
    • Saleen92

      One thing I notice is the misalignment of the odometers numbers. Being old enough to remember rolled back odometers the telltale sign was the random misalignment of the numbers. I’d request some serious documentation on this. Second, why isn’t this car in Hemmings or another top flight book of for sale classics as opposed to Craigslist…that by itself makes me suspect.

      Like 12
      • Bob

        Saleen92, you must be old too. I was going to comment on the misaligned odometer numbers when I saw your post.

        Like 5
      • walt

        yea almost 2 good 2 b true. The sticker 2 me -Craiglist?- have 2 give good stuff away there. Something ain’t right or got some real cheap dummies up there??????

        Like 0
      • Pat Bean

        No doubt in my mind the miles have been rolled back. Numbers don’t match up as you noticed. Nice car but in my opinion, the miles are not the true total.

        Like 0
      • oldsnut

        I agree with the rest. Having had an auto sales business for years the tell tale sign of someone who was misrepresenting mileage was the misalignment of the odometer numbers. This odometer is very obviously tampered with as the factory odometer will not let the leading numbers advance ahead of the tenths digit.

        Like 0
      • Dixiedog

        Easy to repair – if you know how. These are simple mechanical devices.

        Like 0
    • Mark

      Keep in mind … that converts to around $106kUS

      Like 0
  2. 71FXSuperGlide

    Of course it’s a Powerglide. :(

    Still, that is amazingly low mileage. It will hopefully come with lots of suporting documentation to prove it.

    Like 6
  3. Miguel

    Do Corvette odometers usually look like that?

    I mean the 9 isn’t all the way in the window. I have seen that where it just turns from, for example, from and 8 to a nine9, but not with a 4 ne4xt to it. It should be centered by now.

    Also the nine is high like it is already turning to the 0 even though it has a 4 next to it.

    It looks weird.

    Like 31
    • SC/RAMBLER

      I’m pretty sure that it is 109000 miles, that would explan numbers not lining up, either that or od turned back

      Like 17
      • r spreeman

        I vote turned back. If it went over the top that’s no reason the numbers would be crooked like that.

        Like 15
      • Scott

        No I believe the miles I own a very low mileage Corvette because there crappy to drive hot what they’ve always had loan value I borrowed against mine five times since I bought it new in 1971

        Like 0
    • Solosolo UK ken TILLY Member

      @Miguel. I think the odometer has definitely been hooked as the numbers don’t even nearly line up. A friend of mine bought a Ford Courier one ton truck that had a 3 year guarantee on mileage. He would travel all over South Africa looking for movie props and before each trip he would disconnect the speedo cable and only connect it when he arrived back from his 3 to 4000 km trip. Consequently when he took it for it’s 20,000km service it was more likely that the truck had done 60k.

      Like 6
    • LDL

      Car with Manual Odometer often had digits that did not line up, but sometimes they would jump into.the correct position after a few hundred miles. But not uncommon to see this type of Odometer Reading.

      Like 6
    • Solosolo UK ken TILLY Member

      @Miguel. Back in the day a friend of mine used to specialize in used, low mileage, Toyota Corolla’s. I once asked him where he got them from, so he showed me how. He would remove the speedo from the dash and dismantle it, insert a razor blade or knife between the number rollers and prize the ratchet slightly apart so being able to set the number wherever he wanted it. He had to be very precise where it finished up otherwise the numbers wouldn’t line up! That’s what I am sure could be the story with this Corvette.

      Like 5
    • MFerrell

      Most cars I’ve had from this era had mis-aligned numbers on the odometer (and I seriously doubt anyone would have messed with the mileage on these cars – they weren’t valuable by any stretch). It’s so common, I wouldn’t have given it a second thought. It’s almost more unusual that the odometer works at all.

      Like 1
  4. PhiljustPhil

    Odometer looks “adjusted”

    Like 10
    • Miguel

      I have 04000 miles on my 1972 Ford LTD and they are even across the board like they were designed to be. Of course it has a 1 or maybe a 2 in front of that but the numbers are all even.

      Also my 1974 Dart is brand new again as it just turned 00000 again, and they are all even across, so this car has a somebody’s hand in there.

      Like 8
  5. VwbussEd

    Pretty sure a Duntov award is all the proof you would need in regards to it’s authenticity.

    Like 13
  6. Fred W

    Yep, the Duntov award means it’s already survived the strongest of scrutiny. I do think the odometer looks like the classic “tampered with” variety though. Sometimes they also did that after turning over 100K.

    Like 3
    • Miguel

      Don’t the restorations places sell odometers to replace old ones?

      If somebody was going to get in there, why not just replace it when the car was restored.

      I don’t think anybody should ever add value when it is a super low mile car. The car should be judged on its condition and not the numbers on the dash which, for many reasons, can be way off.

      I bought a new 1993 Ford Ranger. The odometer stopped at around 5000 miles.

      I could have driven it for another 50000 and it still would have read 5000.

      People put way too much stock in the numbers on the dash.

      Like 5
    • r spreeman

      Funny story about Duntov, at the depths of the low performance smog motor years: when asked whether he preferred the Corvette with an automatic or a manual trans, he replied:
      “When is washing machine motor, makes no difference.”

      Like 5
      • PatrickM

        Whar!?!?

        Like 0
  7. gbvette62

    There were 1449 65’s built without radios, but none of them were “radio delete”. The radio was an option in 65. You could chose not to order it, but you couldn’t delete it.

    Years ago, cars were often ordered without radios, and not just race cars. I know of two 65 no radio convertibles, and both have Powerglides. There was a 67 air, 3 speed, no radio coupe for sale at the Atlantic City auction, a few years ago. I had a friend whose father ordered a new Caprice in 69, with a vinyl top, PS, PB and air, but no radio. He’d never owned a car with a radio, and saw no need for it. In the 60’s, everything was optional, and people ordered cars the way they wanted them.

    I have no problem believing the mileage. Many Corvettes were bought as toys, and only driven occasionally. Here in South Jersey there’s a 64 with 14000 miles, a 66 with 17000, a 72 with 12000 and an 8000 mile 82. They’re all one owner cars, and I’ve known 3 of the 4 cars since they were new. Chip Miller, of Carlisle swap meet fame, owned a 53 that had about 9000 miles on it.

    It looks like a nice car to me, but I think it’s probably over priced by about a third. All of the awards it’s received would mean a lot more if they were recent, and not from 15 years ago. A lot has been learned about Corvettes in the last 15 years, and cars can change a lot in 15 years, too.

    Like 12
  8. Luki

    Hey Beaver, do you know why is it that you hardly ever see odometers with the numbers not lining up and then you see quite a few claimed low mileage cars and they don’t line up?

    Gee Wally, I don’t know. Let’s ask dad. Don’t bother Beave he’s just gonna tell you it’s BS. Yeah Wally you’re right. It’s total BS.

    Like 6
  9. Pa Tina

    I still don’t get $100,000+ cars on CL. I put a $500 set of snow tires on CL once and I got so many weird calls and offers I said “never again”. So a legitimate Duntov car on CL??? The seller must be lonely. (It’s $135,000 Canadian?, that’s $105,000 USD give or take a few Loonies, eh)

    Like 2
  10. Mark

    Way to much money for that Vette.

    Like 7
  11. 86 Vette Convertible

    Great colors, great condition, way out of the normal owners price IMO. Like so many beautiful women from a distance. You can admire them and dream of them, but no way will they ever be part of your life.

    My 2 cents.

    Like 9
  12. Shawn Fox Firth

    that ODO has been tampered with , very tricky to get them to read straight across after they’ve been altered .

    Like 8
  13. Pookie Jamie Pawlicki

    With the options and such this car has, Corvette DNA can’t even put a value on it.

    Like 0
    • PRA4SNW

      Do you think that Corvette DNA’s price appraisals are accurate? I know that Hagerty’s numbers are inflated, but sometimes it seems that DNA’s pricing is too low.

      Like 0
  14. b

    It’s very simple guys, original miles or not, it’s restored. survivor class doesn’t even check for a paper trail to validate claims of originality. It just looks at Julian codes of components to be within the manufacturing/supply chain windows (different for each supplier and part), paint drips in the right places, china marker shim counts, and the presence of original elements where possible like hoses, retainers, clamps, tires. A fully restored car rescued from a fire could win the award when done properly. This paintjob is clearly not survivor class, as the factory never shot paint like that, and never wet sanded below the body line, as is so clearly done here. Regardless of miles, its at minimum a respray. It predates build sheets so that center console blank for radio delete was on ebay as NOS (in red) in 2003 and I recall it as I was restoring a 63 and came across it. It could have been purchased and added easily, sub-harness removed, fuse removed, and PRESTO-a radio delete option car!

    Like 4
  15. David Stratton

    Lot’s of cash floating around now, univested. We, as true collectors will not no the price on this one for 5-10 more years. With the years most of us have left, the standard answer applies, enjoy the ride !

    Like 2
  16. Jason Lane

    I don’t give a flying frick what the mileage is if a car has been taken care of the number matters little to me. I care about color and options. While I’m not really a fan of that blue it’s not the deal breaker. That honor goes to no radio, base motor and a 2 speed. My offer would be 50k if he can PROVE the mileage but with this, guys’ head, I don’t think he would take double that.

    Like 1
  17. Luke Fitzgerald

    Probably right, looking at the shots – but you’d have to see it – dumb combo auto & nil radio – looks odd when all the rest of ’em have them

    Like 1
    • Miguel

      If the engine is loud enough, you don’t need a radio.

      Like 3
      • LDL

        I don’t believe the looks of this 327 ci / 300 hp without Sidepipes & Standard Exhaust will make the Noise you are speaking of.

        Like 1
  18. Joe64NYWF

    Does anyone know what happened to the ’63 Corvette with a factory experimental HATCHBACK? I remember seein pics of it as a kid, but none since. Otherwise, looked just like a stock ’63 vette.

    Like 1
  19. Gaspumpchas

    Everybody thinks they have gold. 86vette is so correct–unaffordable to the everyday enthusiast.

    good luck to the new owner.

    Like 1
  20. Oliver Rojas

    Thanks for sharing. My guess is every car owner making claims about an automobile has reason to be just as forthcoming about themselves, their finances and how they went about orchestrating ownership. The paper trail and truth of this car’s age lies with its lineage of owners.

    I agree, it looks marvelous and I am guessing unless you are a maverick Corvette connoisseur it is hard to tell this Corvette’s age without studying state registries and General Motors production documentation.

    In reference to the engine and radio delete option with air-conditioning all I can say is that perhaps some people don’t know what engine their ordering and some people may not have cared to listen to a radio. Personally I stopped listening to my radio two years ago and I was born in the 70s when radio were prolifically promulgated around society. Imagine what the 20 to 60 something year old buyer thought about radio considering in the 60s it was a relatively new invention in reference to their life time. When I checked with Wiki it states that FM radio did not out number AM radio until 1978. Imagine driving an iconic vehicle at that time and just relishing the tone of the engine as you listen to it shift from 1st to 2nd or accelerate to 70 MPH. Just this may have appeased the owner and fortunately they optioned the vehicle with air conditioning to make it viably useful as an every day 21st century driver.

    Given the low miles it’s possible it’s due to the owners having access to money and power which allows them to own multiple cars and decide more acutely how they spend time.

    Pardon me, I have no idea what a pristine award winning 1965 Corvette with radio delete, air conditioning and a 327 V8 engine costs. Is it worth $100,000? That is a matter of opinion. If I play the devil’s advocate someone with money and no time to spare might see it in their interest to buy this vehicle and gamble that the mileage is actually only 9,000 miles. .

    Like 1
    • Dickie F

      Oliver, I was born in the 50s and it was my job as the youngest, to change the record in the record player fitted to the 59 Desoto.
      I suppose with 6 kids, mom and dad in that Desoto, the music was used to drown out some inside noise.

      Like 4
  21. LAB3

    It’ll go for the asking price. The only way to set a car apart from the others these days is to brag about how much it costs, not what it can actually do on the track or street. When you do the latter you run the risk of losing value on your investment, the fact that it’s a car and meant to actually DO something is lost. Although there’s plenty of folks here that would love to have this car let’s face it, it’s a statue with fancy casters at this point.

    Like 0
  22. Oscarphone

    A couple of things. First of all, a buddy of mine had an opportunity to buy an ultra low mileage ’85 Thunderbird (relax, not comparing it to the Corvette) and asked me if it was worth buying. The only thing I told him was that buying used cars is a mileage game. Take it to mechanic and if he says it’s original mileage and if you like the way an 85 ‘bird drove, buy it. Me, I sure wouldn’t but he was happy with it. That’s sort of what we have here. I think the miles could be correct but to what end? A radio delete, 327 carburetted, wheel covers, Powerglide for 135K? No friggin’ thanks. You could spend a hell of lot less and get that kind of driving experience (or lack of it). This is more suitable for a museum to exhibit what a stripper would be like. As for the mileage, another poster mentioned that the odo looked weird and outlined his reasons. He may be onto something. And one last thing. Corvette metallic paint in these years was famous for tiger stripes. The mark of an over-restored Corvette with metallic paint was a perfect paint job. More proof needed.

    Like 1
  23. LS6M22

    My Dad had an old Rambler that was radio delete, had a transistor radio hanging off the rear view mirror… all the stations in the 60’s we’re mostly AM, not a lot of FM, as soon as you went over a hill the FM faded out. I still like the 60’s music on AM in the car, sounds like it did back then. Can’t stand the booming BASS in the new crap.

    Like 4
  24. David Hatch

    Myself being in the Car Business 22 years now, I personally question the Odometer when it’s 4 is not on the same line as the last 3 digits of 409 kind of makes me wonder if it’s not a TMU True Miles Unknown or hate to say it Roll Back..

    Like 1
  25. Comet

    My vote is it’s original. Those NCRS judges are tough to fool. Beautiful car!!

    Like 2
  26. Webster Peterson

    The odometer looks changed. The engine looks to perfect.
    Attached are photos of a 10,000 mile, one owner 1965 Corvette.

    Like 2
  27. Webster Peterson

    Here is a photo of an original, untouched 10,000 mile engine.
    The paint doesn’t stay on for 50 years, even in perfect storage.

    Like 3
  28. Webster Peterson

    Outside and inside the car looks perfect. Undercarriage and engine would have to be “detailed”…. Like the 9,000 mile car.

    Like 1
  29. Ron

    When the numbers are all skewed on the odometer, it’s a pretty sure sign of tampering…

    Like 1
  30. wuzjeepnowsaab

    This is a gorgeous example but a crazy price, even with the low (claimed) mileage. There’s a COPO Stingray with nat’l sales manager provenance on that other site going for 1/2 of this

    Like 1
  31. Jim

    Nice Vette but not a 396 package.

    Like 1
  32. Fran

    TMU. Tikal mileage unknown.

    Like 0
  33. John

    A company that my wife worked for had a fairly substantial sales fleet. The cars ere kept immaculate. The Fleet Manager used to laugh about having spare speedometer heads in his shop that he changed out when they had a particularly nice car to sell, but that car had a lot of miles showing on the clock. With no complicated electronic “nannys” to watch over everything, making an older car show low mileage was pretty easy. Still, having won two prestigious awards, it seems likely that this car got thorough inspections. I’d vote for it being original.

    Oh, yeah, back in the day, it was sometimes said that having odometer numbers that lined up perfectly was a sure sign that the unit had been tampered with. It was not at all unusual for a Chevrolet from the 60s to have a haphazardly installed odometer from the factory. I had a 66 Corvair that had a third number ring that had a burr on it. when it changed, it offset the alignment of all of the numbers beside it.

    But who cares? This is a beautiful Corvette, even if it had 200009 miles on it. I’d like to have it.

    Like 0
  34. five_w_coupe

    What about the National Corvette Restorers Society Sticker(s)? Isn’t NCRS for members who have restored their ‘vette? Just a thought.

    Odometer is a roll back for sure.

    Like 0
    • Pa Tina

      NCRS is for anyone interested in Corvettes.

      Like 0
  35. Dixiedog

    Odometer roll backs were easy before electronic odometers. It is also easy to align the numbers. Remember someone had to assemble them therefore they can be disassembled and reassembled. I once saw a guy turn back a 1978 Captice in the parking lot during lunch. It took him 15 min flat, obviously a well experienced “technician”.
    I can neither confirm or deny any personal involvement with out council present to advise me.
    At one time a new odometer roll could be purchased over the counter at the local Chevy dealer, and then there were the 1/2 miler gear boxes that fitted between the cruise control output and the speedometer drive cable, but that is another story.

    Like 1
  36. walt

    who cares what the odem reads; put your own drill on it put what u want on it. Craigslist $135,000!! There’s a lot of negotionating room here, try 2 sell something 4 $1 they whine & wiggle & u ending up selling it 4 1/2 price cause u tired of hearing [ but I only have .50c]

    Like 0
  37. PAPERBKWRITER

    Recently on Strange Inheritance they featured a ’67 Big block 4 speed (435 HP) Vette that was documented and never touched at 8600 miles. It sold at auction for $675,000.

    Like 0
  38. MD Owen

    The odometer has telltale signs of tampering (misaligned numbers) wich makes me wonder what else has been changed/altered and is not original.

    Like 0
  39. Utes

    WHY do people persist in ignorantly stating, ‘this is a radio delete’ vehicle, when no such option (radio delete) existed? A radio simply wasn’t opted for when the car was ordered. And you can’t “delete” something that wasn’t standard equipment. The lack of a radio doesn’t necessarily give a car some special preeminence. There’s nothing especially unique re. a “radio-less” car…other than the original owner’s frugality!

    Like 0

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