Blank Canvas Build: 1965 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible

A previous owner commenced restoring this 1965 Corvette Convertible more than two decades ago, but the work stalled early. It is a structurally sound vehicle representing a blank canvas for a new owner wishing to create the ‘Vette of their dreams. They may opt for a faithful refurbishment, although the opportunity exists for a custom or restomod approach. The Corvette is listed here on eBay in Rochester, New York. The seller set their No Reserve auction to open at $28,500, but there are no bids.

The previous owner purchased this Corvette more than twenty-five years ago, stripping it for restoration after five years in their care. The process stalled early, leaving the buyer with a long list of work before it graces our roads again. The Trim Tag indicates it started life wearing Milano Maroon paint, although barely a trace remains today. The fiberglass looks sick and sorry in places, and a close inspection may reveal it requires the attention of a specialist before it is ready to accept a fresh coat of paint. However, the Corvette is structurally sound. The previous owner stripped and refinished the frame, while the birdcage and windshield frame are rock-solid. The seller includes a factory hardtop. While most of the convertible top hardware is present, two bows are missing. The vehicle is a “what you see is what you get” proposition, meaning the buyer needs to compile a long list of trim and chrome to complete the exterior.

The original owner ordered this Corvette with an interior trimmed in White vinyl. The seats and door trims appear present, and they may respond positively to a deep clean. The gauge fascia requires restoration. Numerous switches are missing, as is the radio. The cracked wheel and missing carpet add to the list, suggesting the shopping list will be long. If the buyer doesn’t crave total originality, they may consider investing in a trim kit in the color and material of their choice. The car is a blank canvas, and the interior is one aspect where a creative new owner could make their mark.

For those hoping this Corvette was numbers-matching, the news isn’t good. Its engine bay originally housed the L79 version of the 327ci V8. That motor produced 350hp, which went to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual transmission. Had the original owner pointed this classic at a ¼ mile, the journey would have taken 14.2 seconds before the ‘Vette found its way to 137mph. The engine and transmission disappeared when the previous owner stripped the vehicle for their build. The buyer needs to source replacements, leaving them with choices to make. Securing date-correct components is possible, opening the door for a faithful refurbishment. Alternatively, a custom or restomod option is worth considering. The latter will retain the charm and character of this classic with a more user-friendly driving experience.

If this 1965 Corvette were an original and numbers-matching classic, its potential value once restored would soar past $80,000 in the current market. The loss of its original drivetrain negatively impacts that potential, but by how much would be pure speculation. That leaves the buyer with choices as to whether they should source date-correct components or throw caution to the wind with a custom or restomod approach. The lack of auction action raises the intriguing prospect that someone could become its new owner with a single bid, attracting some potential buyers. Would you be tempted to pursue this classic further, or is the entry point potentially more than your budget allows?


  1. Claudio

    No reserve is taking a dollar as a final bid so this $28,00 starting bid is a RESERVE…

    Like 1
  2. Tyler

    How is it that so many Vettes, especially the mid year models, have “lost” their engines?

    I would love to have a 65 roadster, but $28,500 for this, probably that much or more to make it a nice driver, way out of my budget! Woulda shoulda coulda 20 years ago.

    Like 3
    • gbvette62

      That’s easy to answer, they’re Corvettes and many people drove them like Corvettes. Plenty of original engines were broken or completely blown up, and others were replaced for bigger or more powerful engines. Even cars with low horse engines were driven hard sometimes. Many just wore out too, and unlike old Nova’s or pickup’s, that got scraped when their engine died, people tend to do what they can to keep old Corvettes on the road. More than a few Corvettes lost their original engines to theft too.

      I just picked up the 327/300 for a customer’s 63, that I just had rebuilt. When the machine shop tore down the engine they found the number one cylinder had previously been sleeved. It had obviously suffered a catastrophic failure, leaving a long wide crack through the original cylinder wall. Again, this was just a 300 horse 327 in an original air conditioned 63 coupe. My customer was lucky that whoever blew it up, chose to sleeve it instead of replacing it!

      Like 10
      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        Agree with gbvette62. Many Corvettes lived hard lives and were enjoyed. A 10 year old C2 could be bought for really cheap, so when they reached their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th owner, most of them were hot rodded and/or customized in some way.

        My guess is that many of the pristine or restomodded ones you see now were like this one at one point in their life.

        Like 2
  3. Rw

    Er mi gerd,a blank canvas is what you cover a old Corvette with.

  4. Bigmig74

    Not a L79 spec tach.

  5. bobhess bobhess Member

    Not enough car here for the asking price.

    Like 6
  6. timothy fairchild

    should have said spare parts left under black canvas. 80,000.00 to restore.

    Like 2
  7. timothy fairchild

    the seller should have said spare parts left under black canvas. 80,000.00 to restore.

    Like 1
  8. Arthur Courchesne

    Has anyone seen a C-2 project any cheaper anywhere. Let me know if you do! $28 g’s sound like a lot and it is but up here in Canada any daily driver starts at $65,000 plus! If you can do the work yourself and clean it up and restore it piece by piece it can be done at a respectable price I would think. You might not have a show piece but a respectable daily driver is what I would want anyway.

    Like 4
  9. Ronald Amon

    $27,500 for a shell. Going to be a hard sell. Unless he cuts the price in half.

    Like 3
  10. dogwater

    Sorry Fairchild its not going to be 80k to restore this car if someone want to do some of the work them selfies more like 40k

  11. Rico

    $28,500? It’s good to want.

  12. DonC

    $12000 max. Too many elements needing expensive fixes, not to mention and engine & tranny, fiberglass work and a $10k paint job. Sorry, I’ll pass.

  13. Mike

    Priced for a running car in decent shape. Not a roller, $12k max

    • Arthur Courchesne

      Hi Mike, I have not seen any C-2 priced under $65,000 up here in Canada, I would own one if I could find one for $30,000. I owned 3 previously. WE can'[t buy anything in the U.S. Market as we lose 30% right off the top on the dollar difference, $30 U.S. is 40 Cdn!

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