Genuine Fuelie! 1965 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster

When Chevrolet slotted a V8 under the hood of the C1 Corvette, many people believed that it was that moment that transformed the vehicle into a genuine sports car. They upped the ante in 1957 by adding fuel injection to the mix, and from then until 1965, a Corvette “fuelie” was about as good as it got. Our feature car is a 1965 fuelie, and it has recently received a meticulous restoration. Its presentation is stunning, and it seems to need nothing beyond a new owner. Located in Lynnwood, Washington, you will find this Corvette listed for sale here on eBay. A single bid of $50,000 remains short of the reserve. However, the seller offers a BIN option of $89,950 for those who want to bypass the whole auction scene. Once again, Barn Finder Larry D has demonstrated how finely tuned his radar is by spotting this classic for us. Thank you so much for that, Larry.

It’s hard to know where to start with this Ermine White Corvette. The car is being offered for sale by a dealer, but it appears that the previous owner has spent a lot of time and money on a nut-and-bolt restoration. The seller rates its overall condition as a “10,” and it’s hard to argue that point. The paint shines beautifully, with not a blemish or mark visible in any of the supplied photos. The car comes with both a factory hardtop and soft-top, and while the former looks perfect, we don’t receive any information on the latter. The fiberglass shows no evidence of cracks, crazing, or other issues, while the glass and trim are flawless. This car features distinctive and desirable aluminum knock-off wheels that are wrapped in redline tires. The side exhaust adds a further touch of menace and proudly tells the world that this Corvette is special.

The restoration process wasn’t merely a case of giving the Corvette a quick once-over and ignoring areas that were out of sight. The underside is just as spotless as the exterior, with no evidence of rust or prior accident damage. Not only is this classic structurally solid, but there are no signs of any fluid leaks or other mechanical maladies.

When Chevrolet bolted fuel injection to its Corvette V8 in 1957, it unleashed extra power and performance that was welcomed by the buying public. What they generally didn’t like was the cost of this option. The take-up rate by potential buyers was always relatively low, but it was the 1965 model year that sealed this engine’s fate. For that year, Chevrolet shoehorned the 396ci big-block under the Corvette’s hood, and while it made the car feel heavier and less nimble than the small-block, there was no denying that it was fast. It was also cheap, which didn’t help the fuelie’s cause. Where buyers had to hand over a whopping $538 for the sophistication of fuel injection, the 396 big-block offered an additional 50hp and only added $292.70 to the Corvette’s sticker price. While 2,157 ticked the box beside the 396, a mere 771 spent the extra money on a fuelie. That sealed the fate of that fabulous motor, and by the end of 1965, Chevrolet removed it from the Options List. This Corvette is one of those rare classics, and it appears that it is numbers-matching. Bolted to that V8 is a 4-speed manual transmission, and this combination should be capable of demolishing the ¼ mile in 14.1 seconds. If the driver is brave enough to keep the pedal to the metal, the speedometer needle should nudge 145mph. The engine bay presents as nicely as you might expect on a recently restored car, but that is about all that we know about its mechanical state. However, the seller indicates that the car has only accumulated 323 miles since the former owner completed the work, which is barely broken in.

Turning our attention to the interior, we again find plenty to like. We also find one of the few deviations from this car’s factory specifications. The seller indicates that the seats are upholstered in red leather, but the tag shows that the Corvette rolled off the line with the seats wearing red vinyl. Purists would probably be tempted to address this, but I suspect that many potential buyers will look at it and decide that it’s too nice to touch. Everything looks crisp and clean, with no evidence of wear or physical damage. The car features an AM/FM radio and a power antenna to provide entertainment on those longer journeys.

When the fuel-injected V8 disappeared from the Corvette range at the end of 1965, it marked the end of an era. It would not return for around 18-years, and its reintroduction was motivated by the need to squeeze more performance and economy out of V8 engines that were being strangled by emission regulations. The cost of this option in 1965 killed it, but its rarity now sees it as a “must-have” in the classic market. When they hit the market, spotless examples can easily dive into the six-digit territory. As values continue to climb, they also seem to represent a solid investment prospect. This one looks like a bargain at the BIN price, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone hit that button fairly soon. Would you?

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Comments

  1. doug

    Only thing I would question is red line tires for ’65. I think they were gold line, but these look great.

    Like 7
    • Terrry

      Me too, red lines weren’t even offered until 1967.

      Like 4
    • jokacz

      I may be wrong, but I think the gold stripes didn’t become available until ’66.

  2. John S

    Not a Bloomington type restoration, but what a looker! One of my favorite color combos.

    Like 3
  3. CJinSD

    1965 seems like a nice marriage of disc brakes and a fuelie small-block. I had a friend in college who had a 1964 Sting Ray with a small-block NASCAR engine producing around 560 horsepower, or maybe it was 650 horsepower. He crashed all the time. Should have had brakes.

    Like 4
  4. Terrry

    The color white seems to just “belong” on a Corvette. If I ever own one that’s the color I’d want.

    Like 8
    • Frank Sumatra

      Agree 100%! My Arctic White 1995 brings me great joy. The red leather interior is the finishing touch.

      Like 1
  5. bobhess bobhess Member

    Can’t afford them but they sure aren’t hard to look at. Beautiful. And yes, I sure wish we’d bought the ’67 big block coupe that our customer offered to us for 13K in 1987….

    Like 8
  6. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Seems like a very reasonable price for a genuine fuelie in this condition. Especially a Gen2 fuelie

    Like 2
  7. its1969ok

    For me those chambered side pipes, especially with a solid lifter motor, are the best sounding American exhaust system ever.

    Like 4
  8. Bill Hall

    One thing to think about with an old factory injected Vett is if you ever have a problem with the fuel injection it won’t be easy to find someone around who still knows how to fix them and if you do it will be at least an arm & a leg and maybe more? No matter still a neat car. Just can’t drive it that much and these cars were meant to be driven.

    Like 1
    • Frank Sumatra

      Join NCRS and your problem is solved. There are plenty of folks providing parts and restoration services and NCRS publishes plenty of information on FI systems. And if that isn’t enough, their online forums are available. If you live in an area that has a Chapter even better. As stated many times, joining NCRS will be the best $50 any Corvette purchaser will spend.

      Like 2
  9. skibum2

    Oh yeah, paid $1200.00 for my 67′ roadster in 1973… my oh my how times have changed..

    Like 2
  10. George Mattar

    I paid $1,800 for a 427 400 hp 67 conv in 1976. Orig everything and optioned with black leather, N14, U69, N40, J60. K66 and black vinyl hardtop. The hardtop today is worth more than I paid for the car. Love this 65.

    Like 1
  11. Steve Courchense

    ! I must have paid too much for my 65 coupe, 327, 4 speed car in 77. I paid $5000 so that was big money back in 77. Purchased a 66 Big block in 1979 for $4500 plus my Z-1 Kawasaki as trade and then bought a 64 roadster in 1985 for $12000. All in Canada. Wish I still owned at least one of them.

    Like 1
  12. Rj

    I see a couple three things I’d do if I bought this little white gem no matter what the Deaks had to say.

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