Live Auctions

Humpty Dumpty: 1965 396 Corvette Coupe

Project Corvettes are seen pretty regularly here on Barn Finds.  However, it is becoming increasingly rare to see a project C2.  A large number of that generation’s survivors have either been hoarded away or restored.  Regardless of condition, C2s is a great sports car to have in your garage.  Take a look at this big block equipped 1965 Corvette coupe for sale on eBay in the unusually named town of Mexico, New York.  This partially disassembled Corvette appears to be a project that made it to the paint shop but, like Humpty Dumpty, never quite got put back together again.  Bidding is at a low of $27,500 for this fairly rare car.  Like Humpty, this Corvette may have a hidden fault sending the bidding back down to Earth.

Humpty Dumpty is a delightfully short and catchy nursery rhyme from late 18th century England.  While not explicitly described as an egg, Humpty had a fatal flaw.  When he fell from his perch on the wall he broke apart.  All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty back together again.  A sad story to be sure, but an allegory that could be applied to a number of situations in life.

This takes us to the 1965 Corvette coupe in this ad.  We are told that it left the factory with a fairly rare 396 cubic inch big block engine and a four-speed transmission.  Unfortunately, the original engine has gone AWOL and a 427 has taken its place.  The later engine turns over but is not currently running.  The fact that the car still has the correct hood for a 1965 big block car is a big plus.

From there we have to look at the clues in the pictures to determine what happened to this car before it graced the pages of eBay.  At first glance, it appears that the car was disassembled enough to give it a proper paint job befitting an automobile of this stature.  One of the pictures in the ad shows a buffer resting on the partially polished hood.  As for the quality of the paint job, we know that the car didn’t receive the full treatment of separating the body from the frame.  We can see blue overspray on a few parts attached to the frame.  Even the side pipes got a dusting.

It is the picture above that might tell us the real reason the party stopped before this fiberglass beauty got put back together again.  Take a close look at the front suspension and the cross member.  There is a lot of rust there.  While the metal in these pieces is suitably thick, this much rust on the frame of a C2 can be a big clue that you’ve got problems in other areas.  While the body is fiberglass, the frame and the birdcage supporting the cockpit are most decidedly not fiberglass.  They are crafted from good old 1960s Detroit steel.  The kind of steel that can rust at a harsh word if not protected by primer, paint and/or undercoating.

Before anyone wants to push me off a wall for speculating, I have no idea if the frame on this car is in good condition and the seller did not discuss it.  There are pictures of some areas of the frame and, to be fair, a proper inspection would no doubt be welcomed by the seller.  The relatively low bidding for a 1965 Corvette with a big block may be a clue that others are being cautious on this one.

Even if the frame needs to be replaced, there are a lot of plusses for someone interested in putting a Corvette of this vintage in their garage.  A lot of original parts seem to be there, it has a 427 under the hood, and the styling is just so timeless.  There are plenty of replacement frames available.  Chevrolet built both C2s and C3s on the same basic frame with a few differences as production drug on.  This could be a great car to restore as a driver with a more aggressive suspension and a healthy big block under the hood.  Unlike Humpty, the flaw in some of these Corvettes doesn’t have to be fatal.

Have you ever had to deal with a rusty frame and/or birdcage on a Corvette?  Tell us your story in the comments.


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    This isn’t rust week is it? Lot of that going around it seems.

    Like 3
  2. Big Al

    bobhess — Barn Finds are just reminding us about getting a tetanus

    shot if we get cut on sharp rust. That’s why it’s rust week,

    and get your tetanus shot week . 😂😂


    Like 8
  3. speedcity


  4. Sebastian X1/9

    The car is no longer for sale. It must have rusted away between the time you posted it and the time I clicked on ebay. ☠️

    Like 7
  5. Paul D Jordan

    I like your ‘Humpty-Dumpty’ reference. I come to this site for memories of my childhood. You have sparked one of them!

    Like 2
  6. Fran

    Lol Mexico ny near one of its rust capitals in ny not to mention armpits.
    Syracuse where this car is near.
    Ithaca (13 square miles surrounded by reality)
    Albany and above
    Etc! Salt rust etc

    Like 1
  7. vern fasel

    can you say SNOW TIRE

  8. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Yes, there is nothing like seeing a snow tire on a COrvette in a rust state to make a car desirable.

    I was in a town near Binghamtom earlier this summer and saw 20 year old pickup trucks with the rear quarters rusted so badly and flapping in the wind. I was afraid that one of them was going to fly off and hit another car.

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