Original 396/4-Speed: 1965 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible

Have you ever looked at a particular example of a desirable classic car and wondered to yourself if it is as good as it gets? I know that I have, and I’m doing it again now as I survey this incredible 1965 Corvette. This car ticks so many of the right boxes that it nearly makes your head spin and each of those boxes does nothing but increase its desirability and potential value. Barn Finder Larry D has demonstrated his ability to spot desirable classics for us, but I think that he has struck gold on this occasion. Thank you so much for that, Larry. The Corvette is located in Las Vegas, Nevada, and has been listed for sale here at Mecum Auctions. They have classed it as one of the stars of their upcoming auction, and it is set to go under the hammer on Saturday, October 9th.

Usually, I will be confronted with a classic car here at Barn Finds, and I will immediately know its star feature or quality. It could be a desirable engine, a rare color, a low odometer reading, or a combination of options that make that car worthy of attention. With this Corvette, I am left struggling. There is so much about this car that marks it as special that it has made it difficult to know where to begin. The fact that the vehicle wears Glen Green paint doesn’t make it stand out amongst its peers because this was the second most popular Corvette shade in 1965 behind Nassau Blue. We know that the shade itself is original, but we need to guess whether the good people at Chevrolet applied the paint that we see. I would consider that a possibility because it is a one-owner classic with a genuine 29,000 original miles on the clock. Those factors would never constitute an iron-clad guarantee, but they improve the chances that this is an original and unrestored survivor. The paint presents superbly, with a shine so deep that you could nearly walk into it. Flaws in the paint are hard to spot, while the fiberglass lurking beneath shows no evidence of cracks or crazing. Structurally, the news keeps getting better. When it’s not crossing the auction blocks in Nevada, this Corvette calls sunny California its regular home. That climate is ideal for preserving classic steel, so I wouldn’t expect to find any rust problems in the frame or birdcage. The car comes with a factory hardtop, but the seller doesn’t indicate whether there is a soft-top. The trim and chrome are spotlessly clean, as is the glass. If it isn’t already desirable enough, this vehicle has a couple of further aces up its sleeve. It is 1-of-1,116 that the original owner ordered with the knock-off wheels, and 1-of-759 that was ordered with a side-mount exhaust. Both features are in excellent condition, and the correct mallet for the wheels is present. Those factors have ramped up the desirability, but we aren’t done yet!

The reality was that there wasn’t what I would class as a slow vehicle within the 1965 Corvette range. No matter the engine and transmission combination, buyers could rest assured that their shiny new toy could produce a sub-16-second ¼-mile ET. However, the daddy of them all was the L78 version of Chevrolet’s legendary 396ci big-block V8. This was not a subtle engine and churned out an incredible 425hp and 415 ft/lbs of torque. This car features that engine, combined with a four-speed manual transmission, a Posi rear end, and power brakes. Forget thoughts of a mere sub-16 with this jet because it should be capable of blitzing the distance in 13.6 seconds. In 1965, that was about as good as it got. Unfortunately, we are a bit light on details about the car’s mechanical health. The seller indicates that it has a genuine 29,000 miles on the clock. The engine bay presents in as-new condition, and if this is an accurate guide to this classic’s mechanical health, it could be a “fly in and drive away” proposition for its next lucky owner.

The spotless theme continues when we turn our attention to this Corvette’s interior. It is trimmed in black, and it’s hard to find anything to criticize. The upholstered surfaces show no evidence of wear or physical damage, while there’s no fading on the carpet. The dash is spotless, the gauges lenses are crystal clear, and there’s no evidence of UV damage to any of the plastic. Once again, the original owner ticked a few of the best boxes to increase this classic’s desirability. That see’s this Corvette equipped with power windows, a Teak wheel, and an AM/FM radio. I’m picturing myself climbing aboard this classic and gripping that beautiful wheel, and it’s one that I could become pretty used to.

Whether this 1965 Corvette is a beautifully restored classic or an original survivor, there’s no arguing that it is a stunning and desirable car. This was the first year that Chevrolet offered the big-block option, and it was this motor that drove the final nail into the coffin of the expensive fuelie option. That incredible power could make this a brutal car if the driver desired, but the prodigious torque could also allow it to be a sedate and flexible vehicle in the right circumstances. These are a bedrock of the classic car scene, and even without its enormous list of options, it is a car that would generate some interest when it enters center-stage at the auction. The extras add to that desirability, and they guarantee that the bidding should delve deep into six-figure territory. Are you tempted to try your luck with this gem, or is it too rich for your blood?

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Comments

  1. poseur Member

    oh my…..this looks about perfect with the big block and drop top and dark green paint.
    love it

    Like 16
  2. DRV

    Love it! Best way to tell original paint for sure on the is being able to see some bonding strip connections. No way can it survive 54 years without them.

    Like 3
    • Shawn gherity

      I was thinking the same thing. Granted the pics arent too good to tell but I dont see any of the seams.
      Still a nice ride even if the paint is new

  3. Terrry

    Someone is going to have to spend their kids’ college tuition fund to buy this. But at least it will be money better-spent.

    Like 17
  4. Rick

    Wasn’t the 396 1/2 year option on this car?
    If so that is the most desirable feature or option.

    Like 2
  5. Comet

    I would encourage any potential bidders to verify the original Holley carburetor is fitted. Incredibly scarce one year model. Look for #3124 on the carb horn. I’ve seen perfect examples sell for close to 5K!

    Like 5
  6. Larry D

    To me, one thing that would really help this car’s visual interest would be if it had saddle tan interior against the Glen Green. Those colors look incredible together.

    By the way, that engine looks far too fresh to be 56 years old. While it may be the original one, it surely has either been rebuilt or at least repainted.

    Like 7
  7. Rj

    I bet no buyer ever thought to check a numbers matching car to see if the numbers actually match. When it comes to paint…. you’ll only need to post one picture for the leading Deaks on all things paint to give a complete consultation.

    Like 1
    • Frank Sumatra

      I bet you could not be any farther off on that comment.

      Like 1
      • Larry D

        @Frank Sumatra

        I agree totally. When cars cost this much and the originality of the engine makes so much difference in their value, either the prospective buyer or his appraiser/expert will be checking all the numbers on the car.

        I had a friend who was selling a black ’56 265 with 240 HP (the Duntov Cam version, 1 of 111 cars). A man from 10 hrs away came to his house and spent 8 solid hours checking everything on that car before being satisfied it was the real deal. Thus, he bought the car, loaded it up in his trailer and headed home.

        You can’t be too careful when you are swimming in a sea of classic automotive sharks!

        Like 5
      • Sean

        Frank I believe they call it sarcasm.

        Like 1
  8. Joe

    Around 1965, looked at a new one exactly like that at the Gulfport, Miss. Chevy dealership. Goodwood Green. I believe the window sticker was around $5,000.

    Like 4
  9. Pumba

    I’ ve owned a 65 396 425 and it did not have power brake, so ,y guess is , its after market job

    • Rj

      So you’re saying if you’re car didn’t have power brakes no 65 396/425 could have power brakes ?? Well Deak you’re wrong like always.

  10. Comet

    I believe power brakes were available on 65 BB Corvettes. If I remember correctly, the LH valve cover has an indentation to make room for the brake booster.

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