Penny Suit: Coin-Covered 1965 Chevy Corvette

The novelty of layering coins on cars has thankfully worn off, but it’s still amusing when these vestiges of amusements past show up. This 1965 Chevrolet Corvette was used for a March of Dimes fundraiser in the early 80s, and curiously made liberal use of pennies to drive attention to the fundraising drive. The Corvette is listed here on eBay, where two bids have brought it north of $25K.

I can recall plenty of air-cooled Bugs from my youth modified like this, but this is the first ’65 Corvette I’ve ever seen coated in pennies. Even the hardtop and undersides got sprayed by coins, which the seller specifies happened in 1984. Plenty of news coverage and other documentation validates this Corvette’s successful past as a booster for the March of Dimes, and I suspect it could very easily become a piece of eye candy for a fundraiser once again.

Despite being a novelty, the interior was kept in excellent condition. There is a seam split noted on one seat, but that seems minor considering how good the rest of it looks. With a modified example like this, you tend to expect the worst inside the cabin and under the hood, but it appears restraint was shown everywhere else on the car.

The seller notes the Corvette made its initial charitable appearance at the Hartford Armory, which I can only assume is in Connecticut. The car is now located in Babylon, New York, so it’s been a northern vehicle for a while – but rust seems to be a non-issue. It is equipped with a 283, a Powerglide automatic, and 25,000 pennies – would you drive it like this?


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  1. nycbjr Member

    This is really a thing? Lol

    Like 7
  2. CapNemo CapNemo

    I can’t make cents of this. You’d think it would only be worth pennies on the dollar, but the bidding seems to be going well. Just my two cents worth.

    Like 42
    • Paul

      Wow, must be pretty heavy!

      Like 12
    • David Frank David F Member

      Must be rare. How often can you call a Corvette a “cents able” car?

      Like 12
  3. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    A penny for your thoughts. Wait, maybe not a good idea. She looks heavy to me, Should have done the bumpers while you are at it. I will save the bad penny jokes for the rest of the gang.

    Like 14
    • Dave Mazz

      Regarding those bad penny jokes….I’m sure they will turn up. :-) :-)

      Like 9
      • Mitch

        Why didn’t they do this to a Lincoln?

        Like 13
      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        LOL! Just got it Mitch!

        Like 4
  4. Brian73 Brian73 Member
    Maybe one of these are glued to it and you can recoup some of your money 🤷🏻‍♂️

    Like 8
  5. bobhess bobhess Member

    If you crash this one it will take a week to clean up the “mess”. Nice car though.

    Like 9
    • bruce baker

      @ bobhess, i was thinking the same thing.

      Like 3
    • SSPBill

      As I read this I could hear in my head the sound of loose change hit the floor.

      Like 5
  6. Dan


    Like 3
  7. art

    Let’s see, 3.11 grams per penny for pennies minted 1941 to 1981 times 25,000= a little over 171.4 extra pounds or approximately the weight of a passenger one is always carrying.
    Car is neat though and I’d venture a guess that it is one-of-a kind. I wonder if the pennies could be polished or are they now coated?

    Like 15
    • Kevin

      Thanks! I was wondering how much 250 dollars in pennies weighed.

      Like 6
    • Bill

      283 slushbox, no way Jose

      Like 2
      • Mountainwoodie

        Slushbox AND a ruined body………………..I’ll flip you for it!

        Like 5
  8. Dave at OldSchool Restorations

    . any idea of how much it raised ???
    probably a lot more than it was worth then…
    .and to the kids it helped, a lot more than any ’65 Stingray is worth today

    Like 18
  9. Dennis Marth

    “It is equipped with a 283, a Powerglide automatic, and 25,000 pennies – would you drive it like this?”

    Sadly, no. Inflation since 1965 would force me to redo the car in quarters.

    Like 10
    • Dan

      No 283 in 1965….

      Like 7
      • Bill

        1967 perhaps ?
        My moms 67 chevelle wagon had the 283 2 -speed powerglide

        Like 3
      • Barry L Klotz

        I believe that there was a283 in 1965. They were also available in the Impala and the Biscayne and or Bel Air.

        Like 3
      • ACZ

        You can’t tell these kids that. They think they know it all. The last 283 in a Corvette was 1961.

        Like 8
  10. Scott Marquis

    Would it be funnier if it were all Canadian pennies ?

    Like 7
    • CanuckCarGuy

      Based on the exchange rate, we’d have to add another 70 pennies to the car.

      Like 9
  11. Ian C

    I can only imagine what it would look like if you plucked all the coins off. Probably similar texture to a plucked chicken!! If I win the lottery before auction end, I will be the one to find out.

    Like 5
  12. Barry Traylor


    Like 3
  13. Socaljoe

    I’ll buy it if I can pay in pennies

    Like 9
  14. David P. Reeves

    There’s a junkyard/parts place on the outskirts of town where I live that has a 2000ish Dodge Neon that is covered in crushed soda cans. It’s the only other car that I’ve seen anything like this done to. I’d rather have this Corvette though…

    Like 4
    • Mountainwoodie

      Unless the price of aluminium per pound has exceeded the cost of (mostly) copper…………

      Like 1
  15. Don

    If it was for the March of dimes shouldn’t it have been covered in dimes🤔

    Like 17
    • bruce baker

      @ Don. Exactly.
      More money, more work as dimes are a bit smaller would be my excuse, if i did this.

      Like 3
  16. Barry Traylor

    Good point. I suspect the truth is someone thought it was a neat idea to cover it in pennies. Cheaper of course.

    Like 4
  17. ACZ

    I guess if you’re going to screw up a Corvette, at least this one is an automatic.

    Like 8
    • bruce baker

      @ACZ Funny!

      Like 2
  18. mike b

    But you can’t go anywhere without the coppers being all over it.

    Like 21
  19. Geoff A

    I can’t make heads or tails of this mess. How much coin to remove all the pennies. Is it worth the work to make it original?

    Like 12
  20. Steve

    Looks like it needs new rear quarters if that makes cents.
    I bet it stops on a dime and leaves change
    I could go on and on….

    Like 15
    • bruce baker

      @Steve, funny, funny, funny! I need a 5 cent beer.

      Like 5
  21. CanuckCarGuy

    You could drive this baby into a fountain and have a lifetime of wishes…or give away wishes to family and friends. The possibilities are endless.

    Like 11
  22. bruce baker

    I would polish this copper baby up, & put a 4 speed M-22 in it. On the other hand polishing is work, i like aqua green, & black pennies too.

    Like 5
    • Andy

      I guess it’s fun to yuk it up about the current state of this poor car but it’s a shame to ridicule a great marque. It wouldn’t take that much to make it a fun driver and enjoy for its original purpose.

      Like 2
      • bruce baker

        @Andy. What side of the bed did you wake up on? I love this car just the way it is well except for the trans. Yeah as it served a great purpose helping people from the March of Dimes. Happy laughing is healthy, try it please.

        Like 8
  23. Classic Steel

    Well I suggest someone obtain a Crain to toss this bad penny in the air or off a cliff to see if it lands heads or tails 🤪

    My two cents is that one could get copper poisoning if you got caught out in the rain with the top down and water 💦 splashed inside 😏👀

    If I had a penny for every lame modification made to vehicles I’d be rich.

    If Johnny Cash was on a penny they would call it a JC Penny

    Like 7
    • Dave at OldSchool Restorations

      @Classic Steel

      I think a lot of people would just call it “one cent”

      Like 3
    • bruce baker

      @ Classic Steel, your joking right? If not, haven’t you every drank water from copper pipes? Think about all the led fishing weights in our water supply reservoirs. Now if you swallow these heavy metals, that’s different because of stomach acids breaking them down. My favorite boss lived with a copper or maybe brass tracer bullet in his back for months in Nom. People survive with embed led bullets too.

      Like 1
  24. JOHN Member

    How many burnouts will it take to knock a few cents off the price?

    Like 6
  25. Jack Hammer

    You are a bunch of dorks. If you don’t know what that means, it is a bunch of a…holes. Maybe you dicks weren’t alive when the March of Dimes was a very large organization, but they were instrumental in saving the lives of tens of thousands or cancer victims. Be thankful that you missed it. If I could afford it, I would be very proud to drive this all day long.

    Like 6
    • Mountainwoodie

      Alright alright. I apologize on behalf of the wiseguys.

      Like 3
  26. Ken Carney

    My my, a little testy aren’t we? Yes Jack,
    I do remember the March Of Dimes but
    not this car. A lot of my buddies and I
    in the music business donated a lot of
    free playing time to their annual telethons. I recall a wealthy gentleman
    called in and said he’d donate $10K if
    someone would play the song Release
    Me. Well, myself and 3 of my pals stepped up and played the song and that
    chapter got an extra $10K for our efforts.
    After we got done, the show’s producer,
    Tom Sleeper bought us a beer to boot.
    And yes, that was his real last name!
    Anything’s better with a cold beer right?

    Like 11
  27. Rube Goldberg Member

    Everybody wants to be a comedian. Sadly, it just goes to show what a penny is worth today. I don’t even bend down to pick one up. According to the Simpsons, the only reason they keep them in circulation is to have a copy of your DNA. I’ve seen several of these “money” cars here in “creative” Colorado. I think they ruined a nice car, besides, isn’t it a federal offense to destroy US money like this. Article 331 clearly states, “it’s unlawful to destroy, alter, deface,mutilate, diminish, impair, falsify, scale or lighten any US coin”. You inna heap o’ trouble, son,,,

    Like 5
    • Bellingham Fred

      I got this from a site that sells cut coin jewelry. Their work is not done with intent to fraud or misrepresent therefore not illegal. Same is true with this Vette.

      This paragraph from the U.S. Mint website should clear this up:

      Section 331 of Title 18 of the United States code provides criminal penalties for anyone who ‘fraudulently alters, defaces, mutilates impairs, diminishes, falsifies, scales, or lightens any of the coins coined at the Mints of the United States. This statute means that you may be violating the law if you change the appearance of the coin and fraudulently represent it to be other than the altered coin that it is. As a matter of policy, the U.S. Mint does not promote coloring, plating or altering U.S. coinage: however, there are no sanctions against such activity absent fraudulent intent. (Source U.S. Mint)

      Like 4
  28. Dennis

    Please calm down, sir. If you look at the order sheet you clearly checked the box for metallic paint.

    Like 6
  29. Dave

    The article says rust doesn’t seem to be an issue…… but what about tarnish?

    Seriously, I would knock all the pennies off and repaint it to original. The car did it’s job, now it’s time to return it to original.

    Like 5
    • Rick Rothermel

      all dependent on how the pennies are attached. One of George Barris’ employees had a 60s Cadillac festooned with car emblems, attached with silicone sealant. You’d never get rid of that stuff!

      Like 3
  30. rpol35

    Wow! All I can say is wow.

    Like 3
  31. JOHN Member

    These comments just don’t make any cents.

    Like 4
  32. C5 Corvette

    What a waste!

    Like 1
  33. Mike

    Might have been cool if he was a little more precise with the coin placement and didn’t do the $ sign and the off kilter Corvette on the back.

    Like 3
  34. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Yes I remember quite well volunteers going from home to home asking for donations every March for the march of dimes. It was a good cause and helped a lot of people. Many of you probably don’t remember the Iron lungs used for polio irradication in the U.S. March of dimes helped pay for many of those people to live long and prosperous lives.
    God bless America

    Like 4
  35. Bing

    I had a 63 coupe with the base engine. It was a 250 horse 327. The rocker arm covers were pressed steel. To get the classic Corvette valve covers you needed to step up to the 300 HP 327. Lots of folks went down to the parts yard and bought the “Corvette” valve covers. Could not imagine anyone doing this but a 283 would easily drop into the 65 engine bay and bolt in. My 63 also had the 2 speed auto. Slush box is an apt term.
    Enjoyed the “penny” banter. I would sure pass on this one.

    Like 3
    • bruce baker

      @ Bing, thank you. I did not know there was a 250 hp base 327.

      Like 2
  36. michael h streuly

    So if the car was to represent the march of dimes why would you put pennies on it. Wouldn’t dimes have been more appropriate. Just my 2 cents.

    Like 2
  37. bruce baker

    Well it would cost more than nine X’s as much as dimes are smaller. Rube Goldberg rightly pointed out about defacing money being illegal. I wonder if it was a permission/permit thing? They got permission for pennies only maybe? Or could those not be real pennies at all? What if it’s a copper penny paint stamp job with a poly clear coat? Yeah as Dennis was pointing out about “metallic paint” i think?

    Like 1
  38. canadainmarkseh Member

    What I don’t get is why people are willing to pay more for this car. It’s going to take a lot of work to fix this damage. I’d think this mess should bring the value down not up. I’m not going to make a lame joke about this car it did it’s job as a fund raiser prize and had I won this car the pennies would have come off right away. If it were mine now I’d be out knocking off pennies with a scrapper and a rubber mallet. The copper colour would look good on here as a repaint colour though. Pass.

    Like 2
  39. Bellingham Fred

    When the pennies tarnish you’ll finally have a car with true patina.

    Like 2
  40. Roy Blankenship

    ACZ is correct, there were no 283’s in Corvettes in 1965. The real quandary here is that the tach redline indicates the car was originally a 365-327 or a Fuelly, but neither of those engines was available with a Powerglide. The body would be a good project for your local tech school….

    Like 2
  41. Socaljoe

    If you read the article it was not originally done for March if Dimes. Just a generic fund raising vehicle and not the prize.

    Like 2
  42. 990V8

    Plenty people on here to moan about anything ‘different’.
    I like it the way it is.
    The world is not short of standard Corvettes.

  43. TimM

    If you can’t pay the toll on the interstate maybe you could scrape the payment off the car!!! I never heard of anybody doing this!!! I guess you learn something new everyday!! The motor transmission combination doesn’t thrill me either!! In a muscle car it isn’t bad but the 4 speed is the only way to go in a sports car in my opinion!!! I can’t amagine how many hours it would take to get theses off this car and restore the body to original condition!!!

  44. Robs66GT

    I think this was the prototype for for heads-up display!

    Saw it at the auction in Carlisle in April. Didn’t see it cross the block though.

  45. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Ended: Aug 26, 2019 , 4:04PM
    Winning bid:US $29,000.00
    [ 3 bids ]

    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Winning bidder must have bailed, got this today. Ended:Sep 13, 2019 , 8:30PM
      Winning bid:US $26,100.00
      [ 7 bids ]

  46. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Had this in my email this morning. A short article from Corvette Online about the penny rig.

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