Rot-Free Frame: Barn Find 1965 Corvette

This recently discovered 1965 Corvette convertible is said to need everything, but it fortunately has a rot-free frame that will justify the expense of putting it right. The seller notes the motor and transmission are present but not currently running. Original colors was a very pretty combo of Milano Maroon over black, so hopefully it can be restored to its original build code. Find it here on eBay with a starting bid of $17,500.

The Corvette came from the factory as a 327 / 4-speed car, but it currently registers as non-numbers matching. The seller doesn’t elaborate as to whether the original mill is available, but it looks doubtful. This Corvette went into storage in 1975 and hasn’t moved since, according to the last-stamped registration documents. The engine bay is surprisingly clean, and doesn’t appear to have been used as a rodent’s winter home.

The interior is mostly still black, but no word on if the buckets or leather is original. The red vinyl steering wheel is a bit jarring and needs to be replaced with a wood-rimmed OEM wheel ASAP. Although not a complete snapshot of the car’s condition, it is reassuring to see clean door jambs and just a generous coating of dust and dirt as opposed to rust particles. Perhaps the factory hard top played a role in keeping the interior dry. The soft top is said to be in good shape, too.

Side pipes were certainly an option, but we’ll leave it to our VIN decoding experts to determine if these came from the factory. The variety of paint shades on this Corvette points to a past where it went from being someone’s pride and joy to just another used-up muscle car, and now that it’s been unearthed, the market will decide if an opening bid of near $20,000 is worth the gamble.

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Dan

    Not factory sidepipes…those are Hooker Header sidepipes…..always hated those things, loud and ugly….rest seems fairly solid…..

  2. ACZ

    Kind of a sad car. Needs lots of help and could be a decent car if it goes to the right individual. No reserve? At an opening bid, $17,500 is the reserve. Question is, will someone risk it? NY – it is still a rust belt car and cars rust in barns. Look carefully at any metal underneath. Note the EGR valve. Those became production in 1973. Now, maybe that is only the intake manifold but is probably the date of the whole engine. Not exactly high performance. Why is the shifter falling through the floor? Does it have a trans in it? Not so sure this thing is worth the opening bid.

  3. Mike G

    NOM makes it an overpriced project to me

  4. Keith

    Vin plate has been installed with round rivets instead of welds or Rosetta GM style rivets ! Buyer beware … Could lose your money if not very careful . Check build date on car and on vin production to see if it matches .

    Like 1
    • gbvette62

      The round VIN tag rivets are correct for an early build 65. The rosette rivets weren’t used until sometime after January 65.

      From the VIN, this car was built approximately 12/29/64 The trim tag indicates the body is an AO Smith body, with a build date of 12/16/64 (E16). Since AO Smith bodies were built in MI, and shipped by rail to St. Louis, the AO Smith body build dates usually proceed the production date by 1 to 2 weeks.

      The hood and gas door are 64 parts, and the steering wheel is a 63. I’m guessing the hardtop is from a different car too, since the right side mounting bracket on it is home made for sure.

      To Jeff, the original poster, the seat covers are the correct pattern for 65, but according to the trim tag, they are vinyl, not leather. As pointed out by Dan, the side pipes are aftermarket, not GM. 65’s were available with side pipes, but that car never came with factory ones. Only Corvettes with St. Louis made bodies, got side pipes. Side pipes never went on AO Smith bodies.

      At the current price, you could probably build a nice driver out of it. Unfortunately, like most projects cars, chances are pretty good that it will cost more to restore, than you could buy a done car for.

      Like 1
  5. Anthony R in RI

    A lot of good information gbvette62. I am thinking the car was probably stolen and stripped of parts at some point. That would account for all the mis matched pieces

    • Rocco

      “I am thinking the car was probably stolen and stripped of parts at some point. That would account for all the mis matched pieces.”

      Probably why the color change.

  6. AMXSTEVE

    doesn’t look like any fun to me.

  7. 86 Vette Convertible

    Such a shame, might have been a nice car in it’s day.

  8. LAB3

    It’s got a cool “My name is Earl” vibe to it. If it where mine I’d get it to run, turn and stop and drive it as is.

  9. Bill

    It really wouldn’t take all that much to get it rolling down the road. Cool car as it sits.

  10. Big Mike

    PASS!!!!!! To high opening bid, the cost to rebuild it correct, you would lose money if you tried to sell it for what you would have in it. Now if it wee a 63 split window maybe. IMO

    • Keith

      Uhm, you’d “maybe” buy a split window Vette for $17.5k? If you have a split window Vette sitting in front of you for sale in the condition of the Vette above for $17.5k and you are thinking “maybe”……..

      • Big Mike

        It was a joke Keith, I would not buy a split window in this condition, but I know somebody that did and he reads barn finds all the time, I was seeing if he had read what I put down.
        He bought a 63 split window for 12K and it was not in this good of shape, after a complete rebuild, which I helped with,
        The rebuild included hauled motor and tranny, new interior, new paint job, new chrome, wheel and tires, brakes, frame off, you name it we did it, the further we got into the car the worse it got, after all said and done he had over 60k in parts and labor, not including the original buying price, in the car, he listed it for 75K no takers, he sold it at auction for 72.5K after fees to the auction he lost $4000.00, roughly, and that did not include meals he feed us, and travel to the auction, I bet all said and done he loss 5K if you figured all of the expensive he had on going after parts all over the mid US, you named it he lost it. To this day he will not even think about another Corvette!!!!

  11. Tony Chich

    Looks like it would take too much time & money to get it right, like it should be.

  12. SeaKnight

    Pass….too much $$$$$ to rebuild. Buy a nice running car first.

  13. Rolf Poncho 455

    gbvette62 u’r a master on corvettes !

    Like 1
  14. Dean

    While you all are debating whether this is good deal or really bad deal, there are some of us out here thinking wow, I would really love to own this gorgeous car. So, to all you doubting Thomas’s who seem to try to compete with each other about how bad things can get, get over yourselves. The seller may be a bit ambitious but I personally would love to have the oportunity to own a car like this. Unfortunately I live in new Zealand. Well I’ll keep on dreaming.

  15. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Dean, you have a point, but there is a lot of information that needs to be gotten from the seller before investing anything in this car.

    The first thing that jumps out to me is the seller’s statement that there is no rot. He shows one picture of a frame rail, and not even in the place where they commonly rot. We would need pictures of the end of both frame rails, where they kick up in front of the rear wheels, just to start with. We would also need some pictures of the carpeting removed behind the seats to see the rear of the birdcage and of the windshield molding removed to see the front of the birdcage. If any of these areas are significantly rotted, you have a major, expensive job on your hands.

    How do I know? I was the victim of both frame and birdcage rot. Any 60s and 70s Vette from the Northeast U.S. will most likely have this rot as these cars were commonly driven in the winter. Especially one in this condition.

    Personally, I appreciate the comments here, both positive and negative. It beats all of the comments saying the same thing like “Wow, it’s a Vette, cool”.

    Like 1
    • Rocco

      Very good reply, PRA4SNW.

      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        Thanks, Rocco.
        And if you are the Rocco that finds all of these wonderful Barn Finds, thank you for the hard work. Keep them coming!

      • Rocco

        #”PRA4SNW,
        Thanks anyway, but I’m not THAT Rocco.

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