Two V8s! 1965 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe

I am always impressed by the strategies that some enthusiasts will employ to preserve their beloved classics. Take this 1965 Corvette as a prime example. A previous owner located it hidden in a barn and treated it to a restoration. The current owner has taken this process a step further to protect its originality into the future. If you like what you see and would like to give this ‘Vette a new home, you will find it located in Troy, Michigan, and listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached $50,350, but this remains short of the reserve.

The story of this Nassau Blue Corvette is a bit complicated, but it deserves telling. The original owner drove and enjoyed this classic before deciding to park it in a Montana barn in around 1979. It remained untouched for the next two decades before being discovered by its second owner in 1999. That owner rolled up his sleeves and worked through restoring the car to its original state. This involved returning the vehicle to a roadworthy condition and organizing a repaint in its beautiful Blue. The current owner (the car’s third) purchased the car in August of 2005, and it has remained his sunny day car that has only seen rain twice in the past sixteen years. It seems that its hibernation had no detrimental effects on the car because it has been winning show trophies until recently. The second owner applied the beautiful paint in July of 2005, and the fact that it has survived in such good shape suggests that the work was completed to a high standard. It shines beautifully, with no significant flaws in the paint or the fiberglass that hides beneath. The owner describes the frame’s state as solid, and he says that there has been no deterioration due to moisture. That suggests that this classic is structurally sound. The original owner ordered this Corvette with tinted glass, and it remains 100% original and in excellent condition. A close examination of the chrome reveals a few rub marks, but nothing has penetrated the plating. Overall, I would describe this ‘Vette as a better-than-average driver-quality survivor.

When is a numbers-matching car not a numbers-matching car? That would be when the vehicle in question is this Corvette. I need to take off my hat to this owner because his preservation strategy goes beyond what we would typically expect. This classic rolled off the production line equipped with the L79 version of Chevrolet’s venerable 327ci V8 that churned out 350hp. Rounding out the drivetrain package is a four-speed manual transmission and a 3.55 Posi rear end. As performance cars go, this was up there with the best of them. Any vehicle that can blitz the ¼ mile in 14.2 seconds deserves respect. This is the point where the story takes a twist because the engine you see in these photos is a stove-hot 355 that produces 425hp. The owner’s strategy was to pull the original, very healthy 327 and place it into safe storage. Some of its peripherals, like the intake, carburetor, and alternator, found their way onto this 355 before being slotted into place. That means that the car can be driven and enjoyed without placing the numbers-matching status in jeopardy. The owner includes the healthy 327 in the sale, so the buyer could continue to enjoy the ‘Vette as-is, or they could return it to its factory specifications with minimal effort. It is not an approach that we see every day, but it remains a good one nonetheless. For buyers intent on instant gratification, this car delivers. It is a turn-key vehicle that is ready to be driven and enjoyed when the appropriate amount of cash changes hands.

When the second owner worked through the restoration process with this Corvette, its interior came in for its share of attention. He installed the current Black interior in around 2002 or 2003, and it remains in excellent condition today. The upholstered surfaces have remained free from wear and physical damage, while the dash and carpet continue the spotless theme. The gauge lenses are crystal clear, and the markings are crisp and bright. The beautiful Teakwood wheel has developed some cracks, and I believe it has probably deteriorated beyond the point where it would be a viable restoration project. Potential buyers may struggle to locate an original wheel, but high-quality reproduction items generally sell for approximately $300. There are specialist services that perform restorations, so it could be worth contacting one of those if the buyer intends to continue the trend established by the current owner. The original owner ordered the ‘Vette with the optional AM/FM radio, which remains intact.

We’ve seen some extraordinary efforts by owners to preserve their original classics over the years here at Barn Finds, but this owner rates up there with the best of them. This ’65 Corvette isn’t perfect, but I would describe its condition as above-average for a driver. That raises the question of what the buyer might do once they have it safely tucked away in their garage. Will they continue to drive and enjoy this classic as it stands, or are they likely to bolt the numbers-matching L79 back into the engine bay? I’d probably leave it untouched, at least in the short term. I may feel motivated to perform the swap in the future, but with what is already occupying the engine bay, I hardly see the point in rushing into these decisions. Do you?


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  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Nice car. As for the question about replacing the original engine, do you want to drive it or work on it? My vote is drive it, enjoy it, and show the original engine to your friends.

    Like 17
    • Stephen

      Agree completely.

      How could you pull a sweet, original looking engine with 425 HP?

      Put the original engine on a stand in your living room and drive this very nice car as is.

      Like 4
  2. Sam Shive

    My Brother In Law has a 69 Z-28. The original 302 sit on a engine stand in a climate control garage as does the Z. He has a ZZ3 crate engine in it for every day. When the engines get changed for shows and what not pictures get taken and mileage gets logged. Sweet Car BUT He Will Never Let Me Have The Keys Again….. LOL Love the Vette but like the Z it was made to be driven, Glad someone figured that out.

    Like 4
  3. George Mattar

    If you can find a legit teak wheel for $300, I will sell you my house for $1. A real wheel is $1,500 minimum. Nice car. Stupid door panels.

    Like 5
    • gbvette62

      I agree, except this car doesn’t even have a teak wheel in it. Like with almost every 64-67 Corvette that shows up here, the amateur Barn Find writers keep claiming the standard plastic “walnut” 64-67 steering wheel, is the rarer real teak wood wheel.

      The Freeman repro teak wheels, when they’re available, sell for about $900, while real teak wheels often sell for $1500+. Bargain teak wheels still turn up though. Two weeks ago at Fall Carlisle, a friend, who’s another Corvette vendor, came across a real teak wheel for $250. He sold it 2 days later for $1800. It was only 10 spaces away from me, but I was busy setting up and hadn’t had a chance to go “shopping” yet.

      Like 10
  4. Steveo

    Clickbait. I was expecting both a front engine and a rear or mid engine.

    Like 3
  5. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Apologies to the E Type crowd, but I think the c2 Sting Rays are the most beautiful design to come out in a 2 seater sports car. From any and every angle these were gorgeous

    Like 14
    • Frank

      I think they are both equal in different ways. That’s like comparing a blonde and brunette with the same body.

      Like 3
      • Jcjc123

        So it comes down to which one cooks better?

        Like 3
  6. Mooseandsquirrel

    Since restamps are often done, remember that a matching number engine may not be the original engine.

    Like 1
  7. CCFisher

    I applaud the owner’s efforts to preserve the original engine, but it seems like an odd move to me. Every time we get behind the wheel, we accept the risk of a breakdown or an accident. A minor accident can be a real problem in a vintage car, since there’s no guarantee that repair parts are available. To me, the risk of an accident seems far higher than the risk of damaging an engine beyond repair, so I think you’d be better off removing the body and driving around on the bare chassis.

    Like 1
  8. Greg

    Great looking car. Keep the 425 hp and enjoy cruising around. I like to rally wheels on it even though they are not original for a 65. I had a 66 and put the 67 Corvette turbo style wheels as I liked them better than the original wheel covers that were on it.

    Like 1
  9. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Auction ended with Reserve Not Met at $50,550.

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