1965 Chevrolet Corvette 396/425hp Roadster
Chassis no. 194675S114412
Engine no. T0391E
When people think of sporty cars from the Class of '65, the Mustang and GTO usually come to mind. The GTO in particular had Tri-Power (good for 360 horsepower), was sold in plentiful numbers, and was a tough car to beat on the street. However, when Chevrolet introduced the Mark IV big-block V-8 for the 1965 Corvette, all bets were off.
It had only been a few years earlier that a Chevrolet engineer named Zora Arkus-Duntov saved the Corvette from the brink of extinction. He transformed the fiberglass two-seater into a capable contender that challenged the sports car establishment of the time by installing Chevy's new small-block V-8 and racing in various different arenas to prove its credentials. By 1963, a coupe joined the convertible and horsepower was up to 360 with its fuel-injected 327, but it wasn't until 1965 that the Corvette truly became a fire breather with the January introduction of the 396. Putting out 425 rev-happy horses, the new big block added $292.70 to the Corvette's $4,300 base price (compare that to $538 for the Fuelie 327/375) and 200 lbs. to the front end. To accommodate this, stiffer front springs, a thicker stabilizer bar, and a larger radiator were used.
And the motor itself? Four-bolt mains, Holley 4150 carburetor atop an aluminum manifold, solid lifters, forged pistons, free-flow cast-iron exhaust manifolds, transistorized ignition, and 17-inch viscous-drive fan sat under a domed, vented hood with "Turbo-Jet 396" badges on the front fenders. Coming or going, it sounded like no Corvette before it, and it was the first in a tradition of big-block monsters.
This Ermine White (originally Nassau Blue) roadster with blue vinyl interior is nicely outfitted with the one-year-only 396/425hp V8, although it isn't the engine with which the car originally left the factory. The twist is delivered through a 4-speed manual transmission. Among the fitted options are P48 cast alloy knock-off wheels shroud in correct Michelin white-stripe radials, N14 side mount exhausts, and U69 AM-FM radio. Restored to a high standard prior to the vendor's acquisition of the car, it took two years of chasing before he was able to take the keys in 2009. It continues to show and perform very well with its most recent outing at the December 1st, 2012 Vintage Weekend in Key Largo, Floridaan event to which the 'Vette was driven from the vendor's home 150 miles away without worry.
Looking the business, there are few cooler machines out there than a big-block 'Vette.
- Please note that the title for this vehicle is in transit.