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Lot 631
1965 Chevrolet Corvette 396/425 Coupe

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Selling on Saturday Evening

CHASSIS NO: 194375S120426

• Original numbers matching engine, transmission and rear axle
• Spectacular and authentic, no-expense-spared restoration by Muscle Cars of Texas
• NCRS Top Flight award 2021
• Factory Rally Red with black vinyl interior; Superb body alignment and presentation
• Well-appointed with side-mount exhaust and Positraction rear-end


396 cid, OHV V-8 engine, four-barrel Holley carburetor; Muncie four-speed manual transmission; independent front and rear suspension with coil-over springs, Positraction rear axle, four-wheel power-assisted disc brakes; wheelbase: 98”


While the Corvette had 12 years of experience being “America’s Sports Car”, for 1965, Chevrolet allowed the sleek Stingray to really grow some teeth. Versions of Chevrolet’s small-block V-8s had been around since the 1955 model year, but for its 13th season, Corvette was getting some pretty hairy horsepower straight from the factory. The L78 option featured a new engine with an advertised 396 cubic inches and 450 horsepower. However, shortly after its release, the factory dialed back the official ratings to 425 horses which made the insurance companies a bit more comfortable. To call it “awe-inspiring” was a bit of an understatement. When reviewed by Car and Driver magazine, the writers drew comparisons of the new Corvette with several contemporary European grand touring cars such as the Aston Martin DB-5 and the Ferrari 250 GT. The Stingray was five inches shorter in length, with the same wheelbase, and a couple of hundred pounds lighter than the DB-5. Thanks to newly designed disc brakes, the 1965 Corvette boasted over 481 square inches of stopping power, within inches of Aston-Martin. The 396, affectionately known in some circles as the “Rat Motor”, could run rings around the competition and set out to prove the L78 power plant would provide plenty of excitement. However, the L78 option wasn’t just the massive engine, it was a specifically engineered performance package that included the Muncie four-speed transmission, heavy-duty suspension with thicker sway bar half-shafts, and an extra performance rear axle with Positraction. Fuel was fed through a specially designed Holley carburetor and the L78 cars used one of the first production transistorized ignition systems. Power from the engine was transferred to the legendary Positraction rear axle and disc brakes were standard on all four wheels. Completing the package was the “stinger” hood with its center bulge that allowed for just enough clearance for this legendary engine and its components.

In its initial year, the L78 option proved to be rather popular. In late Spring 1965, the St. Louis assembly plant received an order for this special Corvette. It was ordered in Rally Red and to be fitted with the standard all-black vinyl interior. In addition to all the usual standard equipment, all of the L78 components were added plus the very desirable and output-enhancing side-pipe exhaust system, plus the alloy knock-off wheels. When acquired by our consignor, this special coupe was remarkably well-preserved, not quite ready for the show field, but certainly presentable. Complete disassembly of the Corvette was undertaken by marque specialist Muscle Cars of Texas to ensure that everything could be inspected and brought up to factory specs. The body was found to be in excellent condition and required minimal bodywork while the frame was not only solid but had been well-maintained. Under the hood sat the unmolested original engine coupled with the original transmission and rear axle. It was an ideal candidate for being taken to the heights of perfection. Several years were invested in attention to detail, and authenticity - careful detail was paid to the body panels being lined up perfectly. All original components were restored with strict attention paid to authenticity, as our seller wanted nothing but the best. Completed in 2020, it would take more than a year for the automotive world to return to normal but when it did, this Rally Red coupe was ready to stand tall. Fitted with proper Goldline tires, it rolled to the NCRS judging field and was given a complete and thorough inspection. When the judging was done, it was immediately awarded Top Flight honors. Since then, this Corvette has been kept in climate-controlled storage and is waiting for its new owner to show it off at future judging events knowing there are plenty of awards, trophies and honors in the car’s very near future.

Factory Rally Red, original numbers matching 396/425 engine, Muncie four-speed manual transmission, factory side pipes, world-class restoration and a coveted NCRS Top Flight award, this 425 horsepower example is most likely the finest in the country and represents the quintessential 'needle-in-a-haystack' L78 coupe.

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