We love driver-quality “Mid-Year” (i.e., 1963 – 1967) Corvettes and this 1965 Rally Red over Black Leather example we found here on Craigslist in Keypost, New Jersey has the triple crown of hairy analog performance: 396 cubic inch / 475 horsepower L78 Big Block V8 connected to a Muncie M21 4-speed manual transmission that sends all that power to a 4.11 independent rear axle ratio. The private seller makes no excuses that his C2 is a driver Corvette, and based on the Hagerty Online Valuation Tool he even has his car priced below the #4 “Fair” value, which we think is a very good price for a Big-Block, 4-speed example.
The C2 Corvette entered its third year of production in 1965 with minor styling changes and major performance upgrades. The most notable exterior styling difference was the replacement of the non-functional twin scallops (called “speedlines”) with three working vertical “gills” on the lower front fenders designed to remove heat from the engine compartment.
A big safety improvement was the conversion from all-drum to four-wheel-disc brakes in 1965. These new brakes featured four-piston, two-piece calipers that increased swept area by a whopping 41% over the antiquated all drum design. Power brake equipped cars also featured a new dual-circuit master cylinder system. Despite these braking advances, 316 (apparently either hard-headed or cheap) Corvette buyers in ’65 opted for the drum brakes to receive a $64.50 credit on their purchase.
The big news for the 1965 model year was Chevrolet’s introduction of the “Big-Block” 396 cubic inch V8 L78 option. Topped with a single four-barrel carburetor, this new monster produced 425 horsepower. Priced about half as much as the Rochester fuel injected, 327 cubic inch L84 option yet producing 50 horsepower more, its no wonder buyers opted for the former engine option.
The private seller of this ’65 Big Block proudly states, “My car is dialed in…every mechanical aspect of the car is either brand new or rebuilt. Get in and drive it cross-country today.” The power steering, power brakes, and ability to run on modern gas makes the road trip idea a viable possibility, although the lack of air conditioning will have you searching for a low with lower average temperatures. If the big block power wasn’t enough, we love that this example comes equipped with factory side pipes and knock-off wheels. While the paint shows well in these pictures, during your pre-purchase inspection, be on the look out for spider cracks on the exterior as well as under hood for any signs of past repaired damage. While the owner presents his car as driver quality, its still good to know the true history of the car.
The black leather interior also features the optional teak wood wheel. While the black leather has a nice patina, it appears to be in need of a good conditioner to ensure no cracks develop. The black loop pile carpeting appears faded, so that would be an easy over-the-winter project to address after a summer of fun.
The private seller honestly states that his Corvette is a non-numbers matching example, so there’s no harm, no foul to just go out and enjoy driving this car! The engine is period correct and the undercarriage photos confirm this example’s power train and chassis have likely been thoroughly sorted.
The only only unknowns at this point are the condition of the convertible top, whether the car comes with an optional hardtop (we’re thing no), and what documentation about this Corvette can the private seller provide? What more can we say other than this appears to be a well-sorted, driver-quality C2 Corvette we would love to own ourselves! The private seller seems to be realistically minded about the price so we think there is value here versus the slew of over-priced trailer-queen C2’s we typically come across. Good luck with the purchase!