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1965 Chevrolet Corvette

Posted by bradiger about 6 years, 2 months ago

Location: Emeryville, CA

Widely regarded to be one of the greatest sports cars of the 60’s, and one of the greatest Corvettes of all time, the C2 generation or “Sting Ray” is an American icon. Introduced for the 1963 model year, the cars were an instant hit. The excellent engines from 1962 were carried over, but the remainder of the car was new, with its now iconic styling and new independent rear suspension. In 1963 and 1964, all cars were equipped with 327cid engines. 1965 was an important year, with the introduction of disc brakes all around for the first time, addressing a longtime area of criticism of the car, particularly considering its significant power ratings. 1965 also marked the arrival of the big block engines (initially 396cid and then 427cid for 1966), with the small block continuing on with various power outlets as well. The C2 was also a successful race car, all the way from autocross to international endurance racing.

This particular car, the “8 Ball”, was converted for race use early in its life, and has extensive period race history. The car’s first owner was Herb Caplan, who ordered the car as a 396cid/425hp example in Nassau blue with bright blue interior optioned with power windows and power brakes. The car was supplied by Bob Frank Chevrolet of Sacramento. He drove the car regularly on the street for about a year before having Corvette guru, Dick Guldstrand, convert it to race use. Herb then road raced it in the SCCA A Production class. According to an article by Leon Mandel in the January 19, 1974 issue of “Competition Press and Autoweek,” Caplan won 45 of the 49 races he entered with the “8 Ball.” (see attached article.) Dick Guldstrand also raced the car on several occasions for Caplan.

The car’s second owner was Dr. Bruce Halpert of Fresno, California, who continued to have Dick Guldstrand help him prepare the car. Performance Engineering dyno tested a new 350cid race motor for the car, and it was painted orange. Halpert kept the car until his death in 1970, at which point D. C. Murray of Bakersfield, California purchased the car from his estate.

Murray raced the car in Solo I and SCCA B Production events until 1973, with work performed by Reynolds Automotive. He sold the car to John Haberlander, a rancher from Bakersfield who raced the car in Solo I SCCA events at Riverside and Willow Springs with a 1969 Z28 302 cid engine between 1974 and 1976.

He sold the car back to Murray, who continued to race the car from 1977 to 1979, before selling it again to Chuck Hance (owner of Coast Corvettes in Anaheim), who owned the car for ten years, racing it in Southern California VARA and vintage SCCA events.

He sold the car to Steve Rohelier of Northville, Michigan, who had Dick Guldstrand inspect the car to confirm it was the car Dick built for Herb, which he did. (See attached letter.) Steve kept the car until February of 2002, and then sold it to Jim Jard in Houston, Texas, who embarked on a comprehensive restoration to the car’s 1965-66 race livery used by Caplan in period. The work was performed by Peterson Motorsports in Sonoma and the car was completed in 2005. Randy Peterson confirmed the car has its original chassis. Over the next eight years, the car raced across much of Northe America including California Speedway in Fontana, Sears Points (/Infineon/Sonoma), Road America, Mont-Tremblant, Lime Rock, and Watkins Glen. A letter from this period confirms the car’s Goodwood eligibility.

Since 2013, the car has been part of a very significant collection. It has been immaculately maintained as well. The car is equipped with a GCR compliant roll bar, gusseted frame, and 4.11 Positraction differential. The work performed in the last two years includes new wheels, new wheel bearings, new brake pads and rotors, rebuilt calipers and master cylinder, rebuilt rear end, new driveshaft universal joints and axle universal joints, new hub carrier bearings and rear cross member bushings, all fluids, new Koni shock absorbers, new water pump and hoses, and new radiator. 

The car has nice vintage racer cosmetics, with attractive paint done to good standards. Close inspection reveals light wear from track use, as well as a few surface cracks to the finish in various locations. The bright trim is in good shape and the car retains its badging (including 396 turbojet fender badges), side mirror, and original fuel filler, giving the car a finished, period feel. The wheels are nearly unmarked and the lights and glazing are in good shape. The doors and hood feel particularly light despite their full trim, suggesting a specially prepared body.

The interior has been left pleasingly intact and retains the original dashboard, door panels, steering wheel, and passenger’s seat. A purposeful black bucket seat is in place for the driver and the carpeting has also been deleted. The engine compartment is beautifully prepared, being extremely tidy and attractive. The attention to detail is high, with correct decals on the air cleaner and even Traco Engineering decals on the valve cleaners.

The car is reported to be an exceptionally fast and well-set up example and represents a superb opportunity to acquire a beautifully prepared big block Corvette with extensive period race history. Essentially a lifelong race car, this example spent time on some of America’s most famous race tracks, including extensive period race history in California. It was featured on the cover of “Corvette News,” Vol. #9-2. Now fully restored to its original racing livery, the car is widely event eligible, and is ready to hit the track. It comes with a many period photos (including some great ones at Laguna Seca), documentation associated with its history, and a spares that include two additional sets of wheels (one new American Racing mags set and an original set), 3.70 Positraction rear end, old radiator, Bilstein shock absorbers, and Holley carburetor.

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