For the 1963 model year, the Chevy Corvette Sting Ray was given a clean sheet redesign. For the first time since the Corvette’s inception, it was available as both a coupe and convertible. Gone was the rear solid axle, replaced by an independent suspension with a transverse leaf spring that improved both handling and ride. The previous-generation Safety Girder X-frame was replaced by an all new perimeter frame that allowed the seats to sit down inside the frame, creating better interior headroom. Styling cues came from the XP-755 Mako Shark concept, with pontoon-style fenders, a center spine running rearward from the center top of the windshield that mimicked a stingray’s backbone (on convertibles it ran down the center of the convertible top decklid), vent windows on either side of the windshield, a gas filler door in the center of the rear deck, and hidden headlights.
By the time the 1965 model year rolled around, the Chevy Corvette design had become more functional. The mock vents aft of the front tires were three functional vertical slots that helped duct hot air from the engine bay. The fake grilles on the hood had disappeared, and the hood had been smoothed. Grille bars were now black (this would last just a single year), making the 1965 easy to spot from the front. Inside the Corvette, the gauge faces were flat, but still painted black, the previously vinyl-covered center stack was now painted either black or interior color. Door panels now featured integrated armrests, the seats had a more supportive design, and cars equipped with radios got standard power antennas.
The changes for the 1965 Chevy Corvette were not limited to the body and interior. Four-wheel disc brakes were standard equipment for the first time, though drum brakes could be ordered for a $64.50 credit (records show only 316 1965 Corvettes had drum brakes). 1965 was also the first year for Big Block power in the Corvette, with the 425-horsepower Mark IV L78 396 cubic-inch engine available for $292.70. Opting for the 396 added the Big Block hood with power bulge to clear the increased height of the intake, carb, and air cleaner. 2,157 customers would opt for the Big Block in 1965. The 396 would last just a single year, as it was replaced by the 427 in 1966.
Our feature Chevy Corvette coupe is finished in brilliant Rally Red over a red interior. It is powered by the matching-numbers 300-horsepower, 327 cubic-inch Small Block engine that moves power to the rear wheels through a two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission. The Corvette is equipped with factory air conditioning, power steering, power brakes, and an AM-FM Delco radio. It rolls on knock-off alloy wheels wrapped in new Goldline tires.
This Rally Red 1965 Chevy Corvette coupe will cross the block at the Mecum Auctions Kissimmee, Florida event July 6th through the 9th.