GPV-61: Special Equipment
Not only was this Sting Ray that Semon "Bunkie" Knudsen had built for his wife in the spring of 1964 quite a looker and loaded with factory options like air conditioning and an AM-FM radio, but it also had a lot of specially-made and prototype parts on it. Many of those carried the special "0-" prefix on its casting numbers, meaning that it was specially made by Chevrolet Engineering for this particular project ("GPV-61").
Newborn 396 ::: No mystery...
Newborn 396 ::: No mystery here...it's Chevy's then-new "Mark IV" V-8, seen here in 396-inch guise. To accommodate it, Chevy Engineering fabricated a host of special chassis and underhood parts. Note the Frigidaire A/C compressor.
Items Unique To This Car Include:
A 396ci "Mark IV" big-block engine, equipped with hydraulic lifters. Not only was this one of the first 396-inch big-blocks built by Chevrolet (in advance of its mid-1965 regular-production debut), this is the only 396 known to have been installed into a Corvette by Chevrolet with hydraulic lifters, as the production 396 for the '65 model year-a one-year-only option-had solid lifters
>A Powerglide automatic transmission with "E66T-14" engraved on its case. Powerglide wasn't available as an option with big-block Corvettes until 1966
>Dual-circuit, four-wheel power disc brakes. These foreshadowed the four-wheel discs that went into production as the Sting Ray's standard brake system a few months after this car was built
>A modified right inner front fender, designed to create more room for the wider Mark IV -series engine
>A modified front crossmember, intended to clear the 396's externally-mounted harmonic balancer
>Special front springs (with "0-261795 FRONT SPG, LOAD 8.56 1539 RATE 224 CODED 3960" on their metal ID tags), to handle the extra weight of the 396 over the Corvette's standard 327
>A handmade fiberglass fan shroud, plus a specially-made radiator ("SHOP ORDER #7310") to keep the big engine cool
>Pearl Pink paint (to match the dcor of the Knudsen's winter home in Florida-not a Corvette RPO color choice)
>Six taillights instead of the four used on production '64 Corvettes
>Domed hood, similar to that included with the 396 engine option in 1965
>Front fender louvers and rocker panel trim that were the same design as those that appeared on the production '65 Sting Ray
>"396 Turbo Jet" badges on the front fenders and air cleaner
>Pink leather upholstery on the seats and door panels with contrasting cranberry-colored carpeting (neither were RPO Corvette interior color choices)
>Tachometer with a 5,300 rpm redline
>Florence Knudsen's "FMK" initials on the seatbelt buckles, instead of Chevy bow-tie or Fisher Body logos