1965 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray Coupe - Long-Range Midyear
400,000+ Miles On It (And It Still Looks Great)
From the January, 2009 issue of Corvette Fever
By Scott Ross
Photography by Jason Lewis
Mention the phrase "Daily driven '65 Chevrolet," and what do you think of? Is it an Impala wagon that's seen four decades-and as many generations-of family-hauling duty? Maybe it's a Chevelle or Nova sedan that was bought and sold a dozen times, and is still going, or possibly a C10 pickup truck that's still on the job. But you didn't once consider that daily driven '65 Chevy to be a Corvette Sting Ray, did you? Bob McInturff's midyear coupe is that daily driven '65, with over 400,000 miles on it to back it up.
It's what some Corvette lovers would call "incredibly original." The L75 327 under the hood is the same one it had when it left St. Louis, as is the M20 four-speed transmission and G80 Posi-traction rearend, all bolted to the original frame, which is covered by the original body-or most of it, as Bob needed some repairs to it years ago. But that's getting ahead of the story.
Bob bought the car in late 1966, just before he graduated with an engineering degree from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and around the time he started work at Westinghouse as an engineer. He got it from a friend, who'd bought it new just over a year earlier. "I bought it from the original owner because he wanted something even faster," Bob says. "Now that I think about it, he bought a Lotus, because the [Corvette] was too slow for him."
Sideview - Repairs, Yes. Visible,...
Sideview - Repairs, Yes. Visible, No
Can you tell that the front body (forward of the doors) was replaced and repainted long ago? Neither could we.
Underside Ever wonder what...
Ever wonder what the underside of a C2 that's been driven daily for over 40 years looks like? Take a real good look at Bob's '65.
Chassis Patina Another FYI...
Another FYI photo, this time of the left-front corner of the chassis under Bob's Sting Ray. You just can't spray on this kind of patina!
For $2,500, Bob got this Silver Pearl Metallic beauty, just over a year old, which had few other options other than the L75 engine and M20 four-speed. It didn't have air conditioning or power brakes, but it was just what Bob was looking for. Six years later, he moved to Southern California, taking a job with Hughes Aircraft-and taking his '65 on a two-month, "See-the-U.S.A.-in-Your-You-Know-What" tour.
Eventually, the 327 did need some attention because of its age. "When the engine needed to be overhauled, I had to have it modified so I could use unleaded gas," Bob says. He entrusted it to Dick Guldstrand's shop for a rebuild, when it was located on "Thunder Alley" in Culver City. There, the heads had hardened valve seats added to them, and new rubber pieces went in the fuel system, both to enable it to run on today's gasolines. "But it still uses premium," Bob says, noting that it continues to get good fuel mileage. "If you call 'good mileage' 17-17.5 miles a gallon," he says. "Back when I could use the old Amoco premium gas, I could easily get 19 miles a gallon. But on today's [reformulated, 91-octane] gas, it's dropped down a mile a gallon or two on the road."
The only other significant repair, other than replacing the clutch a couple of times and the flywheel once, came when the '65's front body needed attention. "You know, that fiberglass-after a while, if you get bumped a few times, especially in the front, it starts to crack," Bob says. "So, I got a whole new front end, all the way around the hood of the car." That repair job was so long-and so many miles ago-that Bob doesn't remember the name of the craftsman who made the repair/repaint job look original, which is tough to do with metallic colors like the Silver Pearl on Bob's car. "There were a whole bunch of old guys who retired from Chevrolet dealerships and went out on their own," Bob says. "The guy who did my car was really old-he might have worked on the first ones when they came out. Anyway, he did a really nice job."
Other than that, it's the same '65 that rolled out of Chevrolet's St. Louis Assembly Plant on Natural Bridge Avenue. "The body is original, the engine's original, the frame's original, the doors are original, the back end and rear window-it's all the same."
No Side Exhaust, No Knock-Offs...
No Side Exhaust, No Knock-Offs
Bob's '65 was ordered with few options other than the L75 327, M20 four-speed and G80 Posi-traction. That's why it wears the unique-for-1965 standard wheel covers and standard undercar exhaust.
Thanks to regular maintenance, Bob's C2 has stayed the same all these years. "I change the oil and filter every 3,000 miles," he says. "It's amazing how that little bit of maintenance maintained the engine quite well." Especially an engine that was as well-engineered in the first place as the legendary Chevy small-block V-8, in a car as well-engineered as the Corvette. "It's been quite a reliable car," Bob says. "Of course, keep in mind that Chevrolet had those engine blocks down pretty well. Basically, it's been a problem-free car."
Now, at age 68, Bob is still working-for Raytheon in El Segundo, California-and still drives his '65 Sting Ray coupe every day to work from his Culver City home. That's his plan, and he's staying with it. "It gets a little more difficult each year to get out of it, but so far I'm getting out of it OK."
Along with regular maintenance, what else does Bob recommend to anyone who's looking at getting or using a Corvette for a long-term daily driver? "Don't park in parking lots by other cars, and be careful wherever you park it." He adds that his parking advice isn't just about protecting paint. "There've been several attempts to steal it, but-for whatever reason that I've never figured out-they've never been able to pull it off."
Original And Intact No runs,...
Original And Intact
No runs, no hits, and no errors. For 42 years, this end of Bob McInturff's midyear has been like a baseball score.
From The Best Seat In The...
From The Best Seat In The House
Other than some "age marks" here and there, and the lace-on steering wheel cover, the view's the same from the driver seat of Bob's Sting Ray.
Long-Haul Small-Block L75...
L75 327 is the '65's original engine, but Dick Guldstrand's shop gave it a needed freshening.
|>>> DATA FILE ::: 65 CHEVROLET CORVETTE STING RAY COUPE |
|Owned by Bob McInturff, Culver City, California |
|MILEAGE ||407,138 (at time of shoot) |
|TOTALS ||Total ’65 Sting Ray production (All models): 23,564 |
| ||Total ’65 Sting Ray coupe production: 8,186 |
|>> BODY |
|Production ’65 Sting Ray coupe |
|UPDATES ||Smoothed-out hood without ’63-’64 indentations, new grille with horizontal black bars and chrome outer trim, three functional fender louvers aft of front wheels |
|REPAIRS/RESTORATION WORK ||Front body (forward of A-pillars) replaced the cracked original; refinished in original color. (Restoration shop/technician unknown to owner) |
|PAINT ||Silver Pearl Metallic acrylic lacquer (original color) |
|>> CHASSIS |
|Production ’65 Sting Ray |
|SUSPENSION ||Front: Independent with coil springs, hydraulic shock absorbers and antiroll bar Rear: Independent with transverse leaf spring bundle, hydraulic shock absorbers |
|BRAKES ||Disc brakes with four-piston calipers at each corner (new for 1965) |
|WHEELS ||Factory stamped steel, 15x6 inches, with original chrome-plated full wheel cover |
|TIRES ||P215/70R15 all around (replaced OEM 7.75X15) |
A Looker Going Away Ever...
A Looker Going Away
Ever wonder just how good a low-optioned '65 Sting Ray coupe looks in back? See for yourself.
|>> ENGINE |
|Overhead-valve V-8, Gen I small-block (RPO L75) |
|DISPLACEMENT ||327 ci |
|COMPRESSION RATIO ||10.5:1 |
|INDUCTION ||One Carter 3697S four-barrel carburetor |
|MODIFICATIONS ||None |
|HORSEPOWER ||300 @ 5,000 rpm (Advertised) |
|TORQUE ||360 lb-ft @ 3,200 rpm (Advertised) |
|>> TRANSMISSION |
|Original Muncie four-speed manual transmission (RPO M20) with console-mounted, factory-style shifter with reverse lockout |
|REAREND ||Production ’65 Sting Ray with Posi-traction (RPO G80), 3:36:1 gear ratio |
|>> INTERIOR |
|Production ’65 Sting Ray |
|UPDATES ||Redesigned seats with larger seating surfaces and plastic seat backs, one-piece door panels with integral armrests, painted center-dash area (around clock and radio), gauges redesigned with black, flat faces |
|SEATS ||Production '65 Sting Ray buckets, upholstered with black vinyl |
|CARPETS ||Original black nylon loop-pile |
|STEERING WHEEL ||Optional Teakwood wheel (RPO N32), covered by lace-on leather cover |
|INSTRUMENTATION ||Production '65 Sting Ray gauge cluster (0- to 160-mph speedometer; 0- to 7,000-rpm tachometer (5,500-rpm redline); plus ammeter, fuel level, oil-pressure, and coolant-temperature gauges |
|SOUND SYSTEM ||Optional GM Delco AM-FM radio (RPO U69) |
|HVAC ||Original GM Harrison heater/defroster unit; A/C provided by driver and/or passenger |
Bob Mcinturff Bob McInturff...
Bob McInturff bought his '65 Sting Ray coupe as a daily driver in late 1966. Forty-two years later, he still drives it to and from work.