1965 Chevrolet Corvette

Multiple records set at Mecum Indianapolis 2021
Friday, 14 May - Saturday, 22 May 2021
Sale Price
$200,000 - $250,000
Est. Range
22 May 2021
Sold Date
Lot Number
Unrestored original
Mecum Auctions
Auction House
Chassis no. 194675S123000; Engine no. 5123000. Rally red over red vinyl, 396/425hp L78, 4-speed, wheel covers, Firestone blackwall tires, hardtop. Includes original window sticker and original Oklahoma title.

Evaluation: One of several unrestored red Corvettes from the Mark Davis collection. All original and matching numbers, and the 43,999 miles showing are represented as actual. A quintessential preservation class car, and it has received Bloomington Gold Benchmark and Survivor certifications. There are a few blemishes and chips on the body but nothing major, and there is general dullness and light crazing as you’d expect on 56-year-old paint. The chrome and wheels look good, and the windshield frame is lightly scratched with a small dent on top. Other than paint coming up below the shifter, the interior is just about perfect. Under the hood, some of the orange paint is coming up from the engine but there’s no real cause for concern. This is an excellent survivor with a rare powertrain to boot.

Bottom Line: The 1965 model year marked the debut of big-block engines in the Corvette and spelled the end of the fuel injected cars, as the big-block offered more power and less complexity at a cheaper price. Four-wheel disc brakes also arrived for the first time. The 396 big-block lasted only one year, as Corvette moved to 427s for 1966. This car ticks a lot of the right boxes in terms of options and equipment, but what really attracted bids was its preservation, something that can’t be duplicated and for which it has deservedly won awards. If it went through a concours restoration it would be worth less.

by Andrew Newton
28 May 2021
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Condition definitions
Condition #1: Concours
Condition #1 vehicles are the best in the world. The visual image is of the best vehicle, in the right colors, driving onto the lawn at the finest concours. Perfectly clean, the vehicle has been groomed down to the tire treads. Painted and chromed surfaces are mirror-like. Dust and dirt are banned, and materials used are correct and superbly fitted. The one word description for #1 vehicles is “concours.“
Condition #2: Excellent
#2 vehicles could win a local or regional show. They can be former #1 vehicles that have been driven or have aged. Seasoned observers will have to look closely for flaws, but will be able to find some not seen by the general public. The paint, chrome, glass and finishes will all appear as excellent. No excessive smoke will be seen on startup, no unusual noises will emanate from the engine. The vehicle will drive as a new vehicle of its era would. The one word description for #2 vehicles is “excellent.“
Condition #3: Good
#3 vehicles could possess some, but not all of the issues of a #4 vehicle, but they will be balanced by other factors such as a fresh paint job or a new, correct interior where applicable. #3 vehicles drive and run well, but might have some incorrect parts. These vehicles are not used for daily transportation but are ready for a long tour without excuses, and the casual passerby will not find any visual flaws. “Good” is the one word description of a #3 vehicle.
Condition #4: Fair
#4 vehicles are daily drivers, with flaws visible to the naked eye. The chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windshield might be chipped. Paintwork is imperfect, and perhaps the body has a minor dent. Split seams or a cracked dash, where applicable, might be present. No major parts are missing, but the wheels could differ from the originals, or other non- stock additions might be present. A #4 vehicle can also be a deteriorated restoration. “Fair” is the one word that describes a #4 vehicle.
Condition #5: Poor
Running, but battered, incomplete, and perhaps rusty.
Condition #6: Parts car
Parts car.
Hagerty only assigns condition ratings to vehicles we can inspect in person or, for online listings, via high-quality photography.