1965 Chevy Corvette Coupe - An Unbelievable "Dry Garage Find"

Darrell Olgers
In early June of this year I got a call from an acquaintance who gave me the scoop on an auction of the estate of a lifelong classic car “accumulator.” Notice I said “accumulator” and not classic car “collector,” as he accumulated many project, had many outbuildings and sheds full of parts, but never got around to fixing anything. I think we can all be a little guilty of this, and I know I most certainly am.
The acquaintance also gave me a link to view many of the key items in the auction, and one really piqued my interest—an unrestored 1965 Corvette coupe. A call to the auctioneer revealed that the late owner had purchased the Corvette in 1971 and had driven it only a few years before deciding he would like to change the carpet due to a stain on it. The Corvette was parked in the owner’s garage, the old carpet removed, the new carpet purchased but never installed, and in the garage the car had remained from 1974 until June of 2020. Not a “barn find” but even better—a dry “garage find!”
At this point it was a few weeks before the auction, and each day I felt like a small child waiting for Santa to come on Christ-mas eve, anxious to see what he had left me. The auction was in a rural area. Would the Corvette attract lots of attention? Or would it slide under the radar and go for a song? What other automotive treasures lurked in the outbuildings? I was on pins and needles until auction day! When the day arrived, I was optimistic enough to top off the diesel fuel in my old 1985 Ford rollback and drive it to the sale.
I arrived about an hour before the allotted time they said they would be selling the Corvette, which they had rolled out of the garage for inspection. It was a time capsule of a car with decades of dust from storage intact.
The 1965 Corvette coupe, one of 8,186 coupes produced that year, wore its original Nassau Blue paint and had a blue interior. As for options, it had its original 327 350hp motor, 4-speed, and positraction rear. It also had the desirable telescopic steering column (one of 3,917 produced that year), power steering and side pipes. I slipped off the original air cleaner lid and checked the numbers on the Holley carb, and it was also correct and dated 1965, as was the alternator. The frame looked nice and only had very light surface rust starting, typical of Southern cars. I could see no evidence the car had ever been wrecked, so that was a plus. The odometer showed just a tad over 33,000 miles. The car had only been on the road nine years, so that could well be the original mileage.
There were lots of people at the sale but not a single one checking out the Corvette, which could mean there was little interest, or, perhaps, potential buyers were holding their cards close, but we were about to see. As the appointed hour had arrived, the auctioneer came over and started telling all about the car. I figured when the bidding opened I would just lay low and see what happened. The bidding opened at a very reasonable starting bid with multiple bidding cards in the air thereafter, and it climbed in $1,000 increments until it was between two bidders. I raised my card, and one of the bidders dropped out, so it was another young gentleman and myself now vying for Chevrolet’s infamous classic sports car. After bidding back and forth a few more times, the other bidder became hesitant, and I knew victory was in sight. Finally, the auctioneer chanted “going once, going twice and sold.” There was applause from the crowd, and I then owned a C2 coupe.
I stayed about another hour at the auction and was almost as excited when I bought six large boxes of car magazines dating from the late 1950s on up to the early 1970s. I also bought a circa 1963 Revell model kit, still in its original box, of the Stone, Woods and Cook 1941 Willys gasser, which I now have on display in my Man Cave. When it was time to leave, I backed my rollback down the winding driveway to the garage, and as I winched the Corvette on, several people stopped to chat and congratulated me on my purchase. Hopefully the “accumulator” was smiling from up above, seeing his pride and joy hopefully come back to life soon.
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