1965 Corvette 396 L78
1965 Corvette 396 Soft Top Delete Hard Top Only Convertible
As shown in the 2015 Corvette Legends Invitational Display
This 1965 Corvette was delivered to Mr. Charles Kemp of San Diego California on June 5, 1965. The delivering dealer was Coyle Chevrolet, located on East Santa Clara St., San Jose. Judging by the option content, this car wasn’t ordered with casual cruising in mind. This 1965 Corvette represents a change of the guard in Corvette performance.
The car was equipped with Chevrolet’s just released “porcupine head” 396-425 horsepower, big block engine, four speed close ratio transmission and heavy duty 4.11 posi-traction axle. It also included factory side mounted exhaust and factory mandated solid state ignition and voltage regulator. No attention was paid to comfort or convenience options like leather trim or a radio; indeed even the heater/defroster system was deleted. Unusual for this time, this convertible was solely equipped with a removable hardtop; indeed it has no folding convertible top, nor does it have any of the provisions required to install or secure a soft top. This Corvette displayed its performance potential from the get-go, as it was equipped in a style that would become common place for a soon to be released big block option package (L88) from the factory.
While little is known of the car’s actual history, it is apparent that the car was driven hard. Because the car is no longer equipped with its original short block and its body has experienced numerous exterior panel replacements, it is assumed that the engine had been “exercised” to the max and the body modified for larger wheels and tires, not to mention the occasional impact with other immoveable objects.
Unfortunately Corvettes can’t communicate, so little is known of the car’s ownership history. It surfaced at a dealership in Greenville, NH in 2013, where it was subsequently purchased by Lee Arioto of Pleasanton, Ca. Ironically, his residence is just a few miles from the original selling dealer. Werner Meier obtained the car from Lee later that same year.
If you have information about this 1965 Corvette, please contact Werner Meier at his MasterWorks Automotive Services.