1965 Chevrolet Corvette
8-cyl. 396cid/425hp 4bbl L78
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
The 1965 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray underwent several major changes from the 1964 model, including the welcome addition of standard four-wheel disc brakes. In mid-March, a new L78 396 cid “big-block” V-8 was offered, developing 425 bhp and with transistor ignition.
Meanwhile, the 327 cid engine came in 250 bhp (L30), 300 bhp (L75), 350 bhp (L79), 365 bhp (L76), and 375 bhp (L84) configurations. This was the last year for the fuel-injected 375-bhp L84. There wouldn’t be another fuel-injected engine until 1982.
On the styling front, the 1965 Corvette added three functional vents to the front fenders, and 396 big-block cars stand out thanks to the power bulge in the hood. The grille bars became black and the instruments restyled with flat black faces.
Side-mounted exhausts were available as a $134.50 option but only 759 buyers ordered them. Sales rose again to 23,564 units for 1965, but coupe sales dropped to 8186, making the convertibles twice as popular. Fifty percent of convertible buyers (7787) opted for the optional hardtop.
Nassau Blue was a brand-new color that attracted 6022 buyers. Glen Green was also popular (3782), as was Rally Red (3688). Milano Maroon (2831), Silver Pearl (2552), Ermine White (2216), Goldwood Yellow (1275), and Tuxedo Black (1191) rounded out the palette.
Luxury touches for the 1965 Corvette included leather seats, a power antenna for the first time, power windows, and air conditioning, though it wasn’t available with either the L78 or L84 engines. Coupe buyers could still order a long-range 36-gallon gas tank, but only 41 shoppers spent $202.30 to get one. This year’s optional centerlock alloy wheels were painted dark grey between the fins. A total of 1116 buyers spent $322.80 for a set of five wheels.
The year 1965 would be the only year for the C2 model Corvette to combine fuel-injection and disc brakes. The year 1965 was also the only Corvette to use the 396 cubic-inch V8. Next year the engine was bumped to 427 cubic inches.