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."
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."
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."