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1965 Chevrolet Corvette - Shagadelic Sting Ray

Groovy movie midyear boasts plenty of custom mojo

Scott Ross Aug 1, 2011
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"When I first saw the car draped with the American flag, the smoking-hot Heather Graham, and the license plate 'CIA 1,' I was completely enamored!" -Larry Sachs

Vemp 1108 01 1965 Chevrolet 2/10

Lost your mojo? Need to travel back in time to get it back?

If you're a fictitious character like Brit superswinger/spy Austin Powers, then a CIA agent named Felicity Shagwell, and a star-spangled Sting Ray (along with a 30-year reverse burnout through time) will do it.

But does that third-year midyear have any magic beyond what you see on screen? It had plenty of it from the day it left St. Louis Assembly, with an L79 327, an M20 four-speed, and new-that-year four-wheel disc brakes. And it had enough to catch the eye of New Yorker Larry Sachs, who caught the second Austin Powers flick first-run.

"My love affair with it began in the summer of 1999, when my girlfriend and I went to see Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me," Sachs said (in the 2010 Corvettes at Carlisle program). "When I first saw the [car] completely draped with the American flag, the smoking-hot Heather Graham, and the license plate 'CIA 1,' I was completely enamored!"

That continued through the film's successful big-screen run and the '65's subsequent on-line sale by New Line Cinema. The buyer was the publisher and distributor of the Austin Powers Collectible Card Game, and the '65 spent the next couple of years as a trade-show booth prop promoting the game.

Vemp 1108 08 1965 Chevrolet 3/10

In time, a third Austin Powers picture came out (Goldmember), but the producers didn't have a part in it for Felicity Shagwell, or her '65 Sting Ray. That resulted in long-term storage for the midyear, and an eventual desire by the card-game publisher to sell it.

That's where Sachs steps in again (albeit without a special-effects-laden entrance out of a time machine). As he recounted in the Carlisle program, "I found an opportunity to purchase it. The company had placed the car in storage in a warehouse, where it was gathering dust."

Rather than let it gather more dust, Sachs bought the '65 and took it home. Like too many other cars that appeared in feature films or TV shows, this one needed more than just a little attention. "I had a complete restoration done of the internals--the chassis, engine, transmission, and rearend, but we did not touch the movie paint," he says. "No expense was spared."

That body-off resto was completed in 2006, and since then, the car has been an eye-grabber whenever and wherever Sachs has shown it. That included a one-year stint in the MY Corvette Museum at Mid America Motorworks in Effingham, Illinois, as well as at last year's Corvettes at Carlisle.

Vemp 1108 09 1965 Chevrolet 4/10

With an L79 under the hood, need we ask what it's like to drive? "It's very, very quick. It's a very peppy 350-horsepower car," says Sachs. "This is definitely a timepiece that brings you back to your youthful days, because it appeals to young people, [along with] this movie and this culture."

Sachs's advice for anyone considering buying a vintage Corvette, even if it's not as shagadelicly righteous as this one? "Stick with the midyear Corvettes, especially the 1965-'67s, because they have four-wheel disc brakes, and they're very clean-lined."

By the way, thanks to the efforts of the Corvette Team over the years (going back to Harley Earl, Zora Arkus-Duntov, Ed Cole, and others), anyone who's ever loved Corvettes will never lose his (or her) mojo.



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