C2 1965 Convertible - Project Ready

A basket-case C2 becomes a blacked-out street stunner.

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Project-ready. The term can describe almost anything, from a long-term-stored Vette only in need of cleaning to a basket case that will take a major effort to get back on the road. When Kent Sexton found the '65 Sting Ray convertible you see here, it was clearly in need of a comprehensive makeover. "The toughest part was finding a person to put it together the way I wanted," he recalls. "I had a couple other people looking at it, and messing with it, and then I found Fesler's. They put it together the way I wanted it." He adds, "The biggest part, for me, was to make sure that it was straight, because it was getting painted black."

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Fesler Built, in Scottsdale, Arizona, was tasked with turning the mangled midyear into a cruiser and canyon-carver that combined classic Corvette style with modern-tech hardware.

The shop's techs started with the original '65 frame, which they took apart down to the bare rails, painted black, then fitted a Hyperco composite monoleaf suspension setup front and rear, combined with Bilstein shocks and Fesler-designed modular aluminum wheels. For power, in went a 383-inch stroker small-block, one wearing Air Flow Research aluminum heads, an Edelbrock RPM Air Gap intake with a Holley 750-cfm four-barrel, and filled with hardware such as TRW pistons, a Comp Cams hydraulic roller camshaft, and a GM Performance Parts stroker crank. Backing it is a Tremec TKO600 five-speed with a modified Hurst shifter, while the rearend features a 3.50-geared Positraction between fresh halfshafts.

But the area that needed the most attention was the body- or, what was left of the original one. Eckler's supplied a reproduction front clip, which Fesler's body crew combined with the surviving C2 pieces to make a mirror-like foundation on which Gary Sharp sprayed the BASF two-stage black paint. Eckler's also furnished new bumpers at each corner, as well as a set of body seals, while the original trim and chrome were reworked and polished to look factory fresh. Inside, the dash got a major makeover with Dakota Digital gauges and controls for a Vintage Air HVAC system. The original buckets and door panels were stitched in new black leather, while Fesler's Brian York put together a Kicker-based, iPod-driven sound system.

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Two years after he found it- and six months after Fesler's started on it- Sexton's Sting Ray was now the black beauty you see here. It might look like an ISCA-grade show car, but that's not what he had in mind for it. "I drive it around Phoenix, and I take it to some local shows," says Sexton, who points to its new-tech chassis hardware, stroker small-block, and Tremec five-speed. "It's a great-driving car," he adds. "It's got a tighter suspension on it, so it drives real nice. It handles really well for an old car."

If you're inspired to turn a "project ready" Corvette you have- or one you may find- into a resto-modded gem like Sexton's, he says to look for a builder with a good reputation. "You may pay a little bit more, but they do a fantastic job if you find the right people," he adds.

What if you want to do it yourself? "Do a lot of research on it," says Sexton, "because you'll end up spending a lot more money than you expect."

Either way, do it once, do it right- and you just might end up with a spectacular Vette like this one.

"It's a great-driving car. It handles really well for an old car."- Kent Sexton

'65 CONVERTIBLE
OWNER Kent Sexton; Phoenix, AZ
BLOCK Chevrolet 4.030-in bore, cast-iron
DISPLACEMENT 383 ci
HEADS Air Flow Research castaluminum
VALVES 2.02/1.60 stainless steel
CAMSHAFT Comp hydraulic roller
PISTONS TRW forged aluminum
COMPRESSION 9.7:1
CRANKSHAFT GMPP forged steel "stroker"
RODS GMPP forged steel
INTAKE MANIFOLD Edelbrock RPM Air Gap cast aluminum
CARBURETOR Holley 750-cfm fourbarrel
FUEL PUMP Holley electric
IGNITION MSD distributor and wires, Delco plugs
EXHAUST SYSTEM Hooker headers and "Show Tube" sidemount mufflers/pipes
TRANSMISSION Tremec TKO600 fivespeed manual with modified Hurst shifter
CLUTCH Centerforce heavy-duty
DRIVESHAFT Custom fabricated by Arizona Drive Shaft
SUSPENSION Hyperco transverse composite leaf springs, Bilstein shocks
BRAKES Restored stock fourwheel discs with Baer proportioning valve and braided lines
WHEELS 19x8-in Fesler FS 905 modular aluminum (front and rear)
TIRES Goodyear Eagle 255/30R19 radial (front and rear)
MILEAGE Approximately 1,500 since completion

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