An All-Original '65 Fuelie

A Uniquely Optioned '65 Fuelie that's All-Original--Right Down to theOwner!

Rob Wallace III Apr 4, 2005 0 Comment(s)
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The date was December 24, 1965. It was Christmas Eve, and there was aharsh snowstorm hitting the Rockies when Commerce City, Colorado's KenZiebarth accompanied his friend, Eric to the Chevy dealership in searchof a new truck.

The weather was bitter-cold and there was snoweverywhere, but Eric wanted to buy one of those brand-new 1966 Chevypick-ups with the big rear window. Ken, being the good friend that hewas, agreed to give Eric a ride.

They walked the entire new car lot ofBurt Chevrolet in Englewood, Colorado, through snow, but Eric neverspotted the right truck. As they were leaving, the young men walkedpassed the showroom, where a brand-new Mosport Green '66 Corvette 327coupe greeted them in all its grandeur. Not inclined to lose a potentialsale, a salesman by the name of Gene McClain tried to persuade Eric toforget the truck and try out the Vette instead. Eric told the salesman,in no uncertain terms, that plastic sports cars weren't exactly his cupof tea. They were more of his pal Ken's predilection.

Ken was indeedimpressed with the Corvette, but he didn't care for the "British RacingGreen" on it, to which the salesman suggested taking a look at anotherVette on the lot just like it. It was a brand new Nassau Blue '65 coupewith a 375-horsepower Rochester fuel-injected 327, four-speed, and awhite-with-blue interior. Its option package was an extremely uniquemixture of luxury and sheer performance. In addition to the mostpowerful 327 small-block available, it also had a special-order,close-ratio four-speed, a 4.56:1-geared Posi, a heavy-duty F40suspension, and power brakes. But with regular steel wheels and hubcaps, it was also equipped with genuine leather seats, a teakwoodsteering wheel, power windows, the Comfort and Convenience Group'sday/night mirror and backing lamps, and an AM/FM radio. The coupe hadapparently been ordered by another dealership who intended to go racing,but for one reason or another things fell through and it wound up on theBurt Chevrolet lot.

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At first sight, Ken's heart began to flutter, but hedidn't have the money to indulge in a new sports car.

That's when thesalesman, Gene, swooped in for the kill. He said that it was Christmas,and suggested that Ken make him an offer anyway. "I told him I only hadabout $3,000 in the bank and the '60 Bonneville we drove there in," Kenrecalls. "He replied that since I'd made an offer, he'd take it in, andsee what happens. When he came back, he said that if I took it today, Icould have the Vette for $3,000 plus the Bonneville!" Ken was amazed bythe deal, but he wasn't about to buy a car he'd never driven. So, withGene riding shotgun and his buddy Eric wedged into the back of thetwo-seater, and with a blizzard raging around them, Ken took the '65Fuelie for a 30-mile testdrive.

It was indeed true love, so Ken ranstraight for the bank to drain his savings and bid farewell to hisPontiac in order to drive the Corvette home. "It all happened just thatfast. I never really had a chance to think about it, but that was thebest deal I've ever made in my life!"

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Before the incredibly spontaneousevents at the dealership, Ken had planned a ski trip with some friendsfor Christmas Day. Now, however, he no longer had the car he was goingto drive up to the mountains. Ken wasn't about to let that detail standin the way, so the very same day he bought the Vette, he got snow tiresand attached a ski rack to its deck. The following day was the first ofmany ski trips that Ken and his '65 would make together.

It's beennearly 40 years since that fateful Christmas Eve, and Ken is still everybit as fond of that mid-year as ever. Ken, now 76-years-young, neversettled down enough to get married, and spent most of his career on theroad as a truck driver. That left relatively little time at home, whichin turn means that his Vette never had the opportunity to rack up toomany miles. "She doesn't have a lot of miles, but we've had a lot ofexperiences. The Corvette was my party tool. Whenever I was out for fun,that car was always there with me," says Ken.

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