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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Sit down with Ken over acouple beers, and he'll happily recount some of his seemingly endlessanecdotes of adventures with the Fuelie. There was the time that hekidded a couple of girls at a ski resort that their Porsche was just aVW until they finally challenged him to a race over Loveland Pass toanother resort. Their Porsche, with all the weight on the rear,out-handled Ken's ol' Vette through the curves, especially with patchesof snow here and there, but he drove away from them in the straights.Don't worry; he waited for them at the next ski resort for drinks tocelebrate the Corvette's superiority.

Then there was his buddy with aHemi-powered '70 Dodge Charger who had a healthy degree of respect forthe powerful little 327 Fuelie and its 4:56s. "We'd drive places in thesummer together, and I'd always sandbag and follow a distance behind theCharger because of its very loud exhaust. But I'd get good runs on himwhenever we'd need to get around cars on the old one-lane roads. I'd beright on his bumper as we'd pass them every time. He told me once thathe never wanted to race the Vette. That way we'd never know for surewhich one was faster. I think he probably would have beaten me, but hewas afraid to try." That means you already won, Ken!

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Like the Fuelie'sski rack for winter use, Ken had long ago installed a trailer hitch onthe Vette so he could tow his 14-foot water ski boat during the summer.It was a small boat, but Ken had hot-rodded it with two hopped-upoutboard motors so it could haul butt, just like his Corvette.

Even badevents with the '65 have somehow turned out to have happy endings.Sometime around 1986-87, some teens stole the Vette out of his garagewhile he was away playing nine holes of golf with a friend. He alwaysleft the garaged closed and keys in her ignition so that someone couldrescue her in case of a fire or such, so these kids broke into hisgarage and drove away with the '65. "I was heartbroken when I found hergone. I was afraid I would never see it again. There's just no replacingsomething like that." And to make matters worse, he only had liabilityinsurance. Thankfully, the police found the Vette unharmed behind anearby grocery store at about 5 a.m. the following morning. Nothing wasmissing. In fact, the punks had loaded her up and were ready for a longtrip. "I got a brand new sleeping bag and pocket knife out of theordeal, as well as a bottle of cheap wine," Ken says with a chuckle. "Igave the sleeping bag away, but I still have the knife." Ken even gotback the set of keys they stole the Vette with--the first set of railroadtracks he crossed shook them from the visor!

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After four decades, anduncountable adventures and misadventures, Ken's ol' gal is only nownudging towards 85,000 miles and is in nearly immaculate, all-originalcondition. Since Ken retired from truck driving, the '65 still onlycomes out when it's time to play or when he wants to impress someone,usually about once a month. When it hasn't been in use, the Fuelie isalways garaged and covered. Sure the leather seats are a little worn andthe still-lustrous paint has its share of chips and minor blemishes, buteach and every one of those imperfections after all these years hasbecome a well-earned badge of honor.

None of the OE parts have ever beenreplaced, including its original clutch, shocks, or mufflers. Many ofthe hoses are still original, and the heads still show crayon marks fromthe assembly plant. The front end has never been realigned, and Ken hashad to adjust the rear a turn or two only once in order to keep thetransverse spring from flattening out. Ken has done almost all of hisown servicing on the Vette for years, and knows every characteristic ofhis Vette intimately. "Mike at Dreamworks [Performance Engineering,Sheridan, Colorado] is the only guy, other than me, to ever work on thecar." Even the fuel-injection unit has only been off the car forcleaning twice in its entire life.

All in all, Ken emphasizes, "She'sbeen a great lady, that's for sure." According to the quirky '80sadventure flick, The Princess Bride, there is no nobler a purpose inlife than true love. Ken has found his.

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