1965 Chevy Corvette Coupe - Built to Drive

Keisler's Maximum Overdrive '65 Corvette coupe

Chris Petris Jan 25, 2005 0 Comment(s)
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Louis and the guys at the facility helped us find some tight grommetsand a seal for the power-steering reservoir. After 650 miles, there wereonly a few minor concerns and within an hour we were on the road again.

We hoped to be there by sundown Saturday, but that was wishful thinking.First, the rains came on I-20 in east Texas, then a jackknifed18-wheeler caused more delay. The '65 windshield seal was leakingmassive amounts of water in the car. While we waited for the 18-wheelerto be moved off the Interstate, the floorboards and carpet were gettingsoaked.

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Once we were underway, we had to find a rest stop and bail the water.Ironically, we had just put all the missing plugs in the floorboardsbefore the new carpet went in. No wonder the plugs were removed.

We made it into Arlington a little after midnight on Sunday, and were upat 7 a.m. for the first leg of the Power Tour. For this kind of driving,the GMPP Ram-Jet crate engine was impressive, but the four-speed Munciewas pure agony. After we left Mississippi, we were traveling steadily at75-80 mph and 4,000 rpm. At first my ears became bloody from theconstant roar, followed by a trance-like state from the noise.

Constantly stopping and paying for fuel was another aggravation. The '90Corvette convertible was getting almost double the fuel mileage. The '65averaged 16 mpg with most of the miles driven on the Interstate. Iabsolutely loved the '65 in city driving and hated every minute ofInterstate driving with the car set up like it was.

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We gladly handed the keys to Shafi Keisler knowing the car would bedriven each leg of the first half of the Power Tour with the four-speedin place. Almost immediately, Shafi called and said the throttle wasn'tworking. The cable end had broken off the cable at the throttle body.

A fellow HRPT participant had a wire terminal that could be crimped ontothe cable for a temporary repair. Shafi was back on the way enjoying thefirst leg with his '65 coupe. During each leg, the car was driven andfuel mileage was calculated. The first half netted 15.5 average milesper gallon.

The Keisler-modified five-speed Tremec overdrive transmission wasinstalled at the Gateway International Raceway facility in St. Louis forthe final half of the fuel mileage run. The installation took about fivehours in difficult conditions, but we had the advantage of prior Tremecfive-speed installations, which moved things along. The job wasn't toodifficult with the correct tools and equipment.

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What a spectacular difference! The engine speed was down to 2,400 rpm at80 mph and the driveline sound level was low enough to have aconversation with a passenger. Now we could run with the Interstatecrowd without constantly redlining our engine. Best of all, the fuelmileage was averaging 26 mpg.

We had a great time driving the '65 on our return. We brought the coupeup to Interstate speed, slipped the overdrive transmission into Fifthgear, and let it roll. We could hear the radio, but could hear the windnoise leaks as well. We brought the car back to Sanford, Florida, toreseal all the windows and water leaks.

We logged 4,500 miles from Sanford to Arlington to Green Bay, Wisconsin,and back to Sanford. The GMPP Ram-Jet crate engine, Keisler modifiedfive-speed Tremec overdrive transmission, Vintage Air Frontrunneraccessory drive kit, and Vintage Air A/C installation kit made the '65drive and feel like a late-model Corvette.


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