The big news for the Corvette in 1965 was the addition of standard four-wheel disc brakes and the optional new big-block 396. Styling changes were minimal with optional new standard side exhaust pipes, functional front fender louvers, new wheel covers, and a restyled grille. The hood had no depressions or trim, and thus was not interchangeable with the '63 or '64 Corvettes. The inside now sported newly styled bucket seats and real leather was optional. Options included power steering, power brakes, power windows, AM-FM radio, air conditioning, telescopic steering column, and a wood-rimmed steering wheel. Under the hood, the Corvette offered a wide range of engines.
Standard was the tried-and-true Chevrolet 327 Turbo Fire V8 rated at 250 hp, just a step up was the 300 hp version of the 327 and new for 1965 was the precursor to the famous LT1, a 327 rated at 350 hp. Then came the most powerful carbureted 327, rated at 365 hp and for true performance the Ram-Jet Fuel-Injected 327, made its last appearance in 1965 with 375 horsepower. “The ultimate small block powerhouse” for $538.00. In April of 1965, the 396 big-block marked the beginning of a new era for the Corvette. Rated at 425 hp and priced at just $292.70, the 396 V8 big block dominated NASCAR in 1963.
This would be the only year for the 396 V8. Although the 327 "fuelie" was still available through the 1965 model year, it was quietly dropped when the 1966 Corvettes were introduced. 1965 was a unique and memorable year for the Corvette. It was the only year that you could buy a fuel-injected, disc-braked Sting Ray and it was the first year for the big block and side-mounted exhausts. With prices starting at $4,106, the 1965 Corvette Sting Ray packed quite a bargain, and it’s no wonder that sales reached a record 23,652 units.
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