REAL DEAL ORIGINAL RED/RED JOHN RITTER MOVIE CAR HIGH OPTION NCRS TOP FLIGHT 96%
- Make: Chevrolet
- Model: Corvette
- Year: 1965
- Mileage: 50,206
- Color: red
- Engine size: 327 300 HP
- Number of cylinders: 8
- Transmission: Manual
- Interior color: red
- Vehicle Title: Clear Want to buy? Contact seller!
1965 Chevrolet Corvette
1965 Corvette Sting Ray: Factory RallyRed on Red Vinyl; NCRS Regional Top Flight 96%;Lots of History; Factory Installed Original Drive Train (Yes, Numbers Matching)
I am the third owner of this very unique 1965 Corvette convertible, which has been in Southern CA its entire rust-free life since new. I have owned it for almost 14years. I purchased the car from the second owner, Chris Wickersham, who owned the car for 30 years.
If a Corvette just has to look good for you to buy it, then this Corvette probablyisn't for you.But if you are discriminating, anda Corvette not only has to look good, but also has to have provenance, then read on. RARELY does a Corvette ofthis pedigree come up for sale. It is a well-known car by many CorvetteMaster Judgesin the NCRS world. It is a very original, unmolested Corvette with around 50K documented miles. History to day one. And while it has 51 years of patina, it is still gorgeous on the interior and exterior. This Corvette has never been in an accident and remains straight as an arrow like the day it left the factory.
Sold new by MK Smith Chevrolet in Ontario California to Robert Bruce Henderson of Newport Beach, CA (Balboa Island). Have original CAregistration from Henderson, who lived at One Balboa Cove Drive.
Second owner, Chris Wickersham acquired the car in 1973 from an auto broker, Al Fitzpatrick, who was flipping the car from Henderson. Chrisranhis ownCorvette repair/race shop in Pasadena, CA
I purchased the car from Chris in March 2003.
In 1980, the car carried Los Angeles Mayor, Tom Bradley on and off the field in the Dodgers season opener.
In 1987, the car played a starring role in Season Two, episode 13(Chariots of Fire), of the late John Ritter’s detective T.V. series called “Hooperman”. Original VHS tape, new DVD and 35mm still photos from the set accompany the sale.
In 1996, the car served as a benchmark reference for the NCRS Bow Tie (originality) award.
In 2012, this Corvette served as a benchmark reference for AOS, or AO Smith body-build anomalies to update the "NCRS 1965 Judging Manual". More on that below.
I have presented photos of this Corvette over its lifetime and during the time that I have been its caretaker. Photos include polaroid's from1975 that were given to me by Chris,the 2005 NCRS Regional Judging event at Berkeley, CA (pics with hard top), a couple ofall-Corvette Plastic Fantastic showsin San Diego, CA the most recent of which was 2014,shots in front of a cool period house, several shots from the late John Ritter's Hooperman TV movie set and the final pictures in thedrive way, interior and exterior shotstakenthis past week. The very last picture of the Corvette in the garage, fittingly, was taken they day I brought her home almost 14 years ago. The soft top has developed holes in it now. The vinyl on both seat bottoms issplit at the centerseam like a lot of originalseats are, but I believe this repairable. The rally red lacquer paint is still gorgeous and has obviously received regular care over the years. She’s alloriginal and she has aged gracefully. She still runs, drivesand stops great, in fact she is still the nicest driving mid-year CorvetteI have ever owned...and I have owned lots of them. Smooth and tight and the power steering and power brakes make driving effortless.
Below area few of the manyFor-Sale pictures dated Oct 17, 2002 that were presented to me.
The new owner will receive a 1 inch thick binder that includes everything about the car during my ownership, including all of the documents, emails,etc, between me and the second owner before, during and after the purchase. Also included are the NCRSJudging Sheets. Among the most interesting of these documents is the Sales Summary that was put together by Jim Gessner, (aka “Vettefinder Jim”)who represented the car for Chris Wickersham. Jim is among the most knowledgeable Corvette historians alive today. This sales summary is a consolidation of notes derived from a 5 page letter about the car that was written by Chris when he decided to sell it. The letter is included. The front page of the summary contains all the pertinent numbers for the car as well as my hand written notes during a phone callwith Jim about buying it. See below.
Corvette Options (all factory installed options, no cloned options)
- White wall tires (spare tire is the original)
Rally red exterior, red vinyl interior
4 speed wide ratio transmission
Hard top only, but soft top added by Chris Wickersham in 1973
AM/FM + power antenna
Comfort and convenience group
Full window tint
Positraction rear axle3:08 ratio. (2400 rpm at 70 mph!)
John Ritter's Hooperman “Chariots of Fire”
In 1986 Hollywood came to Chris Wickersham, the second owner, askinghim if they could borrow his car for a second season episode of the T.V. series Hooperman starring the late John Ritter. In this episode, a known cocaine dealer Jerry Lusk is arrested while driving his 1965 red/red fuel injected Corvette convertible, with the (fake) CA license plate, PHROSTIE (aka “snow” man). For the movie, Chris Wickersham had to remove the Corvette’s cross flag emblems (side fenders)and attached fuel injection emblems. The only way to fit the fuel injection emblems in cross flag holes was to cut one post off each fuel injection emblem. You can see from the photos that the fuel injection emblems sit very high on the fender whereas real fuel injection emblems should be much closer to the body midline, and this is because the cross flag emblem is not mounted in the same location as the fuel injection emblem. Knock off wheels were also installed for the movie. As the story line goes, after the arrest of Jerry Lusk, Hooperman purchases the car out of impound, but the Mob, out to get rid of Jerry’s drug-selling competition, does not know that Jerry has been arrested and plants a bomb under Hooperman’s “new” Corvette. The bomb is so sophisticated that the bomb squad cannot disarm it and they have to blow the car in place. Hopperman is given one last moment with the Corvette before it is blown up….“Well kid, Happy Trails.” “At least you’re going out with new spark plugs and a clean ash tray…” …Harry Hooperman (John Ritter).
AO Smith Corvette Anomalies
1965 Corvette bodies were produced in two locations; Ionia Michigan (IM) and St. Louis Missouri (SL). In IM, the bodies were built by the A.O. Smith Company (AOS), which was part of Dow Smith, Inc. AOS-built bodies were then shipped to SL where they received chassis and engines on the SL assembly line. In the Corvette world, there are several well-documented differences between AOS-built Corvette bodiesand SL-built Corvette bodies. Several years after acquiring this Corvette, I discovered a few new AOS anomalies, which I verified by looking at many other Early AOS Corvettes. These anomalies are present onmany early AOS built bodies. In 2012, a group of NCRS Master Judges used the this Corvette to incorporate these new anomalies into the 1965 Judging Manual, which was being revised at the time.
The most important anomaly I discovered was related to the front fender cross flag emblems. I noticed that the cross flag emblems on the red Corvette were in a different position than most other 1965 Corvettes. Instead of the emblems being centered over the side gills, they were moved forward a few inches. Both sides were like this. Intrigued, I opened up Noland Adams “The Complete Corvette Restoration & Technical Guide – Vol. 2 1963 – 1967”. There on page 254, I noticed that the GM marketing photo introducing the 1965 model year convertible, showed the 1965 Corvette convertible with its cross flag emblems in the same off-centered position. This forward emblem position corresponds dimensionally to the position of the cross flags on the 1963 and 1964 Corvettes, which had different side gills.
This Corvette is an exceptional example of an original, unmolested car. In April of 2005, I had the car judged at the NCRS Regional event in Berkeley, CA. Thecar earned a score of 96%. The majority of the point loss was for “condition” and not “originality”. The car has not been judged since. Judging sheets will be included.
The engine, transmission and rear end are the factory originals that were installed in the car when it was made. It is a low mileage car as documented by the nearly 44years of ownership between Chris Wickersham and me. In fact, I have only put a little over 2600 miles on the car during my ownership.It is a California no-hit car with black & gold license plates that show 52 years worth of registration stickers about 1/4 inch thick. The car hastwo“extra holes" in it where the first owner Henderson installed a second antenna for a CB radionear the right rear fender, a key slot for an alarm that was located next to the rear license plate. None of these holes detract from the beauty of this car and none have been patched because they are part of the Corvette’s history. One rally red lacquer repaint was done under factory warranty due to blotchy rally red paint from the factory, according to previous owner. Paint is in presentable condition, but full of nicks, chips and scratches. The second owner touched up some of these paint blemishes but the color of the paint didn’t match perfectly and it shows in a few spots including a patch over the left front wheel that can be seen in the Hooperman photos, front nose and a small patch along the mid-line of the right front fender. None of these blems are related to accident damage.
All window glass and hard top plastic rear window are original. The spare tire is the original Firestone Deluxe Champion. All the locks on the car are present and original. All keys are original.Frame is CA clean andstill retains all ofthe original factory finishes, including original grease pencil/shim markings, which are clearly present, tape around body mounts, original front spring labels in place, and orange and yellow paint daubs on various components.All original jack compartment components are present. Original, dated Carter carb. Mechanical work I had to do over the years includes rebuilding the original fuel pump, water pump, fan clutch, clockandthe washer pump for wiper motor. A DeWittsHarrison reproduction dated radiator was installed prior to judging. Original dated radiator goes with car.
The sellerhad put together a detailed synopsis of the car’s numbers as well as a brief history.I have scanned this and included it below.
Things to note from the above sales information: The gas tank was not replaced. It is the original. The clock was repaired and works fine. The original radiator is dated 64F not C65 and goes with the car.
This is a very unique and special 1965 Corvette convertible. It can be driven and loved just as it is and it will get lots of attention. It would be a shame to restore it because once you do that, all of the features and blemishes that have marked it's history will be lost, as will the work of the original build teams in the Corvette factories.
This Corvette has never left me stranded anywhere, nor have there been any mechanical issues, other than the parts rebuilt noted above,during my ownership. Get in and drive and don't worry about patina! There will be no disappointments here.
Below are polaroid photos taken by Chris Wickersham at his shop in 1975.
So why am I selling this beautiful Corvette? I keep asking myself that question and I have absolutely no doubt I will regret selling it. But I also know I have too many possessions and that needs to change. I'm now 60 years old and I have another 1965 Corvette that I will keep. I need to downsizeand that is what this sale is about. It's time for a new caretaker of this wonderful Corvette.
Clean CA title in my name. I also have color photo copies of the original "Pink Slip" from Chris Wickersham. Always current CA registration. Buyer to pay for and arrangeall transportation.Iwill assist thetransporter with loading the car.
If you need more information or photos, please do not hesitate to contact me. Bring your most discriminating and experienced NCRS judge to view this special Corvette.
Thanks for looking.
858 775 0359