AJ's Car of the Day 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle Z-16 SS396

Car: Chevrolet Chevelle Z16 SS396

Year: 1965

What makes it special: In 1965, Chevrolet wanted in on the mid-sized competition created by Pontiac's GTO. Their answering salvo was the mid-year, 1965 Z16 SS396 of which only 201 were built. ( One prototype and 200 production units make up the 201 figure.) One convertible was reportedly special built for Chevrolet's General Manager at the time, but legend says the car was destroyed. The Z16's were never advertised but managed to somehow get publicity otherwise. Late "Bonanza" actor Dan “Hoss” Blocker was one of its biggest fans.

What made it famous: 200 regular production 1965 Z16 Chevelle's were built at GM's Kansas City plant, and the prototype Z16 Chevelle was built at the Baltimore plant. The Z16 option included the convertible boxed frame, a narrowed rear axle and brake assemblies from the Chevrolet Impala, heavy-duty suspension, plus all Chevelle comfort and convenience options. The Z16 standard big-block 396 Turbo-Jet V8 came only with the Muncie wide-ratio 4-speed manual transmission.

Why I would want one: These are amongst the "Holy Grail" of Muscle Cars. With a low production number and such special features, it would be a most sought after addition to any collection.

Fun facts: The rear panel of the Z16 had unique black and chrome trim which framed untrimmed Chevelle 300-style taillights. An approximate total of 75 Z16's are presently accounted for.

( 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle Z16 SS396 photo from curbsideclassic.com )