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Home/News and Feature Articles/*Featured Cars and Trucks/Chevrolet Featured Cars/ 1960s Cars/

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Ron Pace's beautiful '65 Chevelle Malibu SS Z16 is one of about 60 known to exist out of an original production of just 201 cars.

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Ron's Chevelle is the recipient of a five-year, $100,000 restoration.

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1965 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu Z16 - Ron Pace's Super Rare Chevelle SS 396
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By Society Staff – reprint with permission only

Ronald Pace has one of the finest examples in existence of Chevrolet's answer to Pontiac's sensational 1964 GTO. The 1965 Chevelle Malibu SS Z16 included a heavy-duty chassis, suspension, axle, and brakes, a 4-speed manual transmission, and unique power steering components. The interior was different as well as it included a 160 mph speedometer as well as a clock mounted in the middle of the dash pad. Mandatory options included a tachometer, deluxe front and rear seat belts, AM/FM stereo radio with multiplex, padded dash, and remote mirror.

The L37 engine was unique to the Z16 package as it had a forged crankshaft and pistons, 4-bolt main bearing caps, large-port heads, and an aluminum intake with a large Holley carburetor. It was well underrated at 375 hp.

Chevrolet got around the big block ban by billing the Z16 as a Public Relations car. The limited run of 201 units were all produced from January to March of 1965 in a single assembly plant, and only three colors were available: black, red and, yellow. They were used for road tests by magazines such as Motor Trend, Car Life, Popular Mechanics, and Hot Rod.

Chevrolet used Dan Blocker from of "Bonanza" fame and himself a racer to promote the car. Chevy's thinking behind this promotion was that if they could capture their customers' interest through the spring and Summer of 1965, they would wait till the fall for the 1966 models, which would incorporate the big block motor in the Chevelle.

Not every dealer received a Z16, but rather well-known performance dealers such as Don Yenko were favored. Today fewer than 65 are known to exist, and the cars are tracked on the website www.z16chevelle.com.

Ron's particular car was sold on April 22, 1965 through Van Chevrolet in Kansas City, Missouri as a Public Relations car, and it remained in the original owner's family until the late 1990s. At the time of the late '90s sale, it had 78,000 miles on the odometer, and, in late 2001, a restoration by noted Z16 restorer Chris Daniels was initiated. The process took five years and cost well over $100,000.

The car was sold again in 2008 to a California buyer and then again in 2009 to a Las Vegas collector. In 2011 another restoration was undertaken to bring it to concours condition, which is where it is today. According to Chris Daniels, "I believe this to be one of the 10 or fewer, 100% original drivetrain Z16's. I would say that you probably cannot buy a more original assembly line component complete Z16 that this one." The car is heavily document with original paperwork including the Protect-O-Plate.

See back in the day road tests of the Z16 HERE

 

The Z16 package included a heavy duty chassis and suspension, a special, unique heavy-duty axle, 4-speed manual transmission, unique power steering components, and heavy-duty brakes.

 

 

The heavy duty 396 has a forged crankshaft and pistons, 4-bolt main bearing caps, large port heads, and an aluminum intake with a large, Holley carburetor. It was conservatively rated at 375 horsepower.

Interior options included a 160 mph speedometer, a clock mounted in the middle of the dash pad, a tachometer, deluxe front and rear seat belts, AM/FM stereo radio, padded dash, and remote mirror.