In 1965, Chevrolet introduced the big block 396 V8 option for the Chevelle Malibu SS. Going by the option code Z16, it was rated at 375 hp. In the Corvette the 396 option was rated at 425 hp, ostensibly because the ‘vette’s version had a more aggressive solid lifter camshaft to the Chevelle’s hydraulic setup. Still, most enthusiasts feel that the Z16’s output was underrated and without doubt this was one of the most desirable muscle cars of the 1960s. The Z16 option package also included a heavy-duty radiator, mag-style wheel covers, upgraded brakes, quicker, power-assisted steering, a 160-mph speedo, an AM/FM “Multiplex” stereo with added under-dash controls and of course special trim and emblems. The cost of all that power and glory was $1,501 over the Chevelle’s $2,647 base price. Considering the relatively huge cost of the Z16 option, it’s no wonder that just 201 of these boulevard bruisers were produced. It’s also no wonder that they are valued highly. At auction a few Z16 Chevelles sold for $187,000 to $280,500. We have provided all that detail because here we have a very impressive 1965 Chevelle Malibu Z16 replica. Starting with a low-mileage (about 40k miles) rust-free Malibu 283 from Oklahoma (car was stored properly for 25 years), this restoration replica was done with the highest quality in mind and with a meticulous attention to detail. This is much more than just a Malibu with a 396 swapped in. After completely disassembling the Malibu, the frame was sandblasted and powder coated. The front end was completely rebuilt, as was the whole suspension system, braking system and fuel lines. It’s so clean underneath that you could eat lasagna off of the floor plans if you were so inclined. Retaining all its original sheet metal, including the rear quarters, floors and trunk pan, this Chevelle was treated to a high-quality finish in Tuxedo black. New SS/Z16 package emblems and trim were fitted, as were new chrome bumpers/trim and weather stripping. The correct mag-style wheel covers wearing Firestone red line tires complete the period-correct look. To say the car is gorgeous is an understatement. A completely new PUI interior looks fantastic in red, and an original 4-speed console, dash-mounted clock, Rosewood steering wheel and factory AM/FM stereo with under-dash controls add to the completely correct Z16 vibe inside. Finding those very rare Z16 items was not an easy endeavor, but as we said, the attention to detail on this car is amazing. Under the hood, a completely rebuilt 1965 396 with correct 1965 components . A detailed sheet of the engine and transmission components and numbers is included in the car’s file. Highlights include rectangular port heads, TRW pistons, a Holley 750 carb and a four-core radiator with correct fan shroud. The transmission consists of a rebuilt 1965 Muncie M-20 4-speed with a new clutch and factory shifter with Hurst linkage below. All that power goes to a rebuilt, 3.31-geared 12-bolt Positraction rear end. As stated before, the power brakes were upgraded as well with Wilwood front discs and new rear drums. Overall, this car looks and drives just as a 1965 Chevelle Malibu SS Z16 would, maybe even better considering the few out of sight upgrades that were made. At one-third to one-fifth the cost of an equivalently pristine real Z16, this car defines “bang for the buck”. We would be proud to show and drive this car anywhere – it’s that nice. For more information or to schedule time to see this very special car, just give us a call at 603-627-5595. Financing is offered through our approved lender, interesting trades are welcome and enclosed shipping can be arranged.
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