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Rare Corvette

Posted January 23, 2013 in Altoona, Community Featured

In 1984, Ron Dickey saw a classified ad with a 1965 Corvette Stingray for sale.

Dickey was 15 the year the car was built, and he grew up seeing, and wanting, one.

Now he was older and could afford it. So he bought it.

Ron Dickey, left, with his 1965 Corvette Stingray, his grandson Chase Burke, and Chase’s father Brian Burke.

Ron Dickey, left, with his 1965 Corvette Stingray, his grandson Chase Burke, and Chase’s father Brian Burke.

“Those mid-years are really desirable,” says Dickey, who owns the car with his wife, Pat.

Then things started getting interesting.

He showed the car to a friend, who commented that the brakes were from 1964.

“It had signs that it was a fuel-injected car, too, which was really odd,” Dickey recalls. “1965 was the last year of the fuel-injected Stingrays.”

He delved into researching the car. He found that 1965 Corvette production was more than 23,500, Dickey says. Of those, about 770 had the fuel-injection option, while a little more than 300 had the drum-brake option.

Then came a big break: He bought a Corvette restoration book that contained an article on 1965 fuel-injected engines, and his car’s vehicle identification number was listed. He contacted the author of the article, who gave Dickey the original owner’s name and phone number. Dickey then verified with him that the car had a fuel-injected engine when it was new.

“The combination of those two things together is really rare,” he says. “A ’65 Corvette is really cool. But a ’65 Corvette with options and this history is really cool.”

The car was “just a little rough around the edges,” Dickey says, but being so rare, he believed it deserved to be rebuilt. He started the project in 1985 and finally completed it in 2001.

The speed of the work ebbed and flowed over the years. Dickey and his wife were busy raising their kids and running their respective businesses: Pat has a dance studio in Altoona, and Ron’s business, Axtell Sales Inc. in Des Moines, manufactures high-performance parts.

It was a lot of work, but it was also fun, says Dickey. He did all the mechanical work on the car while Dick Mathern did the body work and paint.

“It turned out to be a great car,” says Dickey of the Corvette that his two daughters will inherit. “It’s just a lot of fun to put the top down and go for a cruise.”

Contact Darren at 953-4822 ext. 304 or to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”

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