375hp, 396 cu. in. V8 engine, single four-barrel carburetor, four-speed manual transmission, independent front coil, live rear axle with semi-elliptical springs, four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 125"
Chevrolet performance cars of the sixties are often known by the “Regular Production Option” or RPO number. The order sheet for the 1965 Chevelle included the most desired item: “RPO Z16”. This is one of those cars. With the option came the 396 cubic inch, 375hp “Turbo-Jet” V8 with dual exhausts, chrome accents, a four-speed transmission, special shocks and an AM/FM stereo radio. What makes this car special is that records show that all of the 200 SS396 Z16 cars built in 1965 were hardtop models, but there was a 201st – a one-off convertible built for Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen, then General Manager of Chevrolet. There is no certain documentation to support the belief that this is, in fact that legendary car – but it is nevertheless a stunning example of the Z16.
The Regal Red paint is flawless, as is the chrome trim, fresh from a recent “nut & bolt” restoration. As can be expected, the new red interior has seats, a dashboard and carpets which show no evidence of wear whatsoever. Options visible inside include the AM/FM radio and power windows. A correct new black soft top fits perfectly and even the trunk is accurately finished with the factory mat and spare tire. The heart of the Chevelle, the potent 375hp V8, sits in an engine compartment which appears to be fresh from the Baltimore factory where the car was built. Underneath, the Chevelle is as well finished as above, with show quality work evident in the detailing.
This SS396 convertible has covered only 654 miles since the completion of the restoration and even signs of that limited mileage are quite difficult to find. It is a true showpiece, done to a standard rarely seen. It is certain that wherever this Chevelle is taken it will be a standout and as possibly the one and only “Bunkie Knudsen” car, extraordinary.