Original Owner 1965 L-79 Chevelle 300 – Perfectly Restored

2013 Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals- Sleeper 1965 L-79 Chevelle


1965 Chevelle 300, chevelle muscle car, L-79 Chevelle

1965 Chevelle 300 sedan with L-79 option package


Gordon Rohde looked over his plain-jane 1965 Chevelle 300 like a proud papa and said “losing just 17 points in judging sure isn’t too bad.” Particularly when you find out this car has a racing history which many times can complicate a restoration. “I left some of the parts on the car from when I originally raced it,” said Gordon. “Just couldn’t see taking them off for a few extra judging points.”


On display at last month’s 2013 Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals, the 38,000 mile L-79 equipped two-door sedan looked almost out of place among the surrounding muscle cars and Corvettes. Plain Jane and super subtle, you bet! Gordon brought it to the Rosemont Convention Center to see how he had done in bringing the little street terror back to life. “Lost some points for some incorrect bolts on the flywheel cover and the homemade driveshaft loop plus I still have the mounting pads welded up front for the tow bar.” He just didn’t have the heart to pull them off.


Gordon knows this car extremely well. He bought the L-79 equipped Chevelle brand new when he was 18 years old and admits he got it for one primary reason… to race. Even though the low level Chevelle sports none of the glitz and glamor of its more heavily endowed brethren, it had the goods that were important and that is all Gordon wanted when he sat down to order it at Bob Johnson Chevrolet in Wausau, Wisconsin where he also happened to be working at the time.


“I’d already gotten into some trouble for street racing,” he recalls. “I’d lost my license while driving my Dad’s ’65 Oldsmobile, but he (Dad) signed for the loan anyway. I think he was hoping I’d take my racing to the drag strip.”


L-79 327 V8, L-79 327 V8 Chevelle, 1965 L-79 Chevelle

The L-79 327 CI V-8 was available in either the Corvette or B-body Chevelles in 1965.


Gordon unloaded a ’59 Studebaker Hawk to claim the Chevelle which came with virtually nothing more than the L-79 package, which was brand new that year for the 327 CI V-8. At 350 horsepower young Gordon knew he’d have something special and never even bothered to order a radio for the beast. “Eventually I installed a radio and antenna when I figured out laying a little transistor radio (which he still has, by the way) on the back seat simply wasn’t very cool with the girls.”


1965 L-79 Chevelle, Chevelle Muscle car

Gordon Rohde’s original Chevelle was purchased for one primary reason…to race!!


The Chevelle is all black with a red cloth interior, which Gordon managed to replicate using fabric from SMS Auto Fabrics in Oregon. “The hardest part of the entire restoration was finding the right black rubber mat material for the flooring,” he said. “When we went to pull out the old covering, it just disintegrated.” But he managed to not only track down correct flooring, but he and son Seth were able to completely rebuild the original engine block and 4-speed transmission, neither of which ever let him down during the car’s racing days. “Seth and I even found the original pipe I had rigged up into the front springs so I could push the front end up a bit,” he explained. “Left those there as well which makes the nose of the Chevelle just a bit higher than stock. I couldn’t afford fancy shocks or special spacers so I just made ‘em.”


A few years after buying the Chevelle Gordon found himself having to sell it in order to finance a truck purchase. “Sold it to a buddy who used it to race for money at one of the local bars in town,” Gordon said. “I ended up buying it back again about a year later, though I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it.” The Chevelle sat for a number of years before Gordon and Seth decided it was time to bring the sedan back to its street form.

1965 L-79 Chevelle, chevelle musle car, restored L79 Chevelle


The black body is flawless and nosing under the hood shows some excellent details that reflect exactly the way the Chevelle looked when Gordon had the car on the drag strip. But you can’t help but wonder, how come no hubcaps, Gordon?


“Oh, they’re in the trunk, stashed just the way I did it back in ’65. This is the way I drove it. Can’t see any reason to change.”

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