The Red Rocket was born between late January and February 1965. The engine block was cast on January 20th, the heads on January 30th, with the final engine assembly completed on February 2nd. The body was created by A. O. Smith in Ionia on February 10th before final assembly at the GM St. Louis plant on February 20th. After being detailed at Lew Williams in Sacramento on March 9th, the car was delivered to its first owner, Mr Lee A. Day, on March 10th 1965.
Styling alterations in 1965 included a smoothed-out hood (with no scoop indentations) and three functional vertical exhaust vents in the front fenders (replacing the nonfunctional horizontal vents from the 63-64 model).
The Red Rocket's body shows no evidence of crash damage or repairs (all the original bonding strips are intact), in fact the fiberglass looks remarkably new in places. The underside of the car has never been painted — it’s still raw fiberglass as it came from the factory. The factory job number on the right side of the firewall is also still clearly visible.
The Red Rocket underwent a ‘body-on’ restoration in the 90’s, and it appears that the body had not been removed before or since — it's possible the body has never been removed from the chassis.
The definition of ‘matching numbers’ is contentious — how many numbers need to ‘match’ for a car to be considered ‘matching numbers’. Unfortunately forgery is rife in the Corvette world, with even entry-level cars being faked — for this reason I have not published any of the Red Rocket's numbers on this site.
I believe the Red Rocket deserves to be called a matching numbers car. The engine block, cylinder heads, intake manifold, exhaust manifolds, bellhousing, gearbox and rear-end are all original to this car. The body tags are also correct and unmolested.
Corvette historian Bill Gould at Auto Ancestry (now retired) inspected high-quality photos of the tags and said:
“Your tags look very good. To be 100% sure of the trim tag one would have to microscopically examine for the proper tool marks as delineated in the NCRS trim tag book, but I see no issues with your tags.”