Some of you have probably never heard of the Chevelle Z16, and that’s OK. It’s one of those rare muscle cars of which just a few handfuls were built, and even fewer survived, to the present day. In 1965, Chevrolet wanted to celebrate is new 396 big-block engine by dropping it into a specially modified Chevelle body, the resulting car known by its RPO number as Z16. About 65 of these vehicles still survive today, making them very rare and very valuable.
So it isn’t odd that someone would want to build a clone car in tribute to the rare Z16. What is odd (and stupid) is that a fellow named Bobby Patton tried to pass off this uber-rare muscle car as the real deal. Hemmings Auto Blog reports that not only was Patton called out by Chevelle Z16 enthusiasts, but as a result of his elaborate (yet half-assed) forgery, he also faces criminal charges.
With a $100,000 price tag and hand-stamped VIN’s, it’s no wonder Bobby’s Chevelle “Z16” drew a lot of attention. But Jeff Helms, of Z16Chevelle.com was on the case, pointing out all of the little details that Patton overlooked in his effort to clone a Z16, like the open side rails and missing rear trim. There was also the issue that the body number had already been used (and pulled from Helm’s website in fact) making it impossible for this car to have ever been a Z16.
Patton tried to defend his claim, but by then the police were involved. The Chevelle’s prior owner was able to prove that he sold it wearing 327 badges, not Z16, and Patton faced a litany of charges. He will get his car back, eventually, with a new VIN number, and will be on probation for two years as this was his first offense.
Just goes to show that you can never be too careful when it comes to buying classic cars.