• Apr 12, 2012
No matter how hard you try, you can't out run the Internet. Just ask Bobby Patton. The man thought he could pull a quick one by representing a 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle as an incredibly rare, incredibly valuable Z16.

For those of us who aren't soaked in obscure General Motors model history, Z16 models featured brakes lifted from full-size sedans of the day, a unique rear axle, a stiffer boxed frame borrowed from a convertible and a uniquely trimmed L37 396 V8. Other details like special trim work, badges, VINs and various engine and axle stampings help identify the hopped up Malibu models from their kin.

Patton missed the memo on those details, apparently, opting instead to slap some 396 badges on the fender and call it a day. While that may have been enough to fool a local car show judge, it became an issue when he listed the coupe on an auction site for $100,000. Jeff Helms, the owner of a site dedicated to nothing but Z16 models, quickly pointed out that the Chevelle boasted a fake VIN copied from a photo on his website. Patton then attempted to defend himself, saying he bought the car that way.

Patton closed the auction after four days, but not before the Ohio State Patrol got wind of the suspicious '65. Officers contacted the previous owner, who proved the car had been sold with 327 emblems. It didn't take long for Patton to face charges of Tampering with Records, Possessing Criminal Tools, Telecommunications Fraud and Attempted Simulation. He pleaded guilty to the first charge and received two years of probation. Head over to Hemmings for the full tale, and remember, the Internet is watching.


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