Starting with a low-mile, virgin ’66 Chevelle, So-Cal Speed Shop built one of the nicest A-bodies for a former GM executive. The car was actually bought in Portland, Oregon from the nephew of the original owner, the car having 15,000 original miles on it with a stock 283. The car found its way to So-Cal Speed Shop in 2004 where little work was done to the body of the car, which included extending the center strip and adapting Corvette emblems to fit both the hood and trunk lid. Why Corvette emblems? Soon after the car started underway, GM came out with the Z06 Corvette and it’s phenomenal LS7 engine. It was no question that would be the choice for the clients hot rod, so an LS7 crate motor went into the car backed by a Camaro 6-speed. The front crossmember was cut for ground clearance and to clear the LS7’s oil pan, and a Borgeson rack-and-pinion conversion brightened up the steering response. The suspension uses 2-inch-drop B-body spindles and the full Global West catalog. Stock pedals actuate big Baer brakes, and more Global West parts locate a Currie 9-inch. Bilstein shocks on all four corners make it work even better. The full Z06 electronic-management system was adapted to the Chevelle, including the cruise control.
Probably the most obvious deviation from stock is also one of the car’s nicest parts: the interior. The basic Chevelle layout was left alone, but the stock front and custom rear seats were covered in a saddle-colored leather that is creamy smooth and smells like you’re in the sweet spot of a baseball glove. Gabe’s Custom Auto Interiors in Bloomington, California, stitched the luscious cowhide and also laid down German square-weave carpet. Snake-Oyl seatbelts hold John in place while he stares at a stock dash (with a Haneline engine-turned insert) and spins a stock steering wheel. Creature comforts come from a Vintage Air system and an iPod-ready stereo.
The end result is a car that was built with no detail overlooked. It has the performance of a modern car balanced with keeping the car as original as possible. There is no doubt, this is one of the nicest Chevelle builds we have seen yet.
Engine: Stock LS7 crate motor. Jeff Johnson at Accurate Mobile Welding fabricated the 31-inch-long, 171/48-inch stainless steel headers to make them fit the stock Chevelle chassis. The mufflers are from MagnaFlow.
Transmission: It’s a T56 six-speed from a Camaro with a Z06 clutch and an Inland Empire Driveline driveshaft.
Rearend: The Currie 9-inch holds 3.89 gears and a TrueTrac diff.
Frame: The frame is stock, low-mileage Chevelle with the front crossmember cut a little bit to clear the oil pan and give a little more ground clearance.
Suspension: Many Golden West parts, including taller 2-inch-drop, B-body spindles and tubular control arms. A Borgeson variable-rate rack-and-pinion conversion replaces the stock recirculating ball box. The rear suspension uses more Global West parts with 1-inch-drop springs.
Brakes: The Baer brakes measure 14 inches in front and 13 inches in back, and the booster and master cylinder are from an ’02 Corvette.
Wheels: The Budnik Muroc IIIs are a one-off design and finished in two-tone brushed nickel, sized 18×8 all around.
Paint: PPG black
Interior: Gabe’s Custom Auto Interiors made the inside of the car sweet with saddle-colored leather threads and a custom rear seat.