My 67 GTO resto project, those were the good old days, nothing better than pure american muscle.
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68 Chevelle SS Restoration
Daily Driver to Resto-Mod
Im writing you in regards to a 68 Chevelle SS that we built a little
while ago when I was the manager at a body shop in Portland, Maine. The
car was built mostly by myself, and the shop foreman, Dave Gribbin, on
nights and weekends.
There were some things done by the other employees while things were a
little slow, but Dave and I did the vast majority of the work after hours.
the car for a customer who had purchased it as a restored, albeit non
Matching, SS396 who had grown bored with the stocker after a few months...
After some shopping around at a few local body shops and custom shops,
he wandered into my office. After speaking to him at some length, (it
felt like a job interview) about my experience with hot rods, muscle
cars and drag racing (my family owned Winterport Drag way in Winterport
Maine for 12 years) and speaking with Dave for a while Jim decided
that he trusted us with the chore of painting the car... as all
projects do this one snowballed from a mild custom paint job to a frame
Jim DeWolfe was a budding car guy, he had
purchased a Chevelle SS, a 1968 big block Chevelle SS. The problem with
the Chevelle is that it was just another Chevelle, he wanted it to stand
out and be different so he brought it to us to see what we were about.
All of us being major gear heads and muscle car nuts finally
rubbed off onto Jim and soon a full blown project was in the works.
We started by completely disassembling the entire car, and within
a month (again working mostly nights and weekends) we had a bare frame
sitting on a lift in the shop. I ground down all the welding slag from
the original assembly and prepped it for paint. We hung the frame in
the booth and applied a fresh coat of single stage black urethane.
Everything on the frame was replaced except for the front upper and
lower control arms and factory spindles. We used Eibach prokit
springs, SSBC 12" front disc conversion, Hellwig hd swaybars and
Edelbrock tubular lower and turnbuckle uppers (that just happened to
be powder coated the correct red) along with chassis stiffeners to go
with the East Coast Performance sourced DTS 12 bolt that was fitted
with 9inch ford tube ends that allowed us to attach the SSBC 11" rear brake
kit with e brake. Before putting the body back on we ran the stainless
brake lines, ½ aluminum fuel line, set the gas tank in place, and prepped
of the floor for bed liner. All the brake hardware and the shocks were
painted the matching candy red from SEM color horizons. The Merlin 509's
block was painted the base silver bolted to the TCI turbo 400 and set in place
on energy suspension mounts. Whats funny is Jim originally ordered Merlins
Then the rear end was connected to the transmission via a color matched
Williams Brothers driveshaft. Next the body was lowered onto the fresh
chassis, once the body was bolted down on some more of energy
suspensions products, we set to straighten out the body from its 40
year life. Dave stripped the body to metal and aligned all the panels
before applying the high build primer letting one of the techs
final block the car and prep it for paint. We commissioned Tommy Mcneil
from Bonehead designs in Gilmington Iron Works New Hampshire to lay out the
awesome tribal flame job, before he was done he applied a drop shadow, and
outlined the flames with process blue.
The flames and pin striping also go into the door jambs, and for a
touch Tommy also applied a little hot rod pin striping around the trunk
Finishing touches on the outside include all new chrome trim,
new Hella headlights. On the inside we went mostly stock with a
gauge cluster, a couple auto meter gauges, Scat Pro Car seats, new
carpet and trim panels, along with recovered rear seat, and a Budnik
steering wheel for some flash. Dan Mayhew installed a kickin' sound system
inside with a glove box mounted eclipse head unit, which also controls
Jims I-pod, two kicker amps, and two kicker subs in the trunk in a box
that Jim built himself, with some mids and highs in the kick panels
and rear deck. For rolling stock, we chose 20x8 and 20x10 Coddington
smoothie IIs with 255-35s up front and 295-30s out back.
Todd Lapointe finished up the mechanical aspects including Lokar
cables and braided stainless flexi lines for the brakes, got everything
adjusted and tweaked. After an alignment, and a tune by the local carb guru
ready for a road test, and let me tell you this thing is fast..
This car was built in about 9 months of nights and weekends, it was a total
team effort, and it was a pleasure to work with someone who didn't mind
money it took to make the build correct.
Me and my dad see my dad's old car for the first time in 20 years.
He sold the car over 20+ years ago when he was an alcoholic. Said he
probably would have died in it. This is the first time he saw it since he
sold it over 20+ years ago. The car does look in relative good shape, we
have no idea what has been done with the car over the past 20 years. It
obviously wasn't sitting there for 20 years and nobody claims it to be. Pay
attention, people. 1964 Buick Rivera. 425 Wildcat V8 w/ 427 horsepower.