1966 Chevrolet Chevelle 572 EFI 5 Speed
(Featured on 18th June 2011)
Sellers original description:
Sometimes, simple is good. This 1966 Chevelle 300 2-door sedan is proof enough of that. Without any flashy graphics, body modifications, and a brilliant Hugger Orange paint job, it stands out not because of what's there, but because of what's not. Of course, to pull off a great car like this one, everything you do has to be flawless, from the bodywork to the powertrain to the interior, because there's nowhere for shoddy workmanship to hide with this one. It's beautiful in photos, but in person, it's flat-out astounding.
First off, kudos to the guy who chose this basic 300 2-door sedan instead of a garden-variety hardtop. There's nothing we like more than a sleeper, although a Hugger Orange cruiser with a 572-inch crate motor is hardly a stealth-mobile. Still, you just can't argue with the clean lines of the 300 series, and this car retains 100% of its original factory sheetmetal, except for the cowl-induction hood, which is a steel reproduction. It was blasted down to bare metal before the reconstruction got started, and the finish was built from there. To get this car as straight as it is must have taken hundreds of man-hours laboriously sanding, filling, fitting, and adjusting to make it look this good. The paint is from PPG, and is so deep and rich that it looks like the body itself was made from some exotic Hugger Orange material and not ordinary steel. The way it seems to glow all by itself simply has to be seen in person. There's no metallic, no pearl, nothing that glitters in the finish, and again, the simple approach simply works?please look at the pictures again and understand that it looks even better in person.
There isn't much trim on the base 300 model, but that totally works for this car, because what remains was restored to concours condition. The bumpers are brilliantly re-chromed, the grille has been straightened and polished, and the stainless window surrounds have been refinished. All the original badges and emblems were retained, from the crossed flags on the front fenders to the block letters on the tail that spell out CHEVELLE, it's exactly as it was 45 years ago?only about a thousand times nicer. New tinted glass was installed all around, but it looks like the old Soft-Ray stuff and not some modern dark tint that would undoubtedly look odd.
So the body is fairly stock, but the powertrain is definitely not. Under that cowl induction hood lives one of the biggest big blocks GM has ever created, a 572 cubic inch monster that cranks out more than 600 horsepower. Breathing through a custom-fabricated air intake, the EFI system is a torque factory, and you really shouldn't try to use first or second gear unless the car is aimed where you want to go. Fortunately, the engine bay got all the flash that they left off the body, from the matching Hugger Orange paint on the valve covers, intake, and block, to the polished serpentine drive system with chrome alternator and A/C compressor, to the fabricated and polished aluminum radiator. Wiring has been artfully hidden, and the inner fenders and firewall have been smoothed and finished to the same standards as the rest of the body. Heck, even the bottom of the hood appears to have been wet sanded and buffed, and it looks better than the exterior of most new production cars. And dig how the power brake booster has been integrated into the firewall for a seamless look?too cool! Other trick details include chrome hood hinges, latch hardware, and radiator cradle, polished billet overflow cans, as well as a set of ceramic-coated long-tube headers with positively massive 2.25-inch primaries.
The only transmission man enough to live behind this killer big block is a Tremec 5-speed manual, which is hooked up thanks to a McLeod hydraulic clutch. The transmission case and bell-housing have been fully polished to match the Tremec-prepped driveshaft with heavy-duty U-joints at both ends. Out back, a narrowed Currie 9-inch rear full of 3.50 gears tries its best to put the power down, and has been given a ceramic coating to match the rest of the driveline. Of course, the show-quality detailing continues, with floors that have been finished to match the body and a filled and sanded frame whose seamless curves are covered with satin black chassis paint from Eastwood. Those beautiful headers I mentioned earlier dump into a ceramic coated 3-inch exhaust system featuring Borla stainless steel mufflers. The front suspension uses upper and lower A-arms with QA1 adjustable coil-over shocks, while the rear is suspended on gorgeous billet aluminum Metco control arms. 13-inch Baer brakes are more than up to the task of managing the 572, with slotted, cross-drilled and zinc-coated rotors at all four corners. It rolls on a set of nicely proportioned 17x8 front and 17x10 Budnick billet aluminum wheels wearing Goodyear performance rubber.
Inside, the string of hits just keeps coming with this 300, including low-back buckets from Corbeau, covered in vintage black and orange houndstooth fabric and black vinyl. Custom door panels were fabricated and upholstered to match, and overhead there's a beautifully fitted black headliner. The carpets are black Daytona weave which looks awfully authentic, and the back seat has been custom upholstered to match the front buckets. The entire dash has been reworked, and now features an array of Auto Meter analog gauges ahead of the driver, and a simple control panel for the A/C controls, but little else. A Hurst shifter pokes out of the floor, and in the spirit of the car's "less is more" theme, there's no center console. The steering wheel, pedals, A/C vents, and door handles are all billet aluminum, and there's a cleverly hidden entertainment system with a 10-disc CD changer and amplifier mounted in the trunk.
It's impossible to guess how many hours went into the construction of this amazing car, but given the lengthy list of equipment that went into the build, the asking price probably doesn't even cover the components, let alone the labor. At first glance, it appears to be a basic and simple piece, but the attention to detail and amazing quality grab your attention instantly. There are very few custom cars finished to this level, and this one could undoubtedly compete at very high levels. Or take it to your local cruise night and watch as they simply hand you the trophy as you pull in? There's no hiding how brilliant this car is. Fully sorted and ready to show or drive, this is a once-in-a-lifetime car.