The growth of Chevy II enthusiasm is both continual and unbridled. The once-considered-compact line of econo cars has grown to become a true challenger to the Chevelle for the love of Chevy musclecar enthusiasts, and its lighter weight and definitive style are contributing heavily. But, to a self-confessed "import guy," like David Nelson, this is a big car. We're proud to report he's been converted to the benefits of bigger cars with bigger power, and plenty of suspension to support both.
The crisp stylish lines blend seamlessly with the modern two-tone paint scheme. The lowdown stance gains aggressive appeal with the tasteful choice in rolling stock. The once-simple interior is now alive with gentle curves and revamped style. The engine bay is loaded with ProCharger-boosted LS1 power. This is no economy car, and it refuses to be taken lightly by vehicles manufactured anywhere on the planet.
Rolling in from Spanaway, Washington, the three-year project is purely a street exercise. Built to enjoy real driving and make it to local cruise nights, it was never intended to be a race car or a trophy queen. The motivation to build it came from many different sources, as David explains.
"I've been into import stuff for quite a while, but when I was younger I always wanted a Mercury Cougar with V-8 power. I love the stylish lines of those cars, and thought if I was ever going to build a V-8 street machine, it'd be a Cougar. But, a good friend of mine was building a '66 Nova, and he'd purchased another body that he liked more than this one. So, it was a complete '67, minus engine, and he offered it to me for around three grand. All the parts were there, but in boxes. It was in good shape, but almost completely disassembled. I decided to jump in and build a V-8 car, so I bought it, and we started the bodywork.
"Then, I saw the blue '67 Nova Ted and Sue Richardson had built over at StreetWorks when Ryan Butler worked there. It won Street Machine of the Year at Columbus a couple years back. Ryan has his own shop now, so I talked to him about mine, and he ended up doing lots of the work on this one. My pals and I are always encouraging each other with our buildups, well...trying to outdo each other is more like it...so I got into it and three years later, here it is!""I'm a bodyman by trade, so I did the work on this one at my shop (Collision Specialties in Tacoma), including a fresh set of NOS quarter panels. I had Ryan do the engine mounts, fab up the intercooler, mount the trans, and trick out the dash. Ryan Butler Fabrication also handled the rear end install, the mini-tubbing, drivetrain plumbing, custom headers, and most of the little details that needed to be custom-built.
"Rich over at C and J Customs (Buckley, Washington) did the custom two-tone paintwork and I think he did a great job. I really want to re-do the interior in a cool suede or leather, in a matching color, but we thrashed really hard to get the car together enough to bring it to Goodguys Columbus (where it was photographed) and the resto-type interior I'd purchased years ago was the only upholstery I had for it."
The LS1 is a crate version, and save for the addition of the ATI Procharger, intercooler, larger (55 lbs.) injectors, and a computer tuneup, it's bone-stock. Still, it's cranking out near 500 ponies in a reliable pump gas package, and that certainly impressed David, who was used to wimpy import power levels.
"I've never felt power like this before. I learned real fast why guys dig V-8s...especially with blowers on them! This car handles really well too, since I added a Martz front clip. The Baer brakes are incredible, as well. I have to thank Craig Blood over at Blood Enterprises (Auburn, Washington) for the engine tuning on the blown LS1. It's got plenty of grunt and it really hauls!"The power is fed to a 9-inch Ford rear with 3.90:1 cogs, and a stock GM 4L60-E trans provides overdrive capabilities to make freeway cruising a pleasure. Wheels are Billet Specialties 17x7s (with 215/45-17 skins up front) and 17x10 (wearing 275/40-17s out back) to nail the aggressive stance. The wheels are filled with Baer Racing 13-inch (front) and 12-inch (rear) drilled and slotted disc brakes. David told us how these dimensions were critical to the overall impact of the project.
"The g-Machine stance and style are really appealing to me. The high tech, modernized stuff and big brakes are attractive on my imports, but it really works for me on this car, too. It looks great and really works well, which makes for a great driver.
"Building this car and getting it all together was a long, frustrating process. Now that it's in one piece, and I'm driving it, I can certainly say that it was worth all the blood, sweat, and money I've invested."
Great drivers are what we're all about here, and when they drive so well they can convert an import fan to the dark side of the muscular g-Machine movement, we're certainly on board. The crisp paint and boosted EFI powerplant work with the overall style, and we're glad to welcome another convert into the fold. The once-dowdy Chevy II is now ready for serious action, after being motivated by friends and about 80 G's of hard-earned cash. This Deuce is certainly on the loose in the great Northwest, and should command respect from street heroes and show car fans alike!