Obsessions are a hell of a thing when you think about it. They consume our time, money, and sometimes even our sanity. On the flip side, it can also keep us going. Captain Ahab had his white whale, Spider Man has Venom, Chevrolet has Ford, and Dale Dockendorf has his red Chevelles. You see, over the course of this enthusiast’s timeline, he’s owned several Chevelles, including two ’64s, a ’71, and a ’73. And while he obviously favors A-bodies, he’s also owned a ’64 and a ’71 Nova in the past. I’ve always thought Chevelles were the best looking cars out there and red just seems to set off the body lines really well, Dale says.
The real question is: Where did it all start? If there was ever a beginning to this addiction for me, it all stemmed from the first car I ever owned, a red ’64 I bought back in 1970. Over the years, several cars came and went, and in 2000 I ended up with my second ’64. A year later my nephew, Teddy Dockendorf, shared a similar passion and purchased a Chevelle for himself. Dale went on to say, My nephew later needed money for another project, so I ended up buying his in parts. Of course, the plan was to finish it one day, as long as I had a running hot rod in the garage.
In 2004, Teddy died from Leukemia at the tender age of 30. Teddy was a wonderful and talented kid who was a welder by trade and could do almost anything with a welding gun and metal, Dale says. Before long, Dale became motivated and made his mind up. I made a promise to myself to finish his Chevelle, and it took nearly four years to do it, he says. For me, it reminds me of a fantastic kid who left us way too early. He would have loved to watch scratch that, he would have loved to do a burnout in this thing!
Dale may not have known it at the time when he first purchased it, but the prominence of this ride is just too great and certainly not something he’ll be able to part with so easily. We’re sure Teddy would be happy with the final product and knowing that it was built to its full potential.
Dale pulled in buddy and retired mechanic Norm Adams from Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, to help build an engine worthy of Teddy’s memory. They started with a 350ci small-block with a set of cast-iron Camel Back cylinder heads featuring 2.02-/1.60-inch valves. Their manifold of choice is a chrome Edelbrock Air-Gap that’s topped off with a 750-cfm Holley carburetor. Inside is mostly stock with the exception of a custom grind camshaft with a bit of a lope and fresh slugs to bump up the compression slightly. To expel the spent fumes is a set of ceramic-coated Hooker Super Comp headers that feed into 3-inch Cherry Bomb mufflers. Transferring the power is a TH400 with a reverse-manual valvebody and a B&M 3,800-stall converter.
Lucky for Dale, there are no horrific paint jail stories here. Instead, he once again turned to his friend Norm Adams to handle everything from the disassembly to the final finish. Obviously, the end result speaks for itself, but don’t just take our word for it. During the 2008 Minneapolis World of Wheels show, Dale took home the coveted Judges’ Pick and the Sponsors’ Pick of the Show; we suspect the retina burning shine didn’t hurt his chances.
Jerry’s Upholstery of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, swapped out the Chevelle’s original vinyl fabric with black leather. Dale added a carbon-fiber dash bezel from YearOne, which complements the freshly painted dash. Keeping track of the vitals is a host of Auto Meter Phantom gauges; he didn’t bother with a fancy stereo. Instead, he prefers to listen to the roar from the 3-inch pipes.