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1963 Chevrolet Bel Air - Back in the Day

The Hulk

Doug Marion Aug 1, 2013
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Have you ever known anyone who saved a bare Chevy body from the crusher, then completely rebuilt it into a superb machine? We do, and now you will, too. Way back in the day, Super Chevy subscriber/SCS participant Ken Reeves was 500 miles from his Nebraska home, entered in the Super Chevy car show at Mile High Raceway. Moments before being presented a first-in-class, a racer walked up and asked if he’d like to buy his stripped-bare ’63 Bel Air body, a Regal red, two-door sedan that included its original 409 engine block, four-speed transmission, plus a legit Colorado title.

Hulk 1963 Bel Air 2/5

Some might decline, but Reeves dug the deal. Shortly after the event ended, he trailered his current show winner to the home of friend Larry Smith. He parked his enclosed trailer, then hooked up Smith’s open tandem axle trailer and boogied an hour south to the racer’s shop in Pueblo. The next day, Smith trailered Reeves’ ’63 hulk to his garage in Omaha. From here on out, the fun for Reeves and his friends would be in finding the needed ’63 parts and sheetmetal. Finding an entire red interior, moldings, tach and more would prove to be nearly impossible. But then he called parts legend, “409 Tom”. Imagine Reeves’ reaction when Tom casually replied, “What color ya need?” Tom continued, “There’s a red ’63 Bel Air two-door parked right across the street at a tavern with a nice interior. It’s for sale for $1,500.”


A short time later, Reeves’ car painter pal needed wheels to get around, so he loaned him his new parts car ’63. But then a person ran a stop sign and T-boned the ’63. Good news: he was not hurt and his insurance company paid Reeves $1,800 cash and let him keep the car. In essence, he got all the ’63 stuff he needed for free. It took another few years to find 409 engine parts, but Reeves buttoned up the “Hulk” for a shot at cruising Nebraska’s bi-ways.

All was good until Reeves found a must-have ’62 SS 327 convertible in need of restoration. Gary Jesperson, a 409 racer and restorer in Colorado Springs, worked a deal where he’d do all the work on the ’62 in exchange for the ’63, and he’d pay Reeves some cash to boot. We don’t know all the details, but knowing Reeves and Jesperson, we know everything worked out great for both. We should also mention that the Reeves/Jesperson ’63 Bel Air garnered 980 points out of 1,000 possible at a national Chevy club competition.

Heck of a story, eh? You’d never guess the beauty you see here was once a hulk.



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