When you work on your ideal muscle car for 13 years, just taking it to an event like an autocross, drag race, or in this case a car show, without any hiccups can be rewarding, but winning the whole show has to be downright gratifying. Firing it up for the first time in the garage is okay, and maybe driving it around the block may make you smile for a bit, but it's when you can enter a contest and actually come out on top that makes the time, money, and work all worthwhile. When we spotted Don Hoeschele's Bright Blue Metallic 1967 on the first day of the All GM Nationals car show in Carlisle, PA; the drag radials, stance and unique side stripes drew our attention, and as it turns out, it drew the Carlisle judge's attention too. What makes it even cooler is: This one was built at home, by the owner.
Don's love for cars started when he could count his age with two hands. Playing with Hot Wheels and building Revell models was his passion at a young age; meanwhile, his father, Don Sr., would fix and flip GM cars (mostly Chevelles) on a regular basis to make ends meet. "I remember one time he had a complete 392 Hemi with a four-speed bolted to wooden blocks that we would fire up in the garage. He would hook a battery up to it and fuel line, and my job was to operate the fuel pump switch to keep the carb full of gas. I remember it sounding so cool, shooting flames out of the manifolds," Hoeschele said. As you can imagine, that type of influence at that age solidified young Don's love for hot rods forever. Growing up, Don's father and siblings (Jodie and Mike) each owned mid and late 1960s Chevelles, so when he turned 15 he continued the family tradition and found himself a 1967 SS in dark green. "We dropped in a 400ci small-block, HEI ignition, fuelie heads, M21 gearbox, on Rallye wheels, not bad for a first car," he said. Like too many teenagers' first hot rods, unfortunately, Don's first 1967 was totaled in an accident. Of course, he found another 1967. This one had a big-block—which he later packed with a set of Dart cylinder heads—a four-speed trans, 850 cfm carb, you know, stuff you aren't "supposed" to drive with everyday, but Don did that for years. "I remember it sounding awesome on cold winter mornings," he said. With his sons Don Jr. and Tyler being born, and buying a house, the hot rod that Don had driven every day had to make way for something practical.
Around 1998, Don started looking into building a third Chevelle. He was working as a heavy equipment operator and had the coin to build one from scratch. Knowing his father had a Butternut yellow 1967 shell sitting in his yard, Jr. picked it up and the build began. Once stripped, the Chevelle was removed from the frame and totally restored. The frame was powder coated while the rotted body panels were all replaced. A 572 big-block backed by a Tremec TKO 600 was chosen for motivation, while a 12-bolt rear with 3.55:1 gears and a Brute Strength posi unit are bolted up in the rear. The body received four coats of clear over the cool blue paint and after some meticulous assembly that often lasted until 3am, Don was close to having his third 1967 SS, but this one would be nice enough to win awards. The car was completed in the winter of 2011, which Don says is thirteen years, but he admits to taking a couple years off here and there as his kids were growing up and his work schedule got hectic. So far the car's won 35+ trophies, including several Best of Shows, Best Muscle Car, and the most recent achievement, the Best of Show at the All GM Nationals in Carlisle, PA where we initially spotted the car. Don was quick to thank his wife Tammy and nephew Jeff Bartlinski for being supportive while this project came together and we were happy to capture their resto-mod in our lens. "My 5-year-old son Tyler gave me one of the best compliments about the car one day. He said, 'Daddy, your car sounds angry.' To which I replied, 'Thank you son, thank you."
Under the SS hood is a 9.6:1 compression 572 ci big-block with an all-forged bottom end, GM rectangle port cylinder heads, a hydraulic roller cam with a 254/265 duration at 0.050, and topped with a Demon 850 cfm carburetor that's fed by Aeromotive's A-1000 fuel pump. Other engine details include an Endurashine Edelbrock Performer RPM intake manifold, MSD Ignition with hidden spark plug wires, and Edelbrock Victor Series water pump, Milodon 7-quart oil pan, Powermaster starter, and Zoops pulleys. A Be Cool radiator keeps the angry big-block cooling effectively, while the powerplant expels its spent fumes through ceramic-coated Lemons headers that were built to fit the tall deck 572, and the sound is "quieted" by 2-chambered Flowmasters. A stainless gas tank from Rick's Stainless Tanks holds the pump gas. Horsepower is around 620, while torque is somewhere in the 700 lb-ft at 5,600 range.
A Tremec TKO 600 five-speed trans is tucked into the tunnel of this showstopper, which we imagine is a handful with the 572's monster torque. Shifts are slammed with a Hurst shifter, while a McLeod dual disc clutch surrounded in an SFI bellhousing makes up the transmission. Although Don admits he should've gone with a hydraulic clutch; the 1967 actually has the stock linkage that Hoeschele restored. An aftermarket driveshaft connects to the narrowed 12-bolt with a posi rearend and 3.55:1 gears.
The black vinyl is still classy and works well in a restomod such as this. Rayco supplied the materials, while Don, being the lifelong car builder, assembled the interior himself. The factory dash was also fully restored by Don, including the original blinker tach and original radio. M&H Electric supplies the wiring harness, while carbon fiber faced Auto Meter Gauges monitor vitals. Dynamat was used to quiet and insulate; and a restored, original four-speed console was added to the office.
Pro 1 Collision in Monroe, New Jersey, sprayed bright blue metallic and four layers of clear—which makes the paint on this ride really pop—and other subtleties, like the dual side stripes Don added (available as a factory option) also add to this car's uniqueness. The Super Sport hood was also kept and Don even restored the electric radio antenna, which he admits never gets used because he just enjoys the raw sound of the 572 instead.
Wheels & Tires
The wheels under the Chevelle are Boss Motorsport's 338 models that measure 18x8 in the front (4-inch backspace) and 18x9.5 in the rear (5-inch backspace). Mickey Thompson's 305/45 drag radials roll out back, while the fronts are M/T's Street Comps that measure 245/45. The wheels also feature a couple custom touches, like the red stripe painted by Wayne's Autobody in South Amboy, New Jersey, and Don also had the wheels clear coated, making them look darker for a non-out-of-the-box look.
Brakes & Suspension
Stopping the Super Sport is Wilwood's 14-inch, two-piece discs all around that are clamped with black six-piston calipers. Hotchkis upper control arms and Edelbrock No-Hop bars are bolted up out back, while QA1 500lb springs and coilovers suspend the angry A-body. Big sway bars at both ends keep body roll down, while Global West suspension pieces up front aid in overall handling. The rear shocks are from Edelbrock's line. Classic Performance Products also had a hand in the braking system of this build. The spindles Don used are CPP's C5 conversion spindles and MCPV-1 master cylinder which is assisted by a Hydro-Boost setup. Don also added a Line Loc to the system, but admits the car does burnouts easily without it.