We spotted this classy Chevelle across a sea of nice rides during the Columbus Goodguys show and knew we had to shoot it for a full feature. Turns out, Norwood Wooding's 1966 Chevelle had several Top Ten finishes at various big car shows under his belt, and the body shop owner has become a recognized name in the street rod community; however, his latest creation is a bit different than what he's used to spraying. The wheel size and stance is perfect, so much so that while we were shooting the feature, several onlookers prodded Norwood for the car's exact wheel fitment. The car's color scheme is complemented by other subtleties too, such as the custom red lines on the tires and a red pinstripe down the side. Norwood explained, "I own Wooding's Auto Body in Roanoke, Virginia, and have built many nice cars in the last 28 years, but this one I built for myself to cruise."
Of course Wooding's ride wasn't born the way you see it here, but it was definitely a solid foundation for an upper tier build. "I've known the owner for the past 20 years, but I never thought he'd sell it," Wooding said. With only 42,000 original miles on the odometer, we can see why he thought that, but after years of offering to buy it, the owner finally broke and Norwood was able to impose his style upon the low mileage A-body. It started life as a black-on-black 1966, but that was a little bit too boring for Norwood's taste and ended up getting a full frame-off resto, which included ditching the hum-drum black vinyl and paint for something that popped. "I personally have never liked black cars with black interior, so that was something that I had to change," he said. The paint is not your standard Matador Red we're used to seeing on Chevelles either. Instead, Wooding went with PPG's triple stage Red Pearl sprayed over Purple and complimented it with a red pinstripe down the side. Inside the car is red leather from King's Upholstery in Roanoke and the whole ride is navigated with a matching Billet Specialties.
In a short five months, Norwood had the Chevelle looking the way he wanted it, sharp and clean. As a car show competitor, ultimate horsepower was not the goal, rather reliability and safety. Norwood's powertrain was chosen for reliability and usable torque, a stock-but-clean big-block with a strong rumble backed by the venerable Tremec TKO 5-speed transmission sounds like a fun car show cruiser to us, but with its wide wheels, stout suspension, and the right driver, we bet it could probably do well in the autocross too.
The Chevelle's stock 396 big-block (360 hp, numbers matching) was put through a basic rebuild. Norwood opted to keep all the stock engine components, the pushrods, valves, pistons, crank, even the camshaft was kept stock. We imagine that the low first gear of the Tremec, combined with the torquey stock big-block, makes getting around in the Chevelle a breeze and is probably pretty comfortable compared to some of the other more radical "street cars" we usually feature in these pages. The intake manifold, however, was replaced with an Edelbrock RPM Performer, while the carburetor is Holley's 750 cfm Double Pumper. Sanderson Headers direct spend gasses into Flowmaster 2 1/2-inch exhaust.
Norwood's ride cruises with a Hurst-shifted Tremec 5-speed transmission, which is mated to the 396 via a Centerforce clutch. A custom made driveshaft connects to the original 12-bolt rearend, but Norwood opted for 3.73 gears and a new posi unit. The tunnel was also modified to fit the transmission.
Instead of factory black vinyl, red leather was chosen for the interior of the Chevelle. King's Upholstery handled the interior, including the custom leather seats. Vintage Air A/C was added under the dash, while American Autowire provided the wiring system. A Billet Specialties steering wheel and Hurst shifter connect the driver, while an iPod-capable stereo is bolted in the dash.
The car was totally stripped down to the frame before being primed, blocked, primed, and block-sanded some more. Purple was the base color chosen for Norwood's 1966, and then a tri-stage Red Pearl was sprayed over it. The result was a deep and unique color that really drew our attention. Wooding's Auto Body in Roanoke, VA, handled the actual paint, while Tom Vannortwick applied the red pinstriping.
Wheels & Tires
The wheels, which are simply called "Fury," are from Billet Specialties SLC line and they measure 18x8 in the front and a whopping 19x11 in the rear. These highly polished pieces are wrapped in redlined Nitto tires that Norwood had Diamond Back Classic Radials in South Carolina insert the classic red line into. The rear tires measure 275/35/19 in the rear, while the fronts are narrower 235/40/18.
Brakes & Suspension
Bringing the car to an effective halt are Wilwood's large six-piston disc brakes at all four corners, while the aftermarket suspension is bolted throughout the underside. Matching sway bars, tubular control arms, 3-inch drop springs (rear), and an adjustable coilovers makes this car show stunner a handler too.