1967 Chevrolet Chevelle - Long Distance Runner

Conceived in Europe; built in America

Ro McGonegal Mar 5, 2014 0 Comment(s)
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If a die-hard Ferrari employee had a bug to build an American muscle car, what design cues would he apply from the different Ferrari marques…and what would result? Funny you asked. John Lexis is the Italian contact. Through the miracle of fiber optics, he was able to spin his dream into a realistic scenario. Long-distance phone conversations to his choice U.S. connection, Goolsby Customs in Bessemer, Alabama, morphed into several sessions with designer Ben Hermance, Jonathan Goolsby and shop manager Josh Henning about how this project would come to fruition, long-distance romance or not.

John's seed sprouted from another Goolsby build, Bill Shore's charcoal-colored, big-block spurred '67 Chevelle that he'd discovered on the Internet and could not get out of his mind. Goolsby said, "Right from the start, we began changing a few of the main components, such as the Roadster Shop IRS and blown LS3 that were not used on the previous Chevelle. Other than that the plan was to build a carbon copy, [including] color and build style. In the spring of '13 we were full steam ahead on the fab and mock-up phase when John made his first-ever trip to the US." John left the States with his head on fire.

"We started brainstorming and tried to persuade him on maybe a different color or changing his mind on this or that, but John stated that he didn't want to deviate from the dark and sinister look." A week or so later, Josh got an email suggesting they have renderings done of "some of those crazy ideas you have so I could visualize what you're saying." Hermance started penning the palette.

Goolsby said, "We had three other color choices in the mix along with the one we all really wanted. Within minutes of seeing the rendering of the off-white with the dark off-red interior, he replied, ‘Yes, that is it, do that!' A few days later we needed to make another big decision and John's comment was ‘just do what you think, you all have good ideas, just surprise me.'" And they did.

"We tried to stay very sanitary on the outside because we knew that was what he liked and we wanted to deviate from our norm of engine covers and a lot of sheet metal work and instead play off the mechanic/racy aspect of the huge blower and miscellaneous plumbing. It really created a ying-yang effect when you first see the plain and simple exterior, and then the hood opens and it slaps you in the face. Everybody in the shop had a hand in it. Ben Weber and Heath Wood handled the fabrication (transmission tunnel, floor, wheel tubs, etc.), shaved the drip rails, and tucked the bumpers. Ben and Heath killed it like always."

When Goolsby Customs got the car, they tore it down, media-blasted and stripped it, prepped the chassis and affixed the suspension, mocked-up the entire car, worked the metal, sprayed the paint, and did the final assembly. It was oven-fresh on November 3, 2013. Two weeks later, the Lexis Chevelle copped Builder's Choice at the Scottsdale Goodguys. As of the 18th of December, John Lexis had yet to push the pedals in his gem. By the time you read this, he'll likely be burning southern Europe to the ground with the spawn of his long-distance romance.

The lesson here? Ferraris may be cool, but they always build more than one of the same model. For the ultimate in exclusivity and for the truly discerning individual, the Lexis/Goolsby muscle car is the only one like it in the world.

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