It’s always fascinating to find out how people get involved in the automotive hobby, especially when they are able to transform that initial spark into a lifelong career. Ed Schreck of DeLand, Florida, has been active in the upholstery business for 43 years, starting almost out of necessity. His first car was a 1960 Corvette and at the time, the 17-year-old could not afford to have the car upholstered. As a result, he bought a sewing machine and did it himself. Soon after, a friend saw the job and asked Ed if he would upholster his car. And, it wasn’t long after that before Ed found his calling in life, opening Schreck’s Upholstery and never looking back. To date, he estimates he’s done more than 500 vehicles.
The beautiful silver 1964 Chevelle convertible came into his possession thanks to his brother Kevin, who owned the car for more than 20 years. When it was time for a change, Ed took it over. Ed smiles when he says it must have started as a girl’s car, equipped with a six-cylinder, automatic, power top, and power steering. The first day Ed had possession of the Chevelle, he had the body removed from the chassis before nightfall. “I took that car completely apart in one day,” he told us. He was pleasantly surprised to find that the sheetmetal was in fairly good shape, requiring only a few minor repairs like the lower cowl corners, some small sections of the floorpan, and a few spots in the fenderwells. His good friend Chuck Burns did the sheetmetal repair work.
The goal from the outset was to create a restomod with a twofold purpose. Of course, he wanted something cool that he could drive and enjoy but also to serve as an advertisement for his business. “When a customer can see a rolling example of your talent, he is more likely to trust you with his car.” The build began with a 2000 Trans Am that donated its rack-and-pinion steering and drivetrain. Aftermarket Hotchkis front and rear suspension kits replaced the dated original factory parts and QA1 adjustable shocks were added to all four corners. Up front, Z/28 spindles and disc brakes were installed with Chevelle drums retained at the rear. A fuel cell was fabricated and fitted with an internal fuel pump to ensure the fuel-injected engine would never run lean. Although LS-into-A-body engine mounts can be purchased easily today, back when this build started they had to be fabricated and the oil pan had to be carefully clearanced to fit around the front crossmember. An LS1 V-8 with 78,000 miles on it became the new motive source for the Chevelle. With a 0.050 clean-up bore and a fresh set of balanced pistons, the EFI 350 was more than quick enough in stock form. An aluminum radiator and electric fan keep temps in the green while a Flowmaster dual exhaust system creates the appropriate throaty growl. Power is multiplied by a Tremec six-speed, spinning 3.73 gears in the 10-bolt Posi rear. Another good friend, Joe Demarko built the engine, installed it, and got it running.
Ed did all his own bodywork and paint, picking up that talent back in a high school work program. The body is essentially stock, minus the side chrome and the pot metal accent piece that ran across the width of the trunk. The third brake light, underneath the license plate, is from a Corvette trunk lid light, turned upside down. The subtle emblem in the grille is from a ’67 Chevelle. Ed chose PPG Nissan Chrome Silver Metallic base with Metzler clearcoat to showcase the lines of the car. The subtle pinstriping, done by David Jones, also from DeLand, follows the lines where the chrome used to be. Ed chose Billet Specialties Bonneville rims, 17x7 up front and 18x8 in the rear, wrapped in BFGoodrich rubber, 215/50ZR17 front and 245/45ZR18 rear. The convertible top fabric is a Chrysler color that blends beautifully with the silver exterior.
As you might expect, the interior is something special. In true professional fashion, Ed began with a concept drawing that laid out the color mix and patterns. Dynamat was added throughout and a pair of ’66 GM A-body bucket seats replaced the stock bench. The high-quality, Torch Red vinyl was perfectly suited to the demands of a convertible. The silver metallic insert accents have an engine-turned look to them. The steering wheel is a Billet Specialties Eagle wrapped in the same silver material and the dash sports a collection of Haneline instruments. Ed did his own stereo work, beginning with a Pioneer head unit that controls a trunk-mounted Kicker MX 700-5, five-channel amp. It energizes a Kicker 12-inch sub located in the convertible top well along with separated component sets positioned front and rear in the new center console. They are augmented with 3-inch and 1-inch speakers in the panel underneath the dash. The same panel holds vents for the Classic Auto Air A/C. Ed likes to shift and a Hurst stick controls the six-speed Tremec. Naturally, Ed’s talents progressed to the trunk, upholstered to match and incorporating the year of the car as well as Ed’s business logo. There is a similar peel and stick logo on the underside of the smoothed hood. Ed painted the engine compartment and had it pinstriped to match, then used the same bright red color found in the interior to highlight the engine.
The build process took four and half years, working part-time, for an estimate of about 3,000 hours. Now that it’s done, Ed and his girlfriend Michelle go to cruise-ins and meet friends for dinner. No matter where the distinctive Chevelle goes however, it’s always a rolling advertisement for the business. In fact, it was Super Chevy’s Editor’s Choice at this year’s GM Oktoberfest in Silver Springs, Florida. Ed would like to give a special thanks to all who helped with the project, especially Bill Shippers who was always there, lending a hand throughout the build.