If A&E ever spun off its weekly television series Hoarders into a show targeted directly towards faithful followers of the Super Chevy Network, the obvious title for the show would be Gearhead Hoarders. We’ve all met the kind of guy that would have his half-hour of fame because he’s glommed onto a great assortment of tasty core material, but when asked if he wants to sell it the answer is always no. The hoarder rambles on telling about how he’s going to restore the cars one day but it’s clearly apparent that day will never come.
Thankfully for the guys at Black Dog Speed Shop in Lincolnshire, Illinois, and their 1965 Chevy Impala SS, the personal junkyard they found their project car at belonged to a fellow that could best be described as a preservationist/restorer, and that’s where our story begins.
It was two years after buying the 1965 Impala SS that the car was finally in Black Dog’s shop as a roller and ready for reassembly. The deal with the personal junkyard owner was he would cherry out the rusty Illinois car before Black Dog would take delivery. Under the ’65’s hood lies the premise for why Black Dog Speed took on building a project car. The plan was to drop an LS7 engine with one of its cylinder head and camshaft packages and showcase their wares.
Machining Black Dog’s 2009 LS7 to blueprint specifications was undertaken by Goodwin Competition in Omro, Wisconsin. Assembling the LS7 was done in-house at Black Dog Speed Shop. Stock GM 11.2:1 pistons went into precision honed cylinders. The block also got fed a custom-ground Comp cam with Comp hydraulic roller lifters. Initially fired up and run in carbureted form for three years, Black Dog decided to convert the LS7 back to fuel injection. For the intake manifold Black Dog selected Performance Designs’ Carbon XR LS7 dual-plenum, cross-runner carbon-fiber intake manifold. An Aeromotive electric fuel pump is tasked with supplying a constant high-pressure feed of fuel to a pair of 75mm throttle bodies. K&N filters are used to purify the intake charge of air.
The LS7 retains its original high-performance cylinder heads with special attention applied to Stage 4 porting and polishing. Additionally, grinding the seats and valves was a precision operation that met completion with the installation of dual valvesprings with titanium retainers. Capping the alloy cylinder heads is a pair of Goodwin Competition valve covers. The oiling system is of the dry sump variety with a 10-quart OEM oil pan and oil pump. Ignition spark for the LS7 comes from a Holley Dominator, and 1 7/8-inch Hooker headers dump the spent gases into a custom made 3-inch stainless steel exhaust system with a crossover pipe.
The cooling system is comprised of a Be Cool two-row aluminum radiator fed from an LS7 water pump. Ancillary components such as a 120-amp Powermaster alternator and Pro-Series power-steering pump are driven by a KRC serpentine setup. With it all said and done, the Impala’s LS7 dynoed with 115 more horsepower at the crank than a stock LS7. Getting the extra horses transmitted to the ’65’s 12-bolt rearend packing 3.73:1 gears with limited-slip takes place via a Keisler TKO 600 five-speed transmission.
The ride height of the Black Dog Impala has been dropped 4 inches in the front and 5 inches in the rear. Up front, a pair of CPP drop spindles on RideTech tubular A-arms hold Baer 13-inch disc brakes tucked behind Billet Specialties billet aluminum wheels. Out back, Baer brakes and Billet Specialties wheels are seen again. RideTech shock absorbers are found at all four corners. Rack-and-pinion steering replaces recirculating-ball.
The interior of the ’65, including seats and carpet, is pretty much all standard 1965 Chevy Impala fare, and the sound system runs on high-octane fuel sans electricity.
For the ’65’s second time around the crew at Black Dog completely rewired the car and then sent it out to Bull Valley Auto Body to handle a few dings and a complete re-spray.
In summation, the Black Dog crew stated that every time the ’65 gets driven spiritedly it creates memories, and if they had to do it again they wouldn't change a thing.