It takes a lot of determination to follow through with a major project car. We’re not talking a weekend thrash or an engine swap — we’re talking about an every-nut-and-bolt-removed, parts-scattered-all-over-the-shop, no-end-in-sight type of build. Freeport, Illinois, resident, Darryl Mullens knows the type of commitment and determination it takes to complete a build of this nature, as he recently put the finishing touches on his very own long-term project car. After 12 years of work, his 1963 Chevy II Super Sport is on the road again and it has a spectacular new appearance with plenty of attitude to back it up.
Darryl bought this car in 1974 for $1,300. He first saw it when he passed a garage while riding his bicycle. He stopped and introduced himself and proceeded to hound the car’s owner until he finally gave in about two years later. The car was in good shape and it served him as a daily driver and a weekend cruiser for many years. The car had a 327 in it, backed by a four-speed manual transmission, which offered plenty of fun behind the wheel. Darryl even raced the car a few time at Byron Dragway in his home state of Illinois. In the late ’80s, the car was taken off the road and stored in Darryl’s garage. It would be 15 years later when Darryl began his intense restoration and customization project.
It all started with a highly reworked unibody structure, which was bookended by a Heidts Superide II front subframe and a Heidts four-bar rear suspension. The front suspension system features polished stainless steel control arms that sandwich a 2-inch drop spindle and Pro coilovers for an outstanding ride and lowdown stance. The Superide II kit also features a sway bar, and Darryl added a Flaming River rack-and-pinion unit to simplify and upgrade the steering system. Darryl’s friend Dan Dubs helped with the suspension buildup and turned wrenches throughout the 12-year project. Darryl and Dan finished off the front suspension with a set of Wilwood disc brakes, which are visible through the spokes of 17x7 Foose Legend wheels. The chrome-plated five-spoke wheels are wrapped in Toyo rubber, measuring 215/45R17, while the rear wheels come in at 18x8 and feature 245/45R18 Toyo tires.
Out back, the rearend is a Currie 9-inch that is packed with 31-spline axles, a Positraction differential, and 3.70:1 gears. It’s attached to the chassis with four polished stainless steel link arms, and it rides on Pro coilovers. Countless hours were spent perfecting the car’s suspension and chassis, in addition to fabricating custom pans to make the undercarriage as slick as the topside of the car. The attention to detail is phenomenal, and that level of execution is carried through the entire build.
Under the hood is an engine combination that started as something fairly simple and escalated into a wild setup with tons of power. The base is a 350ci small-block Chevy, which has been bored 0.030-inch over for a final displacement of 355 ci. The four-bolt main block features a Howards 4340 forged crankshaft, Carrillo H-beam connecting rods, and Wiseco forged pistons with dished tops to create a boost-friendly 8.0:1 compression ratio. Atop the short-block is a pair of Trick Flow Specialties aluminum cylinders heads, which are accessorized with Isky valvesprings, Isky pushrods, and 1.5:1 roller rocker arms. The valvetrain goodies are combined with an Isky camshaft that features 234 degrees of duration on the intake side and 246 degrees on the exhaust, measured at 0.050-inch lift. Max lift is 0.530-inch intake and 0.550-inch exhaust. Dan Dubs built and tuned the engine.
It’s hard to avoid the obvious with Darryl’s engine combination. The polished Dyer’s blower sits on top of the well-built small-block, and it’s outfitted with Hilborn electronic fuel injection, stuffed inside a traditional Enderle bug catcher scoop. The thirsty small-block drinks 93-octane pump gas from a custom fuel cell that features an Aeromotive A1000 fuel pump. The fire is ignited with an MSD Pro-Billet distributor, a 6AL box, and a Blaster coil, while a hand-fabricated exhaust system plays a beautiful tune. Behind the blown small-block is a GM 700-R4 automatic transmission, which features a 2,000-stall converter and a Lokar shifter.
When it comes to aesthetics, Darryl’s Chevy II is certainly a standout, with vibrant paint and endless details that draw you in even further. For instance, the undersides of the hood and decklid have been smoothed, making them a continuation of the laser straight panels and slick paintjob on the outside. Jason Schubert gets credit for the intensive bodywork, as well as the application of the custom Candy Molten Orange hue covered in PPG clearcoat. Jason spent countless hours sanding, buffing, and polishing the fresh finish, and the finished product speaks loudly of his efforts. Other details, such as the tucked bumpers, shaved emblems, and smoothed cowl panel, may not be so obvious, but add to the car’s custom look. AIH Chrome in Dubuque, Iowa, handled all of the car’s chrome plating, while Darryl did plenty of polishing on the aluminum bits, including the billet Eddie Motorsports hinges.
Inside, you’ll find more over-the-top details, starting with charcoal leather with orange accents. Dave and Sally Schober of Schober’s Custom Hot Rod Interiors handled the stitchwork on the modified 2002 Monte Carlo front buckets and the custom rear bench seat. Schober’s also built a custom console, headliner, and door panels, as well as a custom cover for the Vintage Air Gen II heating and air system that hangs slightly below the dash. A Clarion head unit powers the audio system, which features an MTX amplifier with matching subwoofers and speakers throughout. The dashpanel has been smoothed and finished in a satin charcoal finish, while Classic Instruments gauges offer a nice finishing touch. Darryl grips a Billet Specialties Stiletto steering wheel, which mounts to an ididit steering column.
After owning this car for more than 40 years, and spending more than 12 years on the rebuild, Darryl can finally consider his ’63 Chevy II finished. And while things in Darryl’s life have changed a lot through the years, the Chevy II has stuck with him through it all. With the amount of blood, sweat, and tears put into this build, along with the car’s sentimental value, he’s only making this long-term relationship better with time.