You are correct if you’re thinking that somebody’s father was the inspiration for making this hot rod live long and prosper. Yes, Richard Myatt’s dad was the instigator. Now Richard is the dad and he’s the one passing along the box of sparks to a son of his own. We wish it were more complicated than that, but it’s not … unless the object of your attention has been sitting for years in the driveway next to yours. You crave that slow-oxidation bad boy but the owner is reluctant to sell at any price.
Then you put your enthusiast pants away and turn into a steam-rolling PR flack. You cajole, you whine, you sweet talk, but the guy just won’t respond in the positive. You persist for weeks, months, and you don’t feel the least bit bashful about it. You know the guy is eventually going to turn because you’re beginning to drive him nuts, interfering with his thought process until all he wants to do is take a vacation and get the hell away from you. Then one day he stops and thinks: that vacation is probably going to cost him too much so he may as well relinquish that 1967 pile in the driveway and get on with his life—without you.
And what did you get after all that time and angst? You got a passable piece, one with faded paint and no interior to speak of; you got something in need of serious love and attention, a decent body with a crappy roof. But you also got the best part of the deal and now the neighbor’s going to be jealous, and maybe even a little proud that you saved it from oblivion. He’s also very happy that the car is now a bad memory and is forever in a driveway that isn’t his. Richard’s son is ecstatic. He nagged his father like his father did the owner of the forlorn Chevelle. “He first saw it and he bugged me about it till I gave in.” If patience and persistence are the keys to it, know that the Myatts are locksmiths by trade and quite used to finding other ways to open things up.
Richard’s last ride was a 1937 Plymouth built by Gearhead Garage in Sacramento, California. He took it to a lot of shows and won at some of them. He loved being in the middle of it. He admits that he “kinda built the ’37 backwards.” Gearhead liked the project, but not the way they were expected to build it. They did the interior first, then the paint, followed by the chassis and the ancillaries.
Gearhead’s Jason Walroth filled us in. “[The ’37] needed a ton of work. It turned out to be a really nice show-winning car, but we always seemed to be reactive rather than proactive. The Chevelle was a chance to go about things in a proper order. [We did] a full frame-off, sandblasted, nicely painted car. That soon led to a full rewire, semi-custom interior, and a bunch of good suspension upgrades. They had flirted with the idea of buying the ’76 Corvette we built on Speed Channel’s Car Warriors but we feared it would never be a good street-legal California car. After a ton of begging and pleading, we gave in and sold the Corvette’s drivetrain for the Chevelle. Man, it’s a snappy little motor. This is a hard-working father and his two sons that were primarily involved with the build. Their uncle had a bad-ass Willys and they were trying to outshine him!”
So, yes, as is usually the case, a car that comes in for a mild tweak on Monday becomes an epic project by Friday. Myatt: “Jason and the boys at Gearhead were great to work with as I scraped everything I could to carry out my vision. What began as a few basic repairs and modifications soon grew into a full-on resto/build. The Chevelle was the chance to build one the right way—from the ground up.”
Among those gathered for the greater good were Gearhead’s Jonathan Lucich (engine installation), Shawn Katt (upholstery), and Tony (rewire); man of renown Dan Brown at D.B. Customs in Sacramento did the bodywork and paint.
At first peek, the Myatt Chevelle appears to be a Pro Touring rendition, but it’s really a short-haul, car show cruiser fitted with a Monster Transmission Turbo 350, about 450 horsepower, and just as much grunt, tubular suspension members and coilover dampers, 12-inch discs all around, a Moser 12-bolt with 3.55 gears and modest (skinny, even) rolling stock. No mini-tubs, no power-adder, no problems so far. What would he have done differently? Put leather in the gut instead of vinyl. “I can’t wait to hit the show circuit this year with my kids and grandson. That’s what it’s really all about. These cars have brought us together.”
Aside from the good, wholesome feeling that comes from a job done well, Richard says the experiences he has had with car are really the most important things: 1. watching his son drive it with a smile on his face, 2. attending car shows, 3. working closely with the boys at Gearhead. So it seems as if social networking goes smartly beyond the often-divisive Internet. But Gearhead’s product can’t be denied. Savor Richard Le’s eerie digital interpretation of the Space Gray Metallic A-body and let that settle in the right side of your brain.
|Owner:||Richard Myatt, Sacramento, California|
|Cylinder Heads:||Aluminum, 2.02/1.60 valves|
|Rotating Assembly:||Scat forged crankshaft and connecting rods, forged pistons, hand-filed rings|
|Valvetrain:||1.6:1 Comp roller rockers, Comp Cams pushrods|
|Camshaft:||Comp Cams (specs proprietary)|
|Induction:||Edelbrock dual-plane intake manifold, Holley 750 HP carburetor, K&N X-Treme Flow air filter|
|Exhaust:||Hedman shorty 1 7/8-inch primary pipes, 2 1/2-inch exhaust system, X-pipe, Flowmaster 40 mufflers by Blake’s Muffler Shack (Citrus Heights, CA)|
|Ancillaries:||Radiator Entropy (Chicago, IL) aluminum core, SPAL fans with aluminum shroud, Dynamat insulation, ACC cut-pile carpeting, American Autowire Classic Update loom|
|Output:||450 hp at 5,500 rpm, 450 lb-ft at 4,800 rpm|
|Machine Work:||Hawaii Racing Engines (Simi Valley, CA)|
|Built by:||Hawaii Racing Engines|
|Transmission:||Monster Turbo 350, 2,500-stall 10-inch Monster torque converter, shift kit, B&M ratchet shifter|
|Rear Axle:||Moser 12-bolt, limited-slip differential, 3.55:1 gears, 33-spline axles, 1350 U-joints|
|Front Suspension:||OE spindles, Speedtech tubular control arms, Viking adjustable coilover shock absorbers, antisway bar|
|Rear Suspension:||Speedtech tubular control arms, Viking adjustable coilover shock absorbers, antisway bar|
|Brakes:||Wilwood 12.19-inch discs, four-piston calipers, front; Wilwood 12.19-inch discs, four-piston calipers, rear; Wilwood master cylinder and proportioning valve|
|Wheels & Tires|
|Wheels:||Ridler 645 18x8 front, 20x8.5 rear|
|Tires:||Hankook Ventus V12 Evo 235/40 front, 245/40 rear|
|Upholstery:||Shawn Katt, Gearhead Garage (Sacramento, CA)|
|Seats:||Stock, Morris Classic Concepts 3-point safety belts|
|Steering:||AGR Performance Quick Ratio (12.4:1) box, ididit tilt column|
|Dash:||Stock with custom steel insert|
|Instrumentation:||Auto Meter Pro-Comp Ultra-Lite|
|Audio:||Pioneer head unit, Rockford Fosgate 600-watt amplifiers, Fosgate 6-inch front speakers, 6x9 rear speakers, 12-inch subwoofer|
|Bodywork:||Dan Brown, D.B. Customs (Sacramento, CA)|
|Paint by:||Dan Brown|
|Paint:||BMW Space Gray Metallic|
|Hood:||Stock Super Sport|
|Grille:||Stock Super Sport|
|Bumpers:||Stock, re-chromed by Britex (Sacramento, CA)|
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