If you were around in the late-’60s, early-’70s, you probably heard the song about a purple monster with one eye and one horn that supposedly satisfied its nutritional requirements by munching on humans. Sheb Wooley wrote and sang the timeless tune (yeah, it still has a following among youngsters today!), and those of us that repeated the lyrics incessantly kept it on the charts for years while simultaneously driving our parents crazy.
Well, the 1969 Chevelle you see here is a monster, too. Owned by Jerry and Carrie McColly of Salem, Oregon, this one eats asphalt and chews up the competition like they’re late-night snacks.
The search for a suitable Chevelle began back in 2005 when Jerry decided he’d like a replacement for the 1966 SS396 he’d owned a few years before. His quest yielded several candidates from the “trader” books and classifieds, some taking him as far as Seattle to determine their suitability. But each ’66 he looked at turned out to be junk, and it wasn’t long before a decision was made to broaden the search. He’d also owned a ’69 previously, and flipping through the local classifieds, one of those popped up. With little to lose, he decided to take a look. Well, that one look was all it took, and soon he was hauling home a new project.
It made the trip home on a stretcher for good reason. Because even though the body was nice and the Fathom Green paint was more than acceptable, the 396 stuffed between the fenders suffered from a cracked block. But the timing couldn’t have been better. The McColly’s son, Evan, was a senior in high school at the time and needed a “senior project.” It wasn’t long before an engine swap was in the works.
Father and son both agreed that the only way to fill the engine bay would be with a big-block, so they began their search for an appropriate replacement. What they came up with was a gargantuan 565ci Scott Shafiroff big-block that uses a tall-deck Dart Big M block as its foundation and is barely concealed beneath the 4-inch fiberglass cowl hood.
Naturally, a big engine needs a big set of heads to help it breathe. A pair of Merlins were bolted up to meet the need, with further respiratory assistance coming from an Ultradyne 0.648-inch lift solid roller setup and a set of Comp Cams Pro Magnum rockers. The bottom end is equally up to the task, with a steel Eagle crank and H-beam rods swinging a set of Mahle forged slugs. With all the hard parts in place, the entire package was buttoned up with a Merlin single-plane intake, port-matched to the heads.
Adding fuel to the MSD-sparked fire is a Holley 1,050-cfm Dominator, with burnt fossil fuels being expunged through a set of Hooker Competition headers, 3-inch pipes, and a pair of SpinTech side-exit mufflers and their oval pipes that exit just in front of the rear tires. It’s a cool look with an even cooler sound!
Naturally, getting the (conservatively) estimated 900-plus horses to the ground is a formidable task, so only the best components were used to back up the monster motor. A Turbo 400 trans was meticulously assembled by Pro-Built, using severe-duty clutches, special heat-treated sprags, and a manual valvebody. A Hughes 3,000-stall race converter bolts up to an SFI-spec flexplate, and for added safety the entire trans is encased in a blow-proof blanket.
Since Jerry and Evan were building a Chevy, they decided to remain true to the Bow Tie breed, and out back you’ll find the ubiquitous 12-bolt rearend. This one’s been beefed considerably however, with a Moroso Brute Strength posi spinning a set of 4.10 cogs. Moser Engineering provided the 30-spline axles and C-clip eliminator kit for added reliability each time the hammer is dropped, while the factory four-bar setup was reinforced and fitted with solid aluminum bushings.
When it comes to turning heads, getting the right stance is just as important as having all the right hardware to turn the tires. The Chevelle hunkers down on a set of Billet Specialties Street Lite wheels (8s in front, 10s in the rear) with humongous 325/50-15 M/T Drag Radials stuffed up inside the stock rear wheelwells. Looking at it, even sitting still, you just know this is one bad-assed Chevelle. The look is further complemented by the retina-searing purple hue, otherwise known as Ultra Violet, which was masterfully applied by the folks at Pacific Roadster Customizing.
So if you find yourself cruisin’ in Salem, Oregon, sometime, and this mean purple machine rumbles up next to ya, don’t even think about it. Trust us … this is one flyin’ purple pavement eater that can chew you up and spit you out with more efficiency than Sheb Wooley’s purple monster ever thought about!
1969 Chevy Chevelle SS396 - Playing Favorites