Muscle cars today are really in vogue. It seems like more and more are being crafted and to a higher level like never before. With so many nice hot rods being churned out it’s getting really hard to make a particular ride, especially something popular like a Chevelle, stand out. Some choose to take the safe route, but the result can end up being a sweet car that’s overlooked. Try going too far outside the box and the results could be worse: a ride that gets attention for all the wrong reasons. The key is to find a design that’s different enough to get a second glance, but not so over-the-top that it turns most people off.
Steve Post, owner of DW Motorsports in Perris, California, knew all of this when he started thinking about how to style his 1967 Malibu. To add to the pressure, a company wanted the Chevy in their SEMA booth. That left Steve with a scant six weeks to go from the $6,000 stocker to the sinister ride you see here. After getting design input from automotive artist Jason Rushforth, the body was separated from the chassis and sent over to John at Starship Design for paint and bodywork. The panels were massaged and the flat hood was replaced with a ’67 Chevelle SS hood from Original Parts Group. Once the body issues were taken care of and the lines were all straight, the car was given a two-tone paintjob in 2004 Chevy Charcoal Gray and 2006 Scion Envy Green. Knowing it was a risk to go with that color combo, Steve also knew his Chevelle would never get lost among the masses.
While all that was going down with the body, the chassis was at Steve’s place getting totally reworked. He wanted to slam the stance, so an air-ride system was installed on all four corners. This, combined with 4-inch drop spindles, meant that the ’67 could lay frame with the touch of a button. Global West upper control arms were added to complement the lowers and work well with the airbags. The rear of car features another set of bags and can accommodate an 8-inch drop. To bring the Chevy down from speed, all four corners feature massive Baer six-piston binders bolted to 14-inch rotors. Steve knew the wheels would make or break the vibe of the Chevelle so he went with a set of custom Rushforth Superspoke wheels (19s in front and 20s in the rear) then wrapped the billet hoops in 245/35 front and 285/30 rear Nitto Invo tires—the perfect combination to fit the desired look and feel he was going for.
With SEMA fast approaching, Steve and his team got busy working on a mill that would be willing to aggressively motivate the car in a moment’s notice. The Chevelle is a big car so inserting a big-block was a no brainer. DW Motorsports did all the machine work to the 427, which was bored to 4.250 inches. The stock steel crank was retained and a custom-grind Isky roller was added to the mix. With the short-block done, Steve added a set of ported oval-port GM iron heads then topped it all off with a Retro Tech Weber carb system. A Billet Specialties Tru Trac serpentine accessory drive dresses up the front of the powerplant, while MSD sets fire to the combustion chamber. The stellar big-block exhales through a set of Doug’s 1 7/8-inch headers and a coated exhaust system fabricated by DW Motorsports. MagnaFlow mufflers help keep the Chevelle from getting unnecessary law enforcement attention, not to mention keeping Steve on speaking terms with his neighbors. All working together, it puts down 601 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and a whiplash inducing 645 lb-ft of twist at 4,000 rpm on the engine dyno. Backing up the big-block is a TH400 transmission with a 2,400-stall converter. Power spins back through an aluminum driveshaft and into the Diff Works rearend (another company owned by Post). Another cool aspect of this car is that even though the Strange FAB9 housing was made for Ford stuff, Diff Works has a way to fill it with GM parts.
With only weeks until SEMA, the painted body was reunited with the tricked-out frame and DW Motorsports got the new engine bolted into place. With the big parts bolted up, it was a race to get all the little tidbits like wiring and trim wrenched together. As Steve told us, “The car was to have nickel-finished trim and bumpers, but with time running out we had to powder paint them black. There just wasn’t enough time to stick to the original plan.” During assembly, they found out that some of the flat painted body panels didn’t match so those had to be redone at the eleventh hour. It was a lot of late nights fueled by caffeine and adrenaline. Lastly, DW Motorsports stitched up the custom black, green, and gray leather interior just in time to hit the road to Vegas.
Fortunately, the car made it to SEMA in time where it got good reviews and all involved could finally take a deep breath and relax. Since then, Steve has been busy fine-tuning the Chevelle and getting in some local car shows.
The ride may be called The Joker, but Steve knows that doing it right meant serious business.