Hmmm … how should we start this feature out? Man’s father denies him the teenage joy of driving big-block street car? Chevelle nut likes fat valve covers and he cannot lie? Writer desperately searches for opening line to a car feature, fails horribly at trying to entertain readers? Deadpool drives badass Chevelle in the sequel, car to be built by Super Chevy copying this car? Editor Steven Rupp regrets giving the author this story after reading opening paragraph?
In a world where Pro Touring rules the schoolyard, it’s refreshing to see a Chevelle built on the principles of simplicity, brute power, and classic looks. No making a classic feel like a modern sports car, no fancy LS power under the hood, no billet wheels, or other opulent shiny stuff. Steel wheels, skinny five-spokes, no radio, no A/C, no fuel injection. Just a rumbling big-block with a single carb, Turbo 400 automatic, and enough fun to make everyone around you jealous. That’s what Greg Hurlbutt’s ’65 Chevelle 300 sedan is.
As Greg was turning 16 and itching to get his driver’s license, his father sold the ’65 Malibu hardtop that son Greg had been lusting to drive. A 13:1-compression, 0.060-over 427 backed by an M21 four-speed, it was a young gearhead’s dream. But Greg’s dad, with the kind of fatherly wisdom we hated in our youth but came to understand as adults, knew that unleashing his eager son on the streets in a 10-second muscle car was not the greatest idea in the world. So the Malibu went bye-bye.
Following that disappointment, Greg owned a series of third-gen Trans Ams, an original ’64 Malibu SS that his great-grandmother had bought new, and a ’55 two-door sedan, but they just didn’t satisfy the void left by his dad’s old ’65. About 12 years later, Greg was working at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale for Pit Pal Products, when a walk through the pavilion’s car show brought him face-to-face with a near mint ’65 Chevelle 300 post car. Still wearing its original Artesian Turquoise paint, the only mods the car had seen were a Moser 12-bolt, a mild 396 big-block, and TH400 transmission. Everything else was bone stock. Along with the paint, the trim, interior, and a host of other items were original. Outside of the mechanical upgrades, it was as unmolested a Chevelle as one could hope to find these days.
The car had originally been bought by Mabel Cameron from Decker, Michigan. It was as base as a Chevelle could be, 194-cid inline-six, no radio, no nothing outside the optional Powerglide and Z01 convenience group sold to her by Bill Wink Chevrolet in Detroit after arriving on the lot July 16, 1965, one of the last ’65s to roll off the Framingham assembly line. She only owned the car for two years before her untimely passing. It went from there to Chicago to the car’s second owner Don, who still owned it the date fate stepped in and brought Greg and the Chevelle together.
Words were exchanged, things discussed, and Greg left Barrett-Jackson as the new owner of the Chevelle 300. Fun factoid, Chevelle 300 sedans are pretty rare, with less than 30,000 being built for the model year out of 378,618 total Chevelles/Malibus built that model year, and very few are still around today.
For a while Greg enjoyed the car as purchased, but soon the mundane 396 wasn’t enough, and a built 496-inch stroker big-block from AES was installed. The desired look was a day-two type of car so Greg had the new engine and engine compartment detailed to look as “stock” as possible, including painting the aluminum radiator black and adding some N.O.S. parts inside and out to legitimize the sleeper look. Internally, the engine was far from stock with a Scat stroker crank, JE 11:1 pistons, and a Comp solid roller cam (0.715/0.710-inch lift with 270/280-degrees duration). To that vintage ’73 454 block Tony Schroder at AES added a set of Brodix Race-Rite oval port aluminum heads and an Edelbrock Victor Jr intake with a 950-cfm carb. Backing up the now 496-inch big-block is a TH400 with a manual valvebody, trans brake, and 4,000-stall converter. An MSD 6AL2 lights the fire and Hooker Super Comp 2-inch headers expel the spent gasses. The new combo ran a 10.70 at 124 mph, and was a solid cruiser on the street.
In July 2016, an underhood fire knocked the Chevelle out of action and Greg spent three and a half months rebuilding and repairing things to get it back on the street. Tri Power Automotive in Libertyville, Illinois, repaired the fire-damaged hood and refinished the engine compartment and exterior in correct lacquer, and managed to save close to 75 percent of the car’s original paint in the process. Along with the fire repairs, Greg changed up the car’s look with a nod toward a mid-’60s Super Stock appearance. Narrow Cragar S/S wheels were added up front and wide steelies wrapped in Mickey Thompson rubber with no center caps in the rear. Even the engine’s accessory drive uses factory-style equipment. He also added a PTC torque converter and the Pro Systems carb, helping drop the car’s e.t. down to 10.38 at 128. And that’s from a car that drives to the track and back home after the fun is done. Plans call for a 200-300hp shot of nitrous, which should put the Chevelle well into the 9s.
Beyond dragstrip runs, Greg drives the car to cruise nights, shows, or just for fun when the weather is hospitable for such activities. And helping keep the car clean is Greg’s 7-year-old son Chase, who will probably give Greg the same dilemma he gave his dad as the age of 16 approaches.