One might think that a life immersed in the world of European cars might negate one’s ability to appreciate 1960’s American muscle, let alone build a classic muscle car without ruining it completely. Right? Well, if you were in the majority of muscle car fans that would agree with that assumption, you are dead wrong. Sorry. Now turn that frown upside-down and take in the masterpiece that is this 1967 Chevelle.
This rip-roaring ’67 was built by the fine fellows at Roadster Shop, but inspired by Tom, a guy who grew up selling aftermarket parts for, owning, and driving nothing but European cars. “While I loved the styling of a lot of classic muscle cars, the idea of a carburetor and old suspension technology was just a huge turnoff, and after years of looking at, and even driving, some stock cars from the ’60s I just couldn’t pull the trigger,” remarked Tom. That was, until he discovered the workings of Roadster Shop. Tom was chatting with his cousin one day and the two of them were tossing around the idea of doing a Pro Touring build when his cousin brought up Roadster Shop. Tom had certainly heard of them, but hadn’t really seen their work. He started paying closer attention and saw a couple of their recent builds at Goodguys shows and SEMA. After getting a little more up close and personal with their cars, he finally decided to give them a call.
To his delight, not only were the guys at Roadster Shop on board with the idea of building Tom a ’67 Chevelle, they actually had one laying around that was abandoned by a previous client that ran out of money part-way through. So now he had a car to start with and a shop to make it happen, but what did he have in that European-conditioned mind?
What Tom wanted was easy enough to wrap your head around, but in reality the execution would be a challenge: Build a car that has 800-plus horsepower, handles like a modern European car, and looks 100 percent period correct—retaining even the chrome where Chevy originally put it. With a plan laid out, the Roadster Shop crew got to work.
The shell was in rough shape, so much of the body either underwent major reconstruction or was replaced altogether until it was as good as it could be and ready for paint. Color choice was a no-brainer for Tom—he always loved the timeless look of black on red so the body was sprayed in PPG Black to contrast the red interior to come. Per Tom’s wishes, the bumpers and trim were made to look factory but with a touch of added refinement. The stock bumpers were tucked, re-radiused, smoothed, and sent over to Advanced Plating for a re-chrome along, with other trim pieces.
With the exterior of the Chevelle handled, it was time to formulate the interior. Years of exposure to the world of Pro Touring made Tom realize he just wasn’t into interiors that didn’t look period-correct. “I wanted a car from the ’60s,” he recalls, “not a car that was from the ’60s but made to look like it was from 2015.” That being said, the usual interior modifications of bolt-in aftermarket seats, an overly customized dash, or the use of carbon fiber was just out of the question completely. Advanti-Garde Designs of Palm City, Florida, were called on to handle the task of outfitting Tom’s Chevelle with a classy interior. They wrapped the stock Chevelle bucket seats and rear bench in red leather, then formed custom door panels to match. Auto Meter Cobra gauges were mounted in a custom dash bezel behind a red leather steering wheel from Eckler’s. Sound was taken care of by an MB Quart head unit along with two 6-inch speakers in the front, two 6x9-inch speakers in the rear, and a 10-inch subwoofer. A classic Hurst shifter was used to complete this extremely refined version of an original Chevelle interior.
Looks were only part of the equation though because, if you’ll remember, the thing that kept Tom away from ’60’s era muscle cars were their lack of refinement in the handling department. To remedy this issue, the guys at Roadster Shop ditched the stock chassis (obviously) and utilized their Roadster Shop Fast Track chassis. That meant the Chevelle now had Hypercoil springs paired with Penske double-adjustable shocks all around along with upgraded spindles from a C6 Corvette. The brakes also saw a major upgrade as Roadster Shop bolted on some big ol’ six-piston Brembo disc brakes—365mm rotors in the front and 345mm rotors in the rear. To make use of the fancy suspension and brake upgrades, 19x9 and 20x12 Forgeline RS6 wheels were shod in 265/35R19 and 335/30R20 Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. Ride and handling characteristics of a modern European sports car? Check.
Of course, Roadster Shop didn’t stop at just a good-looking car with an upgraded chassis and just throw in a ho-hum engine; they went for a blown LS3 built by Wegner Motorsports. The 376ci block was bored out to 416 ci then topped by a 2.9L Whipple supercharger to the tune of 680 horsepower and 637 lb-ft of torque to the tires.
A Wegner Motorsports front drive system supported the typical engine accessories, including a Vintage Air Gen IV Magnum A/C compressor. On either side of the roots-style supercharger unit are aluminum valve covers from Greening Auto Company, along with 1 7/8-inch headers from Ultimate Headers. The rest of the exhaust consists of custom 3-inch stainless tubing with an X-pipe and Borla XR-1 mufflers. On the cooling side of the engine lives a nice, big C&R Racing aluminum radiator.
For a little added involvement, Tom opted for a manual transmission to go with his supercharged LS3 power, so Roadster Shop bolted on a TREMEC T-56 Magnum built by Bowler Performance Transmission in Lawrenceville, Illinois. Hidden within a Quick Time bellhousing is a clutch and pressure plate from McLeod and connected to the tailshaft is a custom chromoly driveshaft from VRN Welding and Fabrication in Lake Bluff, Illinois. A Ford 9-inch from Strange Engineering lives in the rear complete with 3.90:1 gears and an Eaton Truetrac limited-slip differential makes sure all 637 lb-ft of torque makes it to the ground.
So what is the sum of this Chevelle’s new parts? Here’s what Tom thinks: “What I got from Roadster Shop was a masterpiece. It’s truly the ’67 Chevelle that Chevy would build today if they were to stay loyal to the ’67 era design asthetic.” And now that it’s done and he has his dream Chevelle, he isn’t going to put it in a glass, but he also isn’t going to race it. From its conception, this was a Chevelle built to be driven and enjoyed and that is exactly what Tom plans to do with it.
Photography by Robert McGaffin