It’s always tough letting go of a car you love. Just ask hot rod lover Jeffrey F. and he’ll tell you that straight up. But sometimes, though, it doesn’t make sense right away. It’s only in the long run when you realize that things worked out for the better. You just gotta trust your instincts and have the determination to see it through.
Jeffrey grew up riding in his dad’s hot Chevelle. He loved the power and the feel of the intermediate Chevrolet offering and knew one day he’d have one to call his own. A few years back he picked up a sweet ’72 SS model from Classic Car Studios (CCS) in St. Louis, Missouri, and had the company modify the car with a few “nice” add-ons. Those included a set of Wilwood brakes, a Detroit Speed Inc. suspension, and the icing on this proverbial cake: a monster 540 Shafiroff big-block.
It truly was one wicked Pro Touring ride, and good ol’ Jeffrey didn’t hesitate to put it through its paces. However, after four years of enjoyment he put it up for sale. He quickly regretted the move but thought that when things were once again right in the world he would try to find another one. Then the inevitable happened. Unable to shake the thought of not having a tasty ride in his garage, he once again contacted CCS to help build his dream ride; the ultimate, bad to the bone Pro Touring Chevy Chevelle.
Noah Alexander and the team were happy to help Jeffrey out with his dilemma. But first they would have to source the right starting point for this project. It took over a year but their patience paid off in spades. A laser straight ’69 Chevelle was located and purchased for the project. After Jeffrey checked out the car in person, he upped the ante. He suggested to Alexander that they build an “absolute monster” Pro Touring car. It would be a ride that would not only carve up the local roads with a killer suspension and power to spare, but also a Chevy that would be a jar full of eye candy and a show winner to boot.
So a design meeting was held, and CCS designers Alexander, Charles Crews, and Scott France decided on a color palette for the new ride. What’s more ominous and menacing than a nasty big-block Chevelle skinned in black? To CCS, the answer was nothing. So they decided on the “blackest of all black” hue to skin this A-body with. To add a little diversity, they drew up a deep-red, well-appointed interior. To finish off the ride, they decided on argent silver accents all around to complement the chosen colors on this behemoth Bowtie build.
Once the Chevelle’s overall layout was etched in stone, work commenced on the Chevy. Lead fabricator Dustin Bier outlined a few subtle body mods to clean up the overall look of the car. He then performed several nice streamlining effects, including shaving the emblems and tucking the front and rear bumpers. Once these were done, head painter Weasel took over and sprayed the body in a stunning base/clear skin of BASF Glasurit paint. Once finished, the black paint looked deep enough to take a swim in.
Next up, the chassis got some needed upgrading. So CCS contacted John Johnson of RideTech for a killer handling package. The Chevelle was set up with RideTech TQ series coilovers with competition grade handling. These feature both compression and rebound adjustment for precise tuning. They also installed RideTech upper and lower StrongArms, tall spindles, and front and rear MuscleBar sway bars. Wilwood brakes; six-piston fronts and four-piston rears help this Bowtie come to a halt.
Let’s not forget about the motorvation for this here Chevy. Dustin had a few goals in mind when he went to work on the drivetrain for this ride: keep it neat, keep it clean, and don’t spare the horsepower. When you’re dealing with forced-induction setups things can get cluttered quickly. With that in mind, Dustin laid out everything in advance to make sure everything worked together in harmony, with nice flow—both visually and mechanically.
The engine starts with a Dart Little M block punched out to 406 cubic inches. From there it received a set of fully hand-ported Dart Pro 220 aluminum heads. Next, a single-plane EFI manifold was installed along with a Holley Dominator EFI fuel and vehicle management system with 120-lb/hr injectors. Coated Ross Racing pistons punch the compression up to 9.1:1, keeping it boost friendly. A ProCharger F-1 supercharger and intercooler, along with custom piping, make the extra power that sends this ride into orbit.
Jeffrey threw a sharp left turn into the build process when he asked for a Vintage Air HVAC unit to be installed for those hot summer nights. No problem for Dustin and CCS. They worked around the add-on and plumbed it to perfection. He then built a set of custom stainless steel headers to rid this ride of its spent gasses and continued this out into a fully custom stainless exhaust using a pair of Borla mufflers.
A built TCI Automotive Turbo 400 feeds the power into a fabricated Ford 9-inch rear stuffed with 3.55 gears and a Detroit Locker differential. Power is sent out to a set of 22x12 US Mag Wheels shod in 335/25ZR22 Pirelli meats. Up front this Chevy sports 20x8.5 US Mags wrapped in 245/30ZR20 Pirelli rubber.
Last but not least, the interior is a sight to behold. CCS handled the job in-house, with interior guru Bryan Ploch doing an array of custom work to pull it all together. First off, they sourced a pair of Procar by Scat seats, modifying them to fit the Chevelle’s cockpit. Then they were covered in Vermillion Red Relicate leather. The Fesler-built center console adds a nice touch of class to the interior. The dash is stuffed with Classic Instruments gauges and a Holley Performance 7-inch touch screen LCD digital dash. The sound system is a combination of a Kenwood touch screen head unit pumping the tunes into a Kicker Q-Series amps and speakers. A Billet Specialties steering wheel and Flaming River steering column keep this beast pointed in the right direction.
All this go-fast goodness came together at Classic Car Studios’ shop in St. Louis. Final testing and tuning was done just across the mighty Mississippi at Gateway Motorsports. The CCS crew spent a full day on the road course dialing in Jeffrey’s suspension to make sure this Bowtie drove as sharp as it looks. Now the ride is in Jeffrey’s hands and he certainly loves every minute of it. It’s amazing how a “second helping” of a potent Chevelle kind of makes one forget the one that got away.
Photos by Tim Peeler