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Island Beauty

Kenny Tajiri's latest ride is a darned sight better than his first ride.

When it comes to professing an undying affection for classic '60s musclecars like the Chevrolet Chevelles, El Caminos, Camaros, and Monte Carlos, Milliani, Hawaii, GM-lover Kenny Tajiri whimsically sums up a lifetime's worth of experiences in one paragraph.

"I was the youngest of five children, and grew up in a household of GM musclecar fanatics," says Tajiri. "I literally went to sleep, and arose to the melodious rumble of either a high winding Chevrolet small-block, or pulse-pounding Chevrolet big-block, wide-open throttle at dawn, and fast idle at dusk. These cars would never fail to send chills up, and down my spine!"

Kenny my man! You ought to be writing poetry!

However, the 34-year-old native Hawaiian also seems to have no problem dealing in abject-reality.

"Sadly, my first car was a '71 Toyota Corolla, which was followed by a Karmann-Ghia, and then a Porsche 911 Turbo. However, throughout this entire phase of my automotive life, I never gave up on the idea of [someday] owning a classic American musclecar!"

Four years ago, Tajiri purchased this mint condition, '69 427 Chevelle big-block for the princely sum of $14,000. There were however a few custom additions which Kenny wanted to make.

"My friend Andy Partika and I built the car." As one can tell from the tech box below, "this car is the REAL DEAL," says Tajiri. Yes, Kenny, it certainly is!

OwnersKenny and Darlene Tajiri, Milliani, HI
Vehicle'69 Chevelle SS 427
Engine427 Chevy big-block, Randall Kubo prepared 11.5:1 open chamber heads, Manley Performance stainless-steel valves, (2.20-inches intake, and 1.80-inches exhaust), Cam Research valve train, TRW forged-aluminum pistons, a GM Performance Parts 10/10 cast-iron crank and big block connecting rods, Cleveite 77 engine bearings, a Cam Research hydraulic cam, Childs & Albert multiple index timing chain, and Melling oil pump, Street & Performance valve covers, GM Performance Parts 4-volt dual-plane intake manifold sporting a 850-cfm, Barry Grant Speed Demon carburetor, MSD/GM HEI-type Pro Billet distributor and wire set, thermal-coated 2 3/8-inch Hooker Super Comp headers, thermal-coated 2 3/8-inch Hooker Super Comp headers, Borla stainless-steel mufflers
TransmissionHurst-equipped factory Borg-Warner M-21 four-speed transmission using a Center Force II clutch
Rearend3.73:1 geared GM 12-bolt
Suspension
Frontstock with KYB gas shocks
Rear Southside Machine traction bars with KYG gas shocks
Wheels
Front Billet Specialties 17x9 1/2 inches
RearBillet Specialties 17x11 inches
Tires
Front BFGoodrich Comp Radial T/A P275/40-17
Rear BFGoodrich Comp Radial T/A P315/35-17
Exterior Portofino Blue/DuPont, Marina Blue Racing stripes painted by Scott Kamaili
Interior stock factory-blue interior, Auto Meter whiteface instruments, Grant GT steering wheel
Stereo 1000-watt Alpine audio system, featuring trunk-mounted JBL speakers and amp in a Tajiri-Partika fabricated enclosure
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