A good deal on a classic Chevy can be hard to find. Resisting the purchase of said good deal can be even harder.
Late one Thursday evening, Keith Stanczyk was relaxing at home when a buddy stopped by to tell him about a car for sale in a neighbor's garage. Keith and his friend headed out the door. Arriving at their destination, Keith found a dust-covered 1972 Chevelle body. The car had all the bodywork done and was resprayed in the factory copper color with black stripes. Further examination revealed the car was an original SS454, adding to Keith's excitement.
Even though the Chevelle had no drivetrain or interior, the $2,500 asking price for a fully finished body with NOS sheetmetal was a temptation Keith couldn't resist. A handshake finalized the deal, and two days later in the pouring rain Keith and his father, Ron, loaded up the car for the trip back to Keith's house.
It took quite a few years for Keith to collect enough parts and pieces so he could begin reassembling the '72. In 2006 he began bolting all the trim back onto the body, along with installing the door- and quarter-windows. After that was the interior, including a rare '70 Chevelle Super Sport-only radio delete plate, a treasure that took Keith 10 years of swap meet and Internet hunting to find. The stock interior was re-covered in factory-style material from YearOne, all installed by Keith and his father.
Since this was an original big-block A-body, there was only one choice for the powerplant. Bill Cannon's Awesome Engines in Shelbyville, Delaware, got the call to build an appropriate Rat. The foundation is a Dart Big M block with an Eagle stroker crank, Wiseco 10:1 pistons, and ARP studs. The 598-cubic-inch monster has RHS Pro Top Line aluminum heads with Trend pushrods, Jesel shaft-mount rockers, and a Lunati solid roller actuating the valvetrain. A Dart single-plane intake with Quick Fuel Technology 1050-cfm Dominator carb takes care of fuel delivery. An MSD 6AL box connected to a crank trigger system lights everything off.
The combo makes over 800 horsepower, turning a Richmond five-speed with McLeod dual-disc clutch encased in a Lakewood bellhousing. The final drivetrain piece is a Moser 12-bolt rear with 4.10 gears and a Moroso Big Brute Posi system.
Supporting the Chevelle is a stock F41 suspension, with an H&R adjustable sway bar kit on the rear. Braking is handled by factory four-piston disc brakes up front and 11-inch diameter drums on the ends of the Moser axles. The car rolls on custom-made E/T Classic 5 wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich rubber. The exhaust system starts with a pair of Jere Stahl-modified headers and ends with a pair of Flowmaster mufflers.
The car's distinctive rumble helps it stand out from other Chevelles, and lets others know when Keith is driving down the street. His 5-year-old son knows the sound all too well, and when he hears the A-body come rumbling down the street he exclaims, "Here comes Daddy's bad-guy car!"
If having an asphalt destroying Chevy like Keith's makes you a bad guy, then the good guys must be heavily outnumbered.