Every Chevelle owner out there wonders what his or her ride might look like if it were a different color or had different set of wheels or a new interior. This train of thought usually leads to the next question: What do I want to build next? For Janice and James Sloan the answer was simple, "Honey, let's build you a car just like mine." So the Sloans decided to build a Chevelle in the image of their El Camino. To build two cars to look so similar was no simple task; luckily, attention to detail comes naturally to these two die-hard Bow-Tie fans.
When James was younger, he had a burning desire for a hot rod. The problem was he wanted musclecar horsepower on a Yugo budget. Many years later, when James had the financial ability and time, he purchased his '66 El Camino, a car that needed lots of love but satisfied his longtime lust for power.
The two-year body-off restoration gave the '66 a relatively stock look, with all the little details that hadn't been invented when the car was new. After the body was removed, Avila's Auto Body in Fontana, California, was in charge of coating the '66 with a Ford Sapphire Blue, two-stage paint. Even though we think a Chevrolet color would have been nice, we won't hold it against him.
While the body and paint were being completed, the suspension received Koni shocks at all four corners and a new set of disc brakes up front to complement the monster big-block. A 9-inch rearend, housing 3.50 gears and a Posi take care of the chassis package. Power is provided by a 502ci Rat churning out 425 estimated hp, backed by a four-speed tranny and Centerforce clutch.
After all the drivetrain components were completed, the '66 traveled to Custom Auto Interiors, where it received '67 Oldsmobile bucket seats covered with gray leather. And what good would a trick interior be without a kickin' Pioneer stereo with custom billet speaker screens?
The now-completed '66 El Camino was ready for driving and the show circuit. Janice loved the '66 so much that she insisted her husband build another one-for her! As any speed freak is well aware, the driver's seat is the only place to ride. On that note, he began searching for a Chevelle of the same vintage. After finding a '66 model, they began the process all over again, only this time they knew exactly what they wanted their new pavement pounder to look like. If they had any questions, all they had to do was look in the garage.
James and Janice went through the same parts list down to the last lug nut. James was careful to use the same color leather and paint code to ensure that the two '66s would look identical, aside from their obvious differences.
The motivation for the Chevelle was even greater than it was for the El Camino. Janice always felt that she had made many sacrifices financially and otherwise while raising their daughter. The '66 was a gift from her husband to show his appreciation for all the obstacles their marriage had overcome. Building a two-year labor of love is quite a special gift. We should all be so lucky. Besides, any wife who prefers horsepower to diamonds is all right in our book.