For the general population, a car is just a means for transportation. We as musclecar enthusiasts know this to be far from the truth. Our first Chevrolet holds a small part of our hearts as our first ticket to freedom. It allowed us to wind out the rpm on the open road and cruise between stoplights with the sound of V-8 muscle beneath our go foot. For some of us who are less into the dramatic, we may only associate a single memory with our first ride; a first date, wedding bells, or perhaps the birth of one's first child.
Tracey Smith never forgot the day she brought her son, Monk, home from the hospital in her first Chevelle. Soon after her son's birth, Tracey's husband sold the A-body without her knowledge, and the rest was history. Being slightly disappointed with the loss of her first Chevelle, Tracey made her husband promise that when the time was right she would have the Chevelle of her choice. Some 20 years later, Kerry Smith made good on his promise and bought his wife a '66 Chevelle project car. It was a little rough around the edges but possessed the potential to be a sweet cruiser.
After bringing the '66 back from Homeland, California, the Smiths spent a few days toolin' around before beginning the restoration. Having a mechanical husband, son, and nephew meant that Tracey's Heavy Chevy was going to be a family affair. As a body shop manager, nephew Johnny Reyes was in charge of the paint and body. Working only on the weekends, the '66 was brought down to bare metal and returned to its former glory. With virtually no rust, the major challenge was removing the prior paint jobs and filler.
The body was dipped in two-stage PPG silver and trimmed with all new reproduction parts and chrome. The chassis was stripped and outfitted with newly restored OE suspension with the exception of the CPP lowering springs. To get the A-body to the grocery store and back, a 427-inch big-block was assembled and dropped right into place backed by a TH350 tranny and 3.08 gears out back. In an effort to have something different all the aluminum was scuffed with Scotch-Brite to give a uniform dull finish to the shaved engine bay.
The interior was recovered with factory black vinyl and a repop carpet kit and was finished off with an ididit column and a billet steering wheel. Boyd Coddington 17-inch rollers wrapped with Nitto rubber was the last step before cruisin' the boulevard.
If you ask us, Tracey's car is way cooler than what most chicks drive, mostly due to the fact that she can do 300-foot burnouts on the way to the dinner. (Not that she would, but she could!) The Smiths' 18-month project turned out just as they had hoped. While 23 years is a long wait for a toy, it was certainly worth it says Tracey. While she contends that speed and power come second to lookin' good at shows, don't be surprised if you see her stopped by the local law enforcement as 427-inches of Rat is hard to keep bottled up.
Tracey and Kerry Smith
427-inch big-block, iron oval-port heads, GM I-beam rods, Arias flat-top 9:1 pistons, Comp Cams Extreme Energy Cam, Edelbrock Performer intake manifold, Edelbrock Performer 750-cfm carburetor, K&N air filtration, Proform HEI distributor, Flowmaster dual exhaust, Zoops brackets and pulleys, Zoops Type II power steering with remote reservoir, assembled by Monk Smith, machine work by APC, Pomona, CA (909/623-1251)
GM TH350, TCS stock stall converter, assembled by The Toy Shop, Pomona, CA (909/620-5849)
OE buckets, GM reproduction seating surfaces, door panels, console, ididit column, Pioneer head unit, Pioneer speakers, installation by owner
'00 PPG silver/GM Denali custom mix, shaved firewall, paint and body by Johnny Reyes, Montclair, CA (909/984-0623)
(F) OE spindles, CPP lowering springs, KYB gas shocks, GM disc brakes
(R) 12-bolt differential, 3.08:1 open rearend, KYB gas shocks, CPP lowering springs
Boyd Coddington Smoothie II
Nitto NT 450