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1962 Chevy Bel Air - "Jail BA8"

How Appropriate For Such A Bad Machine

Dakota Wentz Jul 1, 2004
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For many, when they hear, '62 Bel Air Bubble Top, they think of a cool, slick, sexy Chevy cruisin' down the street. But for those in a drag racers state of mind, they think of a sly, sleek, street beast just itchin' to hit the strip. Oh, you've never heard of a bubble top killin' the strip? Try this name on for size, Dyno Don Nicholson. Ring any bells? Well for Randy Palmer this name rings more than a few bells.

From day one, Randy has been a car guy, and judging by his previous and current vehicles, he has always had a soft spot for the early-to-mid '60s Impalas. Although his collection has included Mopars, Fords, Porches, and Ferraris, his heart always leads him back to the Bow-Tie. And when the Bow-Tie comes to his mind, there's only one car that sits atop, a '62 Bel Air Bubble Top Impala. However, most leave their bubble top's stock, some make customs, cruisers, etc., but Randy follows in the footsteps of the great Dyno Don Nicholson and transforms his '62 into a lean, mean, blown Pro Street machine.

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The Bel Air was originally built back 1989 in Ventura, California. Then for the next few years it bounced from town to town, and garage to garage, until March of 1999. When Randy saw this car, he knew he had to have it. On the other hand, some changes were in order. The first step was getting this 10-year-old ride to shine. The Chevy was taken to Mike Bridges of Monrovia, California, where he color sanded and buffed the Bel Air twice.

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Then a set of Erik Vaughn Real Wheels and Mickey Thompson tires were thrown on. It was now time for the fun stuff, detail, detail, and more detail. First the engine was pulled where it was painted and detailed, then the entire billet and stainless was polished. Even the underside was given an all-new clean and updated look. Once the body was taken care, A&C Upholstery crafted a one off interior. Complete with Buick bucket seats, custom door panels, and red Mercedes carpet.

Like many other car owners, Randy enjoys all the compliments and attention his car gets, but at the same time is rather shocked. Now you're probably wondering how is he so shocked? Well let me put it to you like this, in 1962 there were only 1,206 Bubble Tops produced, and to many, to do anything but restore one is sacrilegious. Let alone, make one into a Pro Street car, but in Randy's opinion, this car was built for the "bad to the bone" look. And to top it all off, hanging from the back with the words California above, is a slogan that sums up this car's essence and persona, "JAIL BA8."


Randy Palmer

'62 Bel Air "Bubble Top"

Chevrolet 468 LS6, Iron heads, 7.5:1 compression, Crower crankshaft, Crower camshaft, 671 Weiand/Littlefield supercharger, custom headers, 3-inch Flowmaster, built by Hawaii Racing

'00 Turbo 400, 2,800-rpm stall, B&M shift kit

Narrowed Ford 9-inch

(F) '77 Trans Am subframe, Empire Airbags, Koni Shocks
(R) Harrison four-link, Empire airbags

(F) Erik Vaughn Real Wheels 15x6
(R) Erik Vaughn Real Wheels 15x15

(F) Mickey Thompson 26x7.5x15
(R) Mickey Thompson 29x18.5x15

Ferrari 300 Red by Mike Bridges, Ventura, CA

Buick '88 Bucket seats covered in vinyl, Mercedes red carpet, custom door panels, custom dashboard, V.D.O. instruments, upholstered by Danny at A&C Upholstery

Alpine headunit, Pioneer speakers, Bazooka subwoofer with a Rockford Fosgate amp



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