Finding a starter car is often the most challenging part of the entire project. We at Super Chevy hear stories day in and day out about cars purchased over the internet or of unknown origin that were a surprise upon delivery. We have two words: caveat emptor, buyer beware. If it's old enough to be found in Latin, you better believe it's for real. Luckily for David Baker, his internet purchase brought him the best of luck, a sweet '69 project vehicle that was exactly as it was described, aside from the faulty module in the distributor.
David's search ended exactly where it began, the internet. After traveling half way across the country to chilly New York State David found himself in an empty parking lot at 2 a.m. With prior arrangements to pick the '69 up the next morning, David spent the coldest night of his life in a Silverado pickup in a neighborhood his new only from Mapquest. The next morning after his blood thawed out, he found that he was only a few hundred yards where his love to be lay resting in a heated garage.
The 18-hour trip back to Tennessee was uneventful and exciting at the same time. As soon as his new F-body was home it was time to hit the wrenches. David thought he'd better get started, after all he figured he had at least a year's work to complete. David soon realized that a one-year reso-mod is almost unheard of. His one year quickly turned into four years and 35,000 greenbacks.
After removing the trim, old motor and interior he began surveying the damage and concluded that both quarter panels and the hood were junk. After removing the front clip and separating the rear unibody rails from the tub David had Art Morrison Enterprises fabricate custom frame rails to accommodate the massive tire and four-link rear suspension. With the rails in place, Dave began bending and welding sheet metal for his first set of custom wheel tubs. While pre-fabricated tubs were available on the open market, Dave just couldn't find exactly what he was looking for. When in doubt, make it yourself!
After bolting in the four-link rear suspension and assembling the front end it was time to decide upon power. As far as Dave was concerned there was no replacement for displacement. A 509-inch big-block with rectangular port heads was assembled to make an honest 500-plus rear wheel horsepower. While Dave hasn't had a change to see the dyno yet, we assured him that mid-11s are totally feasible with his motor and tire combo.
Behind his monster Rat lays a track prepped TH400 with a 3,500-rpm street/strip converter. Last but certainly not least sits a 9-inch rearend, housing 3.89:1 gears and a Posi differential. Cadillac discs provide stopping power in the rear and OE Camaro disks provide the same up front.
Once mechanically sound, Dave moved to his biggest decision to date, what color and how much will it cost me. We were shocked to find out that a large portion of the exterior bodywork was done by Dave himself with a little help from the local body shop. Glasurit Brilliant Red was the chosen pigment, and a fine choice if we do say so ourselves. Made of the same pigments as many of the world's fastest European super cars Dave's '69 was only an interior shy of a complete machine project.
As money was coming to a halt Dave had the front buckets recovered with black vinyl and the rest of the interior replaced by Classic Industries interior components. A B&M Megashifter and Custom Auto Sound audio system completed the interior package.
We're always impressed with readers who are capable of restoring an entire car with little or no outside help. Not that there's anything wrong with a pro-built machine, but we always give props to anyone who can do it on their own steam! We hope to see Dave's '69 tearing up the streets of Western Tennessee but probably not with his current set of tires seeing as we coaxed him into burning them up for the sweet cover shot on this month's cover!