My final three modifications were 90/10 front shocks and Air Lift airbags. The L79 got down to 12.72 at 107 mph. The factory 12-bolt rear end handled the gaff. For the record, I also installed the little-known '65 Corvette Muncie shift arms. Both 1-2 and 3-4 arms had a hole punched in the middle. After you installed them you adjusted the shift rods accordingly. The end result was a short-throw shifter like a Hurst Competition-Plus. The arms only cost a few bucks. I still have an extra set today-just in case!
Street RacesOne evening, I drove into the local McDonald's, which was next door to where I bought my '62 409 SS back in 1963. An off-duty policeman worked there nights to keep the peace. As I parked, he came over and said a guy in a blue Chevy II was saying he has the fastest car in town, and would I like to run him? My reply was that I did not street race. He then said, "How about if we block the road?" Hmm, how do you cop out to a cop? You don't. I replied, "Your call." He walked over to the guy in the silver blue L79 Chevy II SS and told him he would call his motorcycle officers and we'd see how fast his car was.
In a few minutes, in came a pair of Harley motorcycle officers. We followed them out to a rural road with no intersections. One cop went down to the end and the other stayed near us. They communicated with walkie-talkies. I told the guy who owned the "fastest car in town" to beep his horn three times and launch on the third beep. My buddy's eyes were getting as big as cue balls. I casually told him that I knew the guy had a big Isky 310 hydraulic cam with M/T four-tube headers. But the cam was too much on the street-especially through his stock mufflers. He also had no in-your-face driving experience.
On the third beep, we launched side-by-side. I powershifted to Second gear at 5,500 rpm and jumped him half a car length. He hit Second gear at probably 7,000 rpm, then I hit Third gear at 5,200 rpm and pulled him a few more feet. We were even in Fourth gear. Red Chevy II over blue Chevy II by one car length. We then turned around and raced again. Luckily, there were no homes in the area. Can you imagine someone calling the cops to report a street race but the cops were already there? I won the second race by 1 1/4 car lengths. I then drove back to McDonald's behind the two Harley officers. The other Chevy II guy never came around anymore. He was in the Air Force at a local radar/rocket guidance silo base.
After seven months of ownership, I decided to part company. I put the II back to mostly stock and sold it for $2,000 (the same that I got for my '62 409). I was a subscriber to Popular Hot Rodding magazine and followed their stories on the Project X '57 210. I decided to drive to California with my L79 Chevelle friend in his new '66 Grand Prix and find a rust-free '55-57 Nomad station wagon. But that's another story!