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1971 Chevy Chevelle Convertible - Gold Record

Nearly 40 Years After Setting A Land Speed Record At Bonneville In A '68 Camaro, Bob Decious Is Still Building Chevys That Take Your Breath Away.

Isaac Mion Sep 1, 2009
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While the '71 Chevelle popping off the page in front of you is by any definition one of the more stunning examples to appear in the hallowed pages of Super Chevy of late, it is by no means the first time a creation of Decious' (pronounced Dee-shus) has been featured in a major magazine.

"Back in the '70s, my father-in-law came to me and said that his '72 Nissan pickup wasn't getting away from anyone on the highway," he told us. "So I put in a 350 small-block with a 350 turbo transmission. We called it "White Lightning" and it ended up in one of the first issues of Truckin'."

Since then Decious has built numerous show cars, including a '29 Ford roadster, a '58 Impala and a '69 Camaro convertible to name a few.

But this '71 Chevelle is his latest and greatest, put together over the last six years by he and his son Derrick. At first, Decious wanted a '70, but he couldn't find one so he "settled" for the '71. One thing is for sure: Once he got his hands on it, he pursued his plan to revitalize it with a vengeance. The first step was acquiring it and sorting out the dilapidated body.

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"I got it from the mayor of Redondo Beach on Super Bowl Sunday 2003," Decious said. "It was pretty rusted. It was a beach car. We had to replace the floor panels and quarter-panels."

Not to mention the doors (all from OPG). When the work was complete, the A-body was slathered in retina-vibrating Goldmine Pearl Metallic paint from House of Kolor. As you can see from the photos, the color glows when the sun hits it.

With the body sorted out, it came time to install the 572 crate motor. Don Steve's Chevrolet in La Habra got it for him at a righteous price so that was bonus, but when he went to install it didn't fit. Well, it did fit, but with a four-quart oil pan. "That was one of the biggest hassles getting the motor in," said Decious. "I took the oil pan and rewelded it to fit the chassis. I had to do it two or three times but I now have a five quart oil pan."

A number of other upgrades have been applied to the 572, including ported and polished heads, bringing the compression up to 10:1, Sanderson headers, and a dual pass radiator with electric fans made by Matson. Decious can idle all day and run right at the thermostat. Of course, when he's done idling and it's time to launch the estimated 675 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque goes through the Art Carr-built transmission and the gold Chevelle becomes a flaxen flyer.

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Once the motor and Currie 9-inch rearend had been fitted, it came time to get the stance right. Decious picked up a set of Budnik rims measuring 19x10 inches rear and 18x8 up front. The entire chassis descends over these rollers like a Golden Eagle squatting on her babies when the air is let out of the Air Ride Technologies' Shock Waves in front and the air bags in back. Stopping the Chevelle are four-wheel discs, 13-inch Chevy rotors up front and 12-inch Ford Explorer rotors in the back. The system gets an assist from a 9-inch CPP master cylinder.

With the menacing stance set, they designed a steering wheel to match the rims. The rest of the interior has had it share of customization, too. Although it looks great in black it wasn't always this color.

"I actually had the interior done in grey originally," Decious said. "Then when I saw it, it just didn't look right so I had the front seats and the rest of the cabin covered in Mercedes black leather. That cost me a few dollars," he said of the re-do (which included the same covering for the rollbar).

The seats that he had covered are actually from a 2004 Subaru WRX with modified headrests. Other nice touches to the interior are the Auto Meter gauges nestled in the custom Covan kevlar insert and (of course) those matching gold inserts.

When Decious started breaking records in '55 Dg at Bonneville with a Chevy motor, he had no idea he'd be making waves years later with a golden oldie.



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