If the Alabama Slammer cocktail is made with Southern Comfort and sloe gin, then this Chevelle is made with equal parts of performance and style. William "Buddy" and Joann Shores of Concord, Alabama, own the car, but it was pretty much built by Goolsby Customs in Bessemer. We say "pretty much" because Buddy, a machine shop owner who knows how to handle a wrench, started the build in his home garage, but passed it off pretty early in the process.
It started out as a real SS that was fairly nice, but "fairly" just would not do for Buddy. He wanted this one to be fast, clean, and a little evil. To set the bar high right from the start, he ordered a complete Roadster Shop chassis, 502 big-block, and Tremec five-speed trans instead of trying to upgrade the stock stuff. When the new goodies showed up, Buddy set the big Rat and trans in the new frame and slipped the assembly under the sheetmetal.
This is where Buddy decided to let a few young guns take over to really take the car to that next level. He took the Chevelle over to Goolsby Customs to have Jonathan Goolsby and Josh Henning work their magic. After a little planning meeting with Buddy, the Goolsby crew tore the car back down to bare bones. They proceeded to smooth the frame and paint it gloss black, while the suspension components went flat grey. The Roadster Shop chassis features C6 front suspension and a 9-inch rear held in with a triangulated four-link. For an added dash of flash, the Goolsby crew built a custom set of stainless steel link bars.
Brakes come in the form of 13-inch Wilwood discs at all four corners. The car gets another shot of style and performance with the charcoal center/brushed lip 18x9 front and 20x12 Tachs from Boze Forged. The Tachs are wrapped neatly with Michelin Pilot Sports, P255/35R18 front and P335/30R20 rear.
With the chassis now under control, Jonathan and Josh moved to the driveline. Keeping with the smooth theme, they ground off all the sand casting from the ZZ502 block and sprayed it the same flat grey as the suspension. The engine is topped with a killer-looking six-shooter carb set up from Barry Grant and a custom milled air cleaner. Other accessories that round out the Rat are a black Billet Specialties Tru Trac drive system, MSD 6AL digital ignition and Pro Billet distributor, Aeromotive Stealth fuel system, custom 3-inch stainless exhaust with riveted tips and stainless trim pieces by Walker Morgan at Morgan Performance Fabrication. Backing up the 502 is a Tremec TKO five-speed with hydraulic throwout bearing.
Next, the boys turned their attention to the sheetmetal. Again, with the smooth theme, multiple items were shaved from the exterior, like the driprails, door handles, all moldings and factory seams. To provide a nice surround for the highly detailed engine, the firewall was smoothed out and a few recessed pockets were worked in to match the custom work on the underside of the hood and trunk lid. This added some continuity to the entire design and to further the engine compartment's looks, the inner fenders were blocked nice and smooth.
Since the car was now devoid of all side trim, the stock bumpers just didn't look right. To cure this problem, the bumpers were tucked closer to the body and narrowed a bit so they didn't stick out so much. Before being plated along with the bright work in black nickel by Steve Tracy at Advanced Plating (Nashville), the Goolsby boys remade the lower area of the front bumper to add a mesh insert and smooth out the license plate area. After all the fabrication work was done, the guys blocked every panel nice and straight so the Dupont stock Nissan grey paint would lay smooth as glass. After the base color was cleared, a few accent areas were sprayed flat black.
Stewart's Kustom Upholstery was enlisted to create an interior that had all the style the exterior has. The shop re-foamed the stock front buckets and carved in a new shape. Then, along with the custom rear seat, it all got covered in a blend of black leather and perforated suede. All the little bumps and curves in the floorboard were smoothed out before getting covered in grey carpet. The headliner was sewn up out of the same perforated suede for a high-class look. A custom console with stainless trim houses a touch-screen monitor to control the satellite radio and iPod as well as the power windows and trunk release.
With the sewing complete, the Goolsby crew took the A-body back and built a custom dash that houses a full line of Classic Instruments gauges and Vintage Air controls. Tucked up behind the dash is a Kugel master cylinder and power booster mounted using a cantilever setup, as well as the Wilwood clutch slave cylinder. Buddy didn't want to be completely left out of the build process, so in his own words he decided to "whittle out all the little trinkets" for the interior, engine compartment, and undercarriage to add a little more style to the entire car. What can we say? It must be good to own a machine shop.
After all that work and a big wad of cash, the car was complete and was ready for its debut at the 2009 SEMA show in Las Vegas. This is where we first laid eyes on the killer Chevelle and were not surprised when the car was chosen to compete in the Optima Street Car Invitational. The SS was doing pretty well in the event until a small knocking sound started coming from under the hood. After a new engine from GMPP, the car was ready for us to shoot. Just like a good shot will give you a nice buzz, this Chevelle can get you drunk with envy.