Persistence is an invaluable trait for car guys. From finding parts to getting the car always desired, the unstoppable drive to succeed can give Bow Tie addicts that extra surge of adrenaline to see things through to a positive conclusion.
Cameron Merrill watched his neighbor revamp a '65 Chevelle convertible shell (said neighbor was a Painless Dent Removal specialist), and was impressed with the fine restoration job performed on the paint, body and interior. The horrifying moment came when the neighbor bolted on an air suspension and tiny wheels to make the ragtop a lowrider. With a mundane 350 for power, the Chevelle had become a low-altitude cruiser. But Cameron still wanted to buy it, even with its ground-scraping stance. He waited patiently for the opportunity to be the car's next owner.
Fast forward four years, and Cameron's neighbor was in the hellish nightmare of marital disharmony and disolvement. A need for cash put the guy in a spot, and the Chevelle had to be sacrificed. Cameron gladly handed over the money for the ragtop's pink slip and quickly began rebuilding the car into a true muscle car. The hydraulics came off at blazing speed, with Global West hardware being bolted on to the A-body chassis. With better handling arose a need for more power, so the pedestrian 350 and slush box were yanked in favor of a thumpin' 383 stroker backed by a Tremec TKO five-speed. After that, it was nothing but tire smoking excitement and driving for Cameron and his '65.
Driver's Impression-On the Autocross Course
I'm such a sucker for a red car, and have no problems admitting it. Global West's gorgeous '65 Chevelle convertible had me from "Hello" when I threw the top down, revved up the 383, slammed the TKO-600 into several gears, and it powered me down the autocross course with gifts of balance, elegance, and grace. The grin meter was on overload for this test, and proved once again that my job is pretty cool.
With full Global West underpinnings, I knew this car would handle well and do justice to my autocross course. The initial slalom found the steering to be extremely precise, with the Chevelle deftly handling each change of direction. The steering was perfect; looking down the course had me throwing darts at apexes and finding them every time. I came through the first crossover thinking it couldn't get much better than this, and well ... it did. Like Third gear, as the Chevelle just powered down the lanes with no fuss and its butt planted firmly to the tarmac.
Applying the Wilwood binders at the end turnaround held no surprises; the pedal was easy to modulate with wonderful brake response. Coming back through the sweepers found the car reaching adhesion limits but still remaining in a balanced state. When that limit was exceeded (and yes, it was ... several dozen times), playing "toss and catch" was quite fun. I felt I could "talk" to each tire and from this, feel the trademark predictability of any good-handling car. On one run, I tempted fate and at the turnaround, caused a bit of push after getting speed greed, but that's my own dumb fault. Properly driven, this Chevelle shows all is right in its world.
Can this 'vert do the job? From me, a resounding "yes," as the drivetrain, brakes, and steering complement the suspension very well. It shows once again that Global West offers excellent bolt-on suspension pieces for those that want a bit more handling performance for yesterday's muscle car without cutting on their stock frames.-Mary Pozzi