Although Roger didn't know it at the time, the crushed and scrapped orange Chevelle wasn't the car in question. His old Chevelle had been painted white, and was actually sitting on the same farm as the orange A-body that got crushed. A few months went by without much progress until Roger received an intriguing e-mail out of the blue for someone who'd been tracking the progress of his search online. The person on the other end had the correct VIN number off the old Chevelle, and said he saw it posted for sale online. "He said he saw an ad with the correct VIN on eBay, craigslist, or Racingjunk.com, but he couldn't remember the exact site. After that, I got up at 4:30 a.m. everyday to scour the Internet for clues," Roger explains. "I expanded my search to include several major metro areas, and I found an expired craigslist ad in the Chicago area that had the correct VIN. Fortunately, the owner relisted the ad, I called him up, and we agreed to meet the next morning. When I finally saw the car in person, my heart began to race, as I spotted an old Missouri inspection sticker on the windshield. I asked the owner for any documents he may have, and he pulled out an old DMV title application from the car's same mid-‘80s owner I had tracked down a few years ago. Everything matched, so two days later, I came back with a trailer and hauled the car back home to North Texas."
After 40 years of separation, and more than a decade of searching, Roger and Karen finally found their old Chevelle. It had peeling white paint, a 396 and a 10-bolt rearend, so Roger had his work cut out for him to restore back to its original glory. Considering how rare the Chevelle was, keeping it as original as possible was a top priority. The replacement fenders, quarter-panels, fenderwells, and decklid are all NOS items. The skilled craftsmen at Premier Body and Paint (www.premierbodyandpaintlc.com) in Buffalo, Missouri get credit restoring the super-rare A-body's exterior back the concours-quality condition. All the interior and trim pieces are either OEM or high-quality stock replacement hardware as well.
Similarly, since the original 427 was long gone, Roger replaced it with the next best thing by rebuilding an OEM "512" block back to stock L72 specs. It has been fitted with a stock GM steel crank, and NOS rods, pistons, rings, rod bolts, and bearings. The solid-lifter camshaft and valvetrain are Comp Cams pieces built to stock specifications.
"Everything on this motor--from the block, cylinder heads, carb, exhaust manifolds, alternator, water pump, and cooling fan--are date coded to early 1969 when the car was originally built," Roger explains. "The same applies to the TH400 trans, 12-bolt rearend, and 14x7 wheels as well. The goal was to restore the car exactly like it was when it first rolled off the GM assembly line in Kansas City in 1969."
Not surprisingly, Roger's COPO Chevelle has been a huge hit on the show circuit, racking up trophies and awards by the boatload under the scrutinizing microscope of the most authoritative Chevelle experts in the business. After the Super Chevy Show in Ennis, Texas, it won the Chevelle category in our AMSOIL Best of the Best competition, presented by Danchuk and Classic Muscle.
Even so, the most profound and captivating element of this Chevelle isn't its rareness or the unique documents that confirm its identity (and Roger saved every single piece of paperwork he got with the car when he purchased it). The real story is how a decades-long saga has finally concluded with a husband and wife duo that can now re-live their first date from 42 years prior in the exact same car. The difference is that this time around, they can bring haul their grandchildren with them in the backseat.