Fifty years ago it was 1964, a pivotal year in Chevrolet’s hot car history. Another important year was 1959. These years are interconnected on blazing Chevy’s performance. I began riding motorbikes in 1956, then fast motorcycles in 1959. I obtained my driver’s license in 1960. I vividly remember the older guys in nearby rural towns souping-up and customizing their machines in the late ’50s. Besides Chevy-powered street rods, the factory cars to beat were ’59-’60 3x2 348, four-speed Chevys. Corvettes also ruled, but they were in their own category. Also equally hot were highly modified ’55-’57 Chevys. They too were in a different category, as they were lighter, cost less, etc.
All of these ’55-’64 Chevys continually added to the overall “mix” of performance iron through the end of the decade, then right on up to today. If you thought these aforementioned early V-8 Chevys were the cat’s meow (I did and still do) the later Chevys, engines, and high-performance bolt-ons that came alive from 1965-’69 were actually light years ahead of the ’55-’59 and ’60-’64 model and performance times. Fact, not brag. I’m leaving 1970 all unto itself.
Why present this analogy? I can’t put enough emphasis on the soon-to-come 1965-’69 performance era. Hey, we’re talking super Corvettes, super Chevelles, super Camaros, super Novas, insane Mark IV big-blocks, high-winding 302s, and a lot more. If you were there, then you know. Cutting-edge Chevrolet dealerships and car builders like Motion Performance, Nickey, Dana, Guldstrand Engineering, Traco Engineering, Von Essers Speed Shop, Honest Charley’s, Ray Erickson’s Speed Service, Ed Pink, and Hank the Crank (and many others) really came into their own in the late ’60s.
Guess what? The Chevy performance beat indeed goes on …