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Should practicality be considered when planning your Chevy build?

Practicalities: When is too much of a good thing just too much?

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I’m knee deep in two projects right now. One is my ’68 Camaro called Track Rat and the other is my ’71 Chevelle station wagon. Two cars that fall on opposite ends of the practicality spectrum.

The Camaro came out a lot nicer than I had planned. In the military they would call it “mission creep” but in hot rodding I think the fitting term is snowballing. It went from a lower budget rough-around-the-edges track day car to a Pro Touring car that could hang at any car show. Yeah, it will be able to boogie around a road course or autocross, but it came out so nice I’m sure the first few rock chips and cone rashes will sting a bit. And while it has a backseat, the rollcage ensures that it’s more vestigial than useable. So I’m left with a car too nice for the swinging doors of the mall parking lot with a seating arrangement too limited to take my two kids for a ride at the same time. None of this is necessarily a bad thing, but it does limit how useful it is in everyday life.

My wagon on the other hand is the poster child for practical. It cruises down the highway as nice as any SUV and even manages decent mpg if I can keep my foot out of it. There are four doors so carrying people is easy and it’s usually the coolest car dropping kids off at school. The paint is 20-footer quality, so parking lots are far less concerning and driving it in the rain doesn’t lead to thoughts of having to detail it for days. Don’t get me wrong, the Chevelle is nice, just not on the same level as my Camaro. Which is why it would always be my first choice for most outings. In short, it’s practical and as you live with a modded classic Chevy you start to appreciate how important that aspect is. When I need 8-foot sticks of lumber I take the wagon and load up. Need to bring home a Christmas tree? The wagon is perfect. Take the kids and their bikes to a friend’s house? The wagon can do it in style. All of that and, thanks to the Chevrolet Performance LS crate engine and Global West suspension, it can still hold its own at the track. Sure, it would get its butt kicked by my Camaro at any show or track event, but the practical uses of the wagon pretty much make up for it.

Of course, due my job description, I’m blessed to have two rides like this to choose from, but for those of you have to pick one ride to empty your wallet for then be sure to factor the concept of practicality into your game plan. The term might sound a bit boring, but the truth is that it can really ramp up the fun factor of your Chevy and how much you can enjoy driving it.

Edit Chevelle Wagon Carry 2/3

You’ve gotta love a Pro Touring ride that can haul around lumber, trees, and cubic feet of gear and passengers. After all, a Christmas tree is the ultimate interior air freshener.

1971 Chevelle Track 3/3

While the 4,000+ pound wagon will never win a track event, it does pretty damn good for what it is. Given how much fun the Chevelle is—and how useful it is—I would be hard pressed to choose between the wagon and the Camaro. Thankfully, I don’t have to.

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