1966 Chevrolet Chevelle
Sales - Design/Build - Restoration
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Selling for a solid $262K just one year after its professional, body-off restoration, this slick Chevy hardtop features a seamless and sinister appearance that’s highlighted by an immaculate layer of custom PPG basecoat. Now, we all know it isn’t easy to perfect a body that’s going to be dipped in deep black pigment. And that difficulty doubles when said black pigment is pretty much the ONLY thing prospective admirers have to focus on. But, no worries here; just take one look down the sides of this Chevelle’s rock-solid fuselage and it’s obvious that Cummings Custom Classics of Maryville, Tennessee took great care ensuring each of its panels were aligned to better-than-factory fit. Step closer to those panels’ hypnotic finish and check out their straight and ripple-free surfaces, which are a product of high quality prep work and 100% original sheetmetal. Grab that sheetmetal’s well-adjusted pivot points and feel how smoothly they close to provide an excellent fit, which is highlighted by precise gaps and a glossy PPG clearcoat. Now, step back and watch it all add up to one extremely impressive classic that’s built to exacting specifications.
The key to creating a world class custom is building a car that, even though it looks virtually seamless, actually contains many labor-intensive modifications. Take this foreboding Chevelle, for example. Thanks to subtle metalwork and a little help from the folks at Advanced Plating in Nashville, Tennessee, GM’s mid-size sales champ has never looked so good! At the front of the car, a mirrored grille hangs a custom “502” emblem between chrome headlight buckets, traditional T3 headlamps and a spotless chrome bumper. At the sides of the car, shaved fender emblems and a distinct lack of brightwork hint at a serious personality while traditional door handles and fresh wheel frames add a little form to major function. At the top of the car, a shaved Super Sport hood leads the eye to smoked glass that rides behind a smoothed cowl, straight stainless trim and bright stainless wipers. And at the back of the car, a smoothed valence hangs crystal clear tail lights above a second spotless bumper.
Few cars fit the ‘muscle car’ description better than a Chevelle. And when you build a Chevelle that’s named “Black Thunder”, you’d better stock some SERIOUS horsepower. Twisting 540 dyno-proven horses into a massive 560 lb./ft. of stump-pulling torque, this coupe’s killer GM Performance Parts 502 is a logical testament to the old rule: more cubic inches equals more horsepower. Massaged by Hinkle Machine Shop in London, Kentucky, the brutal mill utilizes a forged crank, shot penned rods, aluminum pistons and a hydraulic roller cam to flat out whip pretty much anything with four wheels. A perfect air/fuel mixture is supplied by a big Holley 750, which anchors a Proform center section between a reusable filter element and Holley pressure gauge. That mixture flows through a mirrored Edelbrock intake to ported and polished heads which, like the rest of the engine, have had their castings completely smoothed. Spark is sequenced from an MSD 6A ignition system to an MSD points distributor and loomed Taylor plug wires. Gases roar through large, custom-cut exhaust pipes via coated, custom-modified Hooker headers. And a coated Edelbrock water pump, two electric puller fans and polished Street & Performance pulleys ensure rocket-like acceleration. Visually, the classy gold block rides in a custom engine bay that displays OEM-level attentiveness to both engineering and assembly. And details like chrome hardware, custom stainless fluid lines and polished ancillary components create a clean and purposeful aesthetic.
This is usually the point in a pro-tourer breakdown where passive optimism has turned into nail-biting enthusiasm. And unfortunately, that excitement is sometimes dampened by statements like “a factory-correct transmission” or “a corporate GM rear end”. Not so with this first class Chevelle! Its owner’s crystal clear vision of eventual perfection has culminated in a completely custom suspension that’s chock full of high performance hardware and proven drivetrain components. The brazen big block twists to redline thanks to a fresh Jasper Turbo-Hydramatic 400, which backs a 2,600 RPM stall converter with a Positive Shift Kit. That polished gearbox utilizes a custom Sonny’s Driveline driveshaft to spin an Eaton posi-traction differential around high quality Moser axles and 3.50 Motive Gears. Holding that world class drivetrain off the pavement is a massaged chassis that was smoothed and boxed at Craig’s Hot Rod Shop in Knoxville, Tennessee. At the front of that chassis, polished Fatman control arms hang AGR power steering components and Carrera coil-over-shocks between a 1-inch Hotchkis sway bar and 1-inch lowering springs. At the back of that chassis, a proven Hotchkis 4-bar hangs polished shocks behind a second Hotchkis sway bar. Stops come courtesy of a beefy Baer brake system, which wraps polished calipers around 13-inch front, and 12-inch rear, drilled and slotted rotors. Exhaust swirls through custom Craig’s Hot Rod Shop pipes that were coated to match polished Edelbrock RPM Series Tru-Flo mufflers. And at the corners of the floor, custom Boyd Coddington wheels spin 245/50R17 BF Goodrich Comp T/As in front of 255/60R17 BF Goodrich Comp T/As. Aesthetically, the bottom of this Chevelle is just as clean as its top; framing smoothed and painted floors in a full outfit of custom stainless fluid lines. And essentials like a Moroso oil pan, Lokar transmission accessories and a Mallory Comp fuel pump round out a roster of top notch details.
Inside the car, clean 60s style is augmented with impressive tailoring that was performed by Steve Holcomb of Pro Auto Custom Interiors in Knoxville, Tennessee. Cerullo front buckets and a custom rear bench are all-day comfortable, featuring supple hides that display no significant wrinkles. In front of those seats, a custom dash hangs smooth gold paint behind Classic Instruments gauges and a third Lokar-sourced “Black Thunder” emblem. On the floor, high quality carpet rides under traditional Fisher sills, color-keyed mats and a custom console that’s detailed with a Hurst Quarter Stick shifter and Vintage Air climate control. In front of the driver, a tilting Ididit steering column spins a custom Lecarra wheel around polished Lokar foot pedals. At the sides of the passengers, two-tone door panels hang modern power windows behind polished handles, sculpted armrests and large kick speakers. And behind the cockpit, a smoothed and stitched trunk hangs an Alpine CD player and Alpine CD changer above two Alpine amplifiers and a new EZ Wiring harness.
Naturally, this jaw-dropping coupe is no stranger to praise and accolades. Here’s a short list of the car’s major awards and features:
* Outstanding Interior at the 2004 Super Chevy Show in Commerce, Georgia (First show entered)
* Best Gold Class Chevelle at the 2004 Super Chevy Show in Commerce, Georgia (First show entered)
* Best of Show at the 2004 Super Chevy Show in Commerce, Georgia (First show entered)
* Best Chevelle at the 2004 Super Chevy Show in Bristol, Tennessee
* Best Gold Class Engine at the 2004 Super Chevy Show in Bristol, Tennessee
* First Place Modified Chevelle in the 2004 DEI Legacy Show Series
* Best Chevelle in the 2004 DEI Legacy Show Series Class of Champions
* Crowned Grand Champion of the 2004 DEI Legacy Show Series
* Ultimate 5 Award at the 2004 Grand Rod Run in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
* PPG Paint Pick at the 2004 Goodguys Southeastern Nationals in Charlotte, North Carolina
* Meguiar’s Magnificent Masterpiece Award at the 2004 Goodguys Southeastern Nationals in Charlotte, North Carolina
* Best First Time Shown at the 2005 World of Wheels Autorama
* First Place Mild Custom at the 2005 World of Wheels Autorama
* Best Custom at the 2005 World of Wheels Autorama
* Featured in the 2005 edition of Super Chevy Chevelle Magazine
* Featured in the September, 2005 edition of Chevy Rumble Magazine
* Featured in the April, 2006 edition of Southern Rodder Magazine
The sale of this awesome A-Body includes six laminated photos, the aforementioned magazine features, a framed Dale Earnhardt picture, a small battery tender and a fitted car cover that’s complete with an embroidered carrying bag.
In summary, this award-winning Chevelle represents creative engineering at its very finest, combining stunning design with a top notch restoration and no-excuses, no-limits performance. Take it to the local cruise… Take it to the major shows… Or put it on a pedestal and stare at it. Whatever you elect to do with this cool Chevy, it is sure to be the centerpiece of your collection, the focal point of your garage and, most importantly, the car you most look forward to being seen in!
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