The Original Chevelle

From the time I bought the car in 1985 to 1999, I didn’t really have much work done to the Chevelle.  Those were the formative “broke student” years so cash wasn’t exactly available for car projects.

In 1999 I decided to start some work.  I contracted a local shop to swap out the existing small block 350 motor (old, tired, 2-bbl carb) with a new GMPP ZZ4 350 crate motor:

The Chevelle prepped for receiving the new ZZ4 engine. Close-up of the engine bay... she is definitely showing her age in this shot. The old engine...  like I said, dirty and tired. Another shot of the "ready for retirement" small-block 350 And here's the new ZZ4... still in the crate!

The new ZZ4 was saddled with the old TH350 transmission (3-speed auto, in case you’re not sure)… but the rear differential had been stuffed with 3.73 gears by the previous owner, meaning driving at 65 MPH meant I was turning 3,200-3,400 RPM (yeah, absolutely no gas mileage whatsoever).

Here are some pictures of the car from 2004 to help illustrate the problems I would be facing later with the bodywork:

Gotta love those vintage Cragar wheels, right? The front end doesn't look much better than the rear view... Vintage bench seat, yeah baby! Surface rust, anyone?

This basic condition lasted until 2005, when I figured it was time to do some more work.

In 2005 I contracted a different shop to do some serious work…  a 700R4 4-speed auto transmission, rebuild of the rear differential with 3.55 gears and a posi, four-wheel Baer disc brakes with Boyd Coddington Smoothie II rims, Vintage Air Frontrunner serpentine system for the ZZ4 and the companion Vintage Air aftermarket A/C system, new fuel tank and lines and other small tweaks and adjustments:

So... nice rims, but about that passenger-side quarter-panel... Boyd Coddington Smoothie II's with Baer disc brakes.... yummy car porn! That Vintage Air Frontrunner sure cleans up the look of the ZZ4 Nice steering pump lines... but about the rest of the tubing.... A little more chrome bling under the hood to go with the Front Runner!

More or less, the Chevelle stayed about the same from 2005 until late last year, when I began the Final Journey toward completion

Check out the Final Journey page to learn about the plan to finally finish the car, and then check out the Blog page to see how far we’ve come toward completing that plan!


2 comments on “The Original Chevelle

  1. Hey Bro, I got the text and put the blog page back on the home comp. now I can keep up with the “Blue Rocket” again

    • Hey! Yeah, it’s been a heck of a 5-year (!) project but it will be worth it… eventually! The upside… taking this long I’ve been able to negotiate on some costs so the Chevelle will be a daily driver that didn’t cost me as much as a Barrett-Jackson garage queen! 🙂

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