Stellar Street Machine: Bob Gawlik’s Detroit Speed-Built Chevy II

The definition of “purpose built” is a fluid one in the automotive world. Depending on what you want to accomplish with a certain vehicle, whether it’s to road race it or autocross it, or cruise it and show it, ultimately determines the scope of the term. But when it comes to some of the best all-around capable cars on the scene these days, it’s definitely the street machine style that is pushing builds to another level not seen even a handful of years ago.

This 1967 Chevy II owned by Bob Gawlik is the perfect example. Built with the goal of turning a V8 4-speed Chevy II into not only a fully capable highway cruiser, canyon carver and show car, but a car capable of being competitive in road racing and autocross events as well, this classic muscle car is what many would consider the ultimate package.

Built by Kyle Tucker and his famed team at Detroit Speed, the Chevy II bears many of the earmarks of a DSE build, from smoothed body lines and shaved drip rails, to flush-mount glass and a full interior with both creature comforts and performance aspects integrated together. There are also many aesthetic cues that bridge both DSE style and those found in the road racing scene, such as the custom true carbon fiber hood with added vents for cooling efforts, a custom front bumper with a wide-mouth intake in the center for even more airflow, and a custom rear decklid also done in true carbon fiber with a matching rear spoiler for both weight reduction and added downforce directed toward the drive wheels. Everything on the car serves a purpose while being aesthetically appealing.

Every finite detail on this car serves a purpose, whether it’s weight reduction, increased airflow or for that perfect stance.

Other subtle features of the car that hold both aesthetic and performance value include the shaved vent windows, one-off DSE CNC-designed door handles and lock cylinders that have been flush-mounted in the doors, and the passenger-side gas filler, which is a touch Gawlik requested himself for his future racing plans with the car (DSE moved it from the drivers side rear quarter where it originally sat on the car to the passenger side). The car is topped off in Ferrari Red paint with the true carbon fiber components and other details done in black.

The interior is just as purpose-built with full race harnesses over cushioned bucket seats, a DSE fully integrated roll cage and a Holley EFI Digital Dash system for electronic engine management within an arm’s reach while in the midst of competition. While the car still features a full back seat, the roll cage makes it hard to use, so instead of providing seating, the car’s fire suppression system is housed under half of it while extra storage sits underneath the other half. An added safety feature comes in the form of the removable center console, which can be exchanged out for a fire extinguisher mount for at-the-track convenience. Of course, creature comforts like air conditioning and a full stereo system were incorporated, giving the car even more appeal as a competition car and a cruiser.

Simple but not without a full cage, in-dash engine management system, and hidden fire suppression system, Gawlik’s Chevy features the perfect mix of creature comforts and track-readiness.

Oddly enough, because Gawlik plans to not only compete in a number of autocross events in 2018 in his Chevy II but also in One Lap of America races in the future, the car is even outfitted with a trailer hitch so Gawlik can tow all of his own track support requirements behind the car on the 7-day, over 3,000-mile OLOA circuit.

So if a car is going to be a comfortable cruiser while also being able to compete in various forms of automotive racing, what does it have to have in it besides aesthetically-based features? Well, in this case, a well-massaged LS engine, a 6-speed transmission and one heck of a frame and suspension package.

From the one-off carbon fiber “true cowl” air intake to the static gauges just under the lip of the hood, everything that went into the engine bay of this Chevy II was well thought-out and actuated.

Powering the Chevy II is a performance-built, wet sump LS7 featuring goodies like Brodix heads with 165cc intake runner volume, Holley Dominator EFI controlled using the in-dash Holley engine management system, an MSD intake and a custom DSE-made carbon fiber “true cowl” air intake.

Expelling the engine’s spent fuel is a fully custom stainless exhaust system with Hooker BlackHeart mufflers for the perfect mix of a quieter cruising tone and a throaty full-throttle cackle. Backing the beast of an engine is a Bowler T-56 Magnum 6-speed transmission.

Underneath, the Chevy II is just as focused, starting with a full tubular frame with built-in jack points on the rockers. Up front, DSE outfitted the car with their full Chevy II front subframe assembly while out back, the car features a DSE Quadra-Link. Identical sets of 18×10-inch (front) and 18×11.5-inch (rear) Forgelines spin sticky track tires, with the rears sitting up under the car more thanks to DSE mini tubs. Braking power for the car is provided by an AP Racing disc brake system.

This is truly one heck of a track-prepared street car.

Could this Chevy II be the ultimate purpose-built car?!

There’s no denying Gawlik’s Chevy II is purpose-built with agility and performance in mind – something we’ve come to expect from Detroit Speed. But with such a build comes such style and poise that there’s just no denying how utterly complete of a package it is.

We certainly enjoyed crawling around the car and taking in every subtle detail, and we hope you get the opportunity to do so as well. As we said before, Gawlik plans to participate in multiple road race and autocross platforms this year, as well as One Lap of America, so be sure to keep an eye out for this incredible car on the road and on the track in the near future!

For more photos of this amazing Chevy II, be sure to check out the Rod Authority Photo Gallery below!

Photo gallery

VIEW FULL GALLERY >

About the author

Lindsey Fisher

Lindsey is a freelance writer and lover of anything with a rumble. Hot rods, muscle cars, motorcycles - she's owned and driven it all. When she's not busy writing about them, she's out in her garage wrenching away. Who doesn't love a tech-savy gal that knows her way around a garage?
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