If I were to ask you what made you gravitate into the classic car hobby, what you tell me? Was it remember how you spent time with your dad? Was it the crazy uncle who took you for toe-curling blasts between red lights without your mom knowing? Maybe it was the intricacy to which you adhered when you started building model cars at a young age. If you’re Greg Porter of Greenville South Carolina, the origin of this ’66 Chevelle can be traced back to his memories of building model cars and watching full-size race cars.
For Greg, the drive for full-sized fun began when he found this ’66 Chevelle languishing in a salvage yard. Like many enthusiasts, he immediately had a plan he was ready to execute. “When I was younger, I remember seeing a car at the track named Soulshaker,” Greg says. “This was in the ’70s, and even though that car was a ’69 Camaro, I wanted to build my own Soulshaker, so I named it after that car.”
Creating A ’66 Chevelle Gasser
Since the car was found in a salvage yard, you can probably imagine what condition the metal was in when Greg got the car to his shop. It definitely needed a lot of bodywork. When it comes to building a classic car, many enthusiasts need to rely on help when it comes to the paint and bodywork. It’s understandable, there is a lot of attention-to-detail work and knowledge that goes into creating a gorgeous finish. Luckily, Greg tells us he is a paint and body specialist. One look at the finished product and we are not going to argue that statement.
This was destined to be a race car from the onset of the build, so the rusty floors were not a concern to Greg — they were coming out anyway. The original floor was replaced with custom panels, larger inner wheel tubs were created, and the rear wheelwell openings were radiused to make room for hefty asphalt grabbers. When the new panels were made and the exterior rust repaired, the outside was covered in a smooth-as-glass shade of Marina Blue while the interior was sprayed gold. In case you are wondering, the car is steel, but the hood, trunk lid, and bumpers are not.
Greg was not only planning to name his ’66 Chevelle after a locally famous race car, but he also wanted to build a car that he could enjoy at various nostalgia races to truly honor the memory. To make this plan a reality, he worked with Horton Race Cars in Belton, South Carolina. The team at Horton started by updating the factory rear four-link by removing the triangulated unit and installing a true parallel system with coilovers.
Since Greg was looking to build something over-the-top cool, the front A-arm suspension was tossed in favor of a straight axle with ’46 Ford spindles. While in the ’60s, disc brakes were not the norm, Greg kept his eye on safety and added Wilwood units on all four corners.
What’s a cool gasser without some serious motivation? Greg not only wanted a large-by-huge motivator under the hood, but he wanted everyone to know it was a behemoth. To make it readily apparent, it was built to not only be powerful but also highly visible. Working with Gene Fulton, a big aluminum block was bored, filled with good parts, and then built to displace 707 cubic inches. Greg was reluctant to give us many details about the mill, but suffice to say, the 8-71 BDS blower poking up to the sky helps feed an animal. Sending all that horsepower to the fabricated 9-inch rear with 5.13 gears is an ATI-built Powerglide.
When we get older, many childhood memories are attributed to the hot rods we ultimately build. For Greg, it’s a combination of memories that came together to create this asphalt-buckling ’66 Chevelle. To honor that memory, he makes sure that it spends as much time as possible where it belongs, burning up the track and hopefully burning memories into the next generation of enthusiasts.