If there is one story we hear quite often, it’s that many musclecars of the ‘60s and ‘70s were sold to service men. Many times, we’re told about how the car was bought either immediately preceding, or immediately after returning home from military service. The story of this ’68 Chevelle owned by Bill Pewterbaugh of Montgomery, Pennsylvania has one such story, but with a surprising twist. “I bought the Chevelle in July 1973, right after I got out of the U.S. Navy. One day I was at Paul Stein Chevrolet in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, and I was in the process of ordering a brand new 1973 Vega panel wagon (which I’d still like to own). While I was sitting at the salesman’s desk filling out the paperwork, the Chevelle pulled in the lot. I asked the salesman what the story was on the car, but he didn’t know anything about it. As he put it, ‘it was just traded’. I told him to go find out, and when he came back, we worked out a deal and I drove the Chevelle home.”
The Chevelle became Bill’s transportation for the next couple of years, but when he got married, life intervened and he placed the car in storage. According to Bill, “It sat in pieces for the next 20 or so years as I raised two sons.” But while in storage, the car was never forgotten. It was during this time that he had the forethought to start acquiring all of the parts that he could find for the car.When he was finally able to pull the Chevelle out of hibernation, he had acquired enough NOS parts to do a full-blown restoration. Bill chuckled as he told us, “During the time the car was in storage, the guys I used to run with were telling me to sell it because they thought I’d never do anything with it. I kept telling them that someday I would have it done. Well, 43 years later I still have my Chevelle to enjoy, and none of them have their cars.”
Bill is a hand’s-on type of guy, so all of the paint, body work, and engine machine work and assembly was done by him, with the supervision of some good friends. Bill thanks Barney Lawton and Marshall Hull for supervising the machining and balancing as he learned the processes. The engine started life as a 375 horsepower 396 cubic-inch big-block, but the block was bored .030-inch oversized, and filled with new pistons that raised the compression ratio to 12.0:1. The bottom is topped with GM rectangular port cast-iron heads, and an Edelbrock Torker intake with a 750 Holley. The camshaft is a solid-lifter stick from Cam Dynamics with .560- and .580-inch lift, and finally, the spent exhaust flows through a set of long-tube headers and 3-inch exhaust pipes with Flowmaster mufflers.
Like any good musclecar, the Chevelle features a Muncie M21 four speed, turning a set of 4:88 gears in a Posi-filled 12-bolt rearend. Hung on the rear axle are a pair of 275/60-15 BFG Drag Radials, which are mounted on a set of vintage Bob Glidden series Cragar Drag Star wheels. The old school Lakewood bolt-on ladder bars control the launch quite well.
Bill ended by saying, “I just really enjoy driving the car and having fun on the street and drag strip. Even though at times it has really pissed me off, overall, I love this Chevelle.” Bill chuckled as he continued, “I have a list of things that I broke while at the drag strip.”
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