This week, we decided to put together a pair of Chevrolet’s mid-sized muscle car, and pay homage to the modification genre with a couple of great looking Chevelles. If you’re a fan of the Chevy A-body, you’re in for a treat.
It’s amazing how many finished projects actually started out as someone else’s unfinished project. Sometimes a project car can take on a life of its own, and it either gets overwhelming or too expensive for the initial initiator to complete. Such was the case with Jerry Fowler’s ’66 Chevelle. “My dad’s friend had this car and started to build it but lost interest. I told him the first time I saw it that if he ever sold it, to call me first,” Jerry said.
Jerry had a family history with Chevrolet’s Chevelle in general, as his dad had a couple of ‘66 Chevelles before he was born. “I had seen pictures of them, and I always liked that body style,” he quipped. Jerry also told us that his dad had built a few Pro Street cars when Jerry was young, and that instilled the Pro Street mentality into his psyche.
Jerry acquired this Chevelle as an incomplete project, but the bodywork and paint was almost completed. We say almost, because it needed a hood when Jerry bought it. “I bought it as a rolling chassis, and I added the wing and the hood,” Jerry stated.
Since it was a roller, that gave Jerry the wide-open option for drivetrain selection. “I wanted a big-block, so I installed a 509 cubic-inch engine,” he explained. The 8-71 blown behemoth features an 8.5:1 compression ratio, thanks to a set of JE pistons and Carillo H-beam connecting rods. Behind that is a Turbo 400 transmission with a reverse and manual-shift valve body connecting to a 9-inch rearend filled with a Detroit locker and 4.56 gears.
If we were to ask you how long you owned your current hot rod, what would your answer be? Jesse Case told us that he purchased this ’72 Chevelle when he was 20 years old. In case you were wondering, that was almost 20 years ago. “Over the last 18 years, I have pretty much rebuilt the entire car,” he said. That sounds like many projects we hear about.
Jesse tells us that he has always loved Chevelles, and it all started because his dad had a 1969 Chevelle when he was growing up. “I always wanted to get one of my own,” Jesse stated. It might have taken him a few years to find the car he wanted to purchase, but all good things take time. “When I found the car, it was sitting on a car lot in the Seattle, Washington, area that specializes in classic/vintage cars. It was sitting front-and-center, and it was the color that first attracted me to it,” Jesse quipped.
When Jesse bought the car in 2000, it was far from perfect. The paint had some bubbling and there were scratches. But, it was a solid car to start with. Luckily, he had help making it perfect. “I have done most of the work myself – except the paint. My father-in-law took care of that. He has a small paint booth in his garage, Jesse reports. In case you were wondering about the color, it is from a 1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse, and is called Wild Berry.
The power-maker started out as a 350 block, and the cylinders were bored .040-inch over. Inside, you’ll find a forged, SCAT stroker crankshaft and 6-inch forged I-beam connecting rods, compressing the mixture with a set of forged Keith Black 10.0:1 compression pistons. Spinning inside is a Comp Cams Mutha Thumpr roller-cam with .522/.509-inch lift. A pair of Dart Pro 1 platinum 200cc heads, an Edelbrock RPM air-gap intake, and 750cfm Barry Grant Speed Demon carb build the tire-meting power. Behind that is a TCI-built Street Fighter Turbo350 transmission with a Hughes 3,000-stall converter. Finally, a 10-bolt rearend with an Eaton posi and 3.73 gears round out the drivetrain.
The wheels are American Racing Torque Thrusts measuring 18×8 and 18×9, wrapped 245/40-15 and 275/40-15 tires. Jesse was hands on with most of the build, and that includes the interior. “I did the interior myself, which consists of a rosewood Grant steering wheel, racing bucket seats, Covans Classics dash with Auto Meter mechanical gauges. The rest of the interior is stock but all new.
Do you want to read about more Home-Built Heroes? All you need to do is click here. If you own a Home-Built Hero, we want to hear about it. Since we’ve started the series, we have received more than a few candidates, but we still want to see more – we can never get enough. If you want to see more cars built by you the readers, send us a few pictures of your car showing the engine, interior, and exterior, along with all of the pertinent information, and we’ll make you Internet famous. You can send your submissions to [email protected].