When we as car guys are in our impressionable teenage years, we all seem to gravitate toward a particular car brand, and even certain models within that brand. Many times, that “indoctrination” is influenced by a family member, and yet other times, it just comes naturally.
For Steven Reitz, the latter is true. “My 1964 Chevelle was a dream car of mine finally becoming reality,” he says. “I have always had a love for the boxy-body Chevelles.” Steven told us that while he didn’t have a Chevelle while in high school, he did have a cool ride – a ’66 Nova. When married life and family plans came into the picture in 1975, the Nova was sold. Life went on, but for the longest time, hot rods were not part of the picture.
It took 25 years, but finally, Steven found himself in a position to recapture those high-school memories. “I found this car on eBay, and it seemed to be the perfect platform for me to build my Pro Street dream,” he noted. “Although not pretty, it was drivable. It needed a lot of work. But, it was in my price range and within travel distance.” Although he was the highest bidder, his bid did not meet the would-be seller’s reserve. After the auction ended, he contacted the owner, and a month-long negotiation process began.
“We finally came to an agreeable price, and my 17-year-old son and I embarked on the 8-hour drive North with the trailer in tow. After finally arriving, the owner was very up front and honest about the car’s condition, and even put the car on a lift to show how bad the rust was. “I told him I was cutting it out and back halving it anyway,” Steven quipped.
Once back at Steven’s house, the project that was 25 years in the waiting, finally began. “I wanted a completely stock-looking interior, a usable trunk, and the Pro Street look,” Steven said. “The hard part was, when I was building the car, not a lot of ’64 Chevelle parts were available, so things like interior panels had to make from scratch.”
Steve’s apparently a talented guy, and he did all the sheetmetal and chassis work in his backyard shop using the most primitive of ways to bend and mold sheetmetal. In fact, his metal roller was an oak log, and his metal break was a pair of C-clamps and some angle iron.
“I wanted usable trunk space, so I cut the stock gas tank into thirds, took 4 inches from each side, and welded it back together to fit in the stock location with a narrowed chassis,” Steven stated. “I hand-built the 2×3 square-tube chassis, stretching the wheel base 1 5/8 inches so I could keep the back seat in the stock location with the tubs.”
He painted the interior area himself, but reports that without an actual paint booth, he left the body to be smoothed and painted by long-time friend and retired Pro-Mod racer Ronnie Hughes, owner of Quality Paint & Body of Columbus, Georgia.
With all the metal work done, it was time for an engine, transmission, and rearend. “I found a shop that had 383 cubic-inch short-block that was built and never picked up. It had forged pistons, a SCAT crank kit, and a Comp Cams stick with 268 degrees of duration and .454-inch lift. Up top are a pair of Procomp heads, and an eBay-sourced B&M 144 blower with a double pumper, mechanical-secondary 650cfm Proform Parts carburetor.
The transmission is a Turbo 350 that was in car when Steven bought it. He did have it rebuilt by Hodgson Performance using TCI Automotive innards and a Hughes Performance 2,500-stall torque converter. The rearend is a narrowed 12-bolt with 3.90 gears and Moser Engineering axles.
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