Home-Built Hero: Family-Built Father/Son Muscle Cruisers

Craig’s driveway full of Classic Chevy Muscle

Some father’s teach their sons to play baseball, while others may enjoy hunting, football or golf. Dave Leslie chose to teach his sons, Paul and Craig, about his love of Chevrolet musclecars. Today, his son Craig still enjoys two great Chevy musclecars that he restored with his late father.

His collection includes a 1966 Chevelle SS and a 1970 Monte Carlo. The Chevelle has been rebuilt to look original with quite a bit more power under the hood. The Monte Carlo has been brought back to deliver showroom style and performance. Each car has its own unique restoration story.

Craig’s Chevelle as he bought it in 1989, as a retired drag car.

Craig has owned the Chevelle SS since 1989, when he purchased the retired drag car. The car sat for many years before he and his father began to restore it to its current state, which was achieved in 2008. The original sheetmetal was in great shape and is still all there. The original engine is long gone, and been replaced by a Chevrolet Performance 502ci big-block.

This classic Chevelle is an attention grabber from any angle.

All that power gets to the ground through a Richmond five-speed and 12-bolt rearend with 3.26 gears. The upgrades don’t stop there, with power disc-brakes on all corners, classic Cragar SS wheels, and a custom exhaust. The big-block is cooled by a custom-built aluminum radiator, and is fed by a Holley double pumper carb. This Chevelle alone is a head turner at any car show but there is more.

Craig's Chevelle packs a surprise under the hood for anyone thinking it's still all original.

The Monte Carlo has been restored to near factory showroom condition for his mom, Faye. Craig purchased this car in 2011, and pushed hard to restore it within a six month period with his dad, so that his mom would have something to show off at car shows. This Monte got a full restoration from near basket case condition. The car needed extensive rust rehab, with new floorboards and trunk floors. The fenders had also seen better days and needed to be replaced.

This classic Monte Carlo has been restored to near factory specs.

The car uses a rebuilt 402ci big-block under the hood with Turbo 400 transmission and 12-bolt rearend. This Monte was loaded with options from the factory, and remains that way today with air conditioning and power everything. The father and son team capped it off with a factory-correct vinyl top and a custom exhaust. This car has enough power to have fun, and all the factory comforts that it came with in 1970.

The 402 big-block still looks and runs great.

Most Chevy guys would be happy to have just one of these great, restored musclecars, but Craig can be seen riding around Southern Indiana in both of these hot rods when he gets them out for local cruise-ins, car shows, and just to drive. These two cars will remain as a legacy, built by a father and son in their barn, and continue to stand the test of time as classic reminders of an awesome team.

Chevy (8)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].

About the author

Chris McWilliams

Chris McWilliams grew up watching his dad race go-karts around his Southern Indiana home and started racing junior dragsters when he was 10 years old. Chris drove a UMP Mini Stock for two seasons until he totaled his racecar in an accident at Western Kentucky Speedway. He is currently a college student at Oakland City University working on a degree to pay the bills for his dirt racing addiction.
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