The OPGI Spotlight: Josh Pena’s ’64 Chevelle Is One Cool Cruiser

Completing a project car requires a lot of determination, perseverance, and motivation. First, you must want to finish the project even when times get tough. Next, you have to be determined to get it finished. Finally, you need the right motivation to actually take on the project. Josh Pena of Huntington Beach, California, definitely has all three qualities, but it’s his motivation that really inspires many people.

“The Chevelle belongs to my father,” Larry Pena, from Visalia, California, Josh stated. “Throughout my childhood, my dad always had a classic car in the garage he would be wrenching on. Unfortunately, my dad was never able to finish any of the cars because he would always put his family first when it came to finances.”

Taking care of family is most often the reason many projects do not get finished, but the family always needs to come first. Unfortunately, Josh’s father’s dedication to his family was not even the worst catalyst for this once-languishing project.

64 Chevelle

The interior definitely does an excellent job of blending stock and aftermarket.

“In November 2016, my dad was diagnosed with terminal stage-four Glioblastoma brain cancer,” Josh somberly admitted. “At the time, my dad was in the process of restoring the Chevelle. The car had a new engine but was only about 20-percent restored.”

But, as any good son would do, Josh wanted to help his dad see the project completed. “After receiving the news my dad was terminal, I knew I wanted to finish the Chevelle for him before he succumbed to the cancer,” stated Josh. “My dad’s long-time buddies got together and held a gun raffle to raise money to put towards finishing the car. I then had my dad bring his car to Huntington Beach so I could finish the restoration process.”

It was in February 2017, when Josh was fortunate enough to meet Perry from Perry’s Auto Body in Westminster, California. Josh’s story touched Perry, and he relayed to Josh that he wanted to help finish the Chevelle. While Perry and his crew were working on the car, Josh met Kenny the mechanic, Carlos the interior guy, and Louie from American Legend Wheels.

“These guys were also touched by my dad’s story and wanted to help with the restoration process,” stated Josh. Unfortunately, after a hard fight, Josh’s dad lost his battle with cancer. “My dad was able to see the Chevelle painted, but never got to see it finished.”

64 Chevelle

Having 496 inches of power under the hood definitely fills the engine bay. We couldn’t imagine trying to keep all that chrome and aluminum polished.

Josh and the team continued to work on the Chevelle, and in May of 2017, it was “completed.” The orange hue is a House of Kolor Sunset Pearl applied by Perry and is an unbelievably gorgeous color on this drop-top.

Under that folding roof, you’ll find a custom, black interior highlighted by a billet steering column, Billet Specialties steering wheel, floor-mounted shifter, and Auto Meter gauges.

64 Chevelle

Motivation comes from a BluePrint big block displacing 496 cubic inches. A hydraulic-roller cam allows the engine to breathe through the Holley four-barrel mounted on top of the Edelbrock intake. Behind that is a Turbo 400 connected to a 12-bolt filled with Moser axles and a 4.10 ratio ring-and-pinion.

There are many trials and tribulations to overcome while working on a car, but thanks to many friends, Josh was able to overcome a huge setback that could have derailed this hot rod’s completion.

We were glad to see Josh complete the Chevelle. It was his perseverance, determination, and motivation of a true gearhead that makes his Chevelle worthy of being the Original Parts Group Reader’s Spotlight vehicle.

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About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars and has been involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion for performance got him noticed by many locals, and he began helping them modify their vehicles.
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