This month we feature Enzo Morales’ beautiful 66 Chevelle. The Premise: Build and Drive a 1966 Chevelle Malibu, as a street cruiser that has been modified with the aftermarket’s ample supply of parts and accessories. The goal is to modify the underpinnings and drivetrain with modern equipment while maintaining the vintage appeal of a 60’s Icon.
The Car: 1966 Chevelle Malibu. Original 327 Powerglide car. Gauge package, including knee knocker tach. 184,000 original miles – 2 owner car!
The Goal: To construct a vehicle made up of the industry’s latest technology while accenting the vintage flair of the 60’s muscle car. This car will represent a marriage of classic lines and old steel with that of modern performance, drivability, and safety. The work performed on the car will be a representation of modern craftsmanship with classic appeal, while at the same time showcasing the industry’s most popular and newest aftermarket products. The basis behind the build however, is to represent the original design of the 1966 Chevelle Malibu. When this car sold as new, it was the business man’s principle mode of transportation. It was spacious and elegant, yet it provided enough horsepower to make the long commute home a little interesting. We have decided to pay homage to the working man of yesterday by transforming our car into a business coupe for the 21st century. A car whose performance will be measured by 21st century standards for handling, acceleration, and braking. We will achieve all this while maintaining the integrity of the 66 Chevelle and its original purpose built design, that of affordable performance.
The Plan: Every car needs a power plant at its heart, and for that we are turning to the same technology in today’s high performance vehicles available from Chevrolet. The engine is a slightly modified LS3. With some substantial head work and a better than stock camshaft, this combination promises to belt out upwards of 600 bhp while still delivering the reliability and drivability of a factory car. Behind it, transferring this power to the tires will be a Tremec T56 with standard gear ratios. Out back, a 9 inch rear with the appropriate internals and gearing to be able to turn upwards of 120mph in the quarter mile. The suspension is from RideTech and their new line of A Body specific components. The team at RideTech have developed a complete system to include spindles, control arms, A Arms and sway bars that promises to plant the tires laterally while improving the overall ride of the classic. Brakes are handled by Kore3. 14 inch rotors bound by GM Corvette Calipers up front and their 13 inch kit out back will provide sufficient stopping power to bring any car to its knees. The majority of the build, along with body work and paint will be handled by Best of Show Coachworks. The Tuxedo Black paint and the lack of body trim will accentuate the original lines while at the same time modernizing the look of the car and giving it an all business attitude. Dick and the gang have committed to help create a timeless piece that will be be appealing for years (and trends) to come. Based on the available lines of wheels available in today’s marketplace, we have set our eyes on Budnik’s GTX wheel with a brushed magnesium center. We feel this color will pay homage to one of the most popular ’66 Chevelle’s of all time, while at the same time spelling out to the competition the all business attitude this car possesses.
The Finish: This car’s final details are the defining qualities. Although the exterior and power plant will make one exude raw testosterone driven emotion, its final detail upon completion will tie this car to an alter ego – that of a mild mannered, daily driven business coupe. The interior will be close to original. The dash will have all the factory gauges still installed and functional, including the knee knocker tach. An LED shift light will shine brightly from an obscure location, so as to not be an eyesore. Redline Gauge Works will be helping out in this department. The audio system will remain classic in looks but will be a high output system complete with IPOD hookup. The seating configuration will remain factory but the materials will be upgraded to represent a more elegant appeal. In addition we will be modifying the seat structure to abide with modern safety standards like 3 point seat belts and child seat anchoring systems. Vintage Air will provide a retrofit air conditioning unit to keep us temperate during long hauls on California’s highways.
Summary: I look forward to putting this car on the road and piling my 3 sons into the backseat for long cruises. My appreciation for the help I have received up until this point is countless and I look forward to completing this voyage and truly enjoying this car from behind the wheel.