My Humble Chevelle


In 1993, my dad purchased a 1967 Chevelle Malibu 4dr Sedan.  The car had 50,010 original miles on it and the back seat looked like it had never been sat in.  The car had a 250 L-6 with a Powerslide 2spd. auto.  The only obvious options the car had were Power Steering and cloth center seats. 

In '93 I was driving an 1982 Monte Carlo that had been purchased brand new by my aunt, then passed on to my grandfather, and ultimately to me.  I loved that car and even though the paint was bad, the rest of the car was in great shape.  That is, until a school bus pulled out in front of me.

With a police officer watching as he directed traffic, I drove into the side of the bus at 45 mph.  The officer was waving me through the intersection and he had the bus stopped.  Then, for some reason that I still don't understand, the bus driver pulled right out on the opposing road.  The only place I had to go was into the side of the bus.  I hit the bus so hard that the car hit on the right front and bounced around to catch the right rear and then bounced back to almost the same position at impact.  Amazingly, I had nary a bruise and no one on the bus was hurt.  I have to admit, though, that I was so mad, I threw my open can of Pepsi at the bus and it went through the grille!

After a few weeks of waiting, I got a check for more than double what the car was worth.  I can only imagine that it was because the Board of Education really didn't want to hassle with a court case.

This is where my love affair starts with the Chevelle.  In the timeframe of this accident, my dad had purchased another vehicle, so he no longer needed the Chevelle.  So I gave him what he had paid for the car ($300) and it was officially mine.  Over the next few years, I put about 100,000 miles on the car until one cold November afternoon, the engine let go.

I immediately shut the engine down and coasted off to the shoulder.  Later that night, we went back to retrieve the car in the frigid wind.  I pulled the engine apart to discover that the #5 piston skirt had shattered.  But thanks to quick thinking, the cylinder wall was not damaged.

The Chevelle was one of two cars I owned at the time, so I head no real urgency to fix the car.  After all the '83 Caprice wagon with the Marvin the Martian headliner had become quite the attention getter, er, grocery getter.

A year or two later, I pulled the 250 and put a 350 4-bolt in (casting # 3970010).  The first day I had it out on the road, I got a ticket for repainting the road with black lines instead of yellow.

The motor I put in was a well used engine that was a little noisy and a little smokey, so I wasn't surprised when it started to smoke badly and despite using 20W50 oil in the dead of winter, I still couldn't convince the little man with the hammer to leave the inside of my engine.

Now, I am not one to lend my cars to anyone except family and very close friends.  But, when my dad's car gave out, he needed to drive the Chevelle again.  One day, he loaned the car to his boss.  I don't know what he was doing with the car, but I know what it was capable of and when it started hammering the crank, he continued to drive the car 20 miles back to the office.  I could have killed him.  But that was the end of the Chevelle's road.

The car was parked at my dad's house for 5 years until he threatened to have it towed to the scrap yard.  I wasn't able to get the car out of his yard easily because I had since moved 400 miles away.  So when he came to visit me, he took my truck home and a month later, he brought my car to me on the U-Haul car trailer.  Imagine the scene.  A rusty old truck towing an even rustier old Chevelle.  Can we say Sanford and Son?

So, now the car sits in my Garage half disassembled until someday I have the projected $8-10K to do the whole project the right way.

Want to know what my plans are?  Click here.



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