Tommy Smith's 1967 Chevelle
(from Volume 25, Issue 303)

story by owner Tommy Smith, photos by Michael B. Kelly


The easiest part for me is selling the car once it’s finished. Don’t get me wrong, I like driving them. Doing a couple of burnouts. Taking them to a couple of shows. That’s all cool. But for me I’d rather be in the garage taking things apart and putting them back together, learning something new, solving problems, and making something better than it was before.

After selling my third Chevelle, a 1966, I was eager to find my next build. I started looking and after about 3 weeks I found an ad for a 1967 Chevelle, my favorite. It was gold on gold with a little 327 cubic inch motor and a Powerglide automatic. However, it couldn’t chirp the tires even if the road was wet. So I made the call and after a couple of minutes on the phone I hooked up the trailer, grabbed my stash of cash, called a couple of buddies, and was on the way to go see what the car was really like. I mean, you never know until you see it in person. When we got there I had to pinch myself. The car was as advertised, and was a nice car. Oh sure it needed some TLC, but it was going to make a great car. So we made the deal and loaded her up.

On the way home my friends thought I was crazy, telling me that I should just flip it and make a couple of bucks. There reasoning was that it was too nice of a car to tear apart. But I had big plans for this one. After about a month of playing around I started tearing it apart, and two weeks later I had a shell of a car and three piles. One you keep, one for the swap meet, and one you trash. Then it was off to the painter. Michael’s Paint and Body in Orlando did a great job for me. Removing four layers of paint to get to bare metal reveled a solid body. There was one little spot of rust on the rear quarter, but everything else was good. Floors, trunk and around the rear window, all problem spots on the Chevelle, were good. So it was skim, prime and sand to make everything nice and straight before he laid down the prettiest shade of blue on the planet; Fiji Blue Pearl. It’s actually a Honda color, but it looks much better on the Chevelle.

After months at the paint shop she was finally home. Next came tubular suspension and QA1 coilovers all around, rack and pinion steering, and a Moser M9 fabricated rear end to put the power to the ground. Speaking of power, how about a 525 horsepower connect and cruise LS3 with the Tremec T56 Magnum 6-speed manual transmission. To bring things to a stop I used Wilwood Brakes, with 6 piston units up front and 4 pistons in back. The wheels are from Coys, with 18’s up front and 20’s in the back. I finished it off with a custom X-pipe exhaust with electric cut-outs, all ceramic coated.

Next came the inside. Beginning with Vintage Air to keep things cool is a must, to which I added a full AutoMeter gauge package, plus an Ididit steering column with a custom steering wheel. I used Kwik wire to connect it all together, with one big surprise (which I’ll get to in a moment). Soundcrafters in South Daytona made the console and the panels in the trunk. It was then ready for the upholstery shop, and Tony’s Auto Upholstery in Edgewater was the place for that. They put the custom touch on the Chevelle, with a full leather and suede combination for the seats and door panels. Here is where craftsmanship counts, and he nailed it. The color, which is Peanut Brittle, goes perfectly with the paint.

Now for the surprise which brings this car to the next level. It starts all by itself. The remote system for the car not only can start and stop the engine, but it can also open and close the exhaust cut-outs, and turn on and off the headlights and the windshield wipers. That really draws attention when at the car shows!

With another Chevelle done, I can’t wait to start on the next one. I guess it is time to start looking at the classified ads again, and see what I can find. CN