David Stonitsch's 1970 Chevelle SS
(from Volume 28, Issue 340)

story by owner David Stonitsch, photos by Michael B. Kelly


Upon graduating high school in 1977 my close friend Jim Allison purchased this 1970 Chevelle SS from the original owner. It was an SS 396 automatic car with air conditioning. Jim became a machinist and tool and dye maker for Detroit Tool in Lebanon, Missouri. Jim then removed the 396 engine and installed a 454. Everyone in the area knew not to mess with this car. I had plenty of fast rides over the years in this car, with my good friend Jim at the wheel. This car was Jim’s baby, and it went through many transformations over the years, and while many people tried to purchase the car from Jim along the way he was never interested in selling.

In 2013 Jim decided to restore the car back to its original state and completely disassembled it, and ordered all the body panels, chrome trims, and interior parts for the car. Unfortunately Jim became sick in 2014 and could not start the restoration process. I have owned a body shop in Camdenton, Missouri since 1981 and built many cars over the years. My brother Mark was managing the shop in 2014 when Jim called to tell him he wanted to sell the car, but only to me. Jim knew that I would finish the car and bring it back better than it left the factory. My brother called me to inform me that I owned a 1970 Chevelle....then he said it was Jim’s car.

The build started in late 2014 with a bare frame. The car has CPP suspension front and rear along with CPP drilled rotors and calipers to provide the stopping power we needed. I have the original engine on an engine stand in my garage. We chose a 496 cubic inch BluePrint engine for the car, which puts out 600 horsepower. It still has the Turbo 400 automatic transmission and a 12-bolt posi rear end fitted with 3.73:1 gears. We installed a Gear Vendors Overdrive to allow a 2.74:1 final drive ratio for highway cruising. We decided to make the car look mostly original, but it now has a Holley Sniper EFI unit under the original air cleaner. The car originally had air conditioning, so we just updated the compressor. All of the sheet metal was replaced, and the body was finished laser straight. It is painted with Spies Hecker Paint, and the color is close to Aztec Silver, but we wanted larger metallic in it. To accent the exterior we chose US Mags for the wheels, which are wrapped with Nitto tires. All interior parts, weather-stripping, dash, gauges were replaced with new.

The car was finished in May of 2016 after almost a two year build. It was completed as Jim Allision passed. After owning the car 37 years, his vision of a restored car was complete. I feel that I am really not the owner of this car, but just the caretaker while it is in my possession, until the next family member takes that responsibility. CN