Frank Swobodzien's 1970 Chevelle SS 396 (from Volume 11, Issue 123)

Having owned and operated Central Florida Auto Repair in Apopka for many years, it would be an easy guess that Frank Swobodzien was into cars....which would certainly be true. He purchased his 1970 Chevelle SS 396 in a partially done condition, and in need of a full restoration. It had been a "street" drag car, fitted with drag shocks, heavy duty springs, and ladder bars. The inner fenders were even cut for the use of fenderwell headers, which were on it at the time. It was obvious it had been in this condition for quite some time, as to this day though not visible in regular conditions, the "car in tow" lettering will show up when the window gets fogged up. The fate of it eventually spending some serious time on the dragstrip may have been set when the car was purchased, as it was ordered with no gauges and the deep grove pulley option.

Though he could appreciate the drag race influence that was heavily evident, Frank was looking to wind up with a restored classic when he purchased the "heavy Chevy", so over the course of about 2-1/2 years it was completely overhauled. Lots of attention was given to every aspect, including the 396 cube engine producing a factory rated 350hp (with the help of the "flapper" cowl induction) through a Turbo 400 automatic and a 12-bolt posi rear end fitted with 3.31:1 gears. Inside things were made to look showroom fresh, with the black vinyl interior including the requisite bucket seats and console.

Frank proudly told us that the Chevelle is driven to all the events he attends, and still retains the O.E. coil and point ignition used in 1970. Frank's motto is, "If you see it on the trailer call 911 - It's stolen!". However, don't assume it is road weary, as everything is immaculate and the car has won many shows over the years, including at the Super Chevy Show and other national events. Frank told us he also owns and maintains an extensive 1970 Chevelle die cast and memorabilia collection, to the point where his friends lightheartedly refer to it as the "Shrine to the '70 Chevelle". If it is 1970 Chevelle related, Frank's got it!

Along the way his wife, Dee, and son, Brian, got bitten by the contagious muscle car bug, and have joined Frank in his appreciation for owning and driving a classic muscle car. Dee owns a 1968 Camaro, 1990 Camaro and a 1998 Camaro. Young Brian and Frank are restoring a 1971 Chevelle as a custom driver for Brian, and that brings the grand total up to 6 Chevy in the Swobodzien household. Frank told us future plans for his '70 Chevelle include redoing it back to the build sheet next time, including the factory stock shadow gray paint with black stripes and a vinyl top. With how nice the car is now though, who knows if he'll feel the need to alter it anytime soon! CN