Get Pumped Up With This 1967 Chevelle Muscle on Steroids
Plenty of people think of restoring a vintage car and perfecting it to today’s standards – but not many succeed. Shops like Icon have done it for the Bronco, D&Z Customs churn out perfectly hoonable American muscle, and Hollywood Hot Rods has a reputation for even older cars-turned-beasts. But when we saw this hot red 1967 Chevelle on steroids, we had to know the full story.
Here to tell it first hand is Sal Perez, the guy behind the build with American Muscle Cars. We’re impressed that these guys took such a rust-bucket and turned it into a pro-touring SEMA build, and all in record time. Here’s the story from Sal’s perspective:
The whole concept of the 1967 Chevelle came into play when American Muscle Cars was approached by Dan Woods from Chop Cut Rebuild to share a project with Auto Metal Direct, an aftermarket sheet metal manufacturer. The premise was AMD would purchase the worst 1967 Chevelle they could find and would have the AMD installation center re-body panel the car in Atlanta at their facility before shipping the car to American Muscle Cars for mock-up, bodywork, paint, and final assembly. After giving it plenty of thought, and also being provided with a long list of industry giants donating parts to the project, I saw an opportunity and decided to agree to the project. Immediately I forwarded some ideas to Kris Horton (Kars by Kris) who began the blueprints and rendering. After all parties agreed on design and color we began the journey of building a TV Car.
A 1967 Chevelle was finally located and purchased outside of Atlanta and the AMD installation center began its part of the build. I made several trips to Atlanta to check on the progress of the metal work, it was soon discovered the car was worse than anybody thought as far as metal panel replacements. With that said, Craig Hopkins at the AMD Installation center still powered through it with expertise and excellent body panels provided by Auto Metal Directs facility. Once the metal work was completed the stock factory chassis was outfitted with new suspension provided by Tony G from ABC Performance Suspension. Because of the aggressive wheel and tire package and ride height we wanted to achieve with this Chevelle, Tony G also installed a wider rear wheel tub for fitment. Rear suspension was completed with a Currie 9”. After two months of heavy metal replacement and suspension the car finally arrived at American Muscle Cars.
By the time we got it, the amount of time left to build the car seemed unrealistic. Not to mention having Dan Woods and his crew filming it all for Chop Cut Rebuild. We all knew we would be working 24/7 and got our heads in the game. We began by gapping the body panels in order to have a more consistent gap between all the panels. Next, we modified both front and rear bumper for a tighter fit to the car as well as removing mounting bolts for a smooth look. The next hurdle was to build the hood from the rendering; the modified Super Sport outfitted with a portion of a cowl hood was completed and flowed into a cowl panel where all the louvers were welded to continue that smooth look. Due to the aggressive ride height and wheel/tire size we demanded, the next step was to modify the front inner wheel wells, trunk floor, outer rear wheel housing, and mounting position of the rear suspension.
We were sure there would be one more modifications once the LS3 525 HP and Tremec 6 speed transmission was delivered; both are part of GM’s Connect and Cruise package. Once the motor and transmission were getting installed, that last needed modification was apparent; we would need to tunnel the car. After completing that we began to mock up phase pedal assemblies, brakes, fuel tank and all related plumbing. Because we choose to use a factory front bench seat with a manual transmission we modified a factory original manual shifter to our Tremec transmission. Our next task was to begin wiring, which included Vintage air, power windows, dash, exterior, and interior components. We secured a location for the engine management system and completed wiring in the motor then continued to mock the car up as we moved into the engine compartment. Once that was complete, the Chevelle was transported to Magnaflow for exhaust installation and then the majority of the mock up phase was finished.
From Magnaflow the car was delivered to Ron Mangus Hot Rod Interiors where Ron and his team began mocking up our vision for the interior. Once back at the shop, we installed the HushMat with the help of Tim McCarthy. From that point we began to dis-assemble the vehicle for body and paint and so began the tedious work of fit and finish. Our process began with body working panels and included three men working around the clock due to our tight build schedule. The car was body worked and block sanded three times and then prepped for paint. Early in conception I wanted a non-metallic, blood red exterior finish and PPG was able to provide us with exactly what we wanted.
While the Chevelle was being painted, this allowed our fabricators to dis-assemble the chassis and suspension where it was sent out for powder coating and all detail work. Once these components were back in our possession it was re-assembled along with Wilwood brakes and related plumbing. At this time the motor and transmission were also installed onto the chassis. After paint, we began the color sanding process; the finish was sanded down with four different grits of sand paper and buffed to perfection. Finally the body and chassis were re-united; doors were then installed as well as fenders, trunk lid, and hood. Front and rear glass and exterior components were then also installed to the car before moving into the interior and assembling the dash and installing power windows with the side glass. The car was then transported back to Ron Mangus for final assembly of the interior. The last phase was to once again transport the Chevelle to Westech Performance for initial start-up and Dyno testing.
What we wanted to achieve with this Chevelle were subtle changes that would warrant a second look. To stay true to the rendering and build a 1967 Chevelle as if the parts available today were accessible back in 1967… to build a 1967 Chevelle on steroids!!!