Dave tells us:
I currently have a 1965 Chevelle Malibu SS. It has been restored to original condition, even back to the original color of Evening Orchid. It was factory equipped with a 283, Powerglide, AM radio, black interior and stock SS hubcaps.
The story of why I have this car, starts 23 years ago when I was 16. For my first car my Dad bought me a '65 Chevelle SS. It was dark blue with white interior, 327 and a four-speed transmission. Only being 16 and not knowing what I had at the time, I beat this car to death!! I could kick myself now. I eventually traded this off for, of all things, a Dodge!!
As time passed and I got smarter, I wanted another Chevy like I had as a kid. I guess that I just wanted a little part of my youth back. One day on the way home from work, I passed a corner where everyone puts their car that they are trying to sell. Much to my surprise, there was what is now my Chevelle. I took a quick look at it as I passed by and decided after seeing this car there for 3 days that this warranted further investigation. Every time that I passed by I could hear it calling my name and saying "Help me, Help me, remember what you did to my cousin". I took a friend of mine that owns a body shop to help decide if this was a car that was worth restoring. When we took a closer look, we discovered that it had seen better days. What we found was a car that had 2 or 3 coats of Earl Schieb blue that was peeling off, blue shag carpet, an interior that looked like it had been through a war, and no headliner. The body was in pretty good shape except for a small ding in the right rear quarter panel and no visible rust. After spending 2 days negotiating on this car, the owner and I came to a price we could agree upon. My dream had started to come true, I finally had "my" '65 back and I was feeling sorta young again!!!
After I bought it, we drove it over to my friend's body shop where it sat for over 1 year waiting it's turn in the "beauty parlor". When we finally started work on it, it was decided that we would restore this car back to original showroom condition. We started by stripping the body down to bear metal and starting over. All the trim was removed and inspected for reuse. What we decided to reuse (which wasn't much) was sent out for reconditioning and straightening. The motor and transmission were pulled for a long overdue rebuild, and the interior (or what was left of it) was removed as well as the under hood and under dash wiring.
When we pulled the motor, we noticed that it wasn't the original motor. Someone had put in a 305, 2 bbl. The search was now on for a correct 283 motor. I scoured the papers for weeks looking for a 1965 283. I finally found one about 70 miles from where I live. When I went out to look at it, it was in pieces. We loaded it piece by piece into the truck and hauled it home. When I got it home, I checked the numbers and found out I had been mislead. It was from a 1966 pickup. Deciding that this was close enough, I cleaned what I could and sent the rest out to the shop to have it machined and rebuilt.
After the motor, I sent the transmission out for rebuilding. After the motor came back from the shop, I picked up the transmission and put the two together. What a sight it was in the garage. A brand new motor and transmission ready to go.
Back to the body shop now. We took the body up off the frame, cleaned, painted, and replaced all the body bushings. After 11 months in the body shop, the car was finally ready to put the drivetrain into. We spent the day moving the motor and tranny to the shop and finally into the car. After spending about a week working on this and that, it was finally ready to start. What a momentous day that was. I fired it up and it ran like a new car the first time we turned it over!!!
All that was left to do was replace the interior. After getting an interior kit, from my wife, for my birthday, we started on the interior. With lots of help from my neighbor (who owns an upholstery shop) we figured out where all the pieces went and put them in. The job was finally drawing to a close.
I said that it was finally drawing to a close. I say this because it seems that there is always something that I want to get. The car is complete, right down to the Evening Orchid. It just isn't finished, I don't think it will ever be. It seems that there is always a part out there I want to replace with a NOS part, or a piece of chrome that could be "just a little better". After about 2 years, it is as completed as I intend to make it, with the exception of a "part here and there" as I find something better than I already have.
I need to Thank my wife, Mary, for being so understanding and patient, my friend Paul for doing the superb body work, my neighbor Pablo for the interior work, and everybody else that helped find parts that seemed impossible for me to find.
I'm still 40 years old, but when I drive my '65 down the road, I feel like I'm 16 again. What a feeling it is to be young again!!!
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