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Project High School Sweetheart (65 Chevelle 2dr Post)

89155 Views 391 Replies 57 Participants Last post by  tatoodkelt
I've been lurking for a long time and posted my intro last fall. Let me first say that there are some fantastic cars on here and have no illusions about my project. Some of you may even scoff at the fact that I'm posting this in the pro touring forum, but the car will fit here more than in the other forum areas I think.

Here's the story: I grew up in a hot rod, muscle car, and motorcycle family. I remember handing my dad tools at the age of 4, attending my first NHRA top fuel race at 3, and spending Saturday nights at the local dirt oval where my older brother raced flat track motorcycles. I remember falling asleep at Ascot Raceway in California at the age of 5 after my family drove all day from Phoenix to get to the races. I listened to 50s and early 60s music when I should have been listening to 80s and 90s music. Cars and motorcycles are in my blood.

So, at the age of 15, my dad and I purchased my first car. It was a primered 1965 Chevelle 300 post sedan with very nice custom interior, a Muncie 4sp and a 305 small block (I know, I know). I learned how to drive in this car and drove it to school and work every day once I got my license at 16. With said job, I saved my pennies to build an engine and get the car painted. At 17, I went to a local engine shop and commissioned them to build me a 4 bolt main 355 with flat top TRW pistons, Stage IV Chevy heads, Pete Jackson gear drive, balanced rotating assembly, and a mild cam. I needed a reliable car that still had enough power to get up and go decently. My Dad and I assembled the top end and then put the car back together. I then commissioned the local paint shop to shoot some silver paint on the car for 300 bucks. lol I purchased some Weld Draglites, and to me, the car was done. I drove it for about one year of high school, then joined the military, parked the car in my parents' garage in Arizona, and left.

My M and D drove it around to local car gatherings once in a while, but for the most part, it sat in the garage.

Fast forward 16 years. I'm 35 now, made it to commissioned officer status, bought a house finally with a 2 car garage, and had the car shipped from AZ to MD where I currently live/am stationed. I was going to drop the car off at a restoration place, but they were shady and wanted too much cash. For 10 years of my enlisted days, I was a Damage Controlman and was an expert welder and metal fabricator and am an engineer by trade anyway. I figured I'd just tear into the car and do what I can on my own.

So, because it's an Arizona car, it is in decent shape; however, the previous owner did some shoddy bondo work in the quarters, rear cowl, and crap floor board rivet work :sad:, so some metal work is needed. I'm not going to pull the body off the frame because the frame is in good shape and looks good after inspecting everything under there. I'm doing a frame on, refresh/mild resto.

I'm on a military guy's budget, so nothing crazy here. The purpose of this project is to end up with a car that handles nicely, stops nicely, is reliable, and can be driven without the worry of messing up thousands of dollars worth of crazy expensive paint and fanciness. I don't plan to auto x it, race it, or etc. Just some cruising to local car gatherings and occasional Saturday and Sunday drives.

I've already started assembling the new parts and plan to install boosted drilled/slotted disc brakes, tubular upper and lower control arms, new spindles, close ratio mechanical steering box, new column, new steering linkage, 2 or 3 inch drop springs, new sway bar, boxed rear arms, etc, etc. I'm keeping the Muncie, but will have it rebuilt. The engine is in good shape too, but I'm probably going to install a bigger cam and aluminum heads with an aluminum radiator and new ceramic coated headers. I'll be using new brake lines front to rear and will probably rebuild the old 10 bolt or source a new one. I also plan to go with and 18 and 19 inch wheel combo from Rushforth. Jason is a very helpful guy by the way.

I'm doing all of this in my 2 car garage with simple hand tools and mostly on my own. I may or may not tackle the final body finishing when I get to that point, but we'll see.

Anyway, I need to get the car back on it's wheels by the end of the Summer because I may have to transfer out of the area and selling a house is difficult enough without a garage full of old car parts! :cool:

Pics of the progress so far:

When it arrived to my house and how I left it over 16 years ago. Looked the same.

I stripped the old paint, rust scale, grease, and grime using a needle scaler by hand over every inch of the frame.

cutting out the smooth firewall panel:

Welding it in place:

That's it for now.

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Sweet, keep the pics coming with updates. Love seeing what other guys are doing.
:thumbsup: for a 65! That interior looks SO comfy!
Thanks, it is comfy. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to save it though since I have to pull it for paint and body work. We'll see.
Nice project!! Subscribed!!!
My first car was my grandmothers 65 300 2 door, that's 1 car i wish i would have held on to. Young and stupid i guess! Where in Md.?, i'm in balto. co. Keep us posted on your progress.
I'm in Pasadena! I can't believe I've held on to this car for 20 years. I still have my senior HS year book with me and this car on the second page in color! lol
Sounds like it was a pretty respectable ride for a 17 year old!

I'll keep an eye out for more updates.
Not too shabby! I got the car when I was 15, and started driving it at 16. It sucked that it was so cool though because everyone wanted me to drive everywhere. Hopefully when I'm done, folks will still want to be seen in it!
Cool car...dig the smoothed firewall, they look so clean when done:thumbsup:
Just read through *some* of your first post...didn't realize you were military and are going to run Rushforth wheels. :thumbsup: Nice coincidence. My dream wheels are Rushforth Livewires but I'll go back and buy them later on. For now I will use VWW V40/V45's until I go Phase II.
Thanks guys. It's slow going due to my lack of time (the job is all consuming right now), but I try to do a little bit here and a little bit there. It's a bit overwhelming at times thinking about all the work ahead of me and often I think about just selling it as is and letting someone come pick up all the pieces. I could get transferred at any time which adds to the stress since trying to sell a house and moving with a car in pieces is crappy situation.

Hopefully, I'll have some updates posted soon. Seems like something comes up every weekend though. In-laws are visiting this weekend... aaarrgghhh!
Finally had some time to work on the car. Prepped the frame, sealed the interior of the frame with EW frame protectant, applied two coats of EW Rust Converter, then two coats of EW Rust Encapsulator. That stuff is fantastic to work with! I used a spray gun for everything and the RE goes on smooth and perfect! The next step will be two coats of EW Chassis Black 2K Ceramic. Started working on the firewall and compiling the front end parts...

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Full floor, full quarters, inner and outer wheel houses, etc, etc. Everything else is being stripped down to bare metal at the moment.

Because full quarters for the 2dr post are almost impossible to find, coupe quarters were purchased and had to be modified to fit the body lines. The C pillar section couldn't be used.

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in a 19x9 rear with a 275....

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I don't know how I missed your post Jon! That looks fantastic!!:beers:
I apologize for the picture quality, but you get the idea.

Yep, this car grew up with me in Arizona, but yes, things rust in the desert...

Old Floor:

New Floor:

Speaks for themselves:

Had to alter coupe quarters:

Thanks to the guys at Carlisle Customs and Classics for doin' the body work for me. With constant military travel taking up most of my time, this would have taken me forever!! I am looking forward to getting the car back in my garage though so that I can start plugging away at it again...

Also, thanks to Jon at Driverz Inc. for the customer service and for the teaser pic! Looking forward to the wheels is helping keep my enthusiasm alive.

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