It's not a big huge long-term "Project Car," okay? You won't see it torn down to bare framerails and outfitted with all the latest and greatest high-end performance goodies. It's not destined for show car life on a turntable under strategically-aimed-and-filtered light. It'll never wear 100 coats of hand-rubbed paint with flip-flop candies, pearls, and fades.
It's my "new" daily driver, and her name is Connie.
After hearing the repeated horror stories from under my late-model ('96) Chevy S-10 pickup, I hope a few of you loyal readers understand my desire to replace my unreliable little mini-truck with a bigger car some 30 years older. I still need room to carry my stuff, so I opted for a wagon. Even though I don't have kids (yet), I've chosen this hefty model for many reasons, with cost being featured highly among them. I am indeed a cheap S.O.B., and the difference in insurance rates alone was worth the switch.
The name comes from my initial urge to call it "Project Conestoga" or something along those lines. I wanted to find a name relevant to the car, and it's being a wagon played on the whole Conestoga idea. It didn't take long for "Conestoga" to become "Connie," and frankly I like it better. I mean, it still means Conestoga, but it's easier to say.
So, Connie is a '67 Malibu wagon. It's certainly not loaded up with factory options, as there's no roof rack (thank goodness) or even a radio (the factory delete plate looks pretty cool). I acquired Connie in a trade deal that rid me of my '66 Mustang, which I had no love for anyway. Connie is no stranger to editor/owners, as I'm now the third guy in our Primedia offices to have my fingers on her pink slip. She's been passed around the single guys in this office more than a slutty intern. But, I hope she's found a long-term home with me.
I've never had a Chevelle before, or a wagon, so this is kind of cool (I've had other GM a-bodies, so I'm familiar with her chassis). When I took delivery, she was wearing at least three different colors (the original off-white paint, black primer, and gray primer) so I wanted to get her looking halfway decent. My adorable girlfriend Kelly and I spent a couple weekends sanding and spraying, and Connie's new coat of white primer is a good move. The 17x8-inch wheels (Edelbrock's model 429, for those interested) look great with their 3-bar knockoff spinners, and the 327/Powerglide combo is reliable, if not fast or particularly good on gas.
So, with her gold interior and too-high stance, Connie will be making some appearances on the pages. I've got a few things in mind to give her a '60s kind of flavor, and I hope you follow along with her progress. I honestly drive her to work and back everyday, and I've learned two things immediately. First: Rain-X works pretty good when you have no windshield wipers, although I'd not recommend it for any extended periods. Secondly, not having a heater sucks, but not having a heater and having open holes in the firewall truly sucks.
I'll address my concerns as time goes on, and you'll see me doing much of it between the covers of PHR. My girlfriend is willing to help, so that's a big step in the right direction. Budget will be kept in check, fabrication will be minimal, and the focus will be more about refining a true 87-octane daily-driver for reliable and safe use, rather than tricking it out for race-level performance. I feel many readers can relate, and we've got a good handle on the racy stuff in PHR already. Connie may never be killer-quick, but she'll make a supreme tow vehicle for a car that is.
So, my friends, meet Connie-She's anxious to know you too!