1965 Chevy Chevelle 300
Dominick Damato, Gurnee, IL
Best E.T.: 11.92/115.7
One sunny day in Scottsdale, Arizona, Dominick Damato was walking the pits prior to one of the big Barrett-Jackson bidding bonanzas when he came across what appeared to be a perfect example of an unmolested, big-block A-body. Infatuated at first sight, Dominick struck up a conversation with the owner, Don Breen. Breen told him the low-mileage, original-paint cream puff was purchased in a small suburb of Detroit by a lady named Mable, whose name and address adorned the original Protect-O-Plate. As Breen pulled out the new car pamphlets, warranty info/Protect-O-Plate booklet, and a punch sheet that was under the driver-side seats, Dominick knew he'd found the Chevelle he'd always wanted.

This particular car brought back a flood of memories of the Chevelle that got away. Growing up working on muscle cars with his dad, the one that really got his attention was a '65 Malibu. Unfortunately, that car was a low 11-second screamer, which Dominick's father knew was unfit for a 16-year-old's first car, so it was sold to pay for a more reasonable high school commuter. A couple 13-second cars, and even a 12-second '04 GTO followed but, of course, Dominick always felt a little gypped, and swore he'd have a '65 of his own someday.

Standing next to this Artesian Turquoise '65, Dominick knew that day had come. It didn't take long for a deal to be struck that kept the Chevelle off the auction block. Now at home in his garage, Dominick has decided to keep the mods minimal to preserve the Chevelle's unrestored feel.

That doesn't mean that it's not enjoyed, however; besides joy rides through the streets of Gurnee, Dominick occasionally runs it in the NMCA Nostalgia Muscle Car class, where the mildly built 396 has returned a best of 11.92 at 115 mph. We like that poetic justice; Dominick got his 11-second Chevelle after all.

Dominick Damato, 26 • Gurnee, IL
Total cost to build: $25,632
Type: Chevy 396ci big-block
Block: '69 GM
Oiling: Melling HV pump, Stock GM pan
Rotating assembly: GM crank and rods with ARP bolts,
forged TRW 10.0:1 pistons
Cylinder heads: GM cast-iron oval-port (049s) with 2.19/1.88-inch valves
Camshaft: COMP Cams flat-tappet mechanical, 110 LSA
Valvetrain: aluminum roller rockers and double-roller timing set
Induction: Edelbrock 454-0 intake manifold,
Holley 750-cfm mechanical-secondary carb
Ignition: MSD 6AL box, distributor, coil, timing controller, and plug wires
Fuel system: sumped stock tank with Weldon pump
Exhaust: Hedman headers, custom H-pipe, dual 3-inch turbo mufflers
Cooling: stock water pump, Be Cool radiator
Output: untested
Built by: Bob Murdoch, Chicago, IL
Transmission: APT Turbo 400 with ATI 10-inch 3,300-3,500 stall converter,
GM column shift, 4-inch aluminum driveshaft with 1350 U-joints
Rear axle: Moser rearend, 3.73:1 gears,
Eaton limited-slip differential
Front suspension: stock control arms with poly bushings,
Moroso Trick springs,
Competition Engineering three-way adjustable shocks
Rear suspension: Edelbrock adjustable upper control arms,
Hotchkis lowers, Moroso springs,
Competition Engineering three-way adjustable shocks
Brakes: Wilwood discs front; 11-inch GM drums rear
Wheels: 15x6 GM steelies front and rear
Tires: 225/60R15 Primewell, front;
255/60R15 M/T ET Street Radials, rear

'65 Chevy Chevelle 300 $24,417
Valve covers $89
Tires $235
Ring-and-pinion and install kit $341
Rearend assembly labor $150
Carb work $100
Misc. parts $300
Total: $25,632