This 1965 Chevy Chevelle has quite a story to tell. It even started out a little different than most. In 1965, a couple purchased matching cars. The only differences were that his had a 300hp 327 V-8, while hers had a straight-six. They were daily drivers for the couple for many years. This was a simpler time. Cars were simpler. People's lives were simpler. This was an era when you didn't put 10,000 miles a year on a car. And cars held up for decades with regular maintenance. When it came time for the original owner to sell the car 36 years and 60,000 miles later, it was still a solid car. The original paint and interior looked as good as a car only a fraction of its age. And this A-body was still up to the duty of providing daily service.
Meanwhile, Kyle and Stacy Tucker of Detroit Speed & Engineering (DSE) had just finished the event circuit with their Twister '69 Camaro. They had won awards, taken home trophies from races, and gained the attention of thousands with performance and detail in execution with their Camaro. But there's always the question of what to do next. There's almost an expectation when you're in the limelight. They thought about what to do next, considering the various options, and decided on building an early Chevelle. The search was on. Kyle found this clean, one-owner gem in Arkansas. They bought the car and brought it home. They did the Power Tour with it in 2001 before they had a chance to do much more than wash the car. Stacy said that it was a totally different experience in this completely stock Chevelle compared to the year prior in a totally built Camaro. In 2000, they could blow by anyone. In 2001, everyone was blowing by them.
We should all look so good...
We should all look so good at 45 years old. This '65 Chevelle still sports the original Butternut Yellow paint and interior, but it owes its modern look to Budnik wheels and a cool stance provided by DSE.
Then the car got sidelined as Kyle and Stacy launched their business, DSE. The Chevelle sat while they built and sold Camaro components that they had developed while building the Twister and several other first-generation Camaros.
Several years later, the car was pulled back into action, this time for business as well as transportation. The Chevelle had an unmolested chassis, which would be perfect for DSE to engineer their suspension components with. It also re-entered into its life of daily transportation, this time for Kyle. The car was initially fitted with prototype DSE springs and shocks front and rear. When the first set of A-arms was ready for testing, they were fitted to the car. Then the initial drop spindles. It currently sports the DSE Speed Kit 3, which is a combination of all of these components, plus the company's 600 Steering gear and splined front sway bar. The rear suspension is also a DSE Speed Kit 3, and it is equally as trick. The core of the kit is a set of Swivel Link rear control arms. The complete kit also includes coilover shocks and springs, rear sway bar, and chassis brace kit. (See the "DSE Suspension" sidebar for more information on all of these suspension components.)
The Budnik steering wheel...
The Budnik steering wheel is the only clue that this interior has been touched. The factory AM radio, speedo, clock, and rack of warning lights sit untouched in the same location they've been in for over four decades. This cockpit is unrestored and most of the components have never been removed.
Before you start thinking that this car had left one cushy life for another, think again. As a development mule, this car's job is to hit every pothole between the Tucker's house and DSE's shop. In between pothole runs, the car spends time on the skidpad, a slalom course, or a test route that the Tucker's developed around their shop. The team at DSE uses it to continually refine the suspension and try new components. They'll spend weeks just doing shock tuning. They're not only looking for performance and ride quality, but they are also using this Chevelle for durability testing, and the only way you can do that is by beating on it. The car has also seen quite a lot of use lately driving to and from events, and smoking the tires around road courses and autocrosses. It even won the autocross event at the Goodguys Charlotte event. The Chevelle went on the 2010 Hot Rod Power Tour, and then was driven to Chevellabration in Tennessee where it ran 50 laps on the autocross. The next day after returning to the shop, a DSE sales guy took it for sales calls in Florida.