1966 Chevy II
Owner: Timothy Dean; Baton Rouge, LA
Photographer: owner/Canon EOS Rebel XS
When Chevrolet introduced the Chevy II compact in 1962, it was among the first real attempts by Detroit to create an economical and fuel-efficient alternative to the bulky, highly styled mainstream cars of the era. The idea clearly resonated with Americans, and has since become a cornerstone of the global automotive market. Unlike today’s compacts, however, the Chevy II employed the front-engine, rear-drive layout so important for performance. Naturally, the lightweight Chevy II was quickly co-opted by hot rodders for their own intentions, the ’66-67 Sport Roof versions being the sexiest and most sought after of the breed.
Timothy Dean’s story is the Chevy II’s history in a microcosm. His ’66 belonged to his grandmother, who bought it new as an economical six-cylinder family car. It had a hard life in New England, enduring snow, road salt, and the insult of continuous outdoor storage. When Timothy bought it from her in 1988, it was a rusted basket case. Not mechanically inclined, Timothy gradually learned about his Chevy II as he restored it. As a father of four, his mods are 100 percent home brewed—body, paint, wiring, engine, chassis, and suspension. A 355ci small-block now resides underhood, and Timothy has recently taken up drag racing—posting a best quarter-mile e.t. of 13.10 at 103.4 mph.
Owner: Ray Verna; San Mateo, CA
Photographer: owner/Nikon D80
Always a fan of the ’55 Chevy, Ray Verna decided he needed to finally get his hands on one now that he is retired and has time to play. The ideal ’55 210 post showed up at the Pleasanton, California, Goodguys show, and he snatched it up. The red and black paint was perfect, but Ray wanted more muscle, so he and his buddies yanked the driveline in favor of a 383ci small-block with a Tremec five-speed, backed by a Currie 9-inch. “I didn’t know where to stop,” Ray says. “It was snowballing.” Next up came the chassis with 2-inch drop spindles, cut springs, a Flaming River rack-and-pinion, and a four-link rear with QA1 coilovers. It must be a blast to drive now since Ray says the dual-Edelbrock—carb’d 383 reminds him of the ’66 426 Hemi Plymouth he had back in high school. His favorite touches are the smooth front bumper and the Corvette grille. We have to agree with you there Ray; it’s a great look on a ’55.
Owner: Steven R. Williams; Concord, NC
Photographer: owner/Sony DSC-5750
A Camaro wasn’t on Steven Williams’ mind when he ran across this one; he already had his time occupied restoring and hot rodding his first car, a ’55 Chevy two-door hardtop. But the body was just too straight and the price was right. You know the feeling; we’ve all been there. The paint was near perfect, and the Camaro ran well, so Steven didn’t have much in the way of speed parts planned at first. Of course, that all changed in a hurry the day his son outran him in his ’66 Mustang. How dare he! To put him in his place, the Camaro went into the garage and rolled out infused with a new Trick Flow–headed 383 small-block topped by a Weiand 6-71 blower, a Richmond quick-change rearend with 3.42 gears, and a Tremec five-speed. “He can’t outrun me now!” Steven told us, while grinning ear-to-ear. All those parts made the Camaro much more fun to drive as well; to date it’s been on several Hot Rod magazine Power Tours and competed at the ECTA’s Maxton Mile top-speed event.