1969 Chevelle>Green EaterCar junkie Michael Bonde got his start in 1974 with the purchase of his first car, a 1970 Maverick. He experimented with this car before acquiring his father's '64 Fairlane station wagon. This is where his true passion for cars evolved. This was his only form of transportation, so when it broke, he had no choice but to fix it fast. Michael recounts: "Not having a lot of money and owning a car with over 100,000 miles, I learned quickly when things broke." By the time 200,000 came around on the odometer, the car was sold. Michael didn't have another outlet for his car enthusiasm until he picked up this Chevelle in 1999. Now, it was party time.
The car sold for $4,900, a high price for back then, Michael admits. The previous owner bragged about the $300 paintjob he had applied. Michael was sure to thank him under his breath while sanding the three layers of crummy paint. His intention was to just clean it up and use it as a company car for his tool supplier job. He'd built a couple of engines during its service, pushing his car comfortably into the 12s, but that wasn't fast enough for him.
Michael got a new job that came with a company car, so the Chevelle retired from its daily duties. That event triggered the three-year build that would transform the Chevelle. Like most body-off restorations, the car goes from taking up one spot, to three or four. His project started in the garage, but had to expand to a network of EZ-ups in the backyard. There, Michael proceeded to do all the metalwork himself. He outsourced the bodywork to long-time painter Dickie McMillen of Bellflower, California. After four months of waiting, the car shell came back to him as perfect as he had imagined it would. For the next year, Michael put in 50 hours a week to complete it. Through this restoration, Michael's 13-year-old son caught the muscle car bug, and has a Nash Metro he's going to slam to the ground and paint flat black.
By The Numbers1969 ChevelleMichael Bonde, 52 (going on 18)Meridian, IDPerformance: 690 horsepower