Po­tent Chev­elle in Rare Hue Hits the Streets Again

Muscle Car Review - - Contents - By Scotty Lachenauer

Po­tent Chev­elle in rare hue hits the streets again

ÒIal­ways wanted a Chev­elle, and at the time I had no clue the car was rare at all,” says Jim Ross, owner of this stun­ning A-Body. “See­ing that color with the black stripes for the first time … well, my 20-year-old self just fell in love with it.” The paint is Misty Turquoise.

For­tu­nately, Jim had the where­withal to pull the trig­ger on the nifty Chev­elle

SS. Since then he has never looked back. Af­ter 46 years Jim’s opin­ion of the car hasn’t changed. “I al­ways loved the shape of the Chev­elle, and I got lucky and got one with a big-block and a four-speed to boot.”

Built with the L34 396 pack­ing 350 ponies, the Chev­elle had plenty of power to get Jim in and out of trou­ble. “It was loud and fast,” he says. Well, that’s pretty much a blan­ket state­ment for what any real mus­cle car should be.

His Story

Jim, a life­long res­i­dent of La­trobe, Penn­syl­va­nia, learned about the car from a friend in 1972. “This car was just three miles from my house. We went over to see it, and I bought it within two days for $2,000.” The two-year-old Chev­elle had very low miles and was still stock—as in stocked with the goods from the factory.

The L34 was joined to a Mun­cie M21 close-ra­tio four-speed, and a 12-bolt Posi­trac­tion rear with 3.42 gears spun the back meats. Black vinyl buck­ets gave the in­te­rior a sporty feel. On the cor­ners were 14x7 Rally wheels fit with SS cen­ter caps and trim rings for a lit­tle bling where it counted.

Jim loved his new ride from the start, and it was his ev­ery­day driver for a year. Then the 21-year-old made a ma­ture (and smart) de­ci­sion. “I kept it as my daily driver, but took it off the road in the win­ter.” From that point on it would

sit un­der a cover through the harsh Penn­syl­va­nia weather, out of harm’s way.

Race Daze

In 1974, Jim got the urge to hit the track, so the Chevy was set up to do a lit­tle quar­ter­mile drag rac­ing. First he made the strange de­ci­sion to change the car’s color pal­ette. He ditched the Misty Turquoise and went with Mid­night Blue and sil­ver stripes for his rac­ing colors.

Other mod­i­fi­ca­tions made for the dragstrip in­cluded swap­ping the factory in­take and carb for an Edel­brock alu­minum in­take and a Hol­ley 800-cfm car­bu­re­tor. The factory ex­haust man­i­folds were re­placed with a set of Hooker head­ers. With those changes Jim saw elapsed times drop a full se­cond from stock, down to 13.56 sec­onds. But he wanted more. He ended up putting 4.88 gears in the 12-bolt and cut­ting the rear quar­ters for

“Jim got a per­sonal best of 12.60 at 110 mph at the track”

a set of Mickey Thompson 29.5x10.5 slicks. A Turbo 400 trans­mis­sion now did the shift­ing. With this formula Jim got a per­sonal best of 12.60 at 110 mph at the track.

Af­ter Jim was done with his quar­ter­mile ad­ven­tures, he re­turned the car to its orig­i­nal color. To get it right, the painters clipped off a sec­tion of the orig­i­nal fire­wall, which was still coated in the factory color, and had it an­a­lyzed to get the cor­rect hue. Once that was done, the sheet­metal was re­paired and the car was once again sprayed in Misty Turquoise. As if he knew this would be the car’s tra­jec­tory all along, Jim had kept all the orig­i­nal parts he had taken off for rac­ing, and put them back on.

Needy Chevy

Jim kept the car in good shape over the years, bring­ing it out on oc­ca­sion to meet friends, but the years started tak­ing a toll on the car’s body. It still had south of 40,000 miles, but the time had come to up­grade the ex­te­rior.

“I put the car in a body shop in 1999,” says Jim. There the car would sit for 10 years, with lit­tle be­ing done.

Jim fi­nally gave up and sent it to an­other shop. “I sent it to a se­cond body shop for more than four years, and again, noth­ing was done.”

So it was pulled one more time and sent to a third shop. That’s where things re­ally went south for the Chev­elle. It was there for two years, and Jim got a tip that some of his orig­i­nal parts, in­clud­ing his front bucket seats, were be­ing hi­jacked to fin­ish an­other Chev­elle project in the shop. That was the fi­nal straw for Jim. Lawyers as well as the state po­lice were in­volved, and the Chev­elle was pulled out im­me­di­ately.

Fi­nally Jim made the right call. He con­tacted Brian Hen­der­son and Joe Swezey at Su­per Car Work­shop right there in La­trobe, and talked to them about do­ing the Chev-

elle. Be­ing Chevrolet mus­cle car ex­perts, they were more than ready to put Jim on the right path. The car had al­ready been painted, so much of the work would en­tail re­assem­bling the car.

Jim jumped in and helped as well, tak­ing a lot of the parts home with him to be re­stored, and show­ing up at the shop nightly to pitch in. SCW also helped re­fin­ish and re­paint parts that were not com­pleted, and worked on it over a two-month pe­riod to get the car fin­ished.

The orig­i­nal 396 driv­e­line was re­built by Joe Ze­oli and Dave Reid at A1 Ma­chine in Greens­burg, Penn­syl­va­nia. Jim him­self cleaned up his orig­i­nal in­te­rior, which was still in great shape, but had the buck­ets re­skinned by Wein­mann In­te­rior in Del­mont, Penn­syl­va­nia, since they had been abused when they were ab­ducted by the last shop owner.

Misty Again

Af­ter putting the car in the SCW shop in Oc­to­ber, the Chev­elle was fin­ished in time for its of­fi­cial unveiling at Jim’s an­nual Christ­mas party. Now the car goes all over the Mid­west for events. At its first show, hosted by the North­ern Ohio Chev­elle Club, the car won First Place, beat­ing 230 other Chevy ABodies. It was also fea­tured in the Solid Lifter Show­room at the Carlisle Chevrolet Na­tion­als, sit­ting along­side other top­notch Su­per Car Work­shop Chevro­lets (“Some­one Left a Show Out in the Rain,” Oct. 2018).

Thanks go out to Joe and Brian at SCW and also Jamie and Griff at Su­per Car Restora­tion for their help bring­ing this su­perb Chev­elle back to orig­i­nal form. It’s good to know that an­other rare mus­cle car is back on the streets where it be­longs. “Misty” is play­ing once again, and Jim just couldn’t be hap­pier.

“Some of his orig­i­nal parts were be­ing hi­jacked to fin­ish an­other Chev­elle”

n With south of 40,000 orig­i­nal miles, Jim’s Misty Turquoise Chev­elle is one strik­ing big-block Chevy mus­cle car.

n The SS re­tains its born-with L34 396. The low-mileage big-block was in rea­son­ably good shape when it was torn down for a com­plete re­build, al­though 20 years of rac­ing had put quite a few years on the po­tent mill.

n Though he loved the orig­i­nal Code 34 Misty Turquoise paint with black stripes, Jim Ross re­painted the car Mid­night Blue with sil­ver stripes when he ran the lo­cal quar­ter-mile strips. It was re­painted to stock once its rac­ing years were over.

n The lightly used in­te­rior needed lit­tle to get back in tip­top shape. Un­for­tu­nately, a restora­tion shop had ab­ducted his orig­i­nal bucket seats. Jim got them back, but they were bat­tered and in need of a full re­skin.

n Few op­tions were or­dered when this car was pur­chased new. Tick­ing the RL2 box got you the cowl in­duc­tion hood and the D88 hood and deck stripes.

n Jim reused his five-spoke Su­per Sport wheels and shod them in re­pop F70-14 Goodyear bias-ply tires.

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