GETTING ALL MISTY ON US
Potent Chevelle in Rare Hue Hits the Streets Again
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.