Finding a suitable car from which to start a project is possibly almost as fun as the actual time spent working on it once it’s actually brought home. Finding that “just right” car to build can take some time, but we can all agree it is time well spent. What’s more, there are a lot of great project car choices. If you like the American pony car, the Camaro is a great option. If you like something a little bigger, a Chevelle will really get you noticed. However, if you are absolutely in love with a particular year and/or model of car, your mind is probably already made. Selecting the right car is an important decision. For Kimber Eaton of Shelter Island, New York, this ’67 Chevelle made the decision easy.
From The Beginning
Like many restored or reimagined classics, when Kimber first purchased this ’67 Chevelle, it looked nothing like it does now. Back then, the factory blue had been covered in a resale red that had seen better days. According to Kimber, “A friend of mine found out about the car and in turn, told me about it. It was sitting in a garage, and the odometer was only showing 36,200 original miles.” Kimber immediately knew it would make a great project as it was completely rust-free, and those project starts are hard to find. That was back in 2002, and the rebuild took a total of 14 months to complete.
Although the body was in great shape, Kimber knew there would be some metalwork in the car’s future. That’s because an impending suspension upgrade would require some “subtle” body mods. “Although the body had no rust, with the help of a couple of friends, I installed a set of mini tubs because I knew a larger tire was going to be installed.” If you’re a fan of the Ceramic Matrix Gray paint that now covers the metal, kudos goes to Nostalgic Autobody in Island Lake, Illinois.
Remember that previously mentioned impending suspension upgrade? When it came time to work on the underpinnings of the Chevelle, the upgrade came in a large package — a complete Schwartz Performance G-Machine chassis. Upfront, we find a set of RideTech coilovers and a pair of 14-inch Baer brakes sporting six-piston calipers. The 9-inch rear is supported by a four-link with more Ridetech jounce suppressors and once again, Baer brakes. To handle the turning duties. Kimber chose rack-and-pinion steering, so you can bet this hot rod responds to his directional input without hesitation.
When it comes to the motivation of any classic hot rod, all enthusiasts want some serious horsepower under the hood. I’m not talking about just enough to get a car or truck moving, I mean enough to melt the rear tires without effort. Kimber’s Chevelle has that capability — and then some.
When Kimber lifts the hood, we immediately see 572 inches of large-by-huge, big block motivation. The build began with a Dart block that has been fitted with a SCAT crankshaft, 4340 H-beam connecting rods, and forged Wiseco pistons. Spinning in the middle of the block is a “mild” COMP Cams bumpstick with .566/.566-inch lift. Sealing the pistons within the bore is a set of Air Flow Research (AFR) aluminum heads to help create a very street-friendly 10.5:1 compression ratio. Kimber didn’t disclose any horsepower numbers, so I’ll go out on a limb and guess it’s somewhere between stock and holy crap! Behind the big mill is a TREMEC Magnum six-speed transmission.
Since the interior is the place Kimber plans to spend most of his time, you can bet it’s better than OE. “Cassin Customizing in Woodstock, Illinois did an amazing job,” says Kimber. The front seats are from Procar, and the rear seat has been recovered in leather to match the front buckets. If you’re looking for a sound system, open the hood. This is a hot rod, and Kimber didn’t want any noise to detract from the sound of the big block at full song. The look of modernization continues to the dash, as Dakota Digital gauges now monitor engine function parameters. While a console was available in the Chevelle lineup, this ’67 Chevelle features a custom unit that not only looks great, but actually adds a touch of class to the interior.
Some might say that Kimber has built an over-the-top hot rod, and that might be true. However, if you ask me, what he has is an almost perfect representation of what he considers to be the ultimate Chevelle that is surely the envy of many while at any cruise night, car show, or even, autocross.