Have you ever found a car sitting in a field, a barn, or under a carport and said to yourself, “I’m going to own that car someday”? Sometimes, that someday never comes. Other times, sometime might come around, but is a long time after the original sighting. Such is the case with Bob Sell of Newton, Iowa. He had one heck of a wait to get this ’72 Chevelle he found in a field. In fact, it took longer to acquire the car than it did to rebuild it. “I watched this car rot into the ground here in Iowa for 30 years,” Bob states. “I tried to buy it many times, but the owner kept saying he was going to fix it someday. In 2011, I finally got it.
Bob continues, “the reason I finally got the car, was the person that owned it passed away. He left it to his grandson who finally realized he didn’t have the means to save it. I convinced him that I did. If I hadn’t saved this car, it would have surely been crushed.”
Bob quipped that he is not sure who actually got the better deal. When he finally got the chance to really look at the car, he learned it had a bent frame, and everything but the roof and floorplan was rotted. “I knew I could save it, and that’s what I set out to do,” he affirms. “It cost me $300 and a lawnmower before I could put it on a trailer to take it to my house.”
Over the next seven years, the folks at Auto Metal Direct and Goodmark Industries got to know Bob rather well, as he ordered new quarters, trunk floor, doors, fenders, rockers, hood, decklid, and basically, everything but a roof.
“There was a lot of blood sweat and money used up in my two-car garage,” says Bob. “The Chevelle a base-model sport coupe that I built into the car you see here. For it to be in a magazine is a dream for me.”
Under the hood now resides a 355ci small-block stuffed full of high-performance parts like a forged crankshaft, Eagle connecting rods, SRP pistons, Dart heads, and a Crane roller cam. Bob relayed that he guesses the engine is making roughly 500 horsepower. Behind that is a Turbo 400 that has been upgraded with a heavier sprag and a TCI Auto Super Street Fighter torque converter. Finally, the rearend is a 12-bolt filled with an Eaton posi, 3.73 Richmond gears, and Strange axles.
To refurbish the black interior, Bob used parts from PUI to recreate the ‘70s vibe. That is, save for the ProCar buckets up front. He also says the shifter is from B&M, and he is currently in the process of installing Dakota Digital VHX gauges and a Vintage Air kit.
It might have taken Bob more than just a few years to finally acquire the car he saw sitting in a field so long ago, but now that it’s in his stable, we’re certain it’s not going anywhere for a really long time.
Do you want to read about more Home-Built Heroes? All you need to do is click here. If you own a Home-Built Hero, we want to hear about it. Since we’ve started the series, we have received more than a few candidates, but we still want to see more – we can never get enough. If you want to see more cars built by you the readers, send us a few pictures of your car showing the engine, interior, and exterior, along with all of the pertinent information, and we’ll make you internet famous. You can send your submissions to [email protected].