I don’t care how old you are, you will always have memories of your first car. For most (probably all) of us, many of the memories revolve around some youthful-exuberance-induced hijinks or near-illegal activities. Even if the car was not what many would have considered a great car, to us, it was the best car we ever owned.
Jeff Flick says he can recall his first car being a ’70 Malibu, but he didn’t tell us much more about it — probably to protect the innocent. “My first car was a 1970 Chevelle Malibu that was a roller when I bought it in 1978, he states. “I put a 350 and four-speed in it. While I owned it, I found out Chevrolet made convertibles of this body style and I knew one day I would have one.”
During the summer of 1984, Jeff and his brother were driving the back roads near where they lived and happened to locate a Chevelle convertible peeking out from a building located in a field. At first glance, the brothers thought it to be a car with a vinyl top. However, a chance meeting some time later changed that assumption.
“One day, a friend and I were talking cars and I mentioned I wanted a ’70-’72 Chevelle convertible,” Jeff recalls. “My friend told me about a wrecked one sitting out in the country. After getting a rough idea of where to go, my brother and I went searching and found it. It was the same car we thought was the vinyl top car we had seen a few months earlier. I knocked on the door and a very nice elderly lady answered. I inquired about the Chevelle, and she told me her grandson put it there. He ran the tow truck for a local service station, and he towed the car in after an accident. When the insurance company totaled the car, he bought it from them.”
Jeff went on to say the grandson removed the engine, transmission, 12-bolt rearend, and bucket seats for use in his Monte Carlo. The lady gave Jeff her grandson’s number, and Jeff tried for months to get in touch with him. “Finally, we got together,” Jeff states. “He had a clean title and $150.00 later, I had my convertible.”
Jeff continued with, “in 1986, I started dating my wife, and her parents had a 1972 Heavy Chevy parked in their backyard. It was a 307 car, and I bought it for parts to make the convertible whole.” Jeff chuckles now when he tells people that looking back, he should have kept the Heavy Chevy whole and sourced convertible parts elsewhere.
Jeff was able to get the convertible back on the road in 1990. Back then, it was painted a bright red and had a 327 under the hood with a Turbo400 behind it. Completing the drivetrain was a 12-bolt with 3.73 gears. “We put approximately 30,000 miles on it,” Jeff fondly remembers. “Then, in 1999, I wanted to change the color. My brother, Calvin, friend, Robert, and I took it apart again.”
As luck would have it, Robert’s cousin had a 1988 IROC that was totaled, so Jeff traded the 327 and Turbo400 for the IROC. The IROC’s engine and transmission were then installed in the Chevelle. “The engine is stock, but the 700R4 has been mildly built,” says Jeff. “We finished the rebuild in the fall of 1999. It used up a lot of late nights and long weekends.”
It might have taken Jeff several years to rebuild the Chevelle into the gem it is today, but rest assured, the A-body is the epitome of a Home-Built Hero, built for cruising.
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