This Racy Red Chevelle Was Built To Handle Retirement With A Smile

Many enthusiasts longingly yearn for the time in their lives when they can sit back, relax, and enjoy retirement. Not Rick Graf. Rather than settle into a recliner and throttle back his life into idleness, Rick decided to speed things up a bit with this racy red, big-block 1967 Chevelle. Make no mistake, Rick had some creature comforts added to his vintage ride to make his retirement ride more comfortable, but one look at the build of this Chevy will instantly reveal that it was built for speed as much as comfort.

Rick chose not to go all flash-bang with the appearance of his Chevelle. Instead, he put his money into changes you can feel on both the road and track. All images: Thomas LeClair

Rick has had plenty of time to perfect his Chevy to his liking, owning the car for over 14 years. Rick has always loved cars and is a very social guy, so he intends to spend the bulk of his retirement at car shows, cruise-ins, and club events. This Chevelle is the perfect medium that allows him to get out in the community and continue building friendships and memories. It also allows him to go fast, no matter where the road of retirement takes him.

An old-school-cool big-block is always a solid choice to power a vintage ride. Coupling all that wide-valve-cover torque with a manual transmission is just icing on the cake.

Of course, the foundation of all that speed is the old-school big-block snuggled under the hood of this Bowtie. With its requisite four-barrel induction and long-tube headers, it makes the perfect mill to send power down through that factory four-speed transmission. Rick was also sure to add a few niceties to the underhood area, such as power steering and power brakes. He also made sure that the air was properly “conditioned” inside the cockpit of his Chevelle.

Handling Retirement Properly

On the surface, Rick’s Chevelle might appear to be a no-frills ride, but that’s part of the charm of this well-handling Chevelle. When you go under the surface, you’ll quickly find where Rick’s priorities lay. To start, the underpinnings of this Chevelle have been updated to a Speedtech Track Time package, because more confidence when driving this car around town, getting on and off freeways, and having the ability to tune for different driving conditions is always a great way to handle retirement. The Track Time suspension upgrade is designed to replace the entire front and rear suspension with components featuring improved geometry and adjustability.

Included in the Speedtech package up front, are a set of upper and lower control arms with a full helping of Viking double-adjustable coilover shocks at every corner. The control arms allow for much-improved geometry over what GM’s engineers could have imagined back in the day, and those coilover shocks let Rick make adjustments to the ride of his red racer at will. The included Chicane coilover conversion kit permits the installation of those spring-riddled dampers upon the factory frame. Another geometric improvement to how the car handles is through the included billet tie rod adjustment sleeves.

Out back, the suspension features a complete line of bolt-in components. The adjustable upper and lower trailing arms feature durable Delrin bushings and allow for changes to the pinion angle as well as the vehicle’s wheelbase. Of course, those double-adjustable coilovers allow Rick to adjust the car’s ride height to perfection. A 1-inch sway bar in the rear complements the massive 1 5/16-inch front sway bar to keep the Chevelle’s bumpers parallel to the ground in the twisties.

This Chevelle Is Rolling (And Stopping) Through Retirement

One of the nice perks of retirement is the ability to stop and smell the flowers, shop for car parts, or come back down to a respectable speed in a hurry. A task easily handled by those Wilwood brakes. With six-piston fronts and four-piston rear calipers clamping down on drilled and slotted rotors, the brakes not only work great, but they look awesome peeking out from those 18-inch chrome-spoked wheels wearing NITTO rubber.

Now that Rick has his racy red ride exactly how he wants it, he’s all set for his golden years with plenty of rest, relaxation, and burning rubber. All the upgrades to this car will go a long way to ensuring he enjoys every minute of retirement much more than any gold watch could provide. And, with the additional modernizations, he’ll be quite comfortable while doing it. Now that is something we’re sure every car-crazy, auto enthusiast yearns to have when they retire.

About the author

Andy Bolig

Andy has been intrigued by mechanical things all of his life and enjoys tinkering with cars of all makes and ages. Finding value in style points, he can appreciate cars of all power and performance levels. Andy is an avid railfan and gets his “high” by flying radio-controlled model airplanes when time permits. He keeps his feet firmly grounded by working on his two street rods and his supercharged C4 Corvette. Whether planes, trains, motorcycles, or automobiles, Andy has immersed himself in a world driven by internal combustion.
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