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My "barn find", sort of


#1

Well, Its from my own “barn”…

Back in 1985, I had a friend wreck my beautiful 1966 Malibu (factory bucket seats with console). We were 17, and had lived a few doors apart since before 1st grade, and we even shared the same birthday. One night in the almost empty high school parking lot, we were talking; me with my Malibu and my friend and his other’s friends '70 GTO. The entire parking lot (250 feet long) was deserted. So since I had starter issues, I left my car runing. My friend asked if he could drive it around the parking lot (he was a novice driver and didn’t have his license yet), so I said sure…

He drove around the parking lot slowly (honestly, not going over 10-15 MPH), he’d make the u-turn at the end and come back by. He did a few “laps” and then suddenly, he lost control, paniced, hit the gas instead of the brake, and T-boned the GTO with my Chevelle, narrowly missing those of us standing around…

My Malibu was wrecked, but still driveable, and just needed a new front clip. The GTO was totalled, pushing the passenger door into the seat about 6-8 inches, enough to rip the seat out of the floor. The GTO was still driveable as well, being hit right between the wheels…

My mom suggested that we buy a used front clip (with the friends parents paying), my friend and I would do all the labor, and we had a family friend that managed a body shop. He had painted the car previously, and agreed to repaint giving us the family deal.

My friends parents payed for a 4-door parts car ($300), but that was it, they wouldn’t pay anymore, even writing on their check “payment in full”… And their son would not be helping, because he had to get a job to help pay for the GTO damage… Nice… His parents were good friends of my parents, and the 4 of them even went to Europe together.

So I replaced the front clip, but it took a while to get the car painted.

So I ended up finding another Chevelle for sale, a 1966 SS… Now back in 1985, as a 17 year old, I had no idea about “138 VIN”, etc. All I knew was it had that cool SS hood, in-dash “SS gauges”, a 4-speed and a 12-bolt posi rearend… The 396 had been replaced by a “327” (later found to be a 283).

It was a fun car for the last 5 months of my senior year…

I remember driving the car home from my purchase thinking it was a dog… I had to slip the clutch to take off, and only got into 2nd gear (35-40 MPH). I had my mom following me home after the purchase.

So imagine my surprise (and my mothers), as I was sitting at a redlight, I was wiggling the Hurst shifter, and it seemed to pop over toward me a bit more. The light turned green, and I revved the engine and started slipping the clutch when the car shot off the line, tires spinning, pulled second gear, and more tire spinning…

It turned out the Hurst shifter needed adjusting, and in stead of 1st and 2nd, I had been starting in 3rd gear… Ended up being 3.73:1 rear gears…

It was a blast, but after only 10 months, the engine broke a ring and started smoking badly… I parked the car, and started disassembly for a “restoration” (it was a tired old “racecar”)…

Life happened, including finding a '66 Chevelle convertible and later a factory 396-powered 1966 El Camino, and then college, marriage, house, kids…

I still have that '66 SS. About 12 years ago I dropped in a used 396, but never got it running… 2 years ago, I started the engine with a borrowed carb and a small tank of gas…

I have 95% of the parts needed for safety (wheels, new tires, all new chassis and suspension, new steering linkage, all new brakes (discs up front), hardlines, new fuel tank and sender, new rear axles and bearings, end even gear oil for the rearend…

Now I just need the time…

Looking back, the car’s original engine was long gone, and the car had been raced, but not cut up. I had the original paperwork and protecto-plate. Turns out the car was one of 3099 with the solid lifter 375HP 396, and one of only 12 with the M22 HD transmission (rock crusher). It was built and bought to race…