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Hooked on Classics

My wife Debbie and I first got hooked on classic cars about ten years ago. We had a Chevelle at that time, but I had always wanted to own a ‘55 Chevy. After a considerable discussion with my wife Debbie, we sold the Chevelle and went looking for a ‘55.

By the time we attended the 2006 Winter National event in Orlando, Florida we had only been looking for a ’55 to buy for a few weekends. While viewing all the great Tri-Fives at the show, we noticed a ‘55 Be1 Air 2-door Sedan along a fence with a For Sale sign in the window. I asked my mechanic friend, Larry Hays, who was with us, to check out the car. After crawling under, on, in and all around the car, we decided to purchase it and start a frame-off restoration. We learned that the previous owner was from our home state, Virginia. Debbie later found out the car came from her hometown, Staunton, Virginia.

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1969 COPO Clone on eBay Still An Expensive Proposition

Before 1970, General Motors had an edict that restricted cubic inches depending on the bodystyle. Chevrolet’s compact (Chevy II/Nova), mid-size (Chevelle), and pony car (Camaro) could not have anything larger than a 396, while full-size cars and the Corvette could get the 427. Meanwhile, across town at Chrysler and Ford, they were running amuck with 7-Liter monsters like the 426 Hemi and Boss 429.

Knowing that credibility was built on the street as much as on the racetrack (which, by the way, was never sanctioned by General Motors due to a racing ban that began in 1963), the folks at Chevrolet created a way to build a few Chevelles and Camaros with 427s. Instead of offering them as Regular Production Orders (RPO), they were built through the Central Office Production Order (COPO) channel. This channel was normally used for fleet orders like for the phone company, so they were equipped to handle things that were not quite regular production. A little over 300 COPO Chevelles and an estimated 1,000 COPO Camaros were built with the L72 427, which was rated at 425 horsepower.

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Chevrolet Performance Rewards Loyal NHRA Racers

Chevrolet Performance, the high-performance parts division of Chevrolet, has announced that it will increase its contingency payouts to those who race in NHRA-sanctioned events using Chevrolet Performance parts while displaying the brand’s decals.

Says Jim Campbell, General Motors U.S. Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports, “Chevrolet has a long history of supporting NHRA drag racers and our 2014 contingency program rewards sportsman and Pro Stock racers for top performances. When you race with Chevrolet Performance parts and display our decals, you are eligible for a contingency payout that can be reinvested in your race team.”

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Show Judging: Vehicle exteriors

A few things you should know about show judging: Every Tri-5’s exterior, regardless of class, is judged for panel alignment, sheetmetal condition, fit of moving components, and finish quality on the entire exterior to include glass, wheels & tires. All these items need to be addressed as the car is being restored, as trying to gain point loss on a completed car is costly and sometimes difficult. Cleanliness of these areas should be addressed prior to the event, but is one of the few things that can be maintained at the show.

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’57 Chevy: The Red Bella

While reading a local newspaper in July 2005, my wife noticed a ’57 Chevy for sale. She mentioned it to me, asking if I thought her brother Bobby might be interested in it for parts. I decided to go and take a look. What could it hurt?

The car was sitting in a rural area about thirty minutes north of our home. It had been sitting, all but forgotten, among the rice fields. I found a rodent-infested 210 with rotted tires, rusted rims, no carburetor, and a trailer hitch that was attached to a frame made of heavy-duty iron. The color was an awful faded shade of red.

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