When the 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle debuted, it was arguably the baddest muscle car ever. It was the first car to come factory with the mighty 396 cubic-inch big-block standard for the Super Sport package. This powerhouse slayed many competitors that lined up next to it for years to come.
For Tim King, the 1966 Chevelle is the perfect blend of style and power. Even though he was born some 24 years after the Chevelle debuted, he loves his ‘66. Growing up in the garage shadowing his father, his passion for cars grew and grew. At the tender age of 15, he purchased the Chevelle you see here – albeit in a much worse condition.
Building The Chevelle
After getting the keys for his prized ride, the ideas started to flow with what he wanted to do with the car. It had already been fitted with a 454 big-block, 4-speed transmission mated to a 12-bolt posi, but remained fairly stock otherwise. Working minimum wage jobs he saved up and spent his hard earned dollars on the car.
Over the course of the last 17 years, he has rebuild the entire car from bumper to bumper, blending clean and classy with modern and tough. The journey of restoration started by slowly tucking away parts in his room till it was overflowing.
Then he started by cutting out the rust and replacing the trunk floor and both rear quarter panels. After stripping the car down to bare metal, it was dropped off in paint jail where it received the BMW Sparkling Graphite that you see here. From there a new interior and all new parts were installed on the exterior, including a new set of rims and tires.
However he wasn’t happy with the car. He wanted it to stop better, have more power, and to stand out from the crowd even more. After a few years, he took the car back apart and installed a bored and stroked LS3 backed with a T-56 transmission. To bring the interior up to his standards, the original black interior was removed in favor of a pearl white interior from TMI Products.
In order to get the car handling correctly, he reached out to UMI Performance for some help. In the rear, a set of their tubular rear control arm kit 401519 was utilized. This kit added extra strength and less deforming under load with the polyurethane bushings. In addition, the upper arms are adjustable on the car and feature a johnny joint, helping to eliminate the binding that’s common in a converging four-link suspension.
For the front suspension it wasn’t quite as easy. During phase one of the restoration, Tim had air bagged his car which meant the front lower control arms were modified a bit. UMI stepped up to the plate and was able to create a one-off set of control arms for him. Again these arms were much stronger and lighter than stock and upgraded with polyurethane bushings. On top of that, they utilized a taller ball joint to correct geometry issues with the A-body platform. The end result is a car that looks amazing, but can handle the corners with the best of them as well.
The icing on the cake for Tim and his Chevelle was being able to take his completed ride on the Power Tour, completing over 5,000 miles in just eight days. A true testament to being a real driver!