Remaking a High School Chevelle
Mick Bryant’s 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle is nearly a carbon copy of the one he’d owned as a teenager.
But when Bryant, the owner of Mick’s Automotive in Le Grand, Iowa, first bought the car off eBay in 2006, that was hardly the case: It had no drivetrain and the body was beat up—it was a far cry from the souped-up version he raced against his high school buddies more than 40 years ago.
The costly and tricky restoration took four years to complete, but Bryant was able to transform the Chevelle into a gleaming replica of his earlier car.
It all started with the engine—the very same one from the first Chevelle he owned. It sat in his garage for almost 40 years, waiting to be used again.
“It’s a souped-up engine,” Bryant explains of the small block bored to 360ci. “I’m just about 60 years old, and I had a black ’67 Chevelle in high school with this motor in it. I bought that [new Chevelle] and said, ‘This is where I’m going to put it.’”
From that base Bryant started to prep his car for power and speed. He wanted a manual transmission with overdrive, so he installed a Tremec 5-speed. Out back, he added aggressive 4.88 gears.
In a way, he was trying to model it after his old Chevelle, though in this rendition he opted for white paint with blue stripes and bowtie emblems on the quarter panels.
“We all kind of made hot rods back then, and mine was pretty fast,” he says. “I don’t think I ever did get beat racing—the illegal racing everybody did in high school. ... This is exactly like my other one, minus the color.”
Bryant cut the back half of the car’s frame to accommodate a 9-inch Ford rear end, well known for its durability.
The rear tires are 29-by-18.5-inch Mickey Thompsons. Sometimes people don’t realize just how wide the tires actually are, he says. “There’s only about two-and-a half feet between the insides of the rear tires.”
Bryant also installed a fuel cell, which improves safety and minimizes sloshing to make sure the engine gets fed under hard acceleration.
In all, he invested $20,000 in the car, which is street legal and approved by the National Hot Rod Association.
“In the summer I take it around to different car shows, hot rod events, and go cruising with my wife on Sundays,” Bryant says.