He Waited 50 Years to Build the Perfect 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS!

He Waited 50 Years to Build the Perfect 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS!

Everybody is aware of—no less than everybody ought to know—how a lot self-discipline it takes to construct a automotive. In any case, it took an meeting line crammed with a whole lot of staff to put one along with pristine elements that really match one another. However nobody ever speaks of the self-discipline it takes to look forward to the proper time to construct one. Nicely nobody besides Jim Hunter anyway.

New on Jim’s paper route was a brand-new ’70 Chevelle SS, gold with black stripes, prime, and trim. “I’d never seen anything like it before,” and he needed it, dangerous. However at 10 years previous and on a paperboy’s wage, ready wasn’t by selection.

“Through my teen years my interest in cars continued but I was never able to convince myself to spend freely enough,” he continues. As an alternative, he drove various hand-me-downs.

None was the automotive he needed, however on reflection they have been what he wanted. Someday his Biscayne acquired intimate with a pole, solely the body-shop proprietor he submitted it to wouldn’t repair it. Figuring out Jim’s father had lately died, Larry Thompson took him underneath his wing and taught him how to repair the injury himself. “That was the beginning of a great relationship,” Jim says. “He and his family were there not only to teach me how to fix cars but also to provide me some of the direction and guidance that a teen-aged boy needs.”

However nonetheless, he waited.

Upon graduating in 1978, Jim attended vocational faculty for collision restore. “One day in the summer of 1981, while working in an incredibly hot shop on a pickup that had been in a feed lot and was covered in manure, I had an epiphany of sorts,” he says. It drove him to a four-year school to research finance.

And he waited some extra.

Now school might have been cheaper in the eighties nevertheless it’s by no means been something however costly for college kids paying their approach. So perhaps it appeared like merciless destiny that the universe introduced him with the proper automotive. “It was a numbers-matching ’70 SS 396, four-speed, cowl-induction car,” Jim says. An in depth pal, Duane “Comish” James, discovered it, acquired it operating, and provided it to Jim for $700. How might he say no?

Jim drove the ’70 every day till 1987, the yr he purchased an ’84 Grand Nationwide. “Even then, when the Grand National was sidelined with its numerous computer, transmission, and hydro-assist brake problems, the Chevelle never failed to start or left me stranded,” he brags.

However as life moved on, the automotive sat. “At one point my wife, Andrea, asked, ‘So when are we selling the Chevelle?’” Jim says. “My reply? ‘When we can’t put food on the table.’ She knew what the car meant to me and that one day, at the right time, I would get its restoration underway.”

That proper time wouldn’t occur for 17 years. In the meantime, Jim labored at the Federal Reserve Financial institution of Kansas Metropolis and along with Andrea put three youngsters by means of school. However simply because the Hunter clan wasn’t engaged on the Chevelle didn’t imply it wasn’t engaged on automobiles. Amongst different issues Jim taught his oldest son, Curt, how to paint his and his pals’ automobiles.

“I’d always been careful to balance my time between work and home and didn’t want to get involved in something that, once it began, I knew would consume me,” Jim admits. “Andrea has been supportive of keeping the car all these years…even putting away funds for the work in what has become known as the Car Account,” he says.

And in 2011, they determined to faucet into that reserve to restore the automotive. Jim was accomplished ready!

Regardless of the slumber, reanimating the Chevelle took solely a battery and a gulp of fuel. “As always, she fired right up,” Jim says. He took the automotive to the store of his son, Curt, now an aerospace engineer.

“Almost every Saturday for the next seven years we were at it,” Jim says. They changed each exterior panel besides the roof. “Friends would ask if we were done with the car yet. They had no idea of the time and aggravation of a project of this magnitude.”

“Curt and I had a great time working on the car,” Jim says, beaming. “In the process I have had lunch with my grandkids every Saturday for the last seven years and we have learned a lot about each other and the process of doing a body-off.”

It appears virtually trite to ask if it was value the wait. In fact it took approach longer than he ever anticipated. However then once more, Jim Hunter received far more than only a automotive.

Tech Notes
Who: Jim, Andrea, and Curt Hunter
What: 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS
The place: Kansas Metropolis, MO

An L34 402 urged this automotive off the meeting line 49 years in the past. Yancy Shepard at Yancy’s Automotive in Smithville, MO, freshened it up. Externally, it’s inventory, however internally it’s a special story. Yancy recommended a Howards roller-tappet cam with .555-inch raise and 227-/235-degrees period at .zero50-inch carry, COMP Magnum curler rockers, and Federal-Mogul cast pistons.

Once we say the engine is inventory externally, we imply it: It nonetheless breathes via a Quadrajet, iron consumption, and iron exhaust manifolds. These feed a Pypes twin 2.5-inch exhaust comprised of 409-series mandrel bends, an X-pipe, and StreetPro mufflers.

An HEI-style MSD Streetfire ignition and MSD wires assist the plugs mild off the combination just a little extra persistently than the factors ignition it changed.

Jim blames the Muncie shifter for the impartial the place second gear as soon as lived in the automotive’s unique M-21. In 1988 Comish changed that trans with one other M-21, this one with a extra strong Hurst Competitors Plus shifter. The late Wayne “Mr. Four-Speed” Euper freshened it up for this go-round. Yancy’s Automotive rebuilt the 12-bolt axle with the inventory three.31:1 gear and Positraction service.

The Hunters stored all of the inventory suspension, changing solely the springs for a 2-inch drop, the previous non-pressurized shocks for QA1s, and the gummy rubber bushings for stiffer PST polyurethanes.

GM’s entrance disc brakes from the interval work respectably even by at this time’s requirements and it’s unlikely that anybody goes to put this automotive right into a place the place brakes would make or break it, so the manufacturing unit entrance discs and matching rear drums stay.

Yr One 17×eight and 17×9 wheels resemble the SS396 wheels, solely bigger and in aluminum. They put on BF Goodrich G-Pressure Sport Comp-2, 245/45ZR17 and 275/40ZR17.

Jim’s a educated painter, however when it got here to truly lay down the trendy end, he bestowed the job upon Michael McLin from The Restomod Retailer in Independence, MO. He utilized a custom-blend pearlescent-blue with black SS stripes. The remainder of the physique stays completely inventory down to the cowl-induction hood.

The inside is completely inventory—the truth is the rear seat nonetheless wears the manufacturing unit cowl (the Strato buckets put on OPGI covers). Jim’s good friend, Comish, put in the ’71 Camaro LT steering wheel in 1984. Curt put in the American Autowire/Manufacturing unit Match alternative harness. Morris Basic Ideas makes the retractable three-point belts.

In all probability greater than some other a part of the automotive, Jim was impressed by the cowl-induction flap and its chrome lettering. Almost 50 years on, all he has to do is stomp that slender pedal to the proper and it floods the engine with air and his mind with reminiscences.Past stance and colour, the solely discernable exterior change is the rollers. They’re Yr One 17×eight and 17×9 SS396 with BF Goodrich G-Drive Sport Comp-2, 245/45ZR17 and 275/40ZR17.Jim and Curt restored the Strato buckets with OPGI covers however extremely sufficient the rear seat nonetheless wears its unique vinyl. The Morris Basic Ideas retractable belts beat the pants off the accent belts that you simply had to fish out of clips in the ceiling and couple with the lap belts.The inside stays largely as Jim Hunter remembers it, all the method down to the Sort LT steering wheel that his good friend Comish put in in 1984. Even the sprint pad is unique!This automotive got here with a Muncie M21 (the quieter, close-ratio job) now shifted by a Hurst Competitors Plus shifter, thanks to Jim’s pal Duane “Comish” James. It’s in all probability the solely seen deviation from the inventory inside.It appears inventory, however the 402 (now a 406) makes 520 lb-ft torque at three,200 rpm and 448 hp at 5,500 rpm, as measured at the flywheel. It owes that energy to a Howards roller-tappet cam, COMP Magnum curler rockers, and Federal-Mogul cast pistons. Past that, it’s inventory.

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