BODACIOUS BEATERS (and Road-going Derelicts): CHEVY II FADED
Considering the recent entries in my “Memoirs of an Independent Repair Shop Owner”, it’s looking like I’m going to have to “go with the flow” and dig up another memory of my early automotive history for this entry in “Bodacious Beaters”.
This time the subject is the very first car I ever owned—and it was one of these: a 1966 Chevy II Super Sport with 283 cubic inches of Bowtie Smallblock under the hood, and the venerable two-speed aluminum Powerglide under the SS console shifter!
At the time, it was about the coolest automobile I could afford. A bit stodgy looking, in comparison to the popular “Pony Cars” of the day (read that: Mustang and Camaro); but an SS coupe nonetheless, sporting bucket seats, console shifter, and a real-live V-8 engine! Yeah, those features are fairly commonplace in today’s market, but back then they were something special. And taking into account the two cars I had trained in, and had previously had to come up with a decent excuse to borrow (I’m still amazed my Parents actually let THAT happen)—a late-50’s Ford Sedan with inline six and “three-on-the-tree” shifter, and a mid-sixties Ford Country Sedan S/W with a small V-8, column-shift automatic, and manual steering(!)—the SS was fairly a quantum leap in “special”!
Yes, it wasn’t particularly quick or fast—that Powerglide definitely not helping the cause in either department—and it didn’t handle anything like a sporting-type of car—although the lame “mono leaf” rear springs did provide a rather “jouncy” and otherwise unbalanced ride—but I just contented myself to crank up the in-dash stereo and cruise it. When I moved back East to NYC, my Parents—and subsequently my Sister—inherited it. She enjoyed it for sometime, cruising around the family’s new North Carolina digs, selling it when it needed more repairs than she cared to have performed. Got some good dough for it, even for back then in the ‘80’s.
So much for the memories—now to consider the example featured here in the photos: what appears to be also a 1966 Chevy II SS.
As you’ve probably noticed, I’m especially attracted to exterior finishes that exude “character’. This one’s got that stuff “in spades”! Given the fact that the metal—under what’s left of what has to be at least a few paint jobs—is really not rusty beyond what is seen on the surface, this one has had to have spent a great deal of time in a very dry, very sunny area—such as the high Mojave desert or a similar place. I have a feeling the beautiful resulting patina will not continue for long in its new Los Angeles Beach City residence. Glad I caught it when I did—difficult lighting and all.
I don’t know if it’s still got the original 283 (the front quarter flag badging indicating V-8 power, but not the 327, which sported additional displacement clarification), but it has most of the other identifying SS trim and equipment, as far as I can tell. Yeah, the seats have been upholstered in non-original vinyl, but that left rear quarter paint fade around the recently gone-missing badging makes up for that, nicely!
On this one, I might be tempted to do an interior, driveline, and chassis resto—but I’d leave the exterior finish alone. It took a lot of time and previous effort to get a Bodacious look like that, for sure!
Phil has written features and columns for a number of automotive periodicals and web-based information companies. He has run a successful Auto Repair Business in the past for many years (See “Memoirs of an Independent Repair Shop Owner” on this ttac site). He can be contacted through this very site, or http://www.linkedin.com/
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