Name: 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 400
Year(s) Produced: 1971-1972
Number Built: 86,000
Class: Sports car
Body Type: 2-door hardtop coupe
Engine: 402.2 cui, GM Chevrolet Big Block V8
Power: 240hp @ 4400 RPM
0-60mph: 6.7 seconds
Top Speed: 115mph
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Length/width/height: 197.5 in./ 75.4 in./ 52.8 in.
Wheelbase: 112 in.
Base Price: US$2,759 (NADA)
Highest Price: US$16,500 (Hagerty)
Donny Spears of Canton, Michigan had dreams of owning and riding a hot rod when he was just a kid. With fond memories of their family trips at the Detroit Autorama, he used to dream about riding his own custom car, joining the big league, and winning the admiration of the crowd.
Now at 43, Spears’ dream will finally come true when his ruby red 1972 Chevy Chevelle was selected to join the 64th Detroit Autorama on February 26-28, 2016.
“I’m super excited about it,” he said. “I’ve never done anything like this.”
Spears, a crane operator by profession, crossed paths with his Chevelle when he saw an ad in Craiglist three years ago. For $7,000 he bought the Chevy from a seller in Oakland County who initially intended to turn into a race car. Donny said, “It was going to be a race car. It had a roll cage in it. I cut that out and restored it from the ground up.”
With further restoration that comes with a hefty price tag of $20,000, Donny’s fully restored Chevelle was selected to be one of the 800 top-tier cars chosen for what was dubbed as “America’s Greatest Hot Rod Show.” Donny felt like his reliving his childhood dreams once again. His wife, Abby said, “I think this means a lot to him. It’s like being a kid again.”
As it turns out, Donny is not the only gear head in the family. He will be joined by his brother Ricky Spears who was also selected for the Autorama to showcase his 1965 Buick Riviera, and his cousin Dennis Spears to display his 1967 Chevrolet Camaro. Rob Gomez of Westland, a close associate, will be flaunting his 1951 Ford pickup truck.
Donny Spears and the rest of the family grew up in the company of muscle cars. He remembers vividly his late father’s 1970 Plymouth Road Runner. “We’re from a muscle car family,” he said. “My whole family had Chevelles and Camaros.” Other than the Chevelle, Donny is also a proud owner of a 1955 Ford Customline and a 1955 Mercury.
Together with family and friends that shares in his passion, Donny worked devotedly for six months to restore his Chevelle. It was fitted with a 408 cubic inch motor and comes with its SS ghost stripes on the hood and trunk lid, closely matching the car’s color. His Chevelle was finally chosen for Autorama after he submitted a portfolio including pictures and some background information about it.
Donny will return to the place where his dreams for cars had started, and it can never be more fulfilling than to see his childhood dreams turn into reality.
The 64th Detroit Autorama will run starting 26th of February until the 28th.