1969 Chevrolet Chevelle- Chris Gruber grew up during the 1980s in the suburban areas of New Jersey where he a lot of Chevy cars from all sizes. During his high school days, the 1st generation Camaros were the most popular cars in town and closely followed by the SS Monte Carlos and IROCs. But Chris wanted something different for his first ride, he wanted something more like a street cruiser.
One of his friends had a brother who was selling a 1970 Chevelle SS that had a red finish with white stripes and is powered by the big block 396 engine. A Chevy with beauty and power that would be a great street cruiser and for only $3,500, it was a great deal. Unfortunately, Chris’ father did not want his son to drive to college in a 14-year-old muscle car. So Chris instead had a 1979 Malibu 1500 during his college days. Although it was not flashy a hot rod, it was a reliable car and was very economical.
As time passed by, Chris was able to finish college and started to work in the construction business. He later got married and had 2 daughters. Years became decades and Chris, at the age of 47, had yet to fulfill his childhood dream of owning an awesome Chevelle. This really struck Chris and the itch of having his dream car was getting to him. Chris’ biggest problem was the budget needed for having a really good Chevelle. So with his wife’s approval, Chris checked his bank account and calculated the budget.
After working out the budget, he was ready to take on the project. To start the build, he needed a good donor car. He looked for a manual 1970 Chevelle but he was not able for find any on the internet. During his search, he was able to find a good 1969 Chevelle with manual transmission which was just near his home. The first thing Chris liked about the car was its color and it was a really good solid car that would be great as a donor car. Chris offered to buy the Chevelle and the deal was made.
Chris could not wait to turn the 1969 Chevelle into his one of a kind ride. His plan was to build a powerful, manual-shift, touring car that is fitted with modern upgrades and a mean look. But Chris was not an expert in building cars so he asked for help from Mike Horner and Bam Performance Automotive.
Chris and Mike brainstormed the plan to create a high-powered restomod Chevelle. The 1969 Chevelle was shipped to BAM from West Milford, New Jersey to start the build. The final plan was to create a modernized daily cruiser that has the attitude of a classic muscle car.
The first step was the drivetrain, it was completely replaced with something a lot bigger. Chris and Mike found a 540 cid Dark big-block engine and features SRP forged pistons that give it a good 10.0:1 compression. Dart aluminum heads and intake provides fresh air for the big-block. A serpentine setup which includes an A/C compressor was supplied by Eddie Motorsports. A custom-grind hydraulic cam pushes the valves and a FAST EZ EFI 2.0 fuel-injection system provides the much-needed fuel for the thirsty big-block. An MSD ignition starts the beast.
Chris wanted a racy look for the engine bay so he chose a custom power steering reservoir and overflow tank supplied by All Star Performance. American Racing provided the stainless steel headers that are matched with custom 3-inch exhaust that has a nice setup of X-pipe and Pypes Race Pro mufflers. Mike hand-crafted the stainless tailpipes and applied black powder coat for that stylish look. DeWitts aluminum radiator and a couple of Derale electric fans keep the engine bay cool.
The big block is connected to a TREMEC TKO 600 5-speed transmission for that smooth and quick shifting. An aluminum driveshaft supplied by Precision Shaft Technologies brings all the power to where it’s needed. Chris’ Chevelle rides on Boze Alloys Wheels that measures 18×8 on the front and 18×10 on the rear, all are fitted with Nitto NT555 rubbers.
Ron Schmidt from Mountainside Ron and Custom prepared the chassis. It was completely cleaned before the HPI Kit was added to reinforce the frame. It was then epoxy primed and then an underbody black was applied. Finally, two coats of rubberized undercoating were applied.
To match the power and handling, Global West tubular control arms were used for both the front and rear that also features sway bars and adjustable coilovers provided by QA1. Speedtech spindles were installed on the front to be the base for the C6 front brake setup that has 14-inch rotors. A Delphi 600 close-ratio steering box provides the smooth steering for the Chevelle.
Chris wanted his ride to have the same interior as the muscle cars he was able to drive. A Covans dash was installed that is fitted with a full set of Auto Meter gauges. Classic Auto Air provides the comfortable feeling during those warm New Jersey nights. The interior is certainly a great example of how a classic Chevy muscle car should look.
The black paint the car had when Chris bought it still looks great so he chose to left it as is. Even though Chris and Mike are still not done with this Chevelle, it is already a great ride and Chris is really proud of his new Chevelle. It’s safe to assume that Chris and his 1969 Chevelle will be spending a lot of time together.
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