Chuck and Patty Bonasera’s 1967 SS427
There is one truism about all men. After they have grown to adulthood, they all have an indelible memory of the one car they could not have as a teenager. I graduated from high school in 1966. That summer my dreams turned to college, college girls, and the recently announced 1967 Chevelle Big Block Super Sport (not necessarily in that order). Not having a rich Dad to buy me a new Chevelle, I could only dream. Not believing I could ever have a '67 Super Sport, we started with a 70 El Camino with SS stripes (not a bad compromise). Our first Chevelle Super Sport came to our home a few years later. The car literally came in buckets, but after nearly two years of hard work, the car was exactly what I wanted....well almost. Even though the '70 SS 396 was a great car, I remembered the memories of my youth and an overpowering feeling that something was missing in the garage, and so the 4 speed, frame-off restoration, 1970 SS 396 was advertised for sale. NOR-CAL members and family told me I was "nuts" to sell the '70 SS, but the teenage dream of a '67 SS was too strong to ignore. So, we took the plunge and the search began.
I looked for my dream car for many months by checking the web and all the California newspapers every day. One Saturday, after months of searching, I found an ad in the Modesto Bee, a local newspaper. "For Sale, 1967 Chevelle, 90 percent restored, must sell". Well it looked good, but there was much more to it than just finishing the assembly of a few parts. So with boxes of parts in the back of Patty's SUV and a sorta' restored Chevelle Super Sport on a car dolly, we headed for home. Two days before Christmas she was in our garage - so it was a "Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a GOOD NIGHT". Click on the picture to see a full size blow up.
I really wanted to get started in spite of the cold weather so it would be completed by the start of summer and onset of cruising weather. It was then that I was really glad I had many club friends who helped. Club member and long time friend, Tony LaCentra rebuilt the steering column, George and Kevin helped with the front suspension, Mark helped with the electrical and for sure the greatest sacrifice, was made by Dave Padgett of Tri-Valley Muffler in Dublin, CA. He spent hours installing Doug Thorley headers, a PowerMaster gear reduction starter and the most beautiful exhaust system you have ever seen. There is nothing like the sound of a set of Flow Masters on a Big Block Chevy.
There was a lot of fun with the interior too . . . The previous owner powder-coated everything, including the entire dash. Tony and I installed the newly rebuilt steering column, I worked on the new wiring harness, restored console. We later replaced the Muncie with a new Tremec TKO-600, 5 speed tranny with the help of Jeff at Classic Chevy 5 speed. When we first finished the car, the desire to fire-up the engine was overwhelming, but I found an outlet for my anxiety with my 4 year old grandson, Ben, as Ben and I went for a ride in the "vroom vroom car"....in the garage, of course, with all the sound effects being made by Ben. After all, the engine wiring still needed to be installed, and by-the-way, Ben was in the driver's seat. Click on the picture!
In 2003 we replaced the power plant. Vic Anderson at Victory Machine in South San Jose took the challenge. Ace engine builder Pete Ott stepped up to the plate and four weeks later Pete completed the new 427, complete with all the trick stuff including a Comp. Cams Extreme Energy cam, Full roller rockers, an Edelbrock RPM Air Gap Manifold and a Holley 750 all fired by an MSD 6A ignition and a Mallory distributor. It's WICKED! The big block hooks up to my new Tremec TKO-600 5 speed overdrive tranny with a CenterForce 2 clutch and an Eaton limited slip Posi rear end with 3.73:1 gears. Hotchkis rear suspension keeps the whole thing going in a straight line.
There are always a few things left to do, but our Chevelle is a dream come true. This car truly sports an "SS ATTITUDE". In 2005 I added a Vintage Air SureFit kit and now we cruise with the windows up on hot days. It's still loud .... but very cool! Special thanks to Dave Padget of Tri-Valley Muffler in Dublin who charged too little for too much and Vic Anderson, a man of unusual integrity, of Victory Machine in San Jose for an amazing motor.