Cars in the mid- to late 1960s were all about horsepower and styling. And every American automobile manufacturer made a sporty model for just about everybody. The midsize General Motor sedans – the A-Model platform from 1964-67, consisted of the Chevrolet Chevelle, the Buick Special, Oldsmobile Cutlass and Pontiac Tempest. They were all hot rods right off the showroom floor.
Jimmy Skiles’ 1967 Chevelle appears on the outside as if it just rolled off the showroom floor. In stock form this car would produce 375 horsepower.
However, nothing under the hood of this Chevelle is stock ... it’s all race car, boasting a Chevrolet 396 big block V-8 with an Edelbrock 4-barrel carburetor producing more than 400 horsepower. That power is coupled with a GM TurboHydramatic 350 automatic transmission. And what distinguishes this car even further is that there were only 612 factory versions of the Chevelle 396 produced in 1967.
The car was originally sold and maintained in California, which kept the sharp details of its design free from the effects of harsh Midwestern winters. The car maintains much of its showroom originality with its 15-inch Rally sport wheels, chrome, dashboard, AM-FM 8-track stereo and steering wheel. There have been modest improvements that don’t distract or take away from its stock roots, such as custom-made cloth seats and a $6,000 paint job.
And while Jimmy is no stranger to racing – racing Chevelles – this gem is purely for cruising on nice summer nights, at least for now.
The car will be passed down to son Thomas when he graduates from high school. Thomas is also familiar with racing, winning a go-kart championship at age 8 and then capturing the Bandelero championship in Charlotte, N.C., as an 11-year old. He won the title after destroying his car the previous night in a race. Jimmy worked feverishly and without rest all night repairing the car to race-ready status.
Until Thomas graduates, Jimmy will continue to drive the car, but only to car shows, cruise-ins and Dog ’n Suds.