A. Where It All Began
Post date: Jul 20, 2015 7:14:7 PM
In 1977 as a freshman at the University of Maryland my first car - a 1968 Olds 442 was stolen. I was in shock and heartbroken, but by the end of the semester I found this - a 1970 Chevelle SS. It was a 396, TH400 Shadow Gray car that the original owner wanted to sell to buy a 1967 Corvette. Back in the mid to late 1970's these cars were rapidly falling out of favor due to gas prices skyrocketing to 40 cents a gallon.
The car was affordable at $1,400 and while the seat had a tear in it and the motor had a ticking noise, it was in great shape and cool! While the 442 was my "first" car, this was the one that really took me to the next level. Over the next 2 summers I pulled the engine (by the way, that "ticking" noise turned out to be a cracked rocker arm and I had fixed it the first day I had it home) and "built" it (.030" bored, Crane Fireball cam and headers). Oh yes, it also had Accel yellow spark plug wires - you had to have those in the late 70's. I also painted it. By the time I got the car it had the typical small rust spots behind the wheels on the front fenders, had numerous door digs, but nothing major.
So with a rebuilt engine (and way too much camshaft), new paint (by the way, I bought new GM fenders for it from the local Chevy dealer and still have the receipts - paid $89 for each fender in 1978) and graduating college in 1980 my career started to take priority. I am a very fortunate person because I have a father who shared his love of cars and he always had a place to keep mine when I couldn't. I am one of a very few who is fortunate enough to still have the cars I had in my youth and I have my father to thank for that - it's just that simple.
My father was the guardian of this 1970 Chevelle for almost 25 years and not until I built Belden Speed & Engineering did it come home. Here it is today and while the paint needs to be redone, my father kept great care of it and rebuilt the original engine to stock specs before I took it back. There will be more written about this car when the Shop Truck is finished.