Do-It-All Chevelle – Charlie Malone’s ’66 Chevelle Hits the AutoCross Track
Think back to your first car. Perhaps when you were 16 and spent a few hundred dollars on a used Chevelle. Do you still have it today? Do you wish you’d kept it?
Charlie Malone doesn’t have to answer those what-if questions. Charlie bought his ’66 Chevelle back in 1974 and it still resides in his garage. Originally powered by a 283c.i. V8 with a Powerglide, Charlie’s prized possession served him well, from daily driver to drag racer, to the slick and very capable muscle machine you see today.
Thanks to the crew at U-Wish Street Rods in Jonesboro, Arkansas, the current version of Charlie’s Chevelle honors the original black exterior with subtle modifications and a gleaming coat of PPG black paint. The smooth sheet metal features Kindig door handles, shaved and narrowed bumpers, and the elimination of most badging.
Riding on a Scott’s Hotrod chassis, the Chevelle features coil-over shocks and rack-and-pinion steering, along with a narrowed 9-inch Ford rearend supported by a four-bar rear suspension. Wilwood 14-inch disc brakes with six-piston calipers are mounted on all four corners behind 19×9- and 20×12-inch Rushforth wheels encased in Michelin radials.
Under the hood sits a driveline that wasn’t even a fantasy back in 1966. Surrounded by a custom-built radiator support and inner fender panels, a supercharged GM LT4 cranks out 650 horsepower, channeling it through a GM 4L75E automatic transmission. Spent gases are handled by a custom exhaust with SpinTech mufflers.
The custom red leather interior mimics the original pattern and was stitched and installed by Cecil’s Upholstery in Covington, Tennessee. Bucket seats and the center console with stock shifter came from a ’66 SS model. The stock dash is updated with Dakota Digital gauges and an Ididit tilt steering column topped with a custom billet wheel. A Vintage Air system keeps the interior cool or warm, depending on the Tennessee weather.
Charlie says planning the current build had its challenges, especially choosing the many components that go into a ground-up build. It looked like all those parts were working in harmony as he flogged the Chevelle around the Nashville Goodguys CPP AutoCross Series course. Charlie says his only regret is wishing he’d had the ’66 Chevelle rebuilt sooner, as it spent about 25 years hibernating in the garage while life, work, and other projects took precedent.
Now, back to your first car. If you’d kept it, how would it compare to Charlie’s Chevelle?
Photos by John Jackson | Action photos by Steven Bunker & Terry Lysak