Back in the early 1970s, he ran Goodyear Indy oval track tires on his blown 1969 Corvette because there wasn’t anything available to handle the engine’s 550 horsepower. “Trailers are for boats,” said Wood, of Kent, OH. “I wanted a car I could drive on the street. I didn’t want to start it up, put it on the trailer, and haul it to where it needed to be. It was a lot more fun to drive than it would have been to haul it.”
Wood eventually retired the Corvette and took an 18-year break from cars to help raise his daughters Shannon, Erin, and Meghan. But once a gearhead, always a gearhead. Right after his daughter Meghan’s wedding, Wood went to Long Island, NY to pick up a 1967 Chevelle SS he found on eBay. The idea was to save the certified nine-second race car from its track-only fate and put it back on the street.
“When that garage door opened,” Wood said, “it was love at first sight.”
The Chevelle was rough on the inside—the tach was actually welded to the dash and there was bare wiring throughout—but was perfect where it mattered. The car had been tubbed and caged, and the rear fenders were stretched four inches to accommodate some serious rubber. The Chevelle was missing an engine, but Wood had something special waiting at home—the 427-cubic-inch big block engine from his old Corvette.
After years of saving parts and raising children, Wood was ready to get to work.
“There are still marks in the carpet where the supercharger sat,” he said. “The house was full of parts… luckily my wife, Diane, is also an enthusiast and very patient.”
Long-time friends Rusty Vaughn (of Rusty Vaughn Racing) and Tom Strayer helped with the engine build and dialing in the fuel injection. As the owner of a construction firm (Ron Wood Construction), Wood traded home improvement projects for help with the Chevelle.
“I couldn’t have built this car without them. In return, Rusty received a new family room addition and Tom got a new addition to his garage,” Wood said.
Vaughn assembled a top-notch engine that would stand up to the boost generated by the Weiand 8-71 supercharger. The 427’s block was line-honed, decked, bored .030 inches over, then stuffed with a forged crank, GM rods, TRW forged blower pistons and a .500-inch lift Comp Cams hydraulic cam. The block is topped with rectangular port, closed chamber Chevy heads with Harland Sharp roller rockers and a three-angle valve job.
Strayer put his fuel-injection skills to work installing the Blower Drive Service EFI kit and rewiring the car. When it came time to tune, Wood hooked up a laptop to the car’s computer and called a friend at Blower Drive Service in California. Then they sat back and watched as Wood’s friend dialed everything in—from the Pacific Coast. “It was incredible,” Wood said. “Everything was falling into place, and we weren’t touching it.”
Chris Klink of Ultratech fabricated the back-halved frame and ladder bar suspension. Air Ride Technologies Shockwaves are utilized on the front and back. The Chevy 12-bolt rear axle and Fatman Fabrications front suspension were both narrowed to keep the Mickey Thompsons and Weld Pro Stars tucked in. All you see is Chevelle from front to back.
Wood’s stepson Dan Poole made a custom billet dash to hold the Auto Meter Sport Comp gauges–no tach would be welded on the dash this time around. Summit Racing Sport Seats gave Wood a place to plant it and rip through the gears of the Jim Campbell-prepped Turbo 400.
The Chevelle hasn’t seen the track since Wood rescued it from Long Island. Then again, he built the car for the street, not a career going a quarter-mile at a time.
“Diane has her 1967 Camaro, and we go to car shows together all summer,” he said. “I put about 400 to 500 miles a year on it. It just doesn’t get any better.”
Frame: Custom backhalf, 10-point, 1 5/8-inch tube roll cage
Rear Axle: Narrowed Chevy 12-bolt with Moser axles, 3.90 gears, Eaton posi differential
Rear Suspension: Ladder bar with Air Ride Technologies Shockwaves
Front Suspension: Fat Man Fabrication tubular upper and lower control arms, narrowed three inches, Air Ride Technologies Shockwaves
Brakes: Wilwood disc brakes with polished billet calipers, drilled and slotted rotors
Wheels and Tires: Weld Aluma-Star wheels (15 x 3 1/2 front, 15 x 15 rear), Mickey Thompson Sportsman tires (28 x 7.50-15 front, 33 x 21.50-15 rear)
Chassis Work: Chris Klink at Ultratech, Streetsboro, OH
Engine and Transmission
Type: 427 cubic inch Chevy
Block: GM iron, decked, bored .030 over
Reciprocating Assembly: Forged crank, GM rods, 8.2:1 TRW forged pistons
Camshaft: Comp Cams hydraulic cam, .500-inch lift
Cylinder Heads: Chevy cast iron rectangular port, closed chamber
Valvetrain: Comp Cams lifters, Comp Cams valve springs and retainers, 1.7 ratio Harland Sharp roller rockers
Induction: Weiand intake manifold, Weiand 8-71 supercharger (12-percent overdriven), BDS EFI system
Ignition: MSD Pro Billet distributor, MSD crank trigger, MSD ignition, MSD coil, MSD ignition wires
Exhaust: Hooker Super Competition headers , three-inch dual exhaust with Flowmaster 50 Series mufflers
Other Items: CSR electric water pump, Summit Racing 100-amp alternator, Summit Racing 16-inch electric fan, Aeromotive electric fuel pump, Summit Racing 16-gallon fuel cell, ARP fasteners
Transmission: Turbo 400 with TCI reverse-manual valve body, B&M torque converter
Engine: Rusty Vaughn Racing
Fuel Injection and Wiring: Tom Strayer
Transmission: Jim Campbell Transmission
Modifications: Fiberglass hood, rear fenders stretched four-inch, tubbed, firewall smoothed and filled, Ed Quay rear wing
Paint Color: “Mystery Combination” of gold base, red, and topcoat
Upholstery: Stock naugahyde
Seats: Summit Racing Sport Seats
Dash: Custom-made billet dash by Dan Poole, Auto Meter Sport Comp gauges
Shifter: Hurst Quarter-Stick 2 reverse pattern manual
Other Items: RCI 5-point harness
Upholstery Work: J’s Upholstery, Edinburg, OH
Special Thanks To:
My wife Diane and her extraordinary patience, Rusty Vaughn Racing, Tom Strayer, Dan Poole, Chris Klink, and Randy Parsons