The car for this post is the same owner as the 1959 Lincoln Continental we highlighted a few weeks ago. Today will be an extra long Fan Car Friday on Facebook and as even longer writeup on the website. This is because all Thursday and Friday shows are having a break this week to allow the Barrett-Jackson auctions have air time. This build started out as a 1968 Chevelle Malibu Sport Coup. It now has a 307 with a 3 speed manual, but used to have an SS 350 SBC from a 68’ Camaro matched to a 2 speed powerglide when a previous owner tried to make it a drag car.
Fan Car Friday is a segment where we want to share with the world the automobiles that our fans restored. These cars are not for sale and we have absolutely no affiliation/relationship with the cars, the build or the owners, we saw the photos and felt they should be shared with the world to inspire others on their build. Or, simply put, its great eye candy for those of us who can’t make it to car shows or meetups as often as we would like. All posts are made with written consent of the owners.
The story begins with Bryan. His dad was a big do it yourselfer in the garage, and always asked for Bryan’s help when he worked. Soon being forced to help his dad turned into an obsession. Bryan often found himself in the garage of his friends, with their car obsessed father, instead of hanging with the friend! Every week Bryan and his dad would watch car shows, auctions and read magazines together always saying “one day we’ll get one”. Well, when Bryan turned 23 he decided it was time for some change, he was going to move west and buy himself his first real car-He wanted to end the “One day we’ll get one” conversation. He spent many nights searching craigslist, online sites, forums and local ads all throughout the country to find the right car. If a car is worth having, it won’t last long, so he knew he had to act fast no matter the distance of the vehicle.
After many 3am nights Bryan went to purchase this fine beauty. Even before seeing it, Bryan already knew he was going to buy it. He purchased the car for cool 7k. It came with a drag car setup and he was supposed to drive it 2 hours home, only it broke down 15 minutes into his drive. There was a loud bang, smoke followed and it felt like a bomb went off inside the car…the engine had blown. The seller was a standup guy, he immediately showed up trying to help, to no avail, and paid for a flatbed to take the car back to Bryan’s driveway. When they arrived back with the car Bryan’s father asked “what was going on, what is that?” Being the wisecracker he is, Bryan simply said “It’s a Chevelle!” Bryan said he blew the engine and needed to stow it in the garage. His father laughed, and opened the door to let him park it with a simple “ok”. In all reality though, his father was even more excited about having a Chevelle at the house than Bryan was.
After diving into the engine bay Bryan discovered the time and money it would take to fix this was not only more expensive than an engine swap, it would probably be less reliable. Luckily, with good friends and neighbors rallying behind him, they did a swap and it went smoothly. The new 350 was in and it ran wonderfully.
Bryan’s dad was giddy, he hugged Bryan with a huge smile on his face. During this entire process Bryan’s dad couldn’t stop talking about how surreal it was. His son, Bryan, now had the same make, model and year car he did when he was only 17 years old. Talk about a trip back to the past.
Now came the real nitty gritty parts of the restoration. The brakes, wiring nightmares, undoing the abuse and other ridiculous “mods” other owners had done throughout the years. Spending literally every second of free time on this car just to get it going. Pulling all nighters with the Chevelle because he wouldn’t be able to sleep because he was so close to getting X, Y or Z done on the car. His mother was getting worried, his father was getting excited. Bryan spent almost a thousand hours in two months working on it. At some points he was caught talking to the car as he worked on it, he just chalks that up to sleep deprivation. In the end, Bryan wouldn’t trade that for anything. He conquered the mountain, the car was glorious (His bank account though, not so much).
He jumped in the car and he immediately realized the two speed power glide had to go. Back on the jacks the car went and in came a new 700r4 with a B&M Megashifter for more fun. This was going to be Bryan’s daily driver; there could be no hesitations in making this car perfect. With no savings left, Bryan now had something that you couldn’t put a price on; a beautiful car, great memories and something you can’t quite describe-The privilege of restoring a car with your father.
Now, what’s the first thing you do when you just finished building a car with a new engine? Drive it 2,000 miles across the country to San Diego of course. Despite having minimal tools, the car performed flawlessly the entire trip. It wanted to be back on the road, it wanted to drive across America, the car just needed to be back in its element. Being his daily driver, the car made Bryan plenty of friends in no time out in California. People wanted to talk about his car, many wanted to just look at it, others wanted to know how a guy so young could do almost all of that on his own. Bryan just said he couldn’t see himself in anything other than a classic.
When Bryan moved back to the Midwest things weren’t as smooth. Overheating in Vegas traffic and fuel starvation in the mountains of Colorado tried to stop him, but Bryan was determined and some 40 hours later he was back at his parent’s place. Bryan opted to drive something better suited to Midwest weather. This is also the time when he got the 1959 Lincoln Continental we shared the other week. Having these two cars plus another 73’ Mini Cooper was catching up to him financially. One car had to go. But Bryan would rather sleep in the cars to save money on gas and insurance before letting one go. But then something great happened. His father’s 60th birthday was coming up, the big 6-0. Something special had to be done. His father had this car in his youth, was more excited at times than Bryan was, he always said he would have a 68’ Chevelle again if he could. Bryan knew what he was going to do. There are truly no words that can describe the feeling, the moment, the room, the emotions or the thoughts everyone felt when Bryan gave the keys to his father. The car is now slowly getting upgraded every year with suspension, brakes, interior and other small things. All the while Bryan has the privilege of working on this car for his father 95% of the time. Bryan’s father wants to swap a 396 into it like he had when he was 17, but this always goes back to the “one day we’ll have one” conversation. Some of Bryan and his father’s best memories are riding in their classics together, the 1959 Continental and 1968 Chevelle.
Bryan’s favorite thing about the car is anyone who drives it feels like they own the world. It sounds mean at idle, ferocious when you step on the gas. His father’s favorite thing about the Chevelle is the car being a time machine, taking him back to when he was 17 years old, playing some Pink Floyd, AC/DC or whatever classics he can and just slam on the gas and go. No matter what is going on, it always makes him feel better.