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Old 03-09-2020, 02:56 AM
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Default Bill Wente's 1967 Chevelle SS396 Convertible

Bruce, story of the maroon 1967 Chevelle SS396 Convertible.

Fall Carlisle PA swap meet, 1979. Not really looking for a car, but this caught my attention because it had interesting options but mostly it was largely unmolested with original paint and was a virtually rust free N.C. car. A deal was quickly made ($1,700) so the seller could catch a ride back to Charlotte. 1,000 miles and 10 quarts of oil later I had it back in Iowa.

In 1982 with a couple buddies we went to Spring Charlotte AutoFair and continued to roam N.C., stopping at the original selling dealer, Bennett Chevrolet in Hamlet/Rockingham N.C. The sales manager gave me an assortment of dealer memorabilia including the era correct fob that is now with the keys.

1983, with the promise to accomplish a "restoration", I blew it apart and took it to a friends garage. There it sat for almost 25 years while I was busy with business and family obligations, along with a few other Chevelle endeavors.

About 2007 I retrieved it from "paint jail" and it went to another friends garage where the true 2-stall garage restoration began. The body was placed on a jig for minor metal repair and prep. leading to paint. while I brought the chassis home for restoration.

In 2009 I rebuilt the born-with 396 and installed it in another Chevelle for 200 miles of break-in.

By 2010 with the body was back on the chassis and the Madeira Maroon BC/CC applied to all panels it was back in my garage, where it sat for several more years. (One of my pix shows it during this time period).

Over several years I was restoring various sub-assemblies, and sending things out for plating etc, bumpers, engine chrome, brake master cylinder, booster and calipers, bolts and hardware, top frame, etc. NOS aluminum trim was sent for polishing and re-anodizing.

Beginning in the 1970s I had accumulated a stash of NOS '67 Chevelle trim and parts that I might need for future restorations.

2018, this car came to the top of my priority list with a goal of MCACN 2019. The front clip was installed and it went to another friends garage to install the top. We had very limited convertible top experience, so this was a bit of a challenge, as the framework had been blown apart for paint and detail, and all operation and adjustments including side glass gaps and fit began from scratch, prior to fabric install. The power top hydraulics were restored also and a final color sand and buff/wax was completed.

Spring, summer, fall 2019, back in my shop, engine and trans installed and bringing all the restored original parts back together. Dash, seats and other interior restoration completed and installed. I duplicated original chassis, suspension, date stamps, stickers, tags and inspection marks referencing pics I had taken decades ago. Also I am fortunate enough to have a 12,000 mile unrestored SS that came off the same assembly line (Baltimore) 60 days after this car that was a constant reference.

November 2019, wrapping up final details and three weeks of thorough cleaning began in earnest, completed the evening before the 4 hour trip for Rosemont, IL. (pic of loading).

I included 3 pix of my youngest (age 5) grandson helping install the front tires. He is totally nuts over anything with wheels and a motor and dived in to help like he'd done it a hundred times. Also,please excuse me for bragging up my grandson, there’s also a picture of Bennett at age four with the book of his choice from the library. Whenever he comes he needs to sit in each car and sometimes go for a ride.

Thanks so much for considering my car for Member's Rides, I am honored!!
Bill Wente

Maroon convert specs:
  • 1967 SS 396 convert, built at Baltimore with cowl tag date of 03C.
  • Delivered on Feb. 2nd 1967 by Bennett Chevrolet, Hamlet/Rockingham, NC.
  • Paint code N2, Madeira Maroon with red body side stripes, black top and red interior.
  • Base, no option engine and trans, L35 396/325 HP with BorgWarner T-16 3 speed floor shifted HD trans.
  • Options:
  • Bucket seats and console,
  • Power steering,
  • 4 Piston power disc brakes and included 14x6 DG code "Disc Brake" rally wheels mounted with F-70x14 red stripe Wide-Oval tires,
  • Power hydraulic top,
  • HD 3 row core radiator,
  • Gauge package including the unique to '67 "Blinker Tach",
  • Tinted glass.
  • I also added the aforementioned dealer key fob, a '67 vintage NC rear "tag" as they refer to them in the SE, and the appropriate '67 state inspection sticker.
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