Man, he had no idea, but in just one week Jeff Miller's life would change forever. It was November 2003 when his boss Tony walked in and asked him somberly if he'd like to have his $1,800 faded green Chevelle featured on a Mother's Wax infomercial. You know, the kind of TV spot where someone shows you a dull hood on some sort of beater and then you see the "after" shot with the hood brilliant and glistening. The deal would take a week, and in the meantime he'd get to drive a new rental car. And when he got his '71 Chevelle back, its dry green paint would sparkle and shine.
Since Jeff works the counter at Original Parts Group (Huntington Beach, California) and his boss Tony Genty (the main guy at OPG) knows all the suits at the car wax companies, he believed the offer made perfect sense. But Jeff had no idea Tony was really using a decoy to have the Chevelle be THE STAR CAR for the pilot episode of Overhaulin'.
For those who haven't seen the show (on TLC), lead automotive designer Chip Foose and his crew spend exactly seven days transforming vintage iron from junker to gorgeous. They begin by ripping the car down to a shell, and with the clock ticking, turn it into Foose-designed eloquence with a custom paint job, a killer drivetrain, custom wheels and tires, and a new interior. A trusted friend or relative of the selected car's owner initiates the caper. Then the highlights of the weeklong build, as well as the owner's candid reaction of the finished car, are revealed on hidden camera and edited into one episode.
Getting Jeff to OK the decoy-deal was the easy part. After the crew at Overhaulin' had the Chevelle hidden away in their shop, they found lots to fix. Aside from the dried green paint and scuffed side panels, all four curb-scrapped whitewall tires leaked air, and up above, the bubbling green vinyl top barely held onto random spots of rust.
Foose went to work drawing the astounding example shown here. After the body had been media-blasted to bare metal, Foose designed a paint scheme of cinnamon and copper hues to coat the Chevelle. To that he laid color-reversed champagne ghost flames over an OPG domed hood to simulate factory Super Sport stripes. Next, the Foose crew installed a modified front bumper (minus the license-plate recess) and a new Chevelle rear bumper bar. On the inside, they completely restored the interior with parts from Original Parts Group.
Then the folks at Edelbrock hauled over a 350ci Performer RPM E-Tec EFI motor to power the Chevelle. To direct the exhaust, on went Doug's shorty headers, connected to a full Flowmaster ceramic-coated 3-inch exhaust system. Next, famed trans builder Art Carr supplied one of his 200-4R creations from California Transmissions.
With the motor and trans in place, the Chevelle needed a hot set of hoops. So Foose and the lead designer at Budnik Wheels designed the perfect one-off set to jibe with the Chevelle's look--19s for the front and 20s in the rear. Then they wrapped them with four BFG tires. Behind the wheels, they added a full set of Baer four-wheel disc brakes and Hotchkis Suspension components.
On day seven, Tony brought Jeff over to the shop to pick up his "wax job." Upon his arrival, the guys told Jeff that his green Chevelle had accidentally been shipped to San Diego. But before Jeff could get distraught, they laid the real deal on him: his Chevelle had been completely redone by the Foose gang. He thought the gorgeous car belonged to someone else and kept thinking his faded green car would roll in. But within the next few moments they handed him his keys, he slid behind the wheel, and it hit him. Jeff had been overhauled.