Time marches on, but we all remember what really grabbed us when we first fell for that classic piece of Chevy muscle. It may have been a sleek bodyline, or maybe a just-right street-machine stance. It may have been a bellowing set of pipes, or it may have been a making-the-scene cruise around the block. These things we hold on to. But how many of us recall the things we didn't like about that fondly remembered Bow Tie? Gil Dickason does, though no bone of contention would keep him from creating the '66 Chevelle SS he'd dreamed about for decades. Gil simply exercised one of the hot-rodder's most sacrosanct rights: If you don't like it, change it!
Remember the cool older kid in the neighborhood, the one we all wanted to be like? In Gil's neck of the woods, that kid drove a '66 Chevelle SS. "It was just bad," he recalls. "I liked the bodylines. There was just something about it. And the fact that he always had the hot women on his arm didn't hurt, either." Now that's what we called peer pressure! But while Gil found the shape and structure of the second-gen A-body a delight to behold, he didn't develop the same fondness for the car's interior, especially that V-shaped stock dash.
While the question of dash aesthetics didn't stop our man from finally getting a '66 SS of his own, it seems that life's other circumstances always went against him. Mr. and Mrs. Dickason wouldn't go for it, equipping their son with a '72 Honda 600 instead. Money saved for a Chevelle was put toward getting married, then a family...we all know the drill. He got close in 2002, agreeing to buy an already-complete '66 'Velle. Marriage again intervened, though this time it was the seller's distaff half that put the kibosh on the deal.
More than a bit frustrated, Gil changed course. Rather than going for a finished car, he went the eBay route and found an ideal starting point for his own build. The "good but not great" '66 SS had some minor rust issues, the interior needed help, and the previous owner had performed jigsaw surgery on the hood, but all the essentials were in place. Gil wanted to do something first class, and his quest for a hot rod craftsman led him to Southern California's High Desert, where he hooked up with Mike Cinqmars of Mike's Street Rods.
Mike's outfit came real close to providing Gil with one-stop shopping. Mike did all the metal work on the SS, going the extra mile by custom-bending the brake lines and exhaust and creating a one-off trunk-stowed fuel cell. Mike also crafted the one-of-kind dash from 16-gauge steel, giving Gil the basis for the radically different interior look he was seeking. And if that isn't enough, Mike sprayed the car too.