This story has a very happy ending. An ancient itch got scratched. A boy became a man. A father and son reunion if ever there was one. Male bonding at its finest. Presumably, it began with the father's father and was part of his gene pool, inevitably passed on to his son, who invariably invested his son with it.
"Little did I know that my genetic disposition for fast cars that I inherited from my dad had been genetically transferred to my eldest son, Mike. In Mike's case, though, he's a very talented mechanic in addition to having a passion for anything that has a 10-second potential. He had a pony car that spent as much time on the track as it did on the road. His natural mechanical inclination figured high in the learning process," says proud dad Andy Haas.
Coming up on the old man's side is a familiar, parallel tale. "I grew up in the '60s, graduating from high school in 1970. New musclecars ruled the roads. Most of my days were spent fantasizing about owning such a car, but given my economic circumstances, there was no way I could actually afford to have one. I'd spend hours in my '65 Rambler going from dealer to dealer looking at the inventories on the lots. I always looked for four-speed cars to make that day's fantasy complete. The attitude where we lived was that automatics were for women and sissies," Andy confesses.
Towards the end of his senior year, he spied an LS6 Chevelle, in Fathom Blue with a white gut, on the floor of Baierl Chevrolet in Wexford, Pennsylvania. It had an M22 and 4.10 gears. It stung him. It followed him around all day. When the final bell rang, he was in his ride making the 15 minute pass to Baierl, something he did every day. He sat in it. He craned his neck under the hood. He got down and looked at it from underneath. He tried to be as cool as possible for someone who hadn't got dime. Finally, the salesman politely asked him to get the hell out. "I never forgot that car and how stunning it was," says Andy.
But his passion waned. He got on with life, went to college, got married and bought a house, had four kids, and then he stopped and looked around. It was time to play now. He had the discretionary income now. He had the time now. He had Mike. He shucked his business duds and jumped ship. As a well-heeled retiree, he'd have more than enough time to put his stuff together.
"I realized that the time had come to find that SS Chevelle I wanted so badly when I was 17," says Andy. "I would have the car and my eldest son as a partner. Mike provides the technical expertise that I never had the ability to develop. My favorite car of all time, being the generational nexus to my son. It doesn't get any better than that."
Andy found an outpost of information called chevelles.com (aka Team Chevelle or TC) and got to know Rick Nelson, TC's expert on '70 A-bodies. Nelson convinced him to buy a documented LS5 dark green SS Coupe that he could sell off when his idol appeared. About two weeks later, it did: a clone fresh from a body-off and with the coveted M22. Andy bought it on the spot.
The LS5 coupe, though nicely repowered with a 402, was a structural shambles. From toe kicks to rear bumper, every bit of metal was infected. The swap-out added 12 months to the rehab. That's where the real story begins.