George Mobayed, now 50 years old, looked at the sky, smiled wistfully, and said: “In the late ’70s I was 18 and working for Super Shops’ number-one store in Garden Grove [California] selling performance parts and driving a ’67 SS daily. It had a Sonny Bryant big-block, B&M Turbo 400, 4.88 rear, and ladder bars. I cruised the streets of Orange, Anaheim, and Huntington Beach.” He continued with a wink: “As I remember it, street racing was actually legal in those days and running at OCIR (Orange County International Raceway) for fun whenever I could get there. Life was good!” He sold the car in ’80 and bought another ’67 a year later. George’s “bait car” was too sweet for some miscreant to resist. Project carless now, George “got caught up in life, college, the responsibilities of raising a family, and well, you know the story.”
Many, many moons later, in September of 2000, his wife, Cariann, saw an ad for a car show at the Orange County Fairgrounds and asked if he’d like to go. It was then that the secret George had tamped down for all those years came rushing to the surface. After 30 minutes of walking the show he felt that old and undeniable bone-deep buzz creep over him. “I felt like I had just run into a best friend whom I’d lost contact with for 20 years and was ecstatic about seeing him again,” he says. Then and there, he confessed to being a hot car junkie and that he always had been. George was ready to run again.
“I had to create another ’67 SS, and my intention was to go all the way this time. I found a great candidate in Texas for $2,000, a series 138, four-speed, gauge (ammeter, coolant temp, oil pressure, and tachometer) car with no motor or transmission.” Going all the way meant serious shekels. Regardless, George did the work himself (save for paint and body, glass and headliner) and still dropped large on parts and services.
“The project was underway,” George says. “My wife thought I’d lost it and my daughter, Macy, didn’t understand why the ‘new woman’ in my life was consuming all of my free time. Needless to say, I had to pull back and balance things with my family. Anyone with a wife and kids who has restored, or is attempting to restore, a car knows exactly what I’m talking about. I am fortunate enough to have a wife who grew up with her dad’s hot rods and is a true car girl. Otherwise, I’m sure things would have been much harder for me.”
The gestation took about three years. The Mobayeds drive it for all its worth. That includes sons Jadin and Ryan. “During the restoration, my son Jadin was born. He’s 4 now and gets under the car alongside me with his collection of toy tools to help me wrench. When I fire it up, he bolts out of the house and says loudly, ‘Take me, take me.’ I had to buy him a cool Simpson Racing car seat just for the Chevelle. He’ll also yell, ‘Go faster, daddy,’ when we’re cruising around and just loves being in and around it. He definitely has it in his blood … He doesn’t even know that the car will be his someday to pass down to his kids. Ryan, 2, was special. He had heart surgery when he was only two weeks out of the gate—quite the stuff of a miracle baby.”
George did not hesitate. He did the obvious. He bought a ’69 Road Runner that “all of us will be restoring for Ryan in the years to come.” Oh yeah! Roll daddy, roll!