If you visit your local dragstrip often, then you know that the pits are filled with gutted-out race cars, which are equipped with Lexan windows, flimsy fiberglass panels, and countless decals. While these all-out drag cars serve a purpose and give their owners a thrill, there’s something to be said for a car that is so precisely detailed that it looks like it belongs in a field of show cars, instead of the gravel pits of a small town dragstrip. This ’66 Chevelle Super Sport, owned by Terry Davis, is a perfect example of a clean and simple drag car, and it certainly makes a lasting impact when folks see how well it performs!

Upon first glance, the car looks to be a restored muscle car with an aggressive stance and a nice tire and wheel combination. All the trim is perfectly restored, the paint is flawless, and it’s an all-steel body, so most knowledgeable car guys might not expect much out of it. A peek underhood may not even be enough to prove the car’s performance, as it looks like a well-dressed big-block to the untrained eye, which would be perfectly normal for this factory SS car. The big valve covers fool a lot of people, but a close look at the header configuration and cylinder head design reveal that this rather large powerplant is actually an SB2 small-block. It looks right at home in the roomy engine bay, and provides plenty of power for the 3,360-pound Chevelle.

Although it looks like a street car, Terry races the Chevelle regularly at local eighth-mile tracks, and makes the occasional trip to Bristol Dragway. Terry and his wife, Amy, live in Wytheville, Virginia, and generally race in the 5.70 heads-up index class at Elk Creek Dragway, along with a great bunch of racers who have similar attitudes about clean and simple drag cars. Even Terry’s tow rig is a flawless piece of machinery—it’s a ’72 Chevy Cheyenne-30, with a big-block, five-speed, and a homebuilt 19-foot ramp bed. It’s as slick as his race car, and gets just as many looks.

Terry says that he owes a lot of thanks to his dad for giving him the old car addiction, and his wife for putting up with the car guy lifestyle. He has enjoyed lots of success with his Chevelle, winning the 5.70 index points championship at his home track in 2010, and narrowly missing a back-to-back championship in 2011. Though he mostly runs the 5.70 class, he has turned up the wick on a few occasions with a best elapsed time of 5.53 at 119 mph. With these kinds of results, along with Terry’s precise attention to detail, this ’66 Chevelle offers a winning combination of speed, style, and simplicity.

Chassis

While it takes a serious amount of effort to push a heavy car into the 5-second range in the eighth-mile, Terry’s car makes it look easy, thanks to a well-sorted suspension. The chassis is essentially stock, aside from some additional bracing, and the original A-body rear suspension is still in charge of planting the rear tires. The suspension features a Dick Miller antiroll bar, and adjustable upper and lower control arms, which attach to the 12-bolt rearend. Inside the rearend is a Strange spool and axles, as well as a 4.88 gearset, while the outside of the housing features a back brace and LPW cover. Strange coilovers mount to the stock shock mounts, and help provide 60-foot times in the mid 1.20s. Up front, the suspension is very close to stock, but Terry swapped the stock coils for a set of Moroso Trick springs, and installed a pair of Strange double-adjustable shocks to match the rears. Wilwood discs roll on all four corners, and are hidden by Weld Alumastar wheels. The skinny fronts are wrapped in BFGoodrich tires from Coker, while the rears feature 30x10.5-15 Hoosier radial slicks.

Engine & Drivetrain

Without weight and aerodynamics in his favor, Terry had the challenge of motivating his Chevelle in an efficient manner. His weapon of choice is an SB2 small-block, built by Albert Racing Engines. Coming in at 436 ci, the engine features a Dart Little M block, packed with a Callies crankshaft, Crower connecting rods, and CP pistons. This bulletproof bottom end is topped off with a set of ported SB2 heads that work in harmony with the custom grind camshaft from Cam Motion to provide adequate airflow. Fuel makes its way through the Gary Williams–prepped Holley Dominator carburetor, while an MSD Digital 7 ignition box (hidden under the dash) provides spark. When Albert Racing Engines finished the stout small-block, they gave it a workout on the dyno, resulting in 873 hp at 7,500 rpm. Terry also runs a Speedtech nitrous system, which is a fogger setup, jetted for approximately 100 hp. Behind the SB2 is a Powerglide transmission, built to the max by Rogers Automotive, using a Reed case, 1.80 gearset, and transbrake. Incoming power is applied with a Coan 8-inch torque converter, while outgoing power is sent through a Mark Williams aluminium driveshaft.

Inside

An open door reveals an immaculate interior, which certainly isn’t the norm for a drag car of this caliber. Factory carpet and all original interior panels give Terry’s Chevelle the right amount of classic flair while, the original seats, restored by Hinshaw’s Chevelle are the perfect finishing touch. The eight-point rollcage is tucked tightly to the body, so that it blends in with its surroundings, and Terry took every opportunity to hide typical race car equipment, by mounting auxiliary gauges in the glove compartment, and the necessary switches and buttons in the original console. He even mounted the Auto Meter tach in the classic knee-knocker location, which is well received by the hard-core Chevelle guys. For safety, Terry installed Simpson five-point harnesses, as well as an onboard fire suppression system.

Exterior

Terry is a bodyman and painter by trade, so he is deeply involved with all sorts of projects, from restored muscle cars to Pro Mod drag cars. He’s a knowledgeable guy when it comes to perfecting body panels, and his work on this Chevelle proves it. The all-steel panels are laser straight, and feature a slick coating of R-M Diamont base/clear paint, using the original Sandalwood Tan color. Terry laid down the urethane materials and spent a great deal of time color sanding, buffing, and polishing the new finish. Final fit and finish is superb, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a flaw in his paintjob. Terry restored the trim, and sent the original bumpers to Tri-City Plating for re-chroming, and continued to assemble the Chevelle with the utmost attention to detail. Super Sport badges ride on the front fenders and grille, indicating a 396 big-block, which is slightly inaccurate, but we’ll let him slide on that minor detail! CHP

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