When older hot rodders (that would be me and Mark Webster) first got into it, there was no such thing as an “intermediate” sedan or hardtop. Everything was Harley Earl Large. The litany then was B-body, the top-of-the-line Impala hardtop; middle man Bel Air, all with a B-pillar but less exterior trim than the Impala; and the blue-collar Biscayne, every one of them a post car from the edge. The best part? You could order the cheapest, minimal body (read: no chrome) with the biggest engine, a 427 that blew 425 hp.
We don’t know the time frame of Mark’s involvement with his ’65 Bel Air and ’65 Biscayne, but both of them were powered by big-blocks of record. Then, somewhere along the line, he skewed like a bottle rocket and fell for a clean simplicity of a ’67 Chevelle, but not the hardtop that everyone would expect. He put it to them with a 300 DeLuxe sedan spurred by a bumptious 496 that runs 11.30s at a buck-twenty-three (on 275 drag radials).
Mark found his current experiment at yenko.com. He’s the third owner of a 300 originally powered by a V-8. It was a California car (off the Fremont line), therefore it was wholesome in body. When he found it, the 300 was a roller and inclined toward the dragstrip side of things. He began the build but then turned serious and thought that he’d rather see the frame in one place and the body in another. But the rehab didn’t get totally out of hand. He determined that the paint and the interior that had been completed in 1988 were still “nice”, thus saving bushels of shekels and lots of down time.
Mark has always bedded down with function, form being the daydream, and as the restoration shop manager at Performance Restorations in Mundelein, Illinois, he was privy to everything he needed to complete the job all under one roof. With this accommodation, he was able to turn the key on his fairly rare Chevelle just 10 months after he loosened the first bolt. Mark further cut costs by wrangling the chassis work on his own time. Then he tricked his buddy Mark Marzigliano into doing all the wiring and when Mr. M was done, Mark brought him on full time at Performance Restorations.
There are no plans to thread the DeLuxe through a maze of orange cones or swing it wide on a road course. No, what we have here is a driver as plain and simple as the Chevelle’s silhouette, but it’s a well-rounded package imbued with all the things a casual pilot needs to maintain comfort, thwart fatigue, and loosen jowls. Mark bombs it out on Power Tour and when the weather’s shining bright the rest of the year, he twists the tires (check out the Line-Loc on that spindly column shifter), throttles the bejesus out of that Rat, and bathes in Flowmaster gutturality.
Mark and Performance Restorations put the final touches on the 300 a little more than two years ago and now there’s more than 12,000 miles on the clock, including two PT runs. So what’s our protagonist going to do next? You might have guessed it because you know that first-time yearning never really goes completely away. It settles in the psyche like a malarial bug in the immune system. “Yeah, yeah, I bought another B-body. A black ’66 Impala fitted with a humped 572 and a clutch for the six-speed transmission.”