Many of us want to build the perfect ride, but when it comes down to it our plans are easily deterred by time, expense, and resources. Charles Currie of Currie Enterprises had always dreamed of building a ’65 Chevelle convertible but could never find the time. In March 2001, he found a ’65 convertible already painted and under construction. Once he convinced the owner to part with the drop-top, he began working to complete his task.

Two weeks before the 2001 Hot Rod Power Tour left from Pontiac, Michigan, Charles and a few friends were sitting around the office talking about how much fun it would be to join in with a Currie- built musclecar. This discussion sparked Charles’ ambition and fueled his determination to completely go through his Chevelle and get it to Pontiac by the start of the tour. At the time of purchasing the car, a frame-off restoration seemed like the way to go but now that just couldn’t happen. He decided the paint would be acceptable but everything else had to be restored. Word of the project leaked out to several of his business acquaintances, and parts from Hotchkis Suspension and Baer Brakes piled up on Charles’ office floor.

The first step of this two-week rebuild involved stripping the car of everything but the paint and convertible top. With everything apart, Charles went to work on what he knows best—the rearend. Understandably, the factory 10-bolt had to go. He replaced it with a Currie-built 9+ housing with 31-spline axles and a limited slip–equipped 3.00 rear gear and performance axles. To keep things moving smoothly down the highway, he installed Hotchkis front and rear suspension kits equipped with larger sway bars, stronger control arms, new polyurethane bushings, and much more. The best a ’65 Chevelle can do is a set of 9.5-inch drum brakes, so Charles opted for a set of Baer four-wheel disc brakes and Budnik Fontana wheels.

With the rolling chassis complete, the time came to install a 454ci Rat engine. Charles used as many stock pieces as possible but couldn’t resist Edelbrock’s geardrive, timing cover, fuel pump, valve covers, intake manifold, and 795-cfm carburetor. All of this went on in the name of more power and a snappier appearance. If you plan on driving across the country, an overdrive transmission is a must, so a TH700-R4 found its way behind the big-block. Once the Chevelle reached roadworthy status, Charles drove it over to D&P Classic Chevy to restore the interior and tune up the convertible top.

The Chevelle continued to receive last-minute adjustments until Charles left for the tour. When the deadline arrived, Charles and a friend set out to drive nonstop from Southern California to Pontiac, Michigan. On their way there, they realized that the door keys had never been tested when they locked themselves out during a quick dinner stop. The only other glitch was when the windshield wipers failed during a rainstorm.

The Currie-built ’65 Chevelle convertible arrived on time and conquered the Power Tour averaging 14 mpg. On the last day of the Tour, Charles put the long haul Chevelle up on the dyno and pounded out 266 rear-wheel horsepower. And, just in case you think Charles might be a bit jaded, he plans to take part in as many future tours as possible. But next time he will give himself a little more time to get ready.