February 6, 2016, was likely to be an unremarkable day for Ken Nunemaker of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Certain, it might have been his 60th birthday, but he was not anticipating the shock his brothers, Dan and Ron, concocted for him. Like a lot of motor vehicle fanatics, Ken suffered from regret over marketing a beloved auto from his youth—a 1966 Chevelle SS—his beloved muscle mass automobile of all time. Marriage, residence, young ones, career Ken decided these ended up much more important than his 11-next, street-pushed Chevelle at the time.
Nearing retirement from a vocation as an industrial engineer for the Quaker Oats Company in 2016, Ken figured it was time to commence on the lookout for a toy—but his brothers took treatment of that for him. Elder brother, Ron—a retired millwright and component-proprietor of Icon Industrial Services—asked Ken for some assistance in going his 540-driven Super Fuel 1937 FIAT Topolino (runs 8s) into Ron’s personal workshop. Ron owns a variety of neat cars, such as what has to be a Nickey Chevrolet 1968 Camaro L88 he purchased new, based on Ken’s description, so the auto shuffle is not an unusual video game with the Nunemaker brothers.
Wintertime Car or truck Recognizing Bingo: 1966 Chevelle SS—Check!
Of program Ken obliged, and along the way Ron suggested a end at a nearby gastropub. As the two brothers pulled into the parking great deal, Ken spotted a 1966 Chevelle SS just like the one he regrettably marketed oh-so-extensive-back. There was no snow on the floor at that time, but a awesome-seeking vintage muscle motor vehicle is not a widespread sight on wintery Iowa roads. As Ken and Ron entered the restaurant, they observed their young brother, Dan, by now having fun with a burger. What is actually Dan executing below?, Ken imagined to himself.
Dan explained the situation away by telling his brothers he stopped in for some lunch for the reason that some of his electricians ended up doing the job in the spot. Properly plausible story, as Dan Nunemaker, operator of Premier Electrical Companies Co., is a profitable electrical contractor. When his brothers recommended they take a look at the blue Chevy A-physique on their way out, Ken couldn’t resist.
As the trio walked up to the Chevelle, Ron overtly opened the driver’s doorway and instructed Ken to get in. “Holy crap, someone’s going to arrive out and they are heading to be … mad! You you should not open up someone’s vehicle door, specifically a typical like that!” Ken informed us, as he recounted the story about a cell phone simply call. Ahead of Ken could recuperate from that shock, Dan did the same on the passenger aspect and dropped the title and registration in the seat. Ken was blown away.
Though making an attempt to grasp what was taking place, Ron and Dan begun to walk absent, and explained to Ken to meet them back again at his (Ken’s) property. As Ken arrived household, he was greeted by his brothers with a hearty, “pleased birthday!” and his brothers then stuffed Ken in with all the information of their birthday surprise.
Correcting-Up an By now Restored Huge-Block Chevelle
The 1966 Chevelle SS was identified in Florida coincidentally, the Chevelle Ken offered in the 1970s finished up in Florida, but this 1966 Chevelle is not Ken’s former Chevy muscle mass car rediscovered. Ron and Dan experienced the Chevelle delivered to a friend’s shop exactly where they proceeded to make guaranteed it was roadworthy for Ken on his 60th birthday. In spite of arriving coated in grime off the open up transportation, the Nunemaker brothers discovered the restored paint and inside of the Chevelle to be in superb issue, and proceeded to give it a exhibit-degree detailing.
Although not a genuine-deal SS Chevelle—136 in the VIN reveals it to be a Malibu from the factory—the blue ’66 Chevy is a properly-constructed tribute to an icon of the era. Dan and Ron changed all the fluids, double-checked the wiring and mechanicals, made a to-do listing of future initiatives for Ken, and identified a shock on the flywheel weights—the 1966 Chevelle SS tribute vehicle Dan and Ron bought was hiding a a little constructed-up 454 disguised as a 396, just like in Ken’s previous Chevelle.
To-do record in hand, Ken established about examining off things for his new Chevy muscle mass auto. The principal seals desired replacing on the 454, and the four-corner drum brakes have been absolutely rebuilt with inventory-fashion components. While the 454 may glimpse like a stock 396, Ken tells us you will find a .570-lift cam, Holley 780-cfm carburetor, and an Edelbrock Performer ingestion manifold. With the huge aluminum radiator in entrance, this large-block Chevelle is a correctly trustworthy runner.
Ken exclusively selected an H-pipe to join the 3-inch Hooker Competitiveness headers to the Flowmaster mufflers, citing an article he read in Sizzling ROD (thanks for looking through, Ken!) that said the H-pipe provides a further bass rumble than a raspier X-pipe would have. The driveshaft connecting the Muncie M21 4-velocity transmission and GM 12-bolt Posi rearend with 3.55 gears essential to be shortened 50 percent an inch to improve the cruising functionality of the Chevelle, and when Ken finishes the Classic Air installation, it will be the fantastic driver.
Classic Muscle Cars are Meant to Be Driven
And generate his Chevelle, Ken does—every Tuesday and Saturday, he and a group of locals hit up the classic cruise places in their place. The three Nunemaker brothers all use their autos routinely. Amid his two avenue-pushed Corvettes, ’67 Olds Cutlass Convertible, and Pontiac Firebird, Ron Nunemaker just renewed his racing license and is hoping to get his serious-deal 1963 split-window Corvette into the 7s. Dan, the Camaro person out of the 3, races his “Dino Dan” 9-second ’68 Camaro, but his authentic appreciate is prolonged-hauling Scorching ROD Electrical power Tour. Ken tells us it really is far less complicated to count the a long time he’s missed than the several years Dan has pushed the Tour in its entirety. You can even see Dan’s pink Electric power Tour 1968 Camaro in the February 2022 problem of Incredibly hot ROD.
We requested Ken what his summer season ideas have been, definitely only wanting to know if he was going to show off his birthday present on Hot ROD Electric power Tour 2022. He was noncommittal, but with excellent reason Ken is also prepping his Chevelle for a supercharged 496 swap. Not just any supercharged 496, the block was donated by Ron, and it arrived from the Nickey 1968 Camaro SS. We balked a minimal at listening to Ron experienced separated the famous 427 from his Camaro, but Ken says Ron isn’t precious about items like that—he’s by no means heading to market the Camaro and he was properly good modifying the primary hood to create a delicate-still-tasteful powerdome, far too.
Sperry Engines of Cedar Rapids is building the 496 for Ken, topping the supercharger with a pair of 750-cfm Rapid Gasoline carburetors. Ken assures us he is heading to bubble-wrap the authentic SS hood at this time on his Chevelle and reduce up a repop to make space for his new mill. Though Ken prefers shorter drives than what Very long Haulers signal up for on Energy Tour, he may possibly end the 496 swap in time to arrive out this year—assuming he can get the big disc brakes he desires to tame that supercharged 496 put in in time as perfectly.
Get Your Journey Featured on HOTROD.com
Ken could not quit expressing the gratitude he feels to his brothers for giving him his aspiration 1966 Chevelle SS, and says he could never thank them sufficient for these types of an incredible present. He desired us to notify Dan and Ron’s tales much more than his have, but these will have to wait around for another day. We’ll try to capture up with Dan and any other Nunemaker family member on Hot ROD Electrical power Tour 2022, but until finally then, if you want your experience featured on HOTROD.com, email us at [email protected]
Ken Nunemaker’s 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS
- 454 major-block Chevy V-8
- Holley 780-cfm four-barrel carburetor
- Edelbrock Performer consumption manifold
- Hooker 3-inch headers
- Flowmaster mufflers
- Muncie M21 4-speed manual transmission
- GM 12-bolt Positraction rear axle with 3.55 gears
Images Submitted by Reader Ken Nunemaker