Living the American Dream – One Ride at a Time

Rhys’s journey began with a deep passion for American Muscle cars, even living in Australia. His dedication was evident when he returned from a family trip, bringing back a 1967 Chevelle Malibu in his luggage (figuratively speaking). What started as a stock Malibu soon became a sleek street cruiser, a testament to his love for pro-touring. This car was eventually sold to fund his move to America, where he could fully immerse himself in the automotive industry and build his next masterpiece, showcasing the best the industry offers.

October 2019 was the start of the 1972 Chevelle build, and the first upgrade after the purchase was a complete set of AutoMeter American Muscle series gauges housed in the dash overlay. These were purchased directly through the AutoMeter site even before signing the Chevelle deal. “With all the modifications done to the Chevelle, this is one thing that gets the most comments. On how they look, and how it changes the original interior to a modern yet very classic feel,” Rhys states.

With the installation of the new AutoMeter gauges, the 1972 Chevelle build took on a new direction and identity: Street Touring. Rhys’s innovative approach was evident in the perfect blend of original-based equipment and the latest technology, creating a unique Street Tourer. The modern factory styling of the Muscle Car Series played a significant role in shaping the entire interior, which now boasts a full interior with aftermarket bucket seats, a factory console with rachet shifter and one-piece molded fiberglass headliner, and molded fiberglass door panels, all in a period matching black vinyl.

The Chevelle rides on full UMI tubular suspension with Viking Double adjustable coilovers to get the proper ride height. The powertrain is a blend of old and new technology with a crate 400ci SBC, with Edelbrock Fuel injection backed by a build 700r4 to handle the 517HP/546LB the engine produces. It works well with the customer PTC billet converter and 12-bolt differential with billet Moser axles plugged into an Eaton Tru trac with 4.1 gears.

Anyone who has ever ordered custom wheels knows the dilemma this causes: traditional, modern, classic, and everything in between. Ultimately, a set of Forgestar M14 18×9, 18×10 wrapped in Nitto Tires won out that emphasizes the Baer brakes. Rhys states, “I knew they were it. I was giving her the West Coast look with Midwest muscle and building my dream.” 

The minor details were noticed in the build, from the Spoilers by Randy Front Spoiler, the custom-built power steering pump from Turn One with billet pulley, and the custom-built Lee power steering box to the engine bay details. 

The engine bay is a testament to Rhys’s meticulous craftsmanship, with over 300 hours dedicated to its detail. Every component was modified, and nothing was placed without careful consideration, down to the air conditioning plumbing, to achieve a custom finish. The stock firewall and top cowl were smoothed and finished to a standard surpassing the factory. Rhys’s preference for retaining the original metal where possible was a labor-intensive task, including the stock inner fender. The result is a stunning display of detail, visible even in the stock firewall and wheel wells. 

Dave Vos (Reality Motorsport Illinois) and I spent many hours sitting and planning each part of the process to ensure we touched every component we put near the car. And the results speak for themselves. And there are many small touches that most won’t notice, but as anyone who has built a car knows. They are often the most enjoyable. 

The car was built with the best driver experience possible: comfortable and modern (in all the right ways) while retaining the heart and soul of American muscle. 

Rhys’s Chevelle has so many modifications that we couldn’t list them here, however, check out this link for a breakdown of all the special parts and modifications to make it a one of a kind. 

6 Gauge Direct-Fit Dash Kit, American Muscle (Model 7025)