Photos by John Jackson
Mike McDonald doesn’t believe in doing anything halfway. If he’s going in for a nickel, he is going in for it all. And when he isn’t working or spending time with his family, he can be found doing one of three things: boating, golfing or “tinkering” with one of his classic cars. As you can tell by the photos of his ‘70 Chevy Chevelle SS, he takes his tinkering pretty seriously.
Mike’s relationship with this particular Chevelle started in October 2007 when he bought the car and almost immediately turned it over to Dooley & Sons in Magnolia, Texas, to have Jeff, Tom and Dooley freshen it up. They pretty much tore the car down to its bare bones and started over. Once the car was down to its “skeleton,” they turned it over to David Horner of Marble Falls, Texas, who did all of the bodywork to get the car laser straight and sprayed the sheet metal with a coat of shiny PPG Red. The engine bay, the trunk and all of the jambs are just as flawless as the exterior of the Chevelle.
Back at Dooley & Sons, they put the finishing touches on the GM 12-bolt rear axle. They rebuilt it with a Richmond limited slip carrier and 3.73:1 ring and pinion and finished it off with a set of rear disc brakes from Classic Performance Products (http://www NULL.classicperform NULL.com/). They also ordered up an air ride suspension system for the car from Ride Tech, so all of the rear suspension was handled. Up front they prepped a set of RideTech tubular control arms, shocks, airbags and a set of big brakes from Classic Performance Products and the trio wasted no time installing all of the new suspension and brakes under the freshly painted car. Next, they bolted up a set of 19 x 8 front and 20 x 10 rear Schott I Force wheels wrapped in 235/35/19 front and 285/35/20 rear Continental tires.
Under the hood, the Dooley & Sons crew stabbed in a GM Performance Products 502-ci big-block fit with a Milodon oil pan, Melling oil pump, Street & Performance valve covers, MSD Ignition system, Stewart water pump, Sanderson headers and a complete Vintage Air Front Runner system. The power plant was bolted up to a Phoenix Transmissions-built 700R4 automatic overdrive transmission.
Everything on the Chevelle was coming together so well that the crew from Dooley & Sons knew that they were going to have to go the extra mile on the interior and trunk upholstery to keep up with what had already been done to the car.
Dooley and Tom Cameron set out to make the interior and trunk upholstery keep up with all of the forethought that went into the rest of the car. So they started with the construction of a custom center console and interior trunk panels. All of the interior and trunk panels were upholstered with genuine black leather with red accents and red stitching. The seats were also stretched in the same genuine leather with a red accent stripe and red stitching. I am pretty sure you’ll agree that the upholstery work on this car is out of this world. The interior was wrapped up with the installation of a Billet Specialties steering wheel, Lokar shifter, Dakota Digital gauges and all new window and door seals.
To say that Mike is pleased with how his Chevelle turned out would probably be the understatement of the year. Mike would like to thank David Horner, Jeff Cameron, Tom Cameron and Dooley Cameron for all of the effort they put into this car, and his wife Martha Ann for her continued support of his hobbies.