|One of the top Muscle Cars of all time - the 1971 Chevelle SS 454 Heavy Chevy. And this one has been completely restored & pumped up with horsepower (note the custom chrome intakes in the engine) by "Stump" Griffis at Rebel Rebuilders. Arkansas fashion & glamour model Mindy, in a groovy period outfit and 'do, made it even better, for a feature magazine article.|
|Heavy Chevy SS 454
We’ve all heard the story about the wreck found in a barn that turns out to be a priceless jewel. Would you believe this one was found outside in an overgrown field behind a house, with grass up to its roof?
John “Stump” Griffis stomped down enough grass around it so he could see the shell, picked away some of the layers of mold and mildew, bought it for $800 and sold the motor for $400, then started 4 ½ years of grueling work on his $400 project. He was willing to do that because Stump could tell, even with holes rusted through the floorboard and seats without covering, that this pitiful hulk was the rare “Heavy Chevy”, with the factory big block motor and Muncie Rock Crusher four-speed transmission. What a find!
As restoration frustration mounted he nearly gave up and parked it behind his house for some other restorer to find decades in the future. Instead, “Stumps’ Heavy Chevy” is now a multiple-award winner throughout the mid-west and one of the top 3 Chevelles nationwide. It’s also won Best of Show, Street Class, at the National Muscle Car Association’s Fastest Streetcar Shootout Nationals.
It helps that Stump owns www.rebelrebuilders.com, and knows the difference in his GM Steel 4” crank and his Hydraulic Roller Camshaft, which he custom ground. Stump himself took this Chevelle all the way down to a bare frame and essentially hand-built the world’s best SS, not just restoring it, but making it better.
The Chevelle SS is considered by many to be the biggest, baddest, muscle car of all, if only because it had the famous 450-horsepower 454 V-8. Externally, the SS looked like the “base” car, called the 396 LS5. But the 454 LS6 had different lifters, crank, port heads, and 4-bolt mains.
|The hot option was the
mechanically-operated hood cowl induction. A
throttle-operated valve opened extra venting into the air
hood stripes and lock pins were part of the few external
something extra special was inside.
The SS 454 ran the quarter mile in the low 13’s at 110 mph, on stock bias ply tires, making it the 6th fastest of the top 50 muscle cars.
Stump built this one better than the stock SS 454s, with an iron 454 engine, Holley Carbs and “.030 over 4-bolt” main block, a new crankshaft, LS6 rods, TRW 9.5-1 pistons, MSD ignition, roller rockers, competition headers, and all the goodie go-fast toys that completely justify the blinding coat of yellow “Lemon Chrome” paint he wants the world to see. He coated the engine block in the same yellow, just in case you didn’t notice it before opening the hood.
That is absolutely the most muscle anyone can get into this car, and, for that matter, most any other cars with production equipment and carburetion. Stump ran out of room in there and had to fabricate the twin chrome air intakes that neatly “y” toward the front, ending in dual cone air filters on each side of the Griffin aluminum radiator.
One of the best power mods Stump added is the high volume fuel injection. It’s an Arizona Speed & Marine injection unit with a 1,000 cfm (that’s 1,000 cubic feet of air each minute) throttle body.
More updates include disc brakes on all four wheels, larger anti-sway bars and urethane bushings with chassis components coated in powder or ceramic.
|He also swapped the bench
with these nice buckets, added a Hurst
shifter, and installed proper Autometer Pro Comp SS gauges
as part of a
completely new interior.
Some people restore cars exactly back to their original condition, as if God meant it that way. But that just wouldn’t fit the very idea of muscle cars. Muscle cars mean unfair advantage. They are supposed to be as bad as they can be, and Stump’s Lemon Chrome Heavy Chevy is that bad.
Model: Mindy Larson
Arkansas model Mindy was perfect for a ’71-era groovy psychedelic model, and she enjoyed every bit of it. She even studied Austin Powers for “period” posing. Maybe it was the thespian in her. She’s been quite the actress and is now entering her final semester at Henderson (where’s she’s in Who’s Who) with a double major in psychology (she says it helps her determine if guys are lying to her) and pre-med. She mentioned specifically her hair – no roots. She’s a true American blonde, perfect for this car.
She’s also a classical dancer and singer, and loves the great outdoors and hunts and fishes whenever she can.
Mindy’s shot a 7-point buck, but her claim to fame is a 5-pound large mouth bass, caught with her favorite lure, the pink “wiggly worm”, that looks like bubble gum, she says. The bass is mounted on her wall next to her hippopotamus collection. (Yes, that’s hippopotamus, as in Mammalia of the Artiodactyla order of the Hippopotamidae family – the 8,000 pounder that grazes in the water with 2-foot-wide lips.) Not that Mindy hunts hippos, but collects everything hippo – chairs, stuffed animals, ashtrays (did you know someone makes hippopotamus ashtrays?). So if you want to find your way into Mindy’s heart, work on that hippo collection. She says it means something special when someone thinks to get her something hippo. There’s probably an angle in there that a psychologist appreciates. Meanwhile, we appreciate Mindy no matter how big her pet’s lips are.