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Time Capsule 1965 Pro-Street Chevelle Has Stayed Nearly the Same for Over 40 Years!

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 6/22/2021 Steven Rupp,Jorge Nunez
a close up of a car: 001-1965-Chevy-Chevrolet-Chevelle-Pro-Street-Quicksilver-Mark-Abbott-SoCal-Street-Race-blown-big-block-tubbed © Jorge Nunez 001-1965-Chevy-Chevrolet-Chevelle-Pro-Street-Quicksilver-Mark-Abbott-SoCal-Street-Race-blown-big-block-tubbed

Mark Abbott's 1965 Pro-Street Chevelle is a window back to the golden age of pro-street.

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Back in the before times, our hot rodding hobby was the wild west. Yeah, 40 years ago there was an aftermarket, but it didn't even remotely resemble what you see today. Four decades ago, there weren't terms like Pro-Touring, restomod, or even the Internet. There were no tubular control arms, and handling, for the most part, was left to Porsches and 'Vettes. You got your parts from brick-and-mortar speed shops and a few chains like Super Shops. But what we did have was Pro-Street. Why? Well, because most of aftermarket for hot rods was focused on drag racing, and guys worked overtime to meld drag race parts to their street cars. This is the story of one such Pro-Street Chevy that was iconic in the '80s SoCal street scene, a 1965 Chevelle owned by Mark Abbott and called Quicksilver. What you see here is pretty much how the car has looked for the last four decades, in essence a Pro-Street survivor and a window into our hot rodding roots.

a close up of a car © Jorge Nunez

But besides being a survivor of an era it's also an excuse for me to kick down that editorial fourth wall. You see, I grew up with this car, drove it, got tickets in it and it's a huge reason for why I became a car guy. Back in the early and mid 80s I was fresh out of high school and rockin' a 1967 Camaro. I would do the big cruises, hit car shows, and hang out at the local street races. This is where I met Abbott. Back then, he was showing the car at RG Canning, the ISCA, and other big events. The car was stunning. Abbott and I became great friends, and I spent a lot of time with this Chevelle. Lots of good times and great stories. Of course, some of the stories need to be weighed against the statute of limitations before being shared.

a close up of a motorcycle © Jorge Nunez

Abbott has owned the Chevelle since 1971, but it was bought new by his grandfather. As Abbott told us, "I drove it in high school my junior and senior year. We street raced it a lot the first years and cruised Whittier and Van Nuys Blvd. I would say that 95-percent of my friends I still have today are because of that car and car clubs. I honestly can't believe it's been 50 years!" Yeah, me either. Unlike some pro-street cars that were just fluff and poses this one was raced hard. Over the years the engine changed quite a few times flip flopping between N/A, blown, small-block, and big-block. I remember yanking the blown small-block out so we could stuff it in a jet boat and hit the river with it (I also remember that boat sinking, but that's a whole other story). After the submerged boosted small-block was rebuilt, it went back in the car. Today the Chevelle is a look back to the simpler days of hot rodding.

a car engine © Jorge Nunez

The paint you see here was laid down between 1979 and 1980 by Jeff Scozzaro (of Jeff's Place) after Keith Dean did all the bodywork. In 1980, Bobby Harris (Billet Race Cars) did the tub work which included a Ford 9-inch with 5.13 gears and Sommers Brothers axels. These days, the Chevelle fields a 461-inch big-block built by Taylor Engines in Whittier California. It features ported heads by Mike Culbertson and the short-block is filled with 9:1 forged pistons, an Isky Z77 solid-flat-tappet cam, polished and shot peened 7/16 rods, and ARP bolts. Topping the long-block is a Blower Drive Service (BDS) 6-71 Roots blower wearing a pair of Holley 850 carbs that were massaged by C and J Engineering. Backing up the blown big-block is a Turbo 400 trans with a reverse manual valve body, trans brake, and a 9-inch 5500 rpm stall converter.

© Jorge Nunez

As I said earlier, this was a street car, although the Buena Park cop that pulled me over one day would argue that point and did with a rather epic "fix it" ticket. But Abbot drove this car all over the place to show it, race it, and just enjoy it with his friends. It was what every Pro-Street car should aspire to be: driven and driven hard. As Abbott said, most of his friends came from having this car, and I'm lucky to be counted as one of those. In reality, that's the point of this entire hot rodding hobby we partake in. Yeah, the cars are cool, and stupid fun, but they're really just ways to meet other gearheads and make life-long friendships.

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