MetalWorks attends SEMA 2017

Combining the nonstop buzz of Las Vegas with the world’s largest automotive tradeshow is a guaranteed good time, and SEMA 2017 didn’t disappoint. All the fun aside, SEMA is serious work, and where we keep on top of what is new and hot in the automotive industry so we can offer our customers the latest technologies and aftermarket components.

We strapped on our walking shoes and checked out all that SEMA had to offer. It is always fun to see what will be unveiled, and the direction the industry is leaning towards. One thing was more apparent than ever—80s-era body styles are the next thing. We saw a number of sweet builds base off from square body trucks, 3rd gen Camaros, and fox body Mustangs.

We hope you enjoy checking out a quick peek into some of the amazing builds that were on display. You can check out our BLOG posts for additional images: http://metalworksclassics.com/#blog

Bert Oberlands’ 1967 Chevelle

Have you ever seen a car at a car show that you wished you could own? OK, that was probably a really dumb question. Pondering how we could own a car that has caught our eye at an event is likely a common practice with car enthusiast. In the case of Bert Oberland who spotted this 67 Chevelle at a car show back in the year 2000, it was a happy ending as he was actually able to purchase the car.

The Chevelle was in really nice condition Bert recalls, and was powered by a 1967 Corvette 427 backed by a Muncie 4 speed. Bert upgraded the Muncie to a TREMEC 5 speed which really changed the performance of the Chevelle. The next step on the 67 was a new coat of paint and to freshen the bright work, so Bert turned to the team a MetalWorks in Eugene, Oregon.

The team at MetalWorks stripped the paint inside and out and discovered an ultra solid body that was then massaged to perfection in body shop, and shot in coats of what we’ll refer to as “MetalWorks Red” paint. The 67’s suspension was upgraded to HEIDTS both front and rear, and Budnik wheels with Wilwood disc brakes were set on all 4 corners.
The finished product was spotted by photographer Chris Shelton at the Spokane Goodguys show and ended up on the cover of Chevy High Performance magazine. Bert still shows the 67 Chevelle sparingly, and drives it when the mood is right. Due to having a few other cars in his collection Bert has opted to have the guys at MetalWorks upgrade it to Holley fuel injection so it will not be affected by periods of sitting idle. No doubt the EFI upgrade will only take an amazing driving experience and make it even more incredible for many more years to come.

 

MetalWorks Hits the Salt!

“The salt flats are hallowed ground for hot rodders” is a statement I’ve heard many times, so I figured I’d better make the journey and find out for myself. I was lucky to have been invited to attend Speed Week at Bonneville with the Hot Iron Car Club out of Salt Lake City, so they snagged me at the airport in their hot rods and we made the two hour journey to the sacred salt. ”

Experiencing the salt flats for the first time is amazing, and a real visual overload. I have attended many styles of racing events, and seeing these vehicles built specifically for top end speed was really eye opening. A group of hot rodders from our local area was there to race their model A roadster for the first time. We were able to share the experience with them of prepping the race car, then, make their very first pass on the rookie course which earned them their racing license on the longer courses. You couldn’t help but get drown into the excitement, and the “need for speed.”

It is also said that once the salt gets into your skin, you’ll be hooked for life… I know I’ll be back. I hope you enjoy checking out some of the images we captured over the weekend.

MetalWorks’ Transformed TriFive

There was once a young man, we’ll call him Pete who grew up late 1950s and 60s, and like many young men of his era, cars were a very large and influential part of his life. A childhood buddy of Pete’s purchased a 1955 Chevy when he was a junior in high school and the pair spent countless hours together under the hood of the trifive.

Looking back now Pete recalls tearing down various components and modifying or rebuilding them, then taking the 55 for test drives to evaluate the results of their efforts. Pete loved the time spent wrenching on the Chevy and he learned a lot, but for him it was more about the camaraderie between friends, and the “under hood talk.” This was the pre-internet era so automotive knowledge was gained by browsing issues of small pages hot rod magazines, and helpful tips from older guys willing to hand out advice. The reward for all their hard work was cruising the local A&W root beer stand on friday nights, and even a little bit of street racing for good measure.

Flash forward a few decades into Pete’s retirement years and he finds himself at the perfect phase of his life to build his dream car. Now there are a lot of cool cars out there, but Pete has the fondest memories of his time around his buddies 55, so he knows that is the car for him. Being conscious of how his old friend that owed the 55 Chevy in high school might feel, Pete contacted his lifelong buddy and asked him what he thought about Pete doing a 55, and his response was “man, go for it!

The next big step was locating a shop to turn Pete’s dream into a reality, so Pete began an intense search for the perfect shop. Two variables were key in Pete’s search; a shop that had a strong pedigree for building high end TriFive Chevys as well as a shop that performed the bulk of the build “in house” instead of farming out multiple steps of the build to other specialty shops. Through his searching Pete came across MetalWorks in Eugene, Oregon and could clearly see in the shop’s build galleries that they handle their restorations internally—even the acid dipping process.
Pete was very interested in the having MetalWork’s tackle his dream 55 build, but the deal wasn’t sealed until he had a long conversation with Jon, the owner of MetalWorks. Pete expressed that he didn’t have a 55 Chevy yet, just the desire to build one, and inquired if MetalWorks would be willing to locate him a car…and the answer was “sure.”

MetalWorks located 3 potential staring points for the build with various prices. It was stated that there was no point in buying a more expensive car to simply throw away parts that were not going to get used, but to focus on a project car that matched the build. A project was chosen, and the crew at MetalWorks got busy transforming it to Pete’s vision.

The 55 chosen for the starting point was a forgotten relic of the Pro-Steet era of the early 1990s. The rolling chassis was sold, and the body sent off for acid dipping. The necessary metal work was performed in addition to custom features such as 2.5” mini tubs, shaved gas door, and smoothed dash, just to name a few on an extensive list. The body was sat on a multi-link IRS Art Morrison chassis and all its sheet metal, glass, and drive train mocked up for proper fit and function before being sent to the body shop. Once in the shop the body was massaged to perfection, then, shot in coats of grey and black.

Paint was followed by wet sanding and buffing until the body looked like marble. The chassis was painted and fully assembled as a roller with engine and transmission set into place. The body was mated to the chassis and the rest of the assembly was performed along with wiring and upholstery.

The combo of the 55’s new GM Performance 430hp LS3 topped with MSD fuel injection and the Art Morrison chassis deliver an amazing level of comfort, performance, and reliability. Pete can jump in the Chevy and enjoy years of cruising without the plaguing issues often associated with carbureted engines and today’s modern gasoline. The chassis delivers a level of comfort and smooth handling that will not leave Pete feeling fatigued even after long hours behind the wheel. The 55 truly performs on both looks and performance—it is the definition of ProTouring in a classic car, and we hope Pete collects many memories in it feeling like the luckiest body in high school.


Geoffrey Landis’ FAMILY JEWEL restoration by MetalWorks

I love hearing stories of vehicles that have been with a family for decades. The tales of multiple generations enjoying road trips and vacations, along with thousands of miles of cruising are golden. The story of the beautiful 1938 Oldsmobile you see gracing these pages is just such a tale.

Way back in 1938 Grover Stanton and his two sisters Ruby and Garnet traveled to Lansing, Michigan to take delivery of their brand new 1938 Oldsmobile Model F-38 4 door Touring Sedan. The sedan was driven cross country with Ruby doing all the driving while Grover rode shot gun, and Garnet handled all the navigation duties seated in between them. The 38 was enjoyed for decades, and then inherited by their cousin Willetta Pense of Scio, Oregon. Willetta immediately signed the Olds over to her son Bruce. Bruce enjoyed the sedan during the early 1960s until it quick working one day…as a result, it was parked.
The idle sedan sat outside for a short time, but was then moved inside the family’s barn where it would reside for several more decades. Barn storage can often preserve a vehicle very well, but in the case of this barn the 38 Olds was subjected to high water levels from the nearby Crab Tree Creek whose waters ran around and underneath it. Besides the wet conditions the Olds played host to squirrels, rats, mice, and hoards of yellow jackets, hornets, and spiders.

Flash forward to 2012 when family member Geoffrey Landis became the newes care taker of the family heirloom. Geoffrey wanted to see the 38 returned to its former glory, and got busy disassembling it. It took nearly a year to carefully take the Olds apart and bag all the components. Once Geoffrey took the sedan to the point where he no longer had the tools and expertise to finish the restoration, he turned to MetalWorks Classic Auto Restoration to complete the build.

The team at MetalWorks sat down and discussed a direction for the restoration, and Geoffrey’s plans for the car once restored. Well the time for the Olds sitting idle was over, Geoffrey wanted to drive it. So with keeping an overall stock external appearance, the 38 was treated to many modern upgrades to assure trouble free enjoyment. The long list of upgrades includes a 430hp GM Performance LS3 engine, suspension by HEIDTS, and 4 wheel disc brakes by Wilwood. The restoration process was a long battle, but the 38 turned out gorgeous, and is a perfect blend of classic and modern.

To see the sedan’s full restoration, check
out its build gallery of MetalWorks’ website:
http://metalworksclassics.com/portfolio-page/1938-oldsmobile/

MetalWorks built 65 Lincoln Continental

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Lincoln Continentals have always been popular cars due to their long sexy lines, luxurious ride and amenities, and don’t forget about those amazing looking suicide doors.

At MetalWorks we had the privilege of building a heavily customized 65 Continental for a customer, and the owner of this Lincoln took note of the build on our website. After watching the process unfold online  and on social media,  this owner knew he had to get his 65 shipped our way for some upgrades.

When this Lincoln arrived it was a nice survivor car, but Continentals are big cars with big, heavy, gasoline hungry engines—and this one was looking for improved performance. The owner not only wanted more ponies under the hood to push the 5000lb Lincoln down the road, but reliability, and a little increase in miles per gallon wouldn’t be so bad either. After research and some phone meetings it was decided the right treatment for the 65 was a brand new GM Performance LSA engine—the same as you would find in a Cadillac CTS-V. The LSA platform is a supercharged 6.2 L putting out 556 horsepower and comes mated to a 4L85E transmission.

Now the LSA didn’t just drop between the rails of the Lincoln, but the necessary mods were not as radical as one might think. The modifications however were more in-depth than we can discuss in this quick article — but you can check out the full build in great detail on our website. Besides the LSA engine conversion and all the components required (EFI fuel tank, modified drive shaft, radiator swap,  etc) the  Lincoln also received a Currie rear end, lowered suspension components, custom interior upgrades, and even a set of wide white walls.

In the end we never touched the 65’s external appearance beside the new lowered stance and shoes, so the Lincoln retains a mostly stock appearance. Stock appearing that is until the owner decides he needs to mash the throttle—the results of which could lead to a very short life for those shiny new white walls. He had a 64 Lincoln back in high school in the late 1970s that he daily drove into the ground. He states that once the expense of keeping the Lincoln on the road became too great, he had to let it go. His current plans are to turn loose of his Mercedes and drive his newly transformed 65 daily. Sounds like a “reliable”  trip down memory lane.

See the 65 Lincoln’s full build at: http://metalworksclassics.com/portfolio-page/1965-lincoln-lsa-conversion/

 

2016 Meltdown Drags

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The seventh annual Meltdown Drags packed the pits and stands at the historic Byron Dragway in Byron, Illinois. Over 500 nostalgic drag cars representing 42 States battled it out in front of a crowd that broke an attendance record held at the track since 1964.

In order to compete at the event, drag cars must be 1966 or older in vintage, and “era correct” in appearance…and these racers are here to do just that…RACE!  It so incredible to see these car, many of which are still untouched survivors from back in the day, battling it out, and still with an obvious desire to WIN!!

Racing action started at noon and ran through the evening hours with some great night time drags under the lights.  If you needed a break from half track burnouts and wheel stands there was also a car show that hosted over 600 vehicles, a swap meet, and a fun and very tasteful pin-up contest.

Some of the racing legends on hand this year included Jack Merkel, Jr Grove, and Barb Hamilton, all of which had their original Willys coupes on hand to drool over.  Mark your calendars for the 8th Meltdown, it is truly one of the coolest nostalgia racing events out there.

67 Chevelle Convertible Muscle Car Upgrade by MetalWorks

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Take a good look at this 67 Chevelle. Pretty nice huh?

One would assume this beauty would be leaving a restoration shop, not arriving at one—but this is exactly how the 67 appeared when it arrived at MetalWorks Classics in Eugene, Oregon for a radical transformation. You may be a bit confused, as was I when the sharp looking Chevelle arrived, but after a conversion with owner Jerry and the crew at Metalworks I got a good understanding of what lay ahead for the convertible, and why.

My first question was “what” would be getting changed on the Chevelle as it was obviously not in dire need of anything cosmetically, and its small block purred like a kitten when it drove into the shop. The answer was a laundry list of dream components including a brand new LS drive line. Now, the next question was “why tear into an already beautiful, and nice performing car?” For this answer we need to dig a bit into Jerry’s past and thought process.

Jerry has always had a passion for classic cars, and designing. In fact in high school he completely went through a 65 mustang along with his father, even designing and building his own custom console for it. The thought of another classic had always been on Jerry’s bucket list. After 25 years of dreaming about it, the timing was right, so Jerry began putting out feelers for the right car. In fact Jerry spent the next 2 years shopping for the perfect car, and actually purchased one at one point. Jerry thought another 65 mustang would be very cool and nostalgic, and located one at a classic car dealer, but the day the mustang was set to be shipped his way a salvaged title came into the equation, so Jerry decided to pass.

About this time Jerry had began to talk with Matt Powell at MetalWorks, and was also introduced to shop owner Jon Mannila. After a number of discussions Jerry was sold on the idea of a chevelle due to a number of reasons, but a full frame was the biggest factor. Jerry recalled test driving the 65 mustang, and even though it was very cool, and even smelled like his high school car the uni-body design was now less appealing, and the overall comfort and driveability of the chevelle felt like the right direction for his ultimate goal. Another 4 months were spent with everyone keeping an eye out for the right car until the beauty you see before you came into Jerry’s life.

Once the Chevelle was in Jerry’s garage Matt encouraged him to get out and drive it to find out what he really liked about it, and what he felt could be improved, or altered. Jerry spent the next 6 months enjoying the convertible, and received tons of compliments on it everywhere he went. Jerry contemplated how he could keep that feeling, but make the Chevelle even better regarding everything from not needing to run premium gas, to gauges that worked properly and accurately, to being reliable enough that his wife or kids could take it for long trips without a second thought of its dependability. In the end Jerry brought spreadsheets of information to MetalWorks and collaborated with Matt and Jon to arrive at a plan that would bring the chevelle to the next level.  Jerry has always loved the design aspect of things, and enjoyed the fact he was able to work side by side with the crew at MetalWorks to arrive at a plan of action, and enjoyed contributing and learning from the build as it unfolded. Jerry stated “if MetalWorks was a drop your car off, and pick it up when it’s done without any involvement, I would not have chose them for the build.”

Once at MetalWorks the Chevelle went from a sweet street car to a cutting edge Pro-Touring dream. The process included installing a full front and rear HEIDTs suspensions, a 430hp LS3 engine upgraded to MSD Atomic LS fuel injection backed by a 4L65E automatic transmission, Wilwood 12.19” brakes, Budnik V2 wheels, Vintage Air, and Dakota Digital gauges. The Chevelle also received a new OEM styled interior, but stitched in leather. The carpet and convertible top were also replaced in complimenting tones. The dash was converted from wood grain to grey, and additional grey treatments were done to the grille and taillights surrounds instead of the factory black.

In the end Jerry’s Chevelle does not look radically different, but it is in nearly every way when compared to a stock Chevelle. The performance of the 67 however, is absolutely a RADICAL transformation and the results are a car anyone is Jerry’s family can drive anywhere without concern. The relationship between MetalWorks skilled crew and Jerry’s vision of the Chevelle worked out perfectly, and produced one slick Chevy. Keep your eyes peeled for the 67 if you find yourself cruising in the Willamette Valley, it will be the one that stands out in a subtle manner from the masses.

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Ron Braxling’s LAS Powered ’72 Chevy Truck

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Most of us have a classic car that we have dreamed of owning, but due to circumstances the opportunity has never presented itself.

With luck and time many dreams can become reality if we are patient enough—such was the case with Ron Braxling, and his dream of owning a 1972 Chevy Cheyenne 20 Super truck.

Ron had always been drawn to ’72 Chevy trucks. There was just something about the body style and trim packages of the Cheyenne 20 Supers; but with a busy life raising a family, and running a business, Ron put aside his dream truck until the timing was finally right.

Like many modern car shoppers Ron began hunting online for a truck, and a shop to restore a potential project. A truck was located first, a very nice example of a ’72 Cheyenne in fact. Ron continued his search for a shop to build the truck into his vision, and came across MetalWorks Classic Auto Restoration in Eugene, Oregon. Ron and owner Jon hit it off right away, and shared a common vision for a truck build, except for one problem—Ron had purchased too nice of a truck… ha ha.

Now, you might be wondering how that is possible, but the reasoning was that Ron had some pretty cool upgrades in mind for his dream build, and it would be a shame to alter the original truck he had purchased. Ironically Jon had just purchased an extremely nice, but ultra plane Jane ’72 2WD C10 truck, and in the end it was concluded that it would be best to leave Ron’s initial truck purchase unaltered and instead build the C10.

The team at MetalWorks got busy and within a day the C10 was blown apart and sent off to MetalWorks acid dipping facility. What came back from dipping was a perfect ground zero starting point as the C10’s body was solid, and straight.
As I mentioned Ron had some cool upgrades in mind for his dream truck and the crown jewel came in the form of a 556 hp supercharged LSA engine backed by a 4L85E trans. MetalWorks spent the next 9 months transforming the 2WD C10 into a custom version of a 4WD Cheyenne 20 Super. The only external mods are a 6” lift with custom wheels and tires.

Inside the 72 we find an OEM styled leather interior, Dakota Digital gauges, power sliding rear window, and a host of well hidden stereo components.

As amazing as the ’72 appears externally, what is hiding under the hood is what always creates wide eyed stares of disbelief whenever Ron lifts the hood—like the opening of a gold filled treasure chest.

In the end Ron got his dream truck. One well worth the wait until the timing was right in his life. So what does one do with a gorgeous 4×4 truck packing 556 hp? The possibilities are endless, some would say hit the local mud hole, while others cringe at the thought of the truck even seeing rain. Only Ron truly knows the truck’s future, but if you spot this beauty rolling down the highways and byways of the Pacific Northwest, feel free to give Ron a thumbs up. He’ll be the guy behind the wheel with a smile on his face.

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Jon Mannila’s 1972 Stepside Chevy

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Imagine if you could travel back in time to 1972 and order a brand new truck assembled exactly how you wanted!

For Jon Mannila of Eugene, Oregon that perfect combo would have been a black, big block, 4×4, Cheyenne Super 10 with a red houndstooth interior. Well, they haven’t invented a time machine yet, and Chevrolet never built such a combo. So Jon figured he was just going to have to build it himself.

A bare bones, original paint, one owner, step side ‘72 was traded in at Romania Chevrolet in Eugene in 1996 that Jon caught wind of. The well cared for truck had a severe motor knock after it was taken out by the owner’s grandson for a joy ride, so it was traded in for a new truck. Once in Jon’s possession he immediately began working on it, but as soon as his good friend Tony laid eyes on the unmolested truck, he was in love. So Jon agreed to sell it to him. Tony continued to make steady progress on the truck until Jon decided to part ways with his wicked ‘55 Chevy post car. As much as Tony loved the ‘72 truck project, he also had a deep affection for Jon’s 55, and it was a driver.  So another deal was struck between the friends, and Jon was once again the owner of the truck project.

At this point in Jon’s life his hobby of classic cars had grown into a successful business known as MetalWorks Classic Auto Restoration, so he had the shop take over the truck’s restoration. Tony had come to work for Jon, so the pair were both able to be involved in the balance of the truck’s build. The goal was to make the truck look totally factory, so great strides were taken to achieve that vision. A 402 was utilized, but pushed forward to ensure factory mounting locations for the transfer case. The big block was fully dressed with stock A/C, shroud, powering steering, etc, and backed by a turbo 400 transmission adapted to the factory 205 transfer case with an Advanced Adaptors kit. The truck’s factory wooden bed was replaced with a steel floor from a ¾ ton long box, but in a fashion that appears factory. It was then Line-X coated.

Once the entire truck was mocked up, it was blown apart and its body work tackled. As you can see in the photos, this is one amazingly arrow straight paint job, and the red houndstooth interior looks unbelievable paired against the deep black.

The truck was completed and ran as good as it looked, for a short while. You have to remember this was the early 2000s and engine oil was going through a transition period and it didn’t take long for the big block’s non roller cam to go flat with the lack of zinc protecting it. So with an expensive lesson learned that builders around the nation faced, Jon pulled the 402 and swapped it for a 454 that was once again detailed to factory perfection. In the end the truck was everything Jon dreamed it would be, and other than the 6” lift and WELD wheels this ‘72 appears bone stock—as the only factory example of a big block, 4×4, Cheyenne Super, stepside to leave the factory in 1972—or is it? Ha ha, Jon will never tell.

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