A Needy Chevelle Turns into a Street Monster
Text and Photos By Scotty Lachenauer
Mike Ingoglia had a good idea of what his son, Anthony, needed for his 16th birthday. You see, Dad had a long history with Chevy’s A-body, having owned several hot Chevelles since his youth. He figured the time had come for his progeny to experience the same exhilaration as he did back in the day, and Anthony couldn’t agree more with good ol’ pops. The youngster was ready to help build his own big-block–powered, backstreet bruiser to command the neighborhood streets.
Mike had recently become the proprietor of a spacious three-car garage, so now was the perfect time to hunt down a builder for his son. A steady search soon commenced and it didn’t take long before a needy 1972 Chevelle was spotted on the side of a local road with a For Sale sign stuffed in the passenger door window. This particular “ride in the raw” would become the basis for the Ingoglias’ Chevelle project.
Once the 1972 was back at the garage, the guys went through it and got it running. “It had your typical 350ci small-block and a Turbo 350 trans. It needed a little bit of work to get it out on the street,” Mike says. From there Anthony took it out on a couple of rides, knowing deep down that this Chevy was bound for greater things.
The guys battened down and started a complete teardown of the A-body. They even purchased a lift for the garage because Mike admits “I’m too fat to get under a car sitting on jackstands anymore”!
What they found on the Chevy was a lot of the typical wear and tear a 40-year-old car goes through on Long Island. Salty air and water, along with thousands of miles, had taken its toll, though it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
They separated the body from its chassis and set it aside. The twosome started repairing some of the panels and smoothing out some dings and dangs that had occurred over the last four decades. While that was going on, they cleaned up the frame and prepared it for some choice add-ons.
Being electricians by trade, work often brought them to a local Chevy dealer where they became friendly with the parts department. After some discussion with the guys behind the counter, the Ingoglias decided to purchase a 572ci GM crate engine along with a 4L85E transmission. Once back at the garage, the boys dropped in a G Force crossmember, had the frame powdercoated, and then planted their new motor-vation for the Chevelle between the ’rails up front.
A Moser 9-inch rear with 4:11 gears was added out back to get the power to the pavement. The suspension included a complete RideTech air-ride system. To get the Chevelle down in the weeds, 2-inch drop spindles were added to the mix as well. Lastly, Wilwood disc brakes with 15-inch rotors and six-piston calipers were planted at all four corners to help this beast stop on a dime.
At this point the father/son team became short on time to dedicate to the build due to their business taking up most of their weekly waking hours, so they called on Anthony Luca of Anthony’s Hot Rod Shop nearby in Middle Island, New York, to finish off their Chevelle.
Anthony got to work by first cutting in some Kindig-It Design door handles to give the Chevelle a modern custom touch. He removed the heater box, flattened out the firewall, and made some more room out back for the big meats. He then went to work on the panels, shaving the rear marker lights and getting the bodywork pin straight. He then basted the Chevy in Axalta Hot Hues Razzleberry Red, giving this ’70s classic a modern glow. Ghost flames finished off the style the Ingoglias were after.
More custom touches included shaving the front and rear bumpers, which were then chromed by Paul’s Chrome Plating in Evans City, Pennsylvania. Exhaust cutouts were added as well, so the neighbors could clearly hear the massive 3-inch exhaust percolating in the Chevelle. The system was built from scratch using custom 2 1/8-inch headers from American Racing Headers, flowing through a pair of MagnaFlow mufflers out back. For a little bling, Anthony and Mike chose Foose Knuckle wheels at the corners, 18×8 up front and 18×10 out back. They are shod in Mickey Thompson rubber, 245/40R18 front and 305/40R18 rear.
Once the bodywork was finished, the 572ci big-block was reinstalled and massaged to perfection. A Quick Fuel 850-cfm carburetor was sourced and secured on top of the aluminum, single-plane intake. An Aeromotive A1000 fuel pump was tied into the system, grabbing petrol from the Rick’s Tank’s stainless steel 17-gallon tank. An MSD 6AL mini distributor hands out the spark, and a Be Cool radiator with two SPAL electric fans keeps it all cool.
Automat out of Hicksville, New York, ran wild with the interior, starting with a pair of Procar by Scat buckets, modifying them to fit and then covering them in a Mojave leather with Aztec suede inserts. A full-length custom console splits the rear seats and is stuffed with the essentials: radio, pertinent switches, Lokar shifter, and a pair of cup holders. A full set of AutoMeter gauges keep track of vitals, Alpine supplies the tunes, and a Flaming River column and wheel keep this A-body pointed in the right direction.
On the street, this Chevy draws stares like Marilyn Monroe catchin’ some air on a subway grate. The wild paint scheme clearly separates it from the other local Chevelles. Performance-wise, “this car has the torque of a diesel train out on the street,” Mike says. To son Anthony, it’s clear that this A-body “not only has the power, but glides on the streets and highways like a full-custom Caddy.”
They are certainly not alone in their review of their new ride, as wherever they take it, this stunner gets the accolades it deserves. As for future plans, the guys have no thoughts of changing anything visually, “however, fuel injection might be on the horizon to increase driveability and performance,” Anthony says. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Owner: Mike & Anthony Ingoglia, Ridge, New York
Vehicle: 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle
Engine: Chevrolet Performance
Type: Tall deck big-block
Displacement: 572 ci
Compression Ratio: 9.6:1
Cylinder Heads: Aluminum rectangular port
Valves: Stainless 2.250 intake 1.88 exhaust
Rotating Assembly: Forged steel crank, forged aluminum pistons, Scat 4340 forged crank, forged steel rods
Valvetrain: Aluminum roller rocker arms
Camshaft: Hydraulic roller, .632/.632-inch lift, 254/264 deg. duration
Induction: 850-cfm Quick Fuel carburetor, stock aluminum single-plane intake
Ignition: HEI distributor
Exhaust: ARH headers, MagnaFlow mufflers
Output: 621 hp
Machine Work/Assembly: GM, owners
Tuner: Anthony’s Hot Rod Shop
Rear Axle: Moser 9-inch, 4:11 gears
Front Suspension: RideTech air-ride system with tubular control arms
Rear Suspension: RideTech air-ride system with tubular trailing arms
Brakes: Wilwood 14-inch rotors with four- and six-piston calipers, Wilwood master cylinder and booster
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: Front, Foose Knuckle 18×8; rear, Foose Knuckle 18×10
Tires: Front, Mickey Thompson 245/40R18; rear, Mickey Thompson 305/40R18
Upholstery: Custom by Automat in Hicksville, New York
Seats: Procar by Scat
Steering: Flaming River column, Budnik Chicane steering wheel