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Stage I

As purchased in 1986 the car featured a black paint job with flames, pretty sad flames too. The car was a factory SS with bucket seats and 4-speed which was just what I'd been looking for quite a few years. The asking price of $1750 didn't seem too bad.
Engine was some unknown vintage small block. I never bothered to find out what as I'd already purchased another 67 SS for $500 that yielded a few spare parts plus a 396 and a second 4-speed. Interior was in pretty good shape considering. Factory 4-speed, bucket seats, stereo tape player and under the steering wheel cover, a walnut-grained steering wheel. Also note the wood-grain dash strip. The SS396 series was suppose to come with a black crinkle finish dash strip but I've see a few with the wood-grain unit. Factory mess-up or changed somewhere along the line is unknown.
When purchased, the clutch was almost gone and the shifter was so sloppy that I had a choice between 1st and 2nd gear or 3rd and 4th to make the 150+ mile trip home from Dallas. Considering the trip was mostly highway miles I opted for the 3rd and 4th gear choice. Getting out of Dallas and onto the highway was challenging and aside from a couple of toll booth stops, the drive wasn't bad. Whatever was left of the clutch facing was completely gone by the time I arrived home. So the first chore was to drop the transmission and replace the clutch and cover. Replacing the old Muncie linkage was done at the same time with a new Hurst Competition Plus.

After saving a little bit of money and rebuilding the 396 from the second parts car, the small block came out and some fresh paint and updated interior were in order. See Stage II for the first rebuild.