SP Rides: Too Good To Pass Up
BY MICHAEL KITCHENS
Name: Francis Souza
Hobbies: Collecting (Wheaties boxes, bottles, floaters)
Year, Make, Model: 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS
Original, frame-off restoration with a 396 V8.
For the majority of his life, Francis Souza has been a truck guy — lifted Toyotas are popular with many island enthusiasts. He’d never owned a domestic muscle car before although it was most definitely something he’d yearned for. He wound up with this 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle Super Sport.
“I always wanted one Camaro, but this Chevelle just fell in my lap. I had the money and I wanted it,” Souza said.
This perfect specimen was originally purchased and brought in from Oregon by a friend, Waylen Rodrigues, but in an effort to expand his construction business, the Chevelle had to go to a good home. Blown away by the opportunity, Souza couldn’t pass it up.
The difference between his usual rides immediately apparent. The speed. The power. The sheer domestic spectacle of it all blew Souza and even his family away.
“My son thinks it’s his already,” Souza said with a laugh.
This ride was built turnkey — a fact not lost on Souza, who was looking for something he could enjoy without needing the years of tinkering that he spent on his trucks. At first, the ride was a little bit intimidating, but soon, the ride became second nature and a matter of pure enjoyment.
It’s certainly eye-catching thanks to its bright orange exterior, bristling with chrome badging and detailing that is in perfect condition. It’s a frame-off restoration. It’s been pulled apart, cleaned, treated and painted and then put back together in immaculate form. Souza loves the color and everyone around him tends to agree. Classic 5-spoke chrome wheels are set amid the black BF Goodrich radials.
This is essentially an original restoration with a few minor changes, so the additional modifications are quite light with the biggest changes residing in the engine. It’s the original 396 “Big Block” Chevy V8 but has been lovingly rebuilt. From the factory, these engines were putting out 325 to 375 horsepower so this is no slouch even in modern times.
The interior has also been restored to factory mint while also including some upgrades to add a bit more of a modern touch. The factory dash has been replaced with a custom layout replete with a full selection of Autometer gauges to monitor the fuel, volts, speed, tach, etc. A Hurst V-Matic shifter allows for some hassle-free get-up-and-go while the rest of the interior is incredibly immaculate.
Overall, the car is a visual feast of classic muscle car goodness. Souza is immensely proud of this ride. He’s just happy to go on a Sunday drive down the Waianae coast while enjoying the entire experience. Certainly, it’s an opportunity too good to pass up.