It's 1967, and I came off the assembly line in Hamtramck, Michigan, with a small 273 engine, backed up by an automatic transmission. I know what you're thinking, I should've gotten a Hemi, but, hey, we can't all be heroes. Before I ramble on too much, let me introduce myself, I am a '67 Belvedere II, and for the first part of my life things were pretty mundane. I would take my owner to work, go to the grocery store and so on, but eventually that would all change. Although I had provided many years of faithful service to my owners, they finally grew tired of me and placed me up for sale. I was a little upset at first, but when Marvin and Joan Hughes came to see me, I heard their plans, and I could hardly contain my excitement. You see, Mr. and Mrs. Hughes lived in Ocala, Florida, and were big fans of NASCAR racing. It was great, Mr. Hughes worked at a Chrysler/Plymouth dealership in Tallahassee, and he and I would make the trek to Daytona every year for the race. One of Mr. Hughes' hobbies was collecting Hemi engines and parts. Sitting around in my garage were a lot of rare NASCAR pieces-Hemi intakes, carbs, even complete engines. I knew that one day I was destined to get a "facelift," and I was hoping Mr. Hughes wouldn't simply restore me. I already had my fill of that "stock" lifestyle; I needed a little excitement.
Finally, my dreams of being more than just daily transportation came true. Mr. Hughes figured that since he had all these racing parts just lying around, my facelift should consist of a race car style cloning. He thought about it for a while, and since clones of the number 43 Petty Blue racers had been done, he decided to travel a little off the path. He had this idea-quite remarkable, I might add-to build a sister car and not mimic the number 43. I was getting all the necessities, but I would bear the number 42 and no Petty Blue paint.
Mr. Hughes began by completely dismantling me. Sure, there were some painful times, surgery, hammering metal, but he fixed me up as good as new. I wish I could remember the name of the guy that did the work, but that was quite a while ago. Anyway, when he began to assemble that rollcage under my roof, I knew this was going to be fun. With the cage installed, and the bodywork done, they covered me with the smoothest shades of dark blue and yellow I had ever seen. I really liked it.
Now that I looked good, it was time for the important stuff. My front suspension parts were rebuilt with new bushings, and a front sway bar was installed. When I saw the part number on the rear leaf springs, I knew they were Hemi-style units. Finally, I was going to get my Hemi. Carrera shocks were placed on my corners, and, boy, did that feel better than stock. For wheels and tires, Mr. Hughes used 15x7 cop wheels and wrapped them in 255/60/15 Goodyear Eagle tires. I never felt tires hold the road like they did.
My interior was going to be all business: no cushy seats, no carpeting, and no radio-who needs a radio, I'm a racecar! In order to monitor the engine's vitals, Mr. Hughes filled the handmade dash with vintage gauges from Stewart Warner and Stahl. The stock fuel tank was going to need changed, and he decided I needed a 22-gallon foam-filled fuel cell.