This beautiful 1974 GT Chevrolet Yellow Vega belongs to Anne and Ray Davis of Ormond Beach, FL. Bought in 2004, it all started out innocently enough as Ray was looking to live his dream to someday build a hot rod. He answered an ad on E-Bay and the dream was on! He and his wife (Anne) drove from Florida to Alabama to purchase the car. Once there, all they saw was this early yellow Maverick in a parking lot that looked “God Awful” they said. He told his wife “If that is the car - we’re out of here!”. It wasn’t but a moment tho that the Vega came around the corner on a trailer and Ray breathed a big sigh of relief! 

After looking over the Vega, Ray and Anne made the deal and started what would be a 4 year build just to get the motor replaced. A V-8 of 350 cu inches (stroked to 383) and 4 speed Saginaw was meticulously fitted and refitted….for four years! Ray’s brother Norton was a big help he says but became very tired of all the trials and errors getting it to fit. Finally telling his brother that the next time it goes in that it was staying in for good!

A hooker V-8 Conversion kit was used  and Sanderson “shorty” headers. While this was helpful, Ray ended up fabricating most all the brackets himself (thanks to Snakes Welding shop nearby), setting the engine back about 2” and modifying the trans tunnel too. Monza parts became the items of choice; bell housing, Monza V-8 oil pan, pedals, clutch fork, center counsel and anything else he could get to fit. A Dodge emergency brake cable became the clutch cable via trial and error. An S-10 rear-end was used and he had to have the axle tubes welded as well as adding 3.73 gears.  A Mister Gasket V-gate shifter was modified and fitted. Ray also added 1.5 inch by 3 inch boxed steel from the rear end all the way to the trans cross member for added strength. New front coils were added but 1 coil was cut off to get it to sit right he says. Remember, all of this was done in Ray’s two-car garage! His wife was being supportive he says but she says mostly  was “in shock and just protecting her marriage” as he pursued his dream!

Remember Norton? The engine was in and it wasn’t coming out so what else to do but fire her up and go for a test run. Now, 469hp (flywheel) in a lightweight Vega……well…..they “Hammered it” alright. The radio came out of the dash, various pieces of insulation and seam sealer came flying out and Ray’s brother screamed “SHUT this thing off - I HATE being out of control!” It held together but Ray had to modify the front cross member more for strength and added air shocks from an S-10 and it’s stayed that way ever since. So give a little chuckle every time you hear that tune “It’s Hammer time!” One fine ride Ray and Anne - we LOVE it! Let’s go “Hammer” sometime!

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11/24/2017 (11/24/2017)
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Ormond Beach
Florida, United States
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