Looking back on a show-scoopin’ Chevy that put a new angle on street (in Canada) back in the late '80s
This article on Norm Infanti's Chevy II was originally published in the December 1989 issue of Street Machine
NORM INFANTI likes his cars plain tough. No graphics. No bells and whistles, just plain tough. His awesome, street-driven ’67 Chevy two-door is gleaming metal proof of that. Norm tells the rest.
“I don’t really like graphics because to me they’re a fad,” says the 24-year-old marble cutter who’s from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. “I believe graphics will be dead and buried before too long. Cars will go back to having solid colours. Maybe with some fine pinstriping instead of the big wild graphics. I believe you notice the craftsmanship and workmanship in a car if it’s subtle and clean. But that’s my opinion – everyone’s different.”
Yep, Norm has strong ideas about street machines and street machining, even though this was the first car he’d shown at the Nats in Du Quoin, Illinois. We’re talking about a guy who’s built cars and delved into street machining since he was a kid – finally unveiling his master work. But you can’t help but admire his persistence either.
Norm was spot-on with his predictions about the future of graphics and as such, his car hasn’t aged one iota. You could roll this car out as a fresh build and still blow minds
Norm trailered his black Chevy II 2200 miles from British Columbia to Du Quoin, impressed the thousands of people who stopped to look at the car – not to mention the judges – and then turned around and towed it 2200 miles home. Now that’s determination!
After his Nationals triumph and a clean sweep of the recent Seattle Super Chevy Sunday, winning Best Pro Street and Best Engine (trailered to and from Vancouver again behind his ’86 dual-wheel Chevy pickup) Norm’s right into the Stateside show scene. He’d just got back from Seattle when we spoke with him by phone – charging up the Chevy II’s battery for an afternoon’s cruise through Vancouver. Full-chassised and with a blown 355, this Chevy II is street legal, although Norm admits his car is wilder than most.
“Most of the cars driving on the street up here retain their stock front suspension and maybe have the rear tubbed and a cage inside,” he says. “I’ve been pretty lucky so far because I haven’t run into any of the authorities around here.”
Norm’s owned other tough cars. First came a ’56 Pontiac Tudor with a tunnel-rammed 396, four-speed partial tubs and 12-bolt Posi. That gave way to a ’69 Chevelle, black like the Chevy II, with a blown big-block and big McCrearys. Selling the Chevelle financed the arrival of the car Norm finally decided to show, the black ’67 Chevy II – the car before your very eyes.
The 30-thou over machining on the 350 was performed by Al Noble, who also did the Brodix alloy head work. Engine specs are solid enough for Norm to claim “at least 600 horses” with confidence. At least. Crank is an LT-1, as are the Pink rods and conrod bolts. Bearings are TRW, just like the pistons and rings. Cam is a Crane roller with a .650 lift and unspecified duration. Indeed, the valvetrain is mostly Crane gear, with roller lifters preferred.
The oil pump is from TRW, with two Holley Blues pumping fuel to two 1150 Holley Dominators bolted atop a Littlefield 8/71 blower on a Weiand manifold. Bill Phillips of Phillips Precision put together the blower drive and machined the alloy brackets, door handles, mirrors and more. Exhaust work was handled mainly by Hooker mufflers while the supply of sparks comes via a Mallory Mag II. Norm wired everything himself and fitted Earl’s stainless lines.
Those 600 horses get to the bitumen via a two-speed Powerglide hooked up to a B&M 10-inch converter running 3500rpm stall. There’s a Ford nine-inch at the receiving end with 5.38 gears and Summers Brothers axles. Everything in sight’s been chromed.
Brakes are Strange Engineering discs all round, with dual calipers at the rear and an Alston master cylinder. These have all been chromed and polished too.
The full chassis has a full four-link rear end and Strange Engineering front suspension, with Konis all round. Bob Davenport, of Davenport Fabrications, built the chassis and roll cage.
Chevy II might make 600hp but it looks double that. Brilliance of the boot finish and tough fuel cell help
“It does a good job,” Norm says enthusiastically of the performance package. “The chassis is designed for strip work and the engine’s incredibly strong, but I want to show it for a while yet.”
Norm mightn’t go for graphics but he insists on superior paint and bodywork. He worked with a guy named Glenn Reid to remove the drip rails, wipers, door locks and just about everything else that sat out in the wind. Then they added fibreglass bumpers, bonnet and trunk lid to trim some weight. Over the top of the meticulously prepared body went five coats each of R&B Black lacquer, Red Candy and Pearl. The mouth-waterin’ result is like diving into a glistening black mirror.
The interior, as you’ll have noticed, is trimmed Pro Street – always big in the States. “I really like that look,” Norm says. “It still looks like a racecar inside but it’s comfortable with it, and there’s a lot more scope to get involved in detail work.” The headlining’s been replaced and the black, red, grey and light-grey cloth trim against the Pro-Streeter aluminium was again performed by Glenn Reid. And, in keeping with the keep-it-clean theme, the defrost vents have been removed from the top of the dash.
The nose-to-the-bitumen look suits Norm just fine. “It looks mean down low like that,” he says. “And it looks hi-tech – so clean and so low.” He hasn’t yet had any problems scraping the nose. “As long as I can get it in my driveway it’s okay.”
The Monocoque 15x3.5s and 15x14s, wearing Goodyear 15x5 Front Runners and 15x31 Eagle slicks, help the arse-up look. They also help introduce those 600-plus horses to the bitumen. He’s fairly quiet about the obvious performance, though, saying only “it does a good job”.
While he’s obviously keen on the work that’s been put in on his Chev, soon Norm will have at least one other car sharing his Canadian driveway. “It’ll be either a ’55 Chevy two-door or a ’69 R/S Camaro with hideaway front lights,” Norm says. “I might even do both. Either way, it’ll be low and mean but with air-conditioning and some other creature comforts.” And you can bet Vancouver to a panel van it’ll be black.
1967 CHEVY II SPECS
Featured: December 1989
Cool info: Underneath is a full Davenport Fabrications chassis with Strange Engineering disc brakes all round, front suspension from the same outfit and a four-link rear end. And yep, Norm is still active on the show scene!
Paint: R&M Black lacquer, Red Candy and Pearl
Engine: Chev 355
Diff: Nine-inch, 5.38 gears
Interior: Norm retained the factory dash and even treated the car to some carpet, but that aside, the interior is pure Pro Street