Gordon Maxwell is a lifelong gearhead and racer whose car collection is beyond words. In his garage, you can find numerous over-the-top hot rods along with some “mild” street cars. But one build that stands out among them is his 1967 Chevy Station Wagon. In pictures, this car shines. In person, it’s nothing short of breathtaking. A large part of that punch is owed to the 582 cu. in. engine under the hood. When firing off, this beast calls out a mighty roar that sends a blast right to the chest.
A Hidden Gem
Maxwell spotted this diamond-in-the-rough via a local classifieds posting. In its original form, the Chevy station wagon was a straight six. The previous owner intended to swap a small block in its place. Instead, he hit a point where he was ready to part ways with the ride. Stored in a basement, the car had some minor rust issues and a peanuts asking price, so Maxwell made off with it. “Once we got it into the body shop, we set it up on the jig and went to town,” he said.
With big plans in mind, Maxwell approached Z&Z, a now-retired business, for help with making his vision a reality. And as fate would have it, this was where he met Tommy “Banger” Urbanski. With a variety of skills accumulated over the years, Urbanski’s specialty is structural work—particularly fabricating parts that are either absent or simply unavailable. A talent that would prove essential to Maxwell’s plans for his special Chevy.
A Meeting of Minds
Urbanski’s background is a familiar one. He grew up working alongside his father on just about anything that needed fixing. “It was either walk or fix it yourself. That’s how I learned,” shared Urbanski. And as a young kid, he would ride his quad to Jake’s (later Z&Z’s) to help around the shop. Hoping to one day land a job there, Urbanski cultivated his automotive passion in high school.
“I went to Vo-Tech for about three years, and got certified in paint, welding, and fiberglass repair,” he said. “I started working with Jake at Z&Z, I’m going to say 14-15 years ago, on all kinds of stuff. Things that just rotted out and that you can’t find or buy parts for. Then [Maxwell] came along.” Maxwell had come into the shop with a few projects before, but the Chevy station wagon was an extensive piece where Urbanski’s talent was really able to shine.
A Grand Vision
Even though the car only had minimal rust issues, Maxwell and the crew opted to replace the floor pans from behind the front seats all the way to the rear. The custom pans were necessary as the final form would need to accommodate much larger wheels and tires. A custom cage was fabricated as well, with Urbanski handling the welding and Maxwell measuring and cutting all the bars. As for exterior work, the wagon wears more than a magnificent paint job. “It was a four-door and we converted it into a two-door,” said Maxwell. This conversion meant that the rear doors needed to be welded shut seamlessly—a task expressly suited for Urbanski’s skill set. The flawless work was finished off with a beautiful glass-like paint job.
Maxwell admitted that his intentions for the Chevy station wagon changed as time went on. “I originally planned on driving it on the street. What happened was, it wound up doing so well on the race track that I never wanted to ruin the motor,” he explained. And it was just as well, since this thing is packing some serious heat. The engine is based on a Chevy big block, but is a massive 582 cubic inches capable of producing over 1000 horsepower.
Some ingredients in this concoction include: Brodix heads, a massive Comp cam with .825 lift, a stout Powerglide transmission by Sepanek Racing Transmissions of Avoca, PA, and a Ford 9″ axle. The differential is held in place with a custom 4-link set up, built by S&W Race Cars of Spring City, PA. The front end is a Chris Alston unit—and in Maxwell’s words, “I never even had to take it to an alignment shop.”
An Unlikely Contender
Maxwell has certainly used every pony under the hood. At sea level, he was able to push the Chevy station wagon through the quarter mile in 9.21 seconds at 152 miles per hour. And if you’re familiar with Pinks, this vehicle was a serious contender in the hand drop races back in 2012. Out of all the cars and drivers that came together, this wagon was the runner up in its class.
That kind of achievement takes serious skill. And aiding that talent is the fact that not only is this machine incredibly well thought out, it’s deadly consistent, too. Maxwell recalled another event he attended and the car’s performance. “This was one of the most consistent cars at the track. If the weather’s off and it’s hot and this car runs a 9.40—it’s going to run that number all day long.”
Even a decade after the build, this car is a total head turner. “When I step back and look at it I say ‘Wow. I was a part of that,’” shared Urbanski. Maxwell envisioned every aspect of this car before rolling it into the shop. And Urbanski had the opportunity to collaborate on nearly all the installations, fabrications, and innovations throughout the entire project. Today, the two still regularly work together on a number of projects, proving that friendships born of creative collaboration are just one of the many worthwhile byproducts of an industry we all know and love.
Do you have a build as wacky, creative, and wicked fast as the Wagon? We want to hear all about it in the comments!