Curtis’ raised (TMag 3-inch body kit) ‘67 is result of hard work by both he and his dad, Tom Chapman. They stripped it, handled bodywork, then had Temecula’s Maaco crew spray red acrylic enamel. Curtis hand-polished the CenterLine wheels, now rolling BFG All Terrain 235-75-15s all around. Bus trans/IRS conversion by Suspensions Unlimited (Ontario, CA), 091 tranny rebuilt at Rancho Performance Transaxles (Fullerton, CA), 2234cc by Tom Chapman, Super Seats from McKenzie’s (Fullerton, CA), interior by Perez Upholstery in Fallbrook. Proud parents....Tom & Kelly Chapman.

High Schooler's Lifted '67

17-year-old weight lifter, Curtis Chapman, along with his dad Tom Chapman, “resurrected this tired basher of a driver” at their home in Fallbrook, California
By Judy Smith | March 1, 2011

Photos by R.K. Smith


For those who remember the early days of Small Car Specialties in 1976, the first store was located in Buena Park, California, and the main man there was Tom Chapman. Fast forward to 2010 — Tom is married to Kelly, and their 17-year-old son, Curtis, attends Fallbrook High School. Just over a year ago, Tom found and purchased what he calls "a tired basher of a driver" 1967 Bug that sported a TMag 3-inch body lift kit, non-maintained polished CenterLine wheels, a 2234cc engine, and bus box IRS conversion thanks to Suspensions Unlimited. This would be a perfect high school car for Curtis, so Tom and his son spent just over six months, in their home garage, taking the car apart, having a few things outsourced, then finally putting it all back together.
The engine and trans were the first things to remove, and while working under the pan, the Chapman duo decided to freshen-up the front end with new drum brakes, as well as Bilstein shocks. Once the engine was apart, Tom took an Engle W-125 cam (.460-inch lift, 301° duration) to Rimco Machine (in Santa Ana, California) to have it notched to clear the Scat 5.5-inch H-beam connecting rods, and also have the Scat 84mm crank polished. Meanwhile, Anthony Vaughn helped out by porting and polishing the 041 dual-port heads (55cc chambers) and match-ported the early original Skat-Trak tall aluminum intake manifolds for dual Weber 48 IDA carbs. Also, Harold Carter (Rancho Performance Transaxles of Fullerton, California) was busy rebuilding the Type 2 091 trans (4.57 ring and pinion) to stock specifications. Once the cam and crank were ready to go, Tom came back home and began to assemble the 2234cc mill, using new Mahle 92mm pistons/cylinders, Berg 30mm full-flow oil pump, Engle cam gear and lifters, and LAT 20W-50 oil. Tom set the compression ratio to a pump-gas-friendly 9.8:1, and also utilized VW rockers with Porsche adjusters, chromoly pushrods in JayCee tubes, Pertronix ignition, NGK spark plugs, ceramic coated Empi 1-5/8-inch merged header with 3-inch-inlet muffler, and a Kennedy 1,700-lb. clutch assembly.
To address the body, Tom and Curtis spent hours handling the bodywork, sanding and block-sanding, until everything was smooth and ready for paint. Once the exterior and interior sheet metal were done, the body was hauled to nearby Temecula, where the folks at Maaco squirted-on the bright red acrylic enamel single-stage. Since the rear and quarter windows were out, they received a tint job, thanks to Miracle Auto Detailing in Fallbrook.
Next on the agenda was the interior, which would be handled by Rodrigo Perez of Perez Upholstery, also in the Chapman's hometown. To help deaden road noise, and better enjoy the fresh owner-installed stereo system (Alpine CDE-102 AM/FM/MP3 deck, Orion four-channel amp, and Kicker 6x9 and 5.5-inch speakers), Tom and Curtis Dynamatted the interior's metal panels, floor, and roof. After hanging a black vinyl headliner, Perez laid down black carpeting throughout, including the ex-back seat area. A pair of highback Super Seats (black vinyl with dark, medium, and light gray striped fabric inserts) came from McKenzie's in Fullerton, California, while new black vinyl door panels were supplied via TMI Interiors from Corona, California. A Formuling France steering wheel, Berg shifter, and Simpson harnesses are more interior highlights.
When the body returned to their home garage, Tom and Curtis installed all the windows, utilizing new rubber seals, and door window scrapers, that came from West Coast Metric in Harbor City, California. Shiny chrome stock overrider bumpers (with powdercoated brackets) went on, an Optima battery went in, and Hella headlights (55/100-watt) were bolted in place. Then the rebuilt "bus box" and Tom-built 2234cc engine were bolted-in, plumbed and wired by the Chapmans. Curtis spent a nearly a weekend-a-wheel hand polishing the 15-inch CenterLines, before taking them to Scrappy's Tire in Fallbrook, where BF Goodrich All Terrain 235-75s were mounted.
Tom and his wife Kelly are proud of Curtis for not only doing well in school and becoming a body builder, but also because he learned about car refurbishing, thanks to this '67 "basher" that's now one clean, sharp looking, and dependable high school driver. Curtis loves his anewed '67, and so do many of his classmates.

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