Sassy Grass Green is a Chrysler color. Specifically, it was option code FJ6 nicknamed Green Go for Dodge models and Sassy Grass Green for Chrysler and Plymouth cars. It was offered as a paint color option in '70 and '71. So what the hell is it doing on a '64 Chevy wagon? "I get that a lot," owner Bart Beuter says, sounding like he wishes he had a nickel for every time he's been asked that question. Why Sassy Grass? He just liked the color. He knew he wanted to paint it green and had been kicking around some color ideas with a Mopar buddy who recommended Sassy Grass. "As soon as I saw the paint chip, I knew it was the color I wanted," Bart says.
We get the impression that once Bart makes up his mind, there's no looking back. He likes the color, the paint is dry, and it's on the car to stay regardless of what anyone else says about it.
Paint job aside, there are plenty of other interesting things about Bart's ride. When was the last time you saw a two-door wagon? It's interesting to note that Chevrolet never called the '64 wagons "Chevelles." They were referred to as the "300-series," which was available in two or four doors. The higher trim level Malibu was also available as a wagon in '64, but all Malibu wagons were four door only. Bart says there were fewer than 3,000 two-door wagons built in '64, making this cargo-hauler rare. And the treatment he's given it is no less than spectacular.
Bart is a welder, so it should be no surprise that there has been some metalwork done to the car, but geez . . . . The car has been completely redone with a Chris Alston tube frame, an eight-point rollbar, Mustang II front suspension, ladder-bar rear suspension, and giant wheeltubs. Not only did he do all the frame modifications himself, but he also built the rollbar, made his own headers, sprayed the paint, and built the engine. As far as we can tell, the only work he farmed out was the engine machining, the transmission build, and he had someone stitch up new upholstery for the seats.
A car this cool isn't built overnight. In fact, Bart has owned his wagon for more than two decades. He bought it for $300 in 1978. Though it was originally equipped with an inline-six and a column-shifted, three-speed manual transmission, someone before him had dropped a V-8 in it, promptly blew it up, and parked the car. Bart fixed up the body, built a high-revving 327, added a TH400 trans and 4.88:1 gears, and it became a dedicated track car.
After several years of drag racing it, Bart was ready for a change. He wanted the wagon to be an over-the-top street car. So he built a 427 big-block that ran on methanol with a Hilborn mechanical fuel injection system complete with a set of velocity stacks. Unfortunately, someone ran into him, and the damage from the accident completely destroyed the front end.
The car you see here is actually the third version-you could call it 300 v.3. Bart stuck with big-block power, but this time he's sporting an overbored 454 with a 6-71 supercharger and electronic fuel injection. We think this one is a keeper.
Who: Bart Beuter
Where: Solon, Iowa. There's a Solon, Ohio, too. The author is from Ohio.
What: '64 Chevrolet 300 wagon.
Engine: The foundation for Bart's crazy wagon is a 454 big-block that was bored 0.060 inch. Combine that with a stock-stroke, forged crank from Ohio Crankshafts and you've got 468 ci to play with. He stuffed those inches with forged 7.7:1 JE Pistons on Bill Miller connecting rods. The cylinder heads are vintage GM aluminum BBC heads with 118cc combustion chambers he sent to AFR for some serious CNC porting. Valves are stainless steel Manley Racemasters measuring 2.30/1.94 inches. K-motion springs are held in check by Lunati titanium retainers. The cam is also from Lunati and specs out at 260/268 degrees duration at 0.050-inch tappet lift, and 0.639/ 0.636-inch valve lift through 1.7:1 Harland Sharp roller rocker arms. Lawrence Machine in West Branch, Iowa, machined the block, and Bart put it all together. He also machined his own pulleys. It's nice to have your own lathe and mill at home.
Supercharger: That's a vintage GMC 6-71 supercharger poking out of the hood. It was prepped by R&P Blowers in Waterloo, Iowa, and is mated to a BDS blower manifold. He has it set up to deliver 7 psi of boost. Bart's never had this thing on any kind of dyno but estimates the whole package should be making somewhere in the neighborhood of 800 hp.
Fuel: Bart's big-block is fed by a BDS electronic fuel injection system that's programmed with FAST's software. It uses input from a MAP sensor and feedback from wide-band oxygen sensors to trigger the 60 lb/hr fuel injectors to deliver the correct amount of fuel at the right time. An Aeromotive fuel pump keeps the fuel rails full.
Ignition: Bart plugged in an Accel DFI distributor that fires an MSD coil and wires, and Autolite plugs.
Exhaust: Those are custom headers Bart welded together out of a Stahl tubing kit. The primaries measure 2 3/8 inches and open up into a 3 1/2-inch collector.
Transmission: Fountain Transmission in Iowa City built the TH400 trans, and Bart hooked it to the engine with a 10-inch TCI torque converter that stalls at a lofty 4,200 rpm. Needless to say he also runs with a TCI transmission fluid cooler. He controls it all with a Hurst Quarter Stick shifter.
Rearend: With all this power, you're going to need a stout rear axle to handle the load. Bart has a narrowed Ford 9-inch tucked between those massive rear tires. It's been beefed up with a Strange centersection with 4.10:1 gears that twist Moser 31-spline axles. Bart modified the stock Ford housing, welding in a reinforcing brace. A 3-inch Nitrous Ready driveshaft from Denny's Driveshaft completes the drivetrain.
Suspension: When his car was nearly totaled in the accident, Bart took the opportunity to rebuild it with a Chris Alston tube frame, complete with a tubular Mustang II front suspension kit that includes Koni coilover shocks and rack-and-pinion steering. The rear suspension is a coilover ladder bar setup, also from Chris Alston.
Brakes: Wilwood four-piston calipers grip 11-inch rotors front and rear.
Wheels/Tires: This wheel and tire combination is awesome. Mickey Thompson Sportsman tires are mounted on Weld Prostar wheels. Up front, 26x7.5 tires are mounted on 15x3.5 rims, but out back the wheels are 15x15s and carry 33x19.5-15 tires.
Interior: Bart kept things pretty basic inside, adding a few Auto Meter gauges to the gutted instrument panel. The seats are from Chassisworks, and Bart had Griff's Upholstery in Iowa City stitch up some black vinyl to match what the car would have come from the factory with. He also bent and welded the 14-point rollbar.
Paint/Body: As mentioned before, Bart wanted a green car, and boy did he get one. He did all the bodywork and sprayed the paint at home in his garage.
Thanks: Bart wants to thank his wife, Connie, who is his copilot and even helps work on the car, and longtime friends Doug Cilek and Chad Connelley, who also helped with the build.