After graduation in 2009, Sam Mapes made the decision to attend WyoTech school in Laramie, Wyoming to further his knowledge about auto body repair and learn the trade of automotive upholstery. He had always had an interest in mechanical things. He received his degree in major collision refinishing with a minor in upholstery. These skills helped him turn his 1970 Chevelle into the gorgeous custom car it is today.
Mapes found his Chevelle in a dealer magazine in 2009. He and his dad drove to Tennessee to purchase the car. He drove it and showed it as it was for about a year before realizing that nothing set it apart from any other car. “The cars getting the most attention at car shows were the ones that were completely custom,” he says.
His vision to make the car his own with its own look started with stripping off the chrome including replacing the handles with a fob to open the doors.This gives it a sleek look with nothing to stop the eye as it drives down the road. He bored out the engine from a 454 to a 468 to give it more horse power. This also allows the car to idle at parade speed without overheating which was a issue. It has Hilborn fuel injection, Baer racing disc brakes, and a Ford nine inch rear end. The air ride suspension gives it a drive height while allowing it to drop to the ground for shows. The car’s low profile redline show tires complete the sleek look.
Mapes and his dad worked together to customize the interior of the car. “I like working with my dad because we meet each other’s high expectations,” he says. The interior the of the car was completely gutted. The custom headliner, console, front and back split bucket seats, and steering wheel were all manufactured by them with every stitch sewn by Mapes. The custom trunk was specifically designed to hide all of his cleaning supplies for shows.
The car won Best Interior out of 2500 cars at the Hot Rod Super Nationals in Nebraska. It also won host pick at the Goodguys car show two separate years. “I use my sewing machine in a very manly way,” Mapes says.