Why Northern Bel?
The car is now a northern car, in Iowa and it is a Belvedere II. Up to this point in its life, it had been a southern car, North Carolina, so I thought the play on the phrase "Southern Belle" would pay homage to that part of its history. It has the feel of a name that may have been used on a WWII bomber that may have been escorted by Hellcats.
Why a Belvedere?
Lots of reasons. The 1966 Plymouth Belvedere and the Dodge Coronet were the first street cars ever produced with factory 426 Street Hemi engines. Chrysler did this to meet NASCAR requirements of putting the Hemi in a street car to allow its use in racing. It was a good move for Chrysler as Richard Petty used a 1966 Plymouth Belvedere (made to look like a 1967 Plymouth GTX) to set the records for the most race wins in a season and most consecutive wins. On the street in 1966, the only thing that had a chance of keeping up with these cars, stock from the factory, were 427 Corvettes and Cobras.
My dad graduated from highschool in 1966. That year his neighbor gave him a ride he would never forget in a brand new car like this. From that point on, it was one of his dreams to own a Hemi Belvedere II.
When I was looking for my first car, I really wanted a 1967 - 1969 Camaro. Dad would have nothing to do with it and told me that I needed to get something that we could build on. We found a '66 Belvedere II with a GTX hood for $200 in a town nearby. It was only a 318 car, but I bought it and drove it home. My Dad and I did our best to "restore" it on a shoestring budget while I was in highschool. It was a great father / son project and I still own the car today. However it is now the worse for wear again and I decided to find Dad's dream car to start this project.