In December 1966, a gentleman in California purchased the car, originally an SS350, new for his girlfriend. The relationship ended sometime in mid-1967, and he got the car back. He wasn’t satisfied with the performance of the small-block engine, so Nickey Chevrolet, then “the largest performance parts dealer in the country,” says Dean, commissioned Bill Thomas Race Cars to convert the car to Nickey big-block status.
Bill Thomas Race Cars would end up doing just a small number of 1967 Camaro big-block conversions under the arrangement with Nickey. The cost of shipping cars from California to Chicago made the partnership cost-prohibitive. Nickey then turned to Dick Harrell to perform the big-block conversions, and by the end of 1967, Bill Thomas Race Cars was no longer connected to Nickey Chevrolet.
While most of the Bill Thomas conversions used 427-inch Corvette engines, this car received a “cheater” 427 engine that came in at 467 ci. The car was also equipped with a 12-bolt Posi rear with 3.07 gears. Best guess is that the owner was interested in high-speed highway cruising instead of quick acceleration. A “Bill Thomas Traction Kit” (a set of traction bars) was also installed, as was a set of “special mufflers,” a set of Rader wheels, and a set of “Perrelli” (sic) tires.