’66 RideTech Chevelle
GMPP E-Rod LS3
front, RideTech StrongArms and spindles with triple-adjustable ShockWaves; rear RideTech StrongArms with triple-adjustable ShockWaves
front/rear Baer six-piston with 13-inch rotors
BFGoodrich KDW, front, P275/35R18; rear P275/35R18
From The Driver Seat
The Chevelle was simply awesome, probably the most surprising performance I experienced. Power was marginal in comparison to others, which I’m sure is no surprise to its owner, but the balance was great and the brakes were the best of the bunch. You could drive this thing deep into the corners, stand on the brakes, and it would do exactly what was asked of it with absolutely no drama. This alone made it a joy to drive and made me giggle. The gearing was reasonable, especially for an automatic with only four speeds. In reality, it also created some limitations; for example, it would have been nice to have a taller First gear to shoot it off of the corners a little harder and limit wheelspin off the line. This car would rotate nicely mid corner and allow you to stand on the gas early, helping its lap time.
I’ve actually spent some quality
time with this Chevelle in the past, only then it had a conventional small-block 383. It’s since been upgraded to an E-Rod LS powerplant and a 4L60 with a manual valvebody. Along with those changes, it now sported a ratcheting shifter that required a bit of finesse. Basically, you start out in First, then you have to click a lever before you can click it into Second; however, it was pretty easy to let slip into Third. The first run had to be aborted due to driver error, but it showed a lot of promise. The second run was much cleaner, the shifts were firm, and we had a runner.
'66 Church Boys Racing Chevy II wagon
CBR rack-and-pinion conversion with CBR tubular upper and lower control arms; front, double-adjustable coilovers; rear, double-adjustable shocks with 185-pound multileaf spring
front/rear, Factory fourth-gen F-body
Dunlap Direzza, front, P215/45R17; rear, P235/45R17
From The Driver Seat
What a great ride; very unassuming and little to warn others of the 5.3 LS engine. Even though it was mostly stock, this family cruiser had plenty of steam to surprise most onlookers. During the first run, I simply left it in Overdrive, expecting the transmission to do the brunt of the work. Except there was one problem, it didn’t go into Overdrive, making me lift and ease back into the throttle. For the second run, I put the shifter in Drive and planned on manually shifting into Overdrive; it didn’t like that either. Once again, I had to lift and wait for it to engage before I could plant my foot back into the throttle. If the transmission would shift into overdrive at wide-open throttle, I’d say bottom 13s wouldn’t be out of the question.
This was the first car I drove, and it wasn’t ergonomically friendly for a couple of reasons: the bench seat and what seemed like a 19-inch steering wheel. The big wheel made it a chore to drive around the course, but that said, it was probably the most entertaining street machine I drove. The wagon had more grip than seating, and I can tell you, the owner and I were sliding back and forth across that bench seat for 50 seconds or so, and I don’t think the owner expected this. Quicker steering would have helped significantly, but the wagon did surprisingly well given its ergonomic limitations. Another important note is that it did very well for being equipped with the smallest tires of the bunch.