"I wanted something new for a change instead of something old," says Brent Walker of his decision to send his '70 Chevelle down the road and pick up a '96 Camaro SS. It couldn't have been an easy decision, given that Brent had already performed a frame-off resto on that A-body during the decade or so he'd owned it. "The Camaro's handling was incredible," Brent affirms. "The six-speed was fun, and the reliability was nice." It all sounds so very practical, does it not? On the other hand, Brent hedged his bet, and that bit of foresight has paid off. Part of the deal for the Camaro involved picking up another '70 Chevelle SS, which, once equipped with modern suspension and a hopped-up fat-block, quickly supplanted the late-model F-body as the object of Brent's vehicular affections.
Could it be that this Chevelle obsession was triggered by a humble station wagon? We can't say, but Brent's dad, Gip, worked for GM, and his ride of choice was a Chevelle wagon. "It was hard for me to go somewhere else," Brent recalls, and indeed he didn't. Although his first car was another F-body-a '77 Trans Am-Brent's been a Chevelle guy ever since, having been through a '73 Malibu 350 and a '70 LS5-powered car before. He didn't keep that car for long, but there was another Rat-powered Chevelle in Brent's future.
Thinking back to the '70 Chevelle he'd sent packin' in favor of the Camaro, Brent can only find one fault with the car-if it can be called a fault. "The other Chevelle was an SS with a stock 396," he recalls. This time, I wanted more." That more would be what many enthusiasts want these days. Despite the clear functional superiority of the fourth-gen F-body, Brent was still unconvinced. With that, he sold the Camaro and prepared to build his latest Chevelle by setting a budget and deciding on a direction for the car.
The course this A-body build would follow actually wasn't hard to determine, especially given that Brent had just spent a year driving a slick-turning SS Camaro. "The Camaro easily outhandled the other Chevelle," he observes. "I wanted something to that effect, but with the appeal of the older car." Loaded with ideas from his suspension-savvy brethren on pro-touring.com and lateral-g.net, Brent was well on his way to creating a modernized, sweet-handling Chevelle.
On the other hand, Brent consciously took a more traditional approach to the Chevelle's powerplant. "I like the factory look, the old-school motors," he tells us. "I wanted to get as much power as I could, but keep it original and drivable." Given that Brent was starting with the Chevelle's original 396 big-block, there was plenty of power to be had, especially with a set of ported LS6 heads in place.
As for that drivability, well, that's pretty much been covered too. This SS Chevelle has been totally disassembled and recreated, using a combination of modern technology in the running gear and good old-fashioned power parts under the hood. Come to think of it, it sort of looks like Brent Walker has been hedging his bets again...and who can blame him? The strategy has certainly paid off.