Given the new curb weight (about 3,100 pounds) and its new mission, the engine didn't need to be a hellion, but it had to be down for reliability as well as feel sprightly under Jim's right foot. The motor's a 350hp 5.7L out of a '00 Corvette and is untouched, save for a Camaro throttle-body conversion, a Camaro oil pan (and pick-up) that clears the crossmember, and Hummer H2 exhaust manifolds and heat shields. Brian strung a 2.5-inch ceramic-coated exhaust system from the manifolds to the Corvette cats, the custom H-pipe, and back to the Magnaflow mufflers. A custom-built isolation box and K&N filter nestled inside the passenger-side fender sprouts a 311/42-inch intake tube that becomes one of the engine's focal points. The fuel system gathers a Walbro 255- lb/hr in-tank pump and a Corvette inline fuel filter and regulator assembly that fill custom-bent stainless steel lines complemented by AN fittings.
A custom four-core aluminum radiator with a built-in transmission cooler lurks behind a one-off shroud and a single SPAL 16-inch-diameter puller fan. The external power steering cooler and billet overflow tank were powdercoated.
Transferring the power is nothing less than a 4L60E (from a '99 F-body) to feed torque to the powdercoated 10-bolt axle stocked with an Eaton True Trac differential, Richmond 3.91:1 gears, and stock axles.
Removing the body from the frame afforded an excellent opportunity to sandblast the rails clean and powdercoat them in satin black. A notch in the front crossmember provides clearance for the A/C compressor. Overlooking nothing in the chassis prep, Brian broomed all the heavy suspension members and put up some sensationally sleek Global West upper and lower wishbones from its G-Plus Kit, 1-inch lowering springs, QA1 adjustable coilover shocks, a 111/48-inch antisway bar, and polyurethane bushings in all the joints. In back, Global tubular lower control arms, adjustable upper arms, 1-inch lowering springs, QA1 shocks, and a 1-inch antisway bar keep things under control.
The Chevelle reacts a lot quicker now with its Flaming River power steering box as abetted by a Corvette power steering pump, a Flaming River collapsible steering shaft with Borgeson joints, and a Flaming tilt steering column with the shifter on the column, just like the old days.
When the chemically stripped body arrived at Ultimate, Brian savaged the insides with sound deadener, laying Dynamat all over the floor, the inner firewall, the doors, and the roof. He pieced the interior together with remolded factory seats that he covered in custom red leather. He replaced the 40-year-old lap straps with retractable thee-point safety belts, installed seat belts in the rear, hand-stitched the door panels, and plopped a Billet Specialties 15-inch, leather-wrapped Classic steering wheel on top of the Flaming River column. For some flash down low, he hung Lokar billet aluminum pedals above the ACC carpet and floor mats. Jim ogles that factory SS gauge package beneath the factory repo dashpad. Finally, Brian dyed all the panels and trim to match the interior.
Woe be that dastardly eight-track contraption, now just a bad memory. Big stuff here: an Alpine head unit with CD and MP3, Sirius satellite radio, and an iPod hookup. Ultimate flush-mounted Boston Acoustics 5-inch Pro Series speakers in the front doors and 611/42-inch speakers in the package tray are balanced by a JL Audio 10 W-3 subwoofer captured by an airtight enclosure in the trunk. They concluded the arrangement with a JL 300 X4 amplifier working with a JL 250 X1 amp. The head unit and iPod were mounted in the glovebox, and Jim changes them up by pointing the remote control at the original radio in the dashboard. A Painless 18-curcuit harness manages everything, including custom-fab'd power window regulators, power door locks, and a keyless entry system.