Nick’s powder keg is rife with the best equipment the industry offers, and Gary Schmidt at Wheeler Racing in Blaine, Minnesota, directed its construction. Wheeler machined (align hone, a 4.60-inch bore, cylinder hone, decked, squared, internally balanced) the Dart Big M cylinder case. Assembly began with a Callies Stealth crank (4.25-inch stroke) then assumed 6.385-inch-long Oliver billet connecting rods and tricked-out 13.5:1 Diamond pistons (1.265-inch compression height—distance between the centerline of the pin bore and the top of the piston—and 0.990-inch diameter pins). Ring packs (0.043-, 1/16-, 3/16-inch) are Hellfire. The bottom end was closed with a Milodon 8-quart steel sump and requisite oil pump. At 0.050 inch, the COMP solid roller (with Jesel 0.937-inch diameter lifters) is endowed with 218/302 degrees duration and 0.889/0.990-inch lift. A Jesel beltdrive system ties the crank to the cam. The breathing apparatus is no less formidable: Race Flow Development in Virginia Beach, Virginia, furnished the CNC-ported cylinder heads, complete with Victory 2.35-inch titanium intakes and 1.9-inch stainless exhaust valves. Valvesprings are PAC Racing Springs triple-coil with companion PAC titanium retainers and locks. The heads are equipped with T&D guideplates that monitor Trend pushrods, which forcefully nudge T&D 1.8 and 1.7:1 shaft rocker assemblies. From the bottom of the stack, the carefully chosen components include a ported Edelbrock Super Victor manifold and a lightweight, low-profile, 1,100-cfm Pro-Systems SV-1 carburetor that’s copasetic with E85. Steve Johnson at Induction Solutions in Spring Hill, Florida, put one of his infamous two-stage juicers together and flowed the system for posterity. An MSD programmable 7531 digital ignition, coil, and Pro Billet distributor supply vibrant, unwavering spark. To help the leftovers out the door, Nick specified Lemons stepped race headers with 21/4- to 23/8-inch primaries, a 4-inch collector and 3.5-inch diameter back-system merging with Borla XR1 “mufflers”. Output has been dyno rated at 855 lb-ft and 990 hp. An equally potent drivetrain awaits. The Reid-case Powerglide was built by TSI with a 1.80:1 low gear and a 10-inch converter. A PST carbon-fiber driveshaft whips grunt to the fabbed 9-inch housing as massaged by TNT Raceshop in Blaine, Minnesota. Amendments include a Moser centersection, 3.50:1 gears on a spool, and 33-spline shafts fitted with 5/8-inch studs.
Wheels & Brakes
Wilwood drag racing brakes reside at either end of the Chevelle. They sport 11.4-inch-diameter discs and four-piston calipers. If they need a little help, there’s always that parachute jutting from the rear. Shiny, sexy Billet Specialties wheels make a visual as well as functional statement. Lightweight by nature, the Street Lites are 15x3.5 and 15x10 (with Champion beadlocks) and a 5.5-inch backspace. The rubbers are minimal 205/70 Kelly-Springfield and those gummy 275/60 Hoosier DOT Drag Radials.
TNT brought it on, building a certified 8.50 mild steel rollcage and reinforcing the stock suspension mounting points. TNT installed a modified four-link rear suspension with TNT double-adjustable chromoly upper and lower control arms, free-standing QA1 springs with an adjustable perch at the front of the axletube and a similar arrangement for the double-adjustable shocks mounted behind the axletube. TNT finished up with a custom antiroll bar setup. At the leading end, they reduced weight with the addition of a TNT rack steering system and TRZ tubular control arms and billet steering arms. Spindles are original equipment manufacturer and wheel damping is the province of Santhuff coils over adjustable QA1 bodies.
The body was plied, straightened, and paid for years ago and is still pristine. Nick replaced ferrous-based components with Glasstek fiberglass bumpers, a 4-inch cowl hood, and a skinnier decklid. Next stop, Mike Bighley at Bighley Auto Body in St. Paul, Minnesota. Bighley mixed and applied DuPont Waterborne Chromax Pro in Venom Red and Bright Silver, Chrysler factory colors both.
Bare metal floor. Naked and a little bit chilly here, and one look at those seats and you know Nick won’t be tripping to Los Angeles any time soon. But the place is really about function and to meet that obligation Nick employed skeletal Kirkey buckets, a G-Force five-point harness, Grant Collectors Edition steering wheel, a squad of Auto Meter instruments, and a FAST dual-band air/fuel ratio meter. Meanwhile, Nick palms a B&M Quarter Stick shifter. All door and side panels, dashboard, and so on, are original equipment. CHP