When it came time to take care of the engine, Bryan took it to Vaca Performance in Downey, California. It was a reputable shop that could dyno all the bugs out of the stroker before it went into the car. Toward the end of the build, Bryan got a call from the shop, “I know you’re going to say yes to this, but I have to ask you anyway. There’s a guy here from Chevy High Performance magazine who wants to use your engine for an article,” builder Mike said. Bryan was all for it. The 383ci small-block Chevy served as a carburetor test mule. Since then Bryan was eager to contact CHP again once the build was complete.
Years later the Chevelle finally made it home to Petaluma and after only a couple months of debugging, we were there to shoot it. Not only does it look like a Pro Touring car, it is one. Bryan grew up barreling down the twisties of Southern California with his friends, always looking to see how quickly he could make the pass. From then on, turning was always more important than going fast in a straight line, though he dabbles in that as well.
Bryan has plans to take the Chevelle to this year’s Return to the Coast event at the former El Toro Marine Base, and wants to stretch its legs and really see what it can do in a more controlled environment. He also wants to check out the Silver State Classic and Mohave Mile, but only after his final modification. He built the engine with 8:1 compression with anticipation of a supercharger. That should be plenty to power his Chevelle into some pretty impressive numbers. Bryan expects to immerse himself in the automotive industry after his fast-approaching retirement date from the Air Force Coast Guard; he hopes to work with cars every day and acquire a couple more too.
Motor & Drivetrain
The 30-year-old 350 begged for retirement and made way for a 383ci stroker built for a supercharger. To minimize the debugging stage and the engine bill, Bryan wanted to run it naturally aspirated for a while. The bottom end is prepared for the extra stress with all forged Eagle components. He chose 31cc pistons, H-beam rods, and a 3.75-inch stroke crankshaft. He chose an Edelbrock 0.539/0.548-inch lift, 234/238 degrees duration at 0.050-inch lift hydraulic roller camshaft, COMP lifters, pushrods, and 1.6/1.52 ratio roller rockers. The Edelbrock Performer RPM cylinder heads made their way off the original he added back in 1998. Final assembly pieces included an Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake manifold, Demon 750-cfm carburetor, Milodon oil pan, CompuTronix distributor, and Hedman headers with 15/8-inch primary tubes. The 3-inch collectors lead into Flowmaster tubing, QTP electric cutouts, and 40-series mufflers. He wanted this to be a fun car to drive and also be comfortable on the freeway for extended trips. He decided on a B&M Pro Stick controlled 200-4R automatic overdrive with a Fourth gear ratio of 0.67 for low cruise rpm and reasonable mileage. The Moser 12-bolt’s Wavetrac Posi and 3.08:1 gear ratio were chosen with those same goals in mind.
Even though this is Bryan’s first frame-off build, he approached it like a pro. He took every bolt off the car and completely restored the frame and inner tinwork. He finished the frame with POR15 and replaced every bolt with stainless steel pieces from Totally Stainless. One of Bryan’s favorite parts of the car is the aluminum radiator support by AutoRad. Bryan did a lot of research through forums like Pro-Touring.com and TeamChevelle.com, as well as at the car shows to make the right decisions. He wanted to see how the fit and performance was before shelling out the dough. Up front he went with VariShock coilovers, RideTech 1.5-inch sway bar, AFX spindles, AGR 12:1 steering box, and ididit steering column. Out back he’s running Hotchkis springs and sway bar with VariShock damping.