It is an argument that has been around since the beginning of hot rodding. What is the defining line between a street car and a purpose-built race car? For some people, the line is very thin; for others, the gray area is as wide as the quarter-mile. For Wally Null of Montoursville, Pennsylvania, the answer is simple and wide—faster is better.

Wally’s quest for the kind of launch that pins your eyeballs to the back of your head began in 1988 when he purchased this ’68 Chevelle SS. Like most projects, it was rough but driveable. After experiencing the fledgling Fastest Streetcar shootouts, he knew what he needed to do. It took several years to gather the engine parts, but once he delivered them to Gary Hettler of G.A.M. Racing Engines in Montoursville, Pennsylvania, the project happened quickly.

Gary proceeded to bore the 454ci Chevrolet block to the required 4.320-inch bore and fill the openings with JE 14:1 pistons connected to 6.385-inch Eagle rods, spun on an Eagle ¼-inch stroker crank. The engine is fed through a pair of cast-iron Chevrolet heads with Manley Severe Duty 2.19-/1.88-inch intake and exhaust valves actuated by a custom Comp Cams roller bumpstick with 0.748-inch intake and exhaust lift and 248/288 degrees of duration at 0.050 inch. Perched atop this combination of go-fast goodies is a 1,050-cfm Holley Dominator with a voracious appetite.

All of this is mated to a Turbo 400 with an 8-inch GER converter. There is no reason to have all this horsepower if you can’t make it hook, so Wally fired up his welder and proceeded to build his own rear suspension. He chose Alston ladder bars and coilover shocks, fabricated his own mounts and braces, and suspended the 12-bolt rear housing and 4.10 gears.

With the help of his friend Brian Vollman he replaced the front fenders, rear quarters, and inner fenders. When the required metal smoothing was complete, Brian covered everything with the original shade of Grecian Green sprayed in PPG basecoat/clearcoat. The spartan interior consists of fiberglass bucket seats placed behind the factory dash with an Auto Meter Pro Comp tach to keep an eye on the vital signs. Surrounding all of this is an eight-point rollcage that Wally built himself. For rolling stock, Wally selected Weld Drag Lites with 15x5s on the front shod with P215/75R-15s, and 15x10s with 29x13.5-15 Hoosiers out back.

The first weekend at the track netted a solid 10.09 at 135 mph with a 60-foot time of 1.43 seconds. Whether or not you want to call Wally’s Chevelle a street car or not is up to you. Let’s just say it has been driven to work on more than one occasion. That qualifies.