Last month we set out to infuse some modern road manners and corner-carving ability into an unlikely candidate, a ’71 Chevelle wagon. Why a wagon? Well, our theory is that if a pile of parts can make a big tank handle and ride great, then the benefit to the more common two-door coupe should be even better. Besides, there’s something super cool about dropping jaws by flinging a family trickster through cones.
In Part One we stuffed a bunch of components from Global West under the nose of the Chevelle, including a close ratio steering box and gigantic Wilwood binders. This time we’re giving equal attention to the back half of our A-body and then we hit the track to see if all the welding, wrenching, and cash paid off.
The rear lower control arms come in three flavors. The top is what is used on a more facto
The upper Global West control arms are adjustable, which makes dialing in pinion angle a s
Similar to the front, the rear of our Chevelle is running Penske single-adjustable shocks.
Putting it all to the test
Sure, the new parts look great, but what we wanted to know is how much better the ’71 would perform. The first step was to take the Chevelle out to our test venue in El Toro, California, for some quality cone-dodging time. We then brought it back out with all it upgrades and ran the same tests. To clear the new Wilwood brakes we hit up Shaun Dove at EVOD Industries for a set of his retro-styled billet rollers in 18x9 front and 19x10 rear. For rubber we chose 300 treadwear BFGoodrich KDW tires from Driverz in 275/35-18 front and 295/30-19 rear. This tire offers a great balance between high grip and excellent wear. We should also note that the wagon drove great on the highway and streets. The wallowy feeling was gone as was the vague steering. The ride was firmer, but in a good way, and the suspension still managed to absorb bumps and dips with ease.