The Roadster Shop has become synonymous with sharp handling, finely tuned, custom built cars that are exquisite pieces of art. Just recently they won the 2009 Goodguys Street Machine of the Year award with their "C1RS" '62 Corvette (watch for a feature on this car in the April 2010 issue of Super Chevy), and the shop in Mundelein, Illinois, run by Phil, Neil, and Jeremy Gerber is full of projects for the future that are sure to wow all at upcoming events.
Back in 2007, Ted Hellard purchased The Roadster Shop's old '66 Chevelle test car to add to his collection of hot rods and muscle cars. After spending plenty of quality time behind the wheel of the '66, Ted decided he wanted a similarly-equipped Chevelle convertible he could enjoy during the six months he spends at his home in Arizona. Because Ted loved the handling of the '66, he knew the only place to build him a convertible would be The Roadster Shop. Past disappointments with the handling of other cars he owned left him a bit jaded, so when the '66 proved to be so fantastic in that department, Ted had to have a ragtop with the same great vehicle dynamics.
After hearing from Ted, Phil and crew set out to find a suitable '70 Chevelle convertible for the project. Ted's vision for the car was to keep the exterior fairly stock looking and not detract from the distinctive body lines and shape of the '70 design. At the same time, Ted wanted a more modern, refined, and sophisticated restomod version of the classic '70 Chevelle.
A convertible was found in Oklahoma for the right price, and once back at the shop the car was stripped down, and replacement of rusty body panels and pieces began. The whole front clip was supplanted, along with one quarter-panel and different sections of the floor. A custom belly pan was fabricated for the back-half of the car, and a Goodmark cowl hood added to finish off the sheetmetal. Once the body was all straight and rust free, it was sprayed in PPG "Chili Red" then topped off with the trim and stripes being painted in a custom-mixed graphite color paint with matte clearcoat. The front and rear bumpers were sectioned, narrowed, then tucked in tight to the body.
For suspension, The Roadster Shop used its own Performance Chevelle chassis, using C6 Vette spindles, 1 1/8-inch splined front sway bar, 9-inch rear end with nodular center section, 3.90 gears and Tru-Track Posi unit, and swivel link parallel four-bar rear suspension. For brakes, Wilwood has the job, with 14 1/4-inch rotors and six-piston calipers up front, and 14-inch rotors with four-piston calipers out back. The master cylinder is a one-inch Wilwood dual unit. Rolling Stock is Forge Line S03P wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 rubber.
On the inside, the Chevelle was treated to a custom interior with Daytona Weave carpet, custom leather seats with OE-style mesh inserts, an ididit steering column, hand-fabricated aluminum dash and center console, Momo Stealth pedals and Momo Champion wheel, Auto Meter Carbon Fiber-series gauges, and a custom shifter with a trick drilled shift knob made by The Roadster Shop. For tunes, an Alpine head unit with Alpine amps and Boston Acoustics speakers are used.
Making use of all that handling capability is a Turn Key Engine Supply-built LS7 sporting 640 hp. (it uses Turn Key's engine management computer). It's bolted to a Bowler Performance T56 six-speed. Spent hydrocarbons exit through Hooker Super Comp headers and a Roadster Shop-fabricated exhaust using Flowmaster Super 44 mufflers. A Billet Specialties Tru-Trac accessory drive takes care of all the engine support pieces, with an Autorad custom aluminum radiator keeping everything cool.
Once completed, the Chevelle was presented to Ted, who was blown away by his new ragtop. Ted's vision was brought to life, and was a step above the '66 in the design and fabrication department. Most of all, the high-performance handling that Ted loved about the '66 was there in the '70, so his desert cruises under the Arizona sun would be able to satiate his A-body addiction.