Having a cool car project to work on is one of the best ways to keep a young teenager's hands busy and the usual inner teen turmoil in check. Being a VP at Edelbrock, and having a teenage son, Steve Whipple knew a car project would be a great way to spend time with his 16-year-old son Mikey, and keep the young man's mind focused. It would also be Edelbrock's entry into the 2009 Super Chevy Suspension & Handling Challenge, presented by Nitto Tire (January 2010 issue).
After some searching, a suitable foundation was found in the form of a '67 Chevelle. It had been sitting at the end of a dirt road in Hesperia, California, for 15 years. The A-body was pretty sun baked, but had little rust and was a factory air car with straight bodylines. A deal was struck and the A-body headed home with Steve and son to begin its new life.
Since Edelbrock was coming out with a new line of A-body suspension parts, how to improve the car's handling was a no brainer. Steve went with Edelbrock's Pro Touring Suspension kit, PN 52064. Here's what was installed from the kit, and each part's individual part number:
Edelbrock Lower Trailing Arms, PN 5205 Edelbrock Upper Trailing Arms, PN 5248 Edelbrock Front Sway Bar (4130 chromoly steel), PN 52870 Edelbrock Rear Sway Bar (1045 steel), PN 52871 Edelbrock Coil Spring Set, PN 5240 Edelbrock Classic Shocks, front PN 33041 ; rear PN 34041 Edelbrock Rear Frame Supports (adjustable), PN 5284
For motivation to make the most of the Chevelle's improved handling, Steve built a 400 cid small-block using a GM Bow Tie block, Scat crank, Probe pistons, Edelbrock heads, Crane hydraulic roller cam, Edelbrock E-Tec 200 aluminum heads, ARP fasteners, and feeding fuel and air to the big mouse is an Edelbrock Pro-Flo 2 EFI system. A Be Cool radiator keeps the engine from blowing its top, and the exhaust spits out through a custom set of ceramic coated headers to an Edelbrock stainless steel exhaust system with X-crossover. A Billet Specialties Tru-Trac front accessory drive handles the add-ons.
A Tremec TKO-600 five-speed with Center Force clutch in a Lakewood bellhousing sends power to the Moser built 9-inch rear end spinning 3.73 gears out back. The car rolls on American Torq Thrust II wheels wrapped in Nitto NT05 rubber. Fast Ed's upholstery in Torrance, California, took care of recovering the stock interior in black vinyl and laying some new carpet on the floors from Original Parts Group.
Driver's Impression - On the Autocross Course The Edelbrock '67 Chevelle did pretty well considering that the steering was OEM and followed it up with a double-whammy, a small diameter steering wheel. My first run was a "get to know each other" and I quickly got this car figured out. I immediately realized that getting turned was all in preparation and the key to getting through the initial offset slalom. I had to turn the steering wheel before the apex cone, turn it very fast, and turn it a lot to get through this element ... and then start this all over again for the next apex while barely through the one I'd just passed. Even when the car was traveling straight, there was that "prepare for the next corner" thought. If I remember correctly, there was no place the steering wheel ever got a rest!!! There was also no forgiveness in car placement as each inch of course mattered here. What was interesting is that at the speed I was carrying, the Chevelle would momentarily slide, then catch, almost turning itself. I used this to my advantage and it helped immensely. I also thought the car felt very flat with minimal body lean as it transitioned well through the course elements.