Markus Mayne, owner of this eye-catching blue '70 Chevelle, represents the next generation of hot rodders. Markus is only one of many who are choosing the '60's and '70's era American muscle cars to build instead of the newest import offerings. In the past, he's owned many Camaros of all years, but they were all purchased and modified in preparation for this A-body.
Markus' dad, Moses, always had old cars around. He bought a '69 Chevelle back in high school some 40 years ago, and still has it. This didn't seem like a big deal when Markus was 15, but now that he is in his 30s, Markus can see that hanging onto a car like that is easier said than done. That '69 Chevelle shows that no matter what life throws at you, you can make a place for a special car. Even after raising six children, his dad held onto his other pride and joy. While Markus was still in high school, Moses had many other projects and passed on knowledge from each of them. When it was Markus' turn to get a car of his own, they put $800 down on a '79 Camaro complete with a rod knock. The father/son team pulled the engine and fixed it up. That experience left Markus feeling like he could do anything.
In addition to having the priceless education of everything automotive from his father, Markus gives just as much credit to Chevy High Performance magazine. He recalls spending more time reading them than doing his schoolwork. While we can't officially condone that; unofficially that's awesome. The magazine features and tech stories encouraged him to try out different cars and as he let go of each car he replaced it with another, better car. The last one, a 1996 Camaro Z28, was sold in order to get the Chevelle he always wanted.
He searched most of Northern California on Craigslist, car shows, and by spreading the word, but, ultimately, it was his father who happened to have the particular car he wanted. His dad always has at least a half-dozen car shells lying around. Maybe that's to be able to say, “Yeah, I've got a '67 Camaro at home.” Maybe he thinks he will get them all done. Whatever the case, this one was perfect for Markus. Unfortunately, an offer to forgo four future years of birthday presents wasn't accepted as payment, Markus would actually have to hand dad the cash.
Markus never considered any other year except '70. It was the truly iconic image of a muscle car and that's what he liked. The roller picked from his dad's yard was a '70 all right, 70 percent there! Markus didn't want anything near complete anyway. He wanted a blank canvas. The very first thing Markus had to do was outfit it with wheels, brakes, and an engine in order to easily transport it to the body shop. Nothing looks more at home under the hood of a '70 Chevelle than a big-block Chevy, and that was the plan until a stock LS1 with a working automatic transmission fell onto his lap. He dropped it in and it ran great.
The next step was to prep the body. Under the primer and filler it looked as if the body had been pounded during a hailstorm; but more likely it was just bad bodywork. Once Markus bolted on all the new metal, he brought it over to the professionals at Finishline Autobody in Oakland, California. Anyone who has done bodywork before, especially at home, knows that sending it off to a shop is probably the best idea.
Five months later, the Chevelle emerged from the paint shop in a stunning bright-blue, a set of wet-sand stained throwaway rally wheels, and a prerunner stance thanks to big-block springs under an aluminum engine. The custom-built wheels from Asanti arrived just days after returning home. The whole thing was coming together and he was very happy with the choices he had made so far; that was, until he was called out.
A well-known local racer scoped out the car as it was going through the painting process at Finishline. He told Markus that once it was running, he had a race waiting for him. Of course Markus had to accept the challenge. This racer had a '70 Caprice barge of a car with an “underpowered” big-block Chevy under the hood. Markus felt like he had a chance. Unfortunately, Markus didn't stand a chance and lost that round. The high-stall auto and stock LS wasn't going to cut it any longer.
Not one to bow down, the decision was made to purchase a ProCharger D-1 supercharger. The rest of the engine would be built around the blower with forged internals and a high-flow induction system. As a matter of fact, nothing short of 700 horsepower to the wheels was going to satisfy him. The low-compression, high-boost combination should be able to gobble up the original contester. Do we hear rematch?
Aside from a race here and there, Markus enjoys driving the Chevelle. He drives it all around the East Bay to car shows, get-togethers, or just cruising the streets. If he isn't driving the Chevelle, he's rocking his 2010 Camaro SS. You'll never see this guy in anything but a Chevy, that's for sure.
Motor & Drivetrain
Under the hood is a 6.0-liter LS2 built by Hewitt High Performance and machined by Hubbard Machine, both in Hayward, California. They started by cutting the block 0.030-inches and gave it a nice hone and line bore. From there they installed the polished LS2 crank. The bottom end came together with Eagle forged rods and Wiseco dish forged pistons for a compression ratio of 9:1. Camshaft credit goes to a COMP Cams hydraulic roller with 0.617-inch lift and 231/239-degrees duration at 0.050-inch. The rest is all GM with factory LS2 rockers, timing chain and gears, and LS7 hardened pushrods. Up top is a pair of AFR 230cc CNC LSX cylinder heads and an LS6 intake manifold. He used a set of Holley 120-lb/hr injectors to keep up with the intercooled ProCharger D-1 supercharger. Exhaust runs through a pair of PaceSetter 1-7/8-inch primary to 3-inch secondary headers to a full 3-inch exhaust with MagnaFlow mufflers. The LS2 is mated to a Tremec T-56 6-speed manual that's rowed with a Hurst shifter. Power travels through the McLeod Racing billet flywheel and single-disc clutch, then out through a custom driveshaft by Driveline Service of San Leandro, California. Out back is the original A-body 12-bolt with 3.73:1 gears and a Detroit Trutrac posi-traction unit. Seeing those two bolts at the bottom of the cover is what sold him on the car initially; that was one thing he didn't have to replace.
This Chevelle doesn't just go fast, it was built to handle and look good doing it. Markus swapped the factory stamped steel control arms for a set of Hotchkis tubular upper and lower control arms. Alongside are Belltech 2-inch lowering springs, a pair of QA1 adjustable shocks, and a UMI 1-5/16-inch sway bar. He gave the rear a similar treatment with Hotchkis tubular control arms, BMR 2-inch lowering springs, QA1 adjustable shocks, and a 1-inch UMI sway bar.
Paint & Body
Markus wasn't looking for a perfect car to start with and he sure didn't get one. The Chevelle needed a slew of new steel, including a quarter-panel, two fenders with extensions, cowl panel, hood, and bumpers. He then enlisted J&H Autobody in Oakland, California, to give it a fresh coat of 2010 Mazda Celestial Blue. As a special touch Markus included Corvette Grand Sport fender stripes to go with the original SS stripes.
Markus wanted the interior to be simple, and we think it's just right. He started with nothing and managed to piece together the entire interior from a collection of aftermarket and original style reproduction parts. The factory gauge holes were filled with a set of Auto Meter Cobalt gauges that are far more accurate than the originals. A set of racing seats give added support in the twisties; the small-diameter Grant steering wheel doesn't hurt either. Like many of us, Markus appreciates some tunes aside from the exhaust note in his ride. He set the Chevelle up with a Pioneer head unit, 3-1/2, 5-1/2, and 6x9 speakers that are accompanied by a pair of enclosed 12-inch subwoofers.
Rollers & Binders
The 20x9 and 20x11 Asanti wheels needed to be filled with good looking brakes. In keeping with the modern accents theme, he used the front braking system from a C5 Corvette with the rears from a fourth-generation Camaro. As always, power and braking are worthless without good rubber, so Markus runs a 255/35 Super Steel 595 Federal tire up front and Nitto NT05 315/35 drag radials out back.