Alex Figge (pronounced “figgy”) has dedicated his adult life to driving race cars, out of this world employment to be certain, and has been behind the wheel of myriad vehicles and raced on nearly every course configuration imaginable. His portfolio runs from go-karts to IndyCars, from driving sports cars for five different manufacturers to off-road Trophy Trucks, which was where we last saw him in 2014.
Since Alex is inextricably drawn to race machinery, would it not be natural for him to aspire to something nearly as formidable for the street? Since drivers do their thing exclusively and do not normally twist a wrench, it would behoove him to secure some outside contracts. He shaded his eyes and began to sweep the horizon.
“I knew I wanted to do a ’70 Chevelle and I started looking at businesses that could help me,” he said. Once he came across the Roadster Shop in Mundelein, Illinois, the search came to an end. “They are building the most innovative and highest performance muscle cars around by far. I didn’t even call another shop.”
While prodigious engine output is favorable, to Alex, a properly prepared frame/suspension holds just as much import so it should be quite able to assume the engine’s terror with aplomb. A balanced chassis is critical on the circuit; Alex would expect nothing less in his street machine. Roadster Shop’s Phil Gerber got the picture and got busy.
Roadster Shop’s Fast Track chassis is a monster—staunches bending and mitigates torsional stress like a maniac. It is also designed to keep everything underneath just above rocker panel height, ensuring a clean, sanitary approach. With this massive ladder, RS includes tubular control arms, Penske double-adjustable dampers encircled by Hyperco coils, and a splined 1.25-inch diameter antisway bar. The back of the chassis assumes Penske dampers and Hyperco coils, and a simple parallel four-bar system and a Panhard rod locate the rear axle, deeming a rear sway bar superfluous. The ’rails are kicked in and readily receive a 345-section tire. Billet C6 spindles (and ZO6 hubs) are directed by a quick-ratio rack steering system.
That critical frictional coefficient is supplied by a Wilwood system that posts 13-inch discs, six-piston calipers in front and 12-inch, four-caliper units in the rear. The tires and rims are Michelin Super Sport, 295/30 and 345/30, on Forgeline SC3C, 18x10 and 19x12, rims that have been subtly wafted with a coating of Transparent Smoke.
In the matter of acceleration, Alex and RS selected a 427-cubic-inch LS3 from Turn Key Engine Supply that retains the standard bore (4.065 inches) but uses a 4.125-inch stroke (stock is 3.66 inches). The bottom end spins a 4340 crankshaft and forged H-beam connecting rods, and when the domes of the Mahle forgings are fitted to the 70cc combustion chambers of the LS3 castings, they yield a compression ratio of 10.7:1. Specs for the hydraulic roller cam are proprietary, but the system maintains 5/16-inch pushrods, a 1.7:1 rocker arm ratio, double valvesprings, and chromoly retainers.
Induction is composed of an Edelbrock intake manifold and a FAST injector drawing through a mechanical 90mm throttle body. The system is monitored by a MEFI4b/MEF15 ECU and fed by a Rick’s/Vaporworks CTS-V fuel pump. Wegner Motorsports provided the billet rocker covers (with space for internal coil packs) as well as the billet serpentine accessory drive system. RS completed the engine with stainless-coated 1 7/8-inch primaries plumbed into 3-inch stainless steel pipes punctuated by an X-pipe and Borla XR-1 mufflers. The exhaust terminates at the center-exit in the custom-built bumper. The cooling contingent is armed with a Ron Davis aluminum core and Vintage Air Gen VI Magnum HVAC system. To contain the output of the 7.0-liter engine, Alex and RS decided on a complete Centerforce system—flywheel, Dual Friction 10.5-inch discs, and pressure plate—and a Tremec T-56 Magnum stuck to a Quick Time bellhousing. An estimated 635 hp and 580 lb-ft of torque ends up at the Strange Engineering 9-inch, which was fitted with a Truetrac differential and 3.90:1 gears.
For the swaddling phase, the Chevelle was delivered to Paul Atkins Interiors in Hanceville, Alabama. They built simple but elegant quarters but the work performed was not quite so easy. The Atkins custom-crafted persona radiates from the understated door panels; the sleek, fluid console; and a rear bench seat that matches the Recaro Sportster buckets—all of it swathed in leather. Atkins stretched the headliner in suede-like Alcantara. All that black silence is shattered by a Kicker PX1502 head unit, an Alpine amplifier, and Alpine SPS 6-inch speakers in front and 6x9s in the rear. No rollcage, no five-point harness. This is Alex’s street car … and she don’t race.
We like the Chevelle’s appearance. It doesn’t broadcast; it emanates, and is something in which the Roadster Shop excels. The basic form is unaltered, enhanced by subtle but meaningful modification. Underneath that hood bulge, RS smoothed the firewall but notched it softly to pocket the windshield wiper motor. They extended the inner fenders to better accommodate the RS upper control arms and to frame the engine.
Up front on the Chevelle’s shiny side, Roadster Shop constructed a lip spoiler, tucked the bumper, and filled the center to smooth the expanse to make the car appear wider. In the rear, they narrowed and tucked the bumper and built a custom roll pan to accept the pleasantly weird center exhaust exit. The lads fussed long over the envelope until it was time for Tyler Krause to lay down the PPG Audi Lava Gray coating. When it had set and dried, RS’s Chris Gray anointed it with offset ghost graphics.
Alex’s parting words: “The reason I chose the Chevelle is because I love the muscle car era in this country as it pertains to Americans’ relationships with their car and driving. It suggests that the car, and driving that car, represents a freedom that’s always been very important to me and my passion for driving. The Chevelle illustrates that. To me, the Chevelle is unapologetically American and also completely badass,” Alex opined. “Ha! Let me know if you need any action shots. No problems with burnouts or drifts in that thing.”