As Chris Wissing came into his automotive age, he was front and center at a number of indoor car shows. He loved seeing them on display. He had those images in his mind when he considered this 1970 Chevelle. It was not his first attempt at stardom. He did not appreciate the current muscle cars. He liked the idea of mixing new with old. To Chris, it was about “having something different. One of a kind is more artistic, more personal,” he said. “I studied the car as it was being torn down and thought about what I wanted.”
The essence came down to this: details are everywhere. Chris went deeper in some areas than others, but no part of the pile was left untouched. He gathered his experts. One of them was Eron Andersen at Precision Classics & Collision in Eugene, Oregon, where Chris grew up. Eron and Chad Westrick scoped out the roller and envisioned the job at hand: killer paint, perfect gaps and lines, mini-tubs, modified stock chassis with upscale suspension, LS-pulsed powertrain, and details over details.
Mind you, these ruminations occurred some years ago when Stielow’s Red Witch was letting blood all over town; maybe it was the unofficial beginning of Pro Touring. That deal with the chassis and suspension came crashing down. With the body off them, the ’rails revealed they weren’t up to the finesse Chris had in mind, but Eron is a dealer for the Roadster Shop and its beautiful Fast Track chassis. Guess what happened next? “The price was more than if we completely rehabbed the 45-year-old ’rails, added the suspension and considered all the other little things, but it wasn’t enough to squelch the idea,” chirped Chris. Then this: “Building the car around such a beautiful piece of art … and then covering it, hiding it, with a body … the car had to match the chassis.”
He wanted the bumpers to fit the body immaculate. Precision used one from a ’70 El Camino in front, cutting it down to fit the sides of the Chevelle. They removed the license plate “triangle” and rid the bumpers of bolts and jack cutouts. Further, the front fender extensions were modified and stretched to fit tighter to the bumper. The rear unit fit much better with only a little fussing involved. They moved to the rear quarters and modified them to get that close-fit bumper once again.
Precision worked the firewall and the cowl area smooth. They closed, capped, and trimmed the fenders to fit. Original production offset the radiator to accommodate the hood fit and the battery. Precision centered the radiator core, smoothed the support, and made an aluminum cover for it. In the engine bay they rejoiced with inner closeout panels to cover but not hide the chassis and the engine. They reduced the clutter. “We ran the A/C lines low and behind the body to keep the appearance neat. The cowl hood is a purist killer. It wasn’t in great shape for restoring. We removed the understructure for the air cleaner and the cowl door.”
Precision split the original wheelhouses, widening them 3 1/2 inches to capture the big-ass 20-inch Boze alloys complete. And while the load was hanging from the rotisserie, the boys cut out the transmission tunnel from the firewall all the way to the back seat and built a new hollow to house the T-56. They smoothed the underbelly and stepped away.
The body is punctuated by Eddie Motorsports hinges for the hood and trunk as well as markers for the cowl and door vents. Eron Andersen tinted the sheetmetal with custom-mix PPG Global concoction.
Inside the playhouse it’s much the same story. The interior, dash and door panels, package tray, and trunk kit were done by Clint Jack and Jesse Handy of The Shop LLC in Pompano Beach, Florida. As per Clint: “As far as the dash goes, it is composed of multi-piece fiberglass and plastic and includes aluminum mounting plates and an aluminum and mesh defrost vent that is fully functional with the Vintage Air vents. Our specially designed two-piece paintable instrument cluster houses the Speedhut Revolution tachometer, speedometer, volt meter, water temp, oil pressure, and fuel gauges. The dash covering is a mix of vinyl and Spinneybeck Leather.”
Jon Lind (Custom Interiors) raided a 2006 GTO for its front seats that he cut down to fit and still retain all the original power features. He modified the bench in the back to fit the package tray like it was born there. Lind rolled out the carpeting. He constructed rear side panels and sculpted them for the seats. He put original thought into the headliner—a suede field interrupted by aluminum inserts that were crafted by Eron Andersen and that match other swatches of aluminum throughout the interior.
Not quite exhausted, Lind built an elegant but understated console that flows to the bench seat. Chris got his first payoff in 2014 when the Chevelle took Best in Class Pro Touring at Portland and Best of Show in Eugene. It was in the Top 25 at Barrett-Jackson Reno in 2015 and Builder’s Choice and Goodguys Pick at the West Coast Nationals.
Time to leave the folding chairs and the brew coolers on the grass. Now, Rick should be swapping feat on the debutant Chevelle straight off the stage and smack into the unknown, knowing that it will never disappoint.
|Owner:||Chris Wissing, McKinleyville, California|
|Cylinder Heads:||LS3, L92-style ports, 2.165/1.590 valves, 68cc combustion chambers|
|Rotating Assembly:||Nodular iron crankshaft, powdered metal connecting rods, hypereutectic pistons|
|Valvetrain:||OE 1.7:1 roller-trunnion rocker arms|
|Camshaft:||Custom-grind hydraulic (226/236-deg. duration at 0.050; 0.525/0.525-inch lift; 110-degree lobe separation angle)|
|Induction:||OE, Spectre air cleaner|
|Exhaust:||Ultimate Headers, 1 3/4-inch primaries, 3-inch collector, 3-inch stainless steel system, X-pipe, Flowmaster mufflers|
|Ancillaries:||March Performance accessory drive and alternator, Be Cool radiator, wiring by Leo Perry|
|Output (at the crank):||525 hp at 6,300 rpm, 489 lb-ft at 4,400 rpm|
|Machine Work:||Pace Performance (Boardman, OH)|
|Built By:||Pace Performance|
|Transmission:||TREMEC T-56, QuickTime bellhousing, Ram clutch and flywheel|
|Rear Axle:||9-inch Ford style, limited-slip differential, 3.90:1 ratio|
|Frame:||Roadster Shop Fast Track|
|Front Suspension:||One-piece billet C6 spindles, 1 1/4-inch splined antisway bar, tubular control arms, AFCO coilovers|
|Rear Suspension:||Parallel four-link bars, Panhard rod, AFCO coilovers|
|Brakes:||Wilwood 13-inch rotors, six-piston calipers front; Wilwood 13-inch rotors, six-piston calipers rear|
|Wheels & Tires|
|Wheels:||Boze Tach 19x9 front, 20x13 rear|
|Tires:||Michelin Pilot Sport 275/30 front, 345/30 rear|
|Upholstery:||Jon Lind Custom Interiors (Eugene, OR)|
|Steering:||Rack-and-pinion, Fesler wheel, E-Stop electronic parking brake|
|Shifter:||Eddie Motorsports (modified by Precision Classics)|
|Dash:||Stock with custom gauge insert|
|Audio:||Pioneer head unit, Morel Tempo speakers, Kicker subwoofer, installed by Dean Higgins at|
|Custom audio:||(Eugene, OR)|
|Bodywork:||Eron Andersen, Chad Westrick at Precision Classics (Eugene, OR)|
|Paint By:||Eron Andersen|
|Paint:||Custom-mix PPG Global|
|Bumpers:||1970 El Camino cut to fit, front; OE fitted, rear|