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Speedtech’s 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle Hits The Track!

Starting From Scratch: This Tuned-up A-Body Performs Admirably on the Track With Speedtech Performance’s Suspension Parts

Jason Reiss Mar 29, 2017
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If you’ve been following along with our coverage of the 2016 Falken Tire Super Chevy Muscle Car Challenge, you most likely realize that every car we’ve covered so far has had some sort of full chassis treatment. From the Roadster Shop’s ’68 Camaro to the ’71 Camaro from Total Cost Involved, each Pro Touring machine we’ve covered so far has been an example of that particular company’s premium goodies, designed from scratch to show off their manufacturing capabilities and complete suspension packages.

The 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle shown here, owned by Cedar City, Utah’s Alan Miller, is the antithesis to those builds. “I’ve always liked Chevy Chevelles. I started to build a ’70 Chevelle 15 years ago but I had to sell it before it was finished to purchase a vehicle for work,” says Miller.

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Miller, who has been infatuated by the automobile for 40 years, always kept the memory of that unfinished Chevelle in the back of his mind—until a chance meeting with another Chevelle brought it back to the forefront.

“I was driving around for work when it caught my eye in the back of a John Deere dealership in St. George, Utah. I stopped and asked the owner if he would be interested in selling it. He said he had bought the car out of a goat pen and had started to strip it down. Initially, he had to think about it because he still wanted to try and rebuild it, but he called me later and said he’d sell it for $3,000,” recalled Miller.

The car, purchased without an interior, needed to be completely restored once Miller took possession of it. A new trunk pan, rear wheelwells, one front fender, and a new hood later and it was time to prepare the car for paint.

“Being a hobbyist, I tried to restore as much as I could by myself. The biggest challenge I had was painting and prepping the car for paint. I spent countless hours in the garage buffing and sanding before giving it its first coat of Torch Red just outside my garage,” he says.

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This part of the buildup was most challenging for Miller, as it was his first-ever experience with painting a vehicle. After straightening the body and applying the pigment, Miller met Roger Maniscalco and the team from Speedtech Performance, who have helped him immensely with the vehicle’s capabilities by setting him up with the proper suspension products for his goals, in addition to providing assistance with the LS3 engine.

With the car already partially finished, the decision was made to use one of Speedtech’s frame brace kits, which uses laser-cut 1/8-inch-thick side plates that box in the weak C-channel framerails the A-body is known for. CNC-bent tubing helps to tie the front and rear frame sections together and there are support braces that ties into the lower trailing arm mounts in the rear. Not only are the braces welded in, but they also bolt through the floor in several locations to tie the body to the frame more securely.

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The front suspension consists of the complete Speedtech Track Time package: tubular upper and lower control arms, billet aluminum tie-rod adjuster sleeves, and the Secret Sauce Ridetech coilover kit—Miller did not want to divulge its specifications. One of Speedtech’s 1 5/16-inch antiroll bars is in place, along with a set of six-piston manual Wilwood brakes outfitted with 13-inch rotors. The front shock mounts have been welded in for stability’s sake.

In the rear, Speedtech’s Track Time package uses their Articulink design, based on one found in desert truck racing. It’s an interesting concept; the arms rotate laterally while also permitting their normal range of motion. Bind is greatly reduced and suspension travel is much smoother as a result of this configuration. The greasable upper and lower arms use Delrin bushings to improve performance and reduce flex. Ridetech coilovers are also installed in the rear of the vehicle, and one of Speedtech’s three-way adjustable sway bars is fitted into place.

Given Miller’s budget and experience level, the fact that all of the suspension parts are bolt-on products made his modification process a task he was comfortable taking on, and the results prove themselves out with the performance and driveability of the Chevelle.

This car is different from many of the manufacturer showcase-style vehicles that were run in the 2016 Falken Tire Super Chevy Muscle Car Challenge in that it’s a real driver and has covered many miles in pursuit of Miller’s happiness.

“I've packed up our suitcases and driven 5,200 miles across the country with my wife on the Goodguys Hall of Fame road tour. We visited many car museums and got to know other car enthusiasts that we’re still friends with today. That was my favorite trip, but I’ve also enjoyed other memorable events: eight autocross events, two Optima events (where I did very well) and now three Goodguys tours. The events are fun, and several times my kids and grandkids have been able to come and I enjoy having them there to support me,” he says.

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What Makes It Handle
Drivetrain:
Chevrolet Performance Connect & Cruise LS3 system, 4L65E transmission.
Suspension Package:
Speedtech Performance Track Time Suspension System.
Front Suspension:
GM chassis with Speedtech tubular A-arms, AFX spindles, Speedtech Chicane upper coilover mounting bracket, and adjustable Ridetech coilover shocks. Speedtech 1.25-inch solid 3-piece splined sway bar, welded-in chassis stiffening kit.
Steering:
Close-ratio power steering box.
Brakes:
Wilwood 13-inch rotors with six-piston front and 11-inch rotors with four-piston calipers rear.
Rear Suspension:
Speedtech Performance tubular four-link with Articulink design and Speedtech bolt-in coilover conversion. Adjustable Ridetech coilover shocks and a Speedtech three-way adjustable sway bar.
Tires:
Falken Azenis RT615K; 315/30/18 front and rear.
Wheels:
Forgeline RBC3; 18x10 (5.50-inch backspace) front nd 18x11 (6-inch backspace) rear.
Cost:
Suspension package runs $4,198. Options include ATS forged spindles ($1,299), 7075 billet steering arms ($279), Sway bar option ($599), and chassis brace kit ($749). Chicane front coilover conversion adds $235.

How’d It Stack Up?
Slalom Average Speed 100-Yard Dash Road Course Lap Time
Speedtech Performance 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle 44.5 mph 5.12 seconds 01:25.3
2010 Camaro SS 42.1 mph 5.76 seconds 01:25.9
The testing portion of the 2016 Falken Tire Super Chevy Muscle Car Challenge was held at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, and it was here that Alan Miller acquitted his abilities quite well with the near-two-ton beast of a Chevelle. Packing the LS3 engine, which supplies more horsepower than the car had in its original configuration back in 1970, Miller was able to traverse the slalom quicker than the benchmark, modern Camaro SS by nearly 2.5 mph. He was also able to eat the Camaro’s lunch in the 100-yard dash, covering the distance more than half a second quicker. The road course lap time was virtually on par, as the Chevelle was half a second quicker around the circuit. The performance lends credence to the quality of the Speedtech Performance suspension products and setup, as Miller is certainly not a professional driver in a professionally prepared race machine.

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