In a young adult world dominated by tuner and import cars, Brett Chmura’s Monte Carlo SS stands tall as a direct statement of daring to be different amongst his peers. That being said, the Pomfret, Connecticut, resident has earned his place amongst many wicked muscle cars by designing and building a car with a great story. With family roots stretching back to 1959 when his grandfather opened his first auto repair shop (now operated by his uncles) he spent plenty of time watching his dad, Charlie, spin wrenches on a number of custom cars in the family’s two-car garage.
Recognizing that he and his older brother Chad had plenty of interest in everything automotive, Charlie got them involved at an early age in the shop by letting them participate in his builds. Brett further lived the dream through building kit models at the kitchen table, later graduating into Quarter Midget racing. At the same time, the trio frequented local cruise nights, short track racing at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, and the drags at New England Dragway. With his dad having a passion for G-body cars, he witnessed a slew of hop-ups run through the shop, including a Pro Street Malibu that was featured in Super Chevy magazine. It was this particular Malibu that was forever burned in his mind since it always appeared bigger than life in the magazine spread hanging on his bedroom wall.
With frequenting the scene since an early age, as well as the family repair shop, Brett was able to fine-tune his desires and determined he wanted his first car to be an ’80’s-era Chevy Monte Carlo. As luck would have it, his uncles were regularly visited by a customer who just so happened to have a 1983 Monte Carlo that had been stored away for well over a decade. The car was a loaded, ultra-clean luxury model that was straight with minimal rust. The tricky part was that Brett was only 14 years old, but at $1,000 there was no way they could pass up on the car. With a deal made, his dad fired the car up and drove it back to their home shop. Now owning the car allowed Brett to study it while taking on minor projects till he was ready to get fully involved in its build. Being in auto shop class in high school he learned about fuel injection from his instructor who also planted the idea of turbos, not to mention Brett’s ideas of turning it into an SS, but then we’re getting ahead of ourselves. From the point of initial purchase to completion, the project went on a 10-year journey.
Brett and his dad took on almost the entire build in their home garage. Starting with the chassis, they boxed the framerails and moved them inboard 3.5 inches in order to make room for wider rubber. Out back, a Quick Performance 9-inch rear was packed with 3.70:1 gears spun through Moser Engineering 31-spline axles. It’s suspended in place by a factory four-link updated with Iceman Racing double-adjustable upper control arms deftly matched to owner-fabbed double-adjustable tubular lower control arms along with an S&W Race Cars Pro-Series coil and shock kit and custom antiroll bar.
To set the stance and handling up front, the factory IFS was refurbished and accented with performance upgrades that include Belltech 2-inch drop spindles, Competition Engineering 90/10 shocks, and GM G-body V-6 springs. A GM dual master pushes juice through steel lines to GM 10.5-inch rotors and calipers up front and a rear disc conversion from Right Stuff Detailing with 11-inch rotors squeezed by GM calipers. To anchor it all, a set of Weld Racing 15-inch Pro Star wheels wearing Mickey Thompson rubber make a statement.
Wanting to bring the car to the next level regarding horsepower meant fusing just the right elements of performance and technology. This is where Brett goes straight to the head of the class, inspired by Hot Rod magazine’s article “Big Bang Theory.” After doing research, he sourced a 1999 Chevrolet LQ4 V-8 displacing 6.0L as a base. The engine was torn down and sent off to Larry’s Automotive in Danielson, Connecticut, to balance, blueprint, and massage it to perfection. The bottom end was packed with a factory cast-iron crank linked to Eagle ESP 4340 H-beam rods wearing Wiseco forged-aluminum Chevy LS series pistons with file-fit rings. A Chevrolet Performance LS9 ZR1 hydraulic roller cam sets the beat while a pair of aluminum Chevrolet Performance L92 rectangular port heads generate plenty of “go” packed with factory valves and a Brian Tooley Racing platinum spring kit with titanium retainers, chromoly pushrods, and LS stock rocker arm trunnion kit.
At the top end, a Holley Hi-Ram intake with Fuel Injector Development 1000-series injectors matches up to an Apex Racing Sport 92mm throttle body. Delivering the knockout punch are a pair of DNA Motoring GT45 68mm turbos linked to a CXRacing dual inlet, single outlet aluminum intercooler. An MS3-Pro ignition lights the fire and spent gasses move through a pair of polished OBX Racing Sports Up & Forward turbo headers with 1 7/8-inch primaries and 3-inch V-band connectors to a custom 3-inch ceramic coated exhaust and Kooks mufflers. Brett worked directly with tuning guru Scott Clark to get everything dialed in with regard to the MS3-Pro computer and its programming.
A GM TH400 trans was heavily reworked by FTI Converters in De Leon Springs, Florida, to withstand plenty of hard-core abuse and linked to a driveshaft from Precision Shaft Technologies.
Having always appreciated the vibe of the 1983 Monte Carlo SS body styling, Brett’s first decision was to update the standards to that model. Working as a service technician at the local Chevy dealership allowed him the opportunity to look deep inside the factory offerings for the car and was able to locate a fresh N.O.S. nose. He also came across a pair of rust-free doors, Harwood 4-inch cowl-induction fiberglass hood, and SS rear bumper and spoiler. The father and son then moved on with a number of custom updates, including modifying the outer headlights to high/low beams, reworking the inner headlights for direct air induction to the turbos, crafting a one-off central rear bumper exhaust exit, and installing the Competition Engineering rear wheeltubs. To bring it to life, they laid down a decadent coating of PPG Viper Red gloss accented by satin black exterior trim powdercoated by Central Connecticut Coatings.
To keep with the theme of the car, the interior had to be all business as well. A 1988 Monte Carlo SS dash was fitted with custom CNC-milled aluminum trim and carbon-fiber inserts packed with Auto Meter Pro-Comp Ultra-Lite dials. A Grant Series 1131 collector edition steering wheel mounted to a factory tilt column plots the course while shifts move through a B&M Racing Pro Ratchet unit. A six-point rollcage prepared by Brian Caya Race Cars was installed as well as a trio of Kirkey Racing seats. Fred Carello of Warwick, Rhode Island, masterfully installed the headliner, Mercedes-Benz dark charcoal wool carpets, and covered the custom CNC-milled Masonite door and side panels by Charlie in Rave vinyl with flame-red trim. Special thanks go to Chad for machining a number of exclusive parts for the car as well as his mom, Lisa, for all her amazing support throughout the build.
Brett tells us that the most memorable experience was being able to build the car at home with his dad while learning plenty of tricks and patience along the way. We couldn’t agree more, and to us this car is just plain bitchin.
|Owner:||Brett Chmura, Pomfret, Connecticut|
|Vehicle:||1983 Monte Carlo SS|
|Cylinder Heads:||Aluminum GM L92, 2.165/1.590 valves, rectangular intake ports|
|Rotating Assembly:||Stock cast-iron crank, Eagle H-beam rods, Wiseco forged-aluminum LS series pistons|
|Valvetrain:||Brian Tooley Racing 0.660-inch lift platinum spring kit and titanium retainers, factory rockers with Brian Tooley Racing LS stock rocker arm trunnion kit and chromoly pushrods|
|Camshaft:||Chevrolet Performance LS9 ZR1|
|Induction:||Holley Hi-Ram intake with Fuel Injector Development 1000-series injectors; Apex Racing Sport 92mm throttle body; twin DNA Motoring GT45 68mm turbos; CXRacing dual inlet, single outlet aluminum intercooler|
|Exhaust:||OBX Racing Sports turbo headers, custom 3-inch exhaust, Kooks mufflers|
|Transmission:||GM TH400, heavily massaged|
|Rear Axle:||Quick Performance 9-inch, 3.70:1 gears, Moser Engineering 31-spline axles|
|Front Suspension:||Stock IFS with Belltech 2-inch drop spindles, GM G-Body V-6 springs, Competition Engineering 90/10 shocks|
|Rear Suspension:||Iceman Racing double-adjustable upper control arms, owner-fabbed double-adjustable tubular lower control arms, custom antiroll bar, S&W Race Cars Pro-Series coil and shock kit|
|Steering:||1983 Chevy S-10 manual steering box|
|Brakes:||GM 10.5-inch cross-drilled rotors, GM calipers front; Right Stuff Detailing 11-inch cross-drilled rotors, GM calipers rear|
|Wheels & Tires|
|Wheels:||Weld Racing Pro Star 15x3.5 front, 15x10 rear|
|Tires:||Mickey Thompson Sportsman 26x7.50 front, ET Street Radial 315x60 rear|
|Upholstery:||Fred Carello (Warwick, RI)|
|Instrumentation:||Auto Meter Pro-Comp Ultra-Lite|
|Carpet:||Mercedes-Benz dark charcoal wool|
|Shifter:||B&M Racing Pro Ratchet|
|Restoration Parts:||Dixie Restoration Depot|
|Paint:||PPG Viper Red|
|Hood:||Harwood 4-inch cowl-induction|