After riding in the backseat as a kid, Eli Brown couldn't wait to get the keys to his grandfather Darrell Leslie's '70 Monte Carlo. As an eager 14-year-old, young Eli started working with Darrell to fix the old Monte up and get it ready to hit the road again. The Monte had been sitting outside a few years and needed some attention.
First up was the 350 engine. They started with just a top-end refresh, but this eventually led to a full rebuild. Next were the brakes and suspension, totally rebuilt by Eli. Being a rust belt car, the '70 had some cancer, so with his grandfather's help, Eli bought a MIG welder and learned how to weld while fixing the body rot. The front fenders were shot, so a pair of donors were found to replace them. The car's ragged vinyl top was also stripped off, the metal cleaned up, and made good as new.
By the time Eli finished high school, he had learned a lot about working on cars, and had a nice primer black '70 Monte Carlo to wheel around in college. After a year, he realized the combo of a primered automobile and salted roads didn't go together very well. So, the '70 went back into his grandfather's garage, where it would be treated to some in-depth attention and modifications. Working now as a full time mechanic, Eli had the means to go through the Monte and build it the way he wanted.
The body was stripped all the way down, and new quarters, doors, decklid, fiberglass front fenders and hood installed. Along the way, he shaved the door handles, smoothed the firewall, and performed some other body tweaks to get things just right. Eli then got his first chance to spray basecoat/clearcoat paint, covering the A-body in PPG Copper Metallic. The engine was painted, detailed, and reinstalled, finishing off the '70 for some cruising, car shows, and dragstrip fun.
At the track, Eli tuned the small-block for all it was worth to get the e.t.'s down, ringing up a best of 12.90. This was the sign for Eli to build a new engine. First, his research was on superchargers of various types, but a chance landing at a turbo website and forum planted the seeds for another idea. More research and exploring convinced Eli he could build the necessary plumbing for a turbo system. With a BorgWarner 71mm turbo and 50mm wastegate as the heart, he fabricated a full inlet system for the power adder. That finished, attention turned to the engine.
Auto Meter Cobalt gauges mounted in the cowl hood to supplement the factory readouts.
This time around, the 350 was treated to an 0.040-inch overbore, a 3.75-inch stroker crank with Eagle H-beam rods, and Mahle forged dished pistons, for 385 cubes of boost-ready displacement. World Products S/R Torquer iron heads were installed using ARP head studs, along with a Crane hydraulic roller cam, tappets, pushrods, and Comp Cams Pro Magnum roller rockers. Feeding the boosted monster are a pair of Walbro fuel pumps through a Quick Fuel Q650 carb modified for blow-through operation and E-85 fuel. The carb sits on a Professional Products Hurricane intake. Eli built his own distributorless ignition system with Megasquirt 2 computer, 8-inch crank trigger, and GM LS2 coils. He also custom fabricated the entire exhaust system, which was later ceramic coated by Aesthetic Finishers in Piqua, Ohio.
Everything the Mouse makes (estimated to be 650-700 hp at 10 psi of boost) goes through a built 700-R4 with a 3500 stall converter, and 3.5-inch aluminum driveshaft. A DTS fabricated 9-inch rear takes care of the power from there, with 3.60 gears and a Yukon trac-loc unit.
Inside, the stock interior's bolstered with a pair of Corbeau CR1 front buckets. A Kenwood audio system with Polk Audio speakers supplies the cruising tunes.
All finished, Eli headed to the track. Light-footed runs with the new engine combo had the Monte easily in the high 11s. After some tweaking and tuning with the ignition system to get the engine running consistently, those numbers began falling. To date, the car has run a best of 11.01 at 128 mph. He knows the car will go faster, but without a cage doing so would be dangerous.
While the tweaking and tuning will always go on, for now Eli is content to enjoy the car for a while as is, or at least until he decides on the next major changes to take place.