Persistence is an invaluable trait for car guys. From finding parts to getting the car always desired, the unstoppable drive to succeed can give Bow Tie addicts that extra surge of adrenaline to see things through to a positive conclusion.
Cameron Merrill watched his neighbor revamp a '65 Chevelle convertible shell (said neighbor was a Painless Dent Removal specialist), and was impressed with the fine restoration job performed on the paint, body and interior. The horrifying moment came when the neighbor bolted on an air suspension and tiny wheels to make the ragtop a lowrider. With a mundane 350 for power, the Chevelle had become a low-altitude cruiser. But Cameron still wanted to buy it, even with its ground-scraping stance. He waited patiently for the opportunity to be the car's next owner.
Fast forward four years, and Cameron's neighbor was in the hellish nightmare of marital disharmony and disolvement. A need for cash put the guy in a spot, and the Chevelle had to be sacrificed. Cameron gladly handed over the money for the ragtop's pink slip and quickly began rebuilding the car into a true muscle car. The hydraulics came off at blazing speed, with Global West hardware being bolted on to the A-body chassis. With better handling arose a need for more power, so the pedestrian 350 and slush box were yanked in favor of a thumpin' 383 stroker backed by a Tremec TKO five-speed. After that, it was nothing but tire smoking excitement and driving for Cameron and his '65.
Driver's Impression-On the Autocross Course
I'm such a sucker for a red car, and have no problems admitting it. Global West's gorgeous '65 Chevelle convertible had me from "Hello" when I threw the top down, revved up the 383, slammed the TKO-600 into several gears, and it powered me down the autocross course with gifts of balance, elegance, and grace. The grin meter was on overload for this test, and proved once again that my job is pretty cool.
With full Global West underpinnings, I knew this car would handle well and do justice to my autocross course. The initial slalom found the steering to be extremely precise, with the Chevelle deftly handling each change of direction. The steering was perfect; looking down the course had me throwing darts at apexes and finding them every time. I came through the first crossover thinking it couldn't get much better than this, and well ... it did. Like Third gear, as the Chevelle just powered down the lanes with no fuss and its butt planted firmly to the tarmac.
Applying the Wilwood binders at the end turnaround held no surprises; the pedal was easy to modulate with wonderful brake response. Coming back through the sweepers found the car reaching adhesion limits but still remaining in a balanced state. When that limit was exceeded (and yes, it was ... several dozen times), playing "toss and catch" was quite fun. I felt I could "talk" to each tire and from this, feel the trademark predictability of any good-handling car. On one run, I tempted fate and at the turnaround, caused a bit of push after getting speed greed, but that's my own dumb fault. Properly driven, this Chevelle shows all is right in its world.
Can this 'vert do the job? From me, a resounding "yes," as the drivetrain, brakes, and steering complement the suspension very well. It shows once again that Global West offers excellent bolt-on suspension pieces for those that want a bit more handling performance for yesterday's muscle car without cutting on their stock frames.-Mary Pozzi
Driver's Impression-On the Street
After driving a couple of cars with five-point harnesses and raucous exhaust systems, the Global West Chevelle offered a welcome respite. Not that it was tame, mind you, but definitely more civilized than some of our competitors. I was immediately taken by the clean, custom gauge cluster, the five-speed pattern on the shift ball and the (it bears noting) lack of race harnesses. On the down side, the clutch take-up was too high and grabby, something I'd not experienced before with a McLeod dual disc.
It wasn't 1,000 feet into my journey when I knew the Global West Chevelle had the goods. As Mary reports, the steering was very direct. It offered excellent feedback and a tight turning radius. There is lots of torn-up pavement going in and out of our test facility and I explored much of it to find out the suspension's virtues and vices. The ride quality was very good-daily driver good-though it could be a little jittery at times.
The real virtue of this car's setup was its simplicity: bolt-on parts that transformed the car's performance capabilities without destroying its streetability. If you are going to buy the entire $7,200 package, this is an important consideration. And the performance was there; it was 1.6 mph faster through the slalom than a '10 Camaro SS and pulled virtually the same number on the skidpad. That's quite a performance.-Jim Campisano
The Global West '65 Chevelle Convertible
Type: 383 Gen I small-block
Block: stock iron
Transmission: Tremec TKO five-speed
Clutch: McCloud dual disc
Rear End: 12-bolt GM with 3.73 gears and Positraction
Chassis & Suspension
Chassis: Stock GM Chevelle frame
Suspension: Global West Negative Roll tubular upper and lower control arms
Steering: Global West 12:1 power steering box
Springs: Global West 500 lb/rate
Spindles: Global West
Shocks: QA1 double adjustable coilovers
Sway Bar: Global West 1 1/8-inch diameter solid bar
Brakes: Wilwood four-piston calipers, Global West Cat 5 13-inch slotted rotors with Global West modified B-body spindles
Suspension: Global West tubular lower control arms with adjustable upper arms
Springs: Global West 125 lb/rate
Shocks: QA1 double adjustable
Sway Bar: None (not recommended with this Global West kit)
Brakes: Wilwood four-piston calipers and Global West slotted 12-inch rotors
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: Vintage Wheel Works 5-spoke, 17x7 front, 17x8 rear
Tires: Nitto NT05 size 235/45ZR17 (front) and 255/45ZR17 (rear)
Cost Of Chassis/Suspension: $7,200, including brakes
|Total = 3,730 lbs
|LF = 996 lbs
||RF = 953 lbs
|LR = 889 lbs
||RR = 892 lbs
Front/Rear Balance Percentage
F = 52.3%
R = 47.7%
||'10 Camaro SS