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Mike Watts 1970 Chevy Chevelle - Prime Evil

Perhaps The Nastiest-Looking Chevelle In The Western Hemisphere.

By Ro McGonegal, Photography by Fesler Productions

Driveline
Now, isn't a crate engine with a warranty a better deal than piecing one together and simply lowering the completed form into its cradle? For the street and Pro Touring strata, it just makes too much sense to ignore. EFI or carbureted; have at it. The LS7 is getting a lot of attention these days. Fesler's guys converted the oiling to a wet-sump system but wisely adhered to the electronic cube with which this powerplant was developed. They left the insides of the engine unmolested, concentrating on the support systems needed for the ofttimes hellish environment. A Be Cool core is attended by SPAL fans. MSD primary wires replace the Corvette stuff. They built the fuel supply system from GM Performance Parts pump and filter, sourced the fuel from a Rick's Stainless reservoir. The air intake tract is Fesler-built. An Earl's cooler holds engine oil temp on a steady simmer (an indispensable ally on those oh-so-pleasant 100-degree Phoenix evenings). For the ultimate in packaging, the boys selected a Street & Performance accessory drive system. To fit the of-a-piece tableaus that Fesler builds, nothing less than stainless steel would do for the exhaust system. Fesler jig-built the headers and then pursued custom-bent MagnaFlow head pipes, mufflers, and tailpipes. The grunt pours from an LS7 clutch assembly through a T56 and down a Driveshaft Shop propeller. The recipient is a Currie 9 with the usual limited-slip, 4.11:1 cogs, and 31-spline axles.

Wheels & Brakes
Fesler Productions rolls several styles of their own device, so it's unlikely that a car will leave the building turning anything less. The combo for Mike's Chevelle includes model FS907, three-piece assemblies that measure 19x9 in front and 19x11 at the rear. Commensurately, the Goodyear Eagle F1 grabbers are 245/35 and 295/30. The brakes are full-on Baer 6S whose six-piston calipers quickly put fire in flying saucer-sized 15-inch rotors. A Hydratech booster, built-in proportioning valve, and a billet SSBC master cylinder govern the hydraulics.

Exterior
Fesler and Gary Sharp completed the skin work, removing the side marker lights and the antenna, and tucked the bumpers in as previously discussed. Fesler also adapted its door handles, 5-inch headlights, and LED taillights and surrounds. Even if this car were not black, it would still be an evil-looking ride. Sharp sprayed the Sherwin-Williams Black, leaving the centers of the wheels with a subdued brushed finished.

Interior
Fesler's key on distinctive billet bits, so Watts' car could be the ultimate rolling poster. Except for one thing; they don't pop out and scare you. Fesler's stuff is elegantly unobtrusive. Witness more than 20 billet items on this Chevelle, mostly on the inside. Cripes, they jibe smooth so well with the whole that they become instantly and completely integral to it. "We built a hand-fabricated steel dash with all the latest gadgets in it: DVD/Nav radio, window switches, and more modern gauges and controls. Instead of a soothing shade of beige or orange, Watts wanted blacker than the Black Hole. Fesler lined the Recaros in leather, the headliner in suede, made the door and side panels, supplied the seatbelts, laid Bentley black carpeting throughout, gave the side glass Electric Life. The handbuilt steel dash holds Auto Meter gauges. Watts pops fingers on a contrasting Fesler-grown steering wheel. The Fesler interior repertoire includes: hood and trunk hinges, inner door pulls, and a custom seat to accommodate the mini-tubs. Nothing better than a big gulp of cool air with a smooth audio chaser. The Pioneer AVIC-F900BT head features CD, DVD, iPod, Sirius satellite, a navigation system and corresponding monitor. The door speakers are RS65.2 Kickers palled up with the same duo in the rear. Kicker CVT 12 subwoofers hang out in the trunk in a custom enclosure to coexist peacefully with the Air Ride tanks. Then the amplifiers, more Kickers in the trunk: SX 700.4 and SX 1250.1. That overworked Optima YellowTop even powers the DEI Viper alarm system.

Chassis
Since the Watts project was to be a complete makeover, Fesler's Bobby and Chris started out by boxing and tubing the frame and smoothing everything out. Watts wanted to put it on the ground whenever he wanted, so there was no question that RideTech wouldn't be involved. Founding the conversion on the original clip, Bobby and Chris began with dropped spindles, added tubular control arms, and ShockWaves hard-lined to 450C Viair compressors and Accuair holding tanks. At the rear, an Air Bar four-link setup. Steering column, et al, are Flaming River pieces connected to a GM Performance quick-ratio gearbox.

By Ro McGonegal
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