Subscribe to the Free

1972 Chevy Chevelle - Loud, Rude...Aggressive

Big Block Power, Packed In A Small Block Engine

Mike Harrington Feb 1, 2008
Sucp_0802_01_z 1972_chevy_chevelle Headlights 2/8

Just as the title of this story reads loud, this rude Pro-Street Chevelle will belch in your face after you lose the race. Visually, Gordon Sagerian's Chevelle possesses the stance of a merciless Texas rattler, ready to spring upon its hapless victim. Mercy and compassion, Bah! That's for front-wheel-driving weaklings who celebrate Thanksgiving with tofurkeys and cranberry chutney. If the stance isn't warning enough, then the no-mercy, blood-red paint serves as a second alarm. For those careless enough to ignore the admonitions, the consequences will follow.

This Chevelle has a pretty interesting story to tell. We spotted it at the '07 Chevelle-a-bration in Nashville. A massive downpour was on its way in and you should have seen the resto owners running and loading their vehicles onto trailers or disappearing over the horizon. Interestingly, enough of the owners who had modified and hot rodded their vehicles stayed put and casually rode out the storm. Gordon was one of these fellows. That's when we noticed this red devil '72. The Chevelle was purchased while Gordon was still in the Navy, and of all places it was found on a Ford dealer's lot. After several years in storage and several different engine swaps, it was time to get serious with the horsepower.

Sucp_0802_05_z 1972_chevy_chevelle Rear_lights 3/8

Rather than go the rat route, a Dart Little M 400ci block was purchased. Owens Racing Engines in Pearland, Texas, massaged a few more cubes out of the Dart block, and it sits at an intimidating 421ci. Bored 4.155 inches and stroked 3.875 inches, the internal assembly was balanced and blueprinted. The Eagle crank and JE pistons compress the gas into a 13:1 compression, while the custom-ground Clay Smith cam sends the Crower solid roller lifters into a furious punk rock pogo dance against the Comp chrome-moly pushrods.

An Edelbrock Super Victor intake and Demon 830-cfm carburetor inhale as much air as mechanically possible. ARP bolts keep the Dart Pro 1 aluminum cylinder heads firmly in place, while the cylinders erupt and then belch out the spent gasses. The spent gasses are caught in a whirlwind as they pass through the 1 3/4-inch Hedman headers, down the 3-inch homemade exhaust, out the Flowmaster mufflers, and then finally into the atmosphere where the losing vehicle has a chance to breathe them in.

Sucp_0802_02_z 1972_chevy_chevelle Engine 4/8

A chassis dyno measured the horsepower at 450 and the torque at 550. That's cute for starters, but when the N.O.S. Cheater system is activated, another 250 horses find their way to the rear wheels. The Chevelle runs consistent low 10s with a best pass of 10.18 at 131 mph. Gordon has splintered a couple sets of axles, a tranny case, shattered the motor mounts, and grenaded a ring-and-pinion set. If that's not enough, just ask the Texas Highway Patrol. A few times now, they've personally tried to slow him down with a ticket or two.

So what about the chassis? Except for the QA1 coilovers, the stock spindles, A-arms and even brakes are employed. If you have a parachute to slow you down, why not re-use the stock brakes? The chassis was back-halved in '98 by Westside Hot Rods, which also installed the cage. The interior is mostly stock as well, except the harness system and gauges.

Sucp_0802_07_z 1972_chevy_chevelle Wheels 5/8

When we photographed this Chevelle, Gordon told us that this engine was ready to be upgraded, and, true to life, as soon as we had written this article he sent us a heads-up about the new mill. The crank, cam and pistons were changed in order to lower compression and run on pump gas. A Littlefield 8-71 blower and two Demon 850 carbs were thrown into the mix for fun. The old crank was cracked, so Gordon switched to a Callies Dragon Slayer. A custom-ground Clay Smith cam was once again employed, and the new pistons are from Diamond.

The new compression numbers are now 8:6:1. Currently the boost on the blower is 10 pounds and pushing about 850 horses. On one of his first passes with the new engine it ran lean and fried one of the pistons. So once again the engine was pulled. The boost will be kicked up to 14 pounds with a hopeful 1,000 horses on the dyno.

If mercy is for the weak, and power for the taking, then Gordon's Chevelle is taking all it can get.



Connect With Us

Get Latest News and Articles. Newsletter Sign Up

sponsored links

subscribe to the magazine

get digital get print