Weight reduction only goes so far, though. So the quest for more power began. Keith knew he would regret making changes to the car that would prevent it from being returned to stock if he ever decided to do so. Instead of tearing apart the original 454, he yanked it out and stuck it in the corner. He started on what would be a line of six big-blocks. The first couple were pretty mild steps up: A 482 and 462, based on production blocks. Then a 510 was built that launched Keith on a serious cubic-inch fetish. Next came a 572 and then a monster 624. That block cracked between the bores, ending that engine's stint in the car. While the 672 was out and the 555 was being built, Keith tossed the original 454 back in the car under the premise of keeping the trans and rearend lubed and healthy. Naturally, he worked a few races into that maintenance schedule. To show just how much a few hundred pounds of weight reduction and some precise chassis tuning and weight reduction is worth, the car turned a 12.25 e.t. with the original 235-horse engine in it. We have to tell you, we'd be embarrassed to get spanked by a boat with a smog motor in it!
The 555 that's currently in the car stepped things up quite a bit. Scott Williams at S&K Racing built the engine to make the most of the way Keith had his Chevelle setup. The engine uses Weisco 13:1 pistons with AFR heads and a Cam Motion bumpstick. Lukovich Racing handled all of the machining work on the Bow Tie block, K1 Technologies crank, and rods. A lot of the efficiencies in transferring that power to the ground come through the original TH400 transmission that was reworked by Jim Paquet of JPT. The gearbox uses a standard pattern, full-manual valvebody. This provides high-quality shifts on demand, but lets Keith retain the original shifter. The car has turned a best quarter-mile time of 10.001 at 136 mph with this powertrain combination.
The exterior's great looks are more accidental than intentional. The car has never been painted all at once. In fact, the roof and upper quarter-panels still wear the original black paint. Since the car was a daily driver for many years, the doors and rear-wheel openings rusted out at different times. The doors were replaced and patch panels welded in, and sections of the car were painted as needed.
Even though the car is 36 years old, it never reached the level of decay and decline that most old cars do. Accordingly, the interior is mostly original. The seats are original and the front buckets have been recovered once in the original material. Keith ditched the swivel feature of the seats for more weight savings. The Rally gauge cluster that came with the police package is still mostly there and functioning. The tachometer died, and Keith couldn't find anyone who could fix it. But he noticed that an '87 IROC Camaro tachometer was about the same size and had the same sweep, so he swapped the guts to use the IROC tach with his original gauge face. Similarly, the clock croaked, and he swapped in an oil pressure gauge from an '80s GM diesel truck. There are few things in the interior that you don't see. Inside the center console is an MSD ignition retard control. Behind the glovebox door is the MSD 6AL box where Keith can plug in rpm-limiter chips. Flipping down the ashtray reveals a start button. The original rear-window defogger switch now turns the Holley electric fuel pump on and off. These are the type of cool and thoughtful details that set Keith's car apart from stripped-down race cars.