Complacency: The last stop on the road to Nowheresville. Just when you think you've seen it all, and say, "Everything that can be already is," something bolts from out of the blue and smacks you in the face.
The Roadster Shop, yes, The Roadster Shop, has added a new division to its operation known as RS Performance Concepts. RS Performance Concepts has taken all of its combined knowledge of chassis engineering in the street rod market and applied it to that of the muscle car market. It has strategically focused its efforts on the Bow Tie chassis development. First was the all-new Tri-Five chassis (as seen on our Project American Heroes '57) and now (drum roll please) comes the all-new, bolt-on Chevelle chassis.
RS Performance is the first company that we know of that has specifically engineered and tested an all-aftermarket bolt-on frame for the Chevelle. Bolt-on? Yes-there are no body modifications required to fit any '64-72 GM A-body. It will directly bolt up to all stock body mounts, bumper mounts and core support mounts. This new frame will also support all the popular Chevrolet engines such as the small-block, big-block and LS-series engines. There's also an adjustable transmission mount that works with all GM automatic and manual transmissions.
The frame itself is beautifully designed to include every desired option in one package. The 3.5x3.5-inch 10-gauge, fully boxed framerails were engineered to be far stronger than stock. The front and rear framerails have been narrowed for the use of wider wheels (provided you tub the vehicle). The mid brace is designed for up to 3-inch exhaust with ports through the brace and an integrated driveshaft loop.
RS Performance combined forces with Detroit Speed and Engineering (DSE) to develop the front-end suspension to the specified geometry of a C6 Corvette. That includes a power rack-and-pinion, C6 spindles, splined front sway bar, tubular upper and lower A-arms, polyurethane bushings and DSE tuned Afco adjustable billet shocks. The rear suspension comes standard with an HD 9-inch axle housing and 30-spline axles, a large-diameter four-bar rear suspension built by RS Performance, and QA-1 dual adjustable billet coilovers.
The base price of this bolt-on frame with the above-mentioned components is $15,495, minus the brakes and third member. OK, so what are the benefits of this all-new Chevelle chassis?
* Strength through fully boxed, fabricated framerails and tubular crossbraced center crossmember design.
* Lowered ride height and aggressive stance.
* Adjustable 3-position rear ride height to fine-tune the car to a desired stance.
* Easy installation to stock body requiring no body modifications. (Minor modification to the driveshaft tunnel will be necessary if the car is going to sit at the lowest suspension setting.)
* Front suspension that allows for a 10-inch wide wheel.
* Narrowed rear framerails to allow for up to a 14-inch wide tire.
* Pre-fit with an actual engine block and transmission for a guaranteed fit.
* Increased header and exhaust clearance.
* Center crossmember designed for 3-inch exhaust to easily clear and fit inside the frame rather than hang below.
Take a glance at Thomas Lyman's road test article of the first Chevelle with this frame in the December 2007 issue of Super Chevy. Our resident SCCA road racer gave it all he had, and there was no letting go. The Chevelle grabbed the ground and hung in there like a cat on a curtain. Let's take a detailed look at this new, innovative chassis and the sum of its performance parts.