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Chevy 350 Small Block & 1966 Chevy El Camino - CHP Garage


Dec 1, 2008

More Project
'73 Thoughts

Do you want the long version or the short? With all the emails, I am sure you want the short version. Keep the small-block 350 and make it the nastiest streetable engine you can decide on. Everybody is reporting 600-plus cubic inch mills generating 1,500 hp (I recently read a 2,000hp Tempest story!). That type of a build is a "been there done that" type of story. Keep the heritage and keep the soul of the car intact. Please feel free to tub out the wheelwells. The tires need street tread though; that always looks good to me.Charles W. Propst Jr.Gettysburg, PA

I'll leave the 600ci motors for the dragstrip, and you can count on that. As for the minitubs, that's a given. We've already put in our order for a set.

A '73 Camaro offers the best of both avenues, be it for the road course or the dragstrip. I know mixing it to do both at the same time has probably already been covered, so my suggestion is to design it so simple mods can be done to switch it back and forth easily. Drag one weekend, corner carve the next. Call it Jekyll & Hyde! Also, I really appreciate the basic step-by-step articles even though I have been around Chevys for a long time. I find there is always a good reminder I could see myself forgetting, or a better method or two I could learn. I think this helps those new to our hobby, especially those who are trying to do it on their own and who might not have help. Keep the pages coming!
Dave Howell
Beijing, China

You nailed it. As we've mentioned before, this baby is going to be a cruiser that can do it all. Granted, this one will turn a lot better than an all-out 1320 thug, but it'll have enough oats to get the job done. Also, I can't agree with you more: The Step by Step department is one of my personal favorites. We generally plan stories around the more basic material, but it's still valuable content that everyone from newbies to the experienced can appreciate. Thanks!

Mileage Thoughts From the Sea
I have been reading your mag for over a year now. I had my wife send them to the ship so I have something to keep my sanity while out at sea. I am in the Navy, so I've neither the income nor the facility to work on my own project, but I love reading about yours. I love the magazine. I literally count the days until I get the new one ever since my wife bought me a subscription for Father's Day. I love the engine builds you guys feature, I really do. I hate to be "that guy," but I just wonder what these motors will do on mileage. Of course, I know it depends on the application, gearing, weight of the vehicle, city/highway, and so on. But seriously, I would love to see those three engines in last month's "Three-Way MouseFest" in some sort of vehicle, be it a Camaro in "El Strippo" fashion or an Impala used to drive to work. Keep up the great work, guys. You have a lot to do with my personal morale while at sea. Thank you.
John Miller
Norfolk, VA

Let me start by saying thank you from everyone at CHP for all you do! Hmm, we do plan on dropping several of those motors into various applications. Currently we're planning to drop one of the older big-blocks into our '66 El Camino. As for the 383 from "Three-Way MouseFest," we may be dropping it into the Camaro, and if so we'll give a full report. Be sure to check your email. We've sent you a care package.

Interior, Seats, and Stuff
Hey guys, great mag! Like most of your readers, I look forward to the upcoming articles and can't wait until the next issue. I have an eye-catching '67 RS Camaro loaded with a naturally aspirated 383 small-block that's dyno-rated at 450 at the flywheel and is backed up by a 700-R4. It has been minitubbed to accommodate larger wheels and tires and comes to a stop with 13-inch Baer rotors. There is more, but enough of the small talk other than to say most everything has been redone, a lot by me, but also with help and guidance from my local Camaro shop.

I am always looking for the next improvement, which is why I suggest the following article for the magazine. While many owners want to keep the interior of their rides looking stock, some of us would like to update the seats for comfort. A recent backache (getting older sucks) from a 100-mile round trip confirmed there is room for improvement. This is tricky because the seat has to look "right" in the car. If it's too big it looks terrible, but it needs to be big enough for the old backside. It would be great to see an article about different seats that provide comfort for cruising while retaining some semblance of originality. If nothing else, you could suggest what seats from later-generation Camaros would fit in first-gens and even suggest aftermarket seat manufacturers. You guys are great for articles about stuff under the hood, trannys, and other mechanical stuff! How about a little more attention to the products available for the interior?

Keep up the great work.
Gerald Bogue
LaGrange, GA

Your letter couldn't have come at a better time. We're already in the midst of generating more interior edit, including a detailed buyer's guide to showcase what's available. And for what it's worth, I've fractured and compressed my back from a riding accident so I know exactly how painful it can be. That said, I really enjoy the Corbeau CR1 seats that were installed in our Camaro ("Performer," Sept. '08).

You may have noticed our Garage department shrinking a bit. We've been slowly integrating these items over on our blog at chevyhiperformance.com in order to bring the news to you in a more timely manner. Don't fret though. We still have room for all your letters, so keep 'em coming: chevyhi@sourceinterlink.com.

John Nelson

I'm feeling a bit on edge today, but for the first time in a while I mean that in a good way. Not that I don't feel it otherwise-a too-long commute, the constant struggle to make deadlines, and just the effort to take care of day-to-day business ensure a constant filament of tension runs through my worn-out daily grind. Anybody else know what I'm talking about? But this is different-it's a tension born of excitement, of anticipation, of knowing a little adventure has made its way into my daily plod.

It's been a long time since I've been racing. I can't claim to be a diehard competitor-I've done some bracket racing, and I've done some open road racing. Oh, and I've been karting a few times. That's something I'd like to do more of, if only I could get the time and the space and the money. Again, I'm guessing some of you know what I'm talking about. But whether you're an every-weekend fanatic or a once-in-a-while dabbler, in competing we're all looking for a rush, the powerful primal sensation of putting oneself to the test.

As I feel this edginess, it's hard to believe that it's exactly three weeks until the Silver State Classic Challenge begins. Three weeks to take care of business at the office. Three weeks to get prepared mentally, physically, and logistically, for the race. Three weeks for this edge, this adrenalin-tinged moment I all of a sudden seem to be living in, to ramp higher and higher as the day of the contest draws closer. Will I be able to handle it, or will I just up and spontaneously combust by then?

There's a lot here that deserves sober thought. I'm signing up for a helluva fast ride, and there's most certainly a viable component of danger to this enterprise. And there's also that other sober thought: Much as I'm looking forward to the rush that comes with strafing down the highway at warp speed and want to do everything I can to do it safely, I also want to navigate true and help win my speed class. Of course, that's a whole other rush (if you like that kind of thing), and who knows if my tired old bones can handle two jolts in a single weekend. Naturally, that's a chance I think I'll take.

Rooster Call
Sean Haggai

Not to complain, but I spent two full weekends and practically a third trying to shoehorn my big-block and Turbo 400 combo into the '66 El Camino, only to find out it still wouldn't fit. It's just a little disheartening to know you burned about 15,000 calories, dumped gallons of sweat, and used every foul word conceivable-even ones you make up out of nowhere.

We work until the very brutal end, and sometimes the results we get aren't the ones we were looking for. It's the nature of the beast. Sometimes though, stories can get swapped and, yes, in my case, even cut. It's disappointing to find out that two or three weeks' worth of labor to produce a story has to be cut at the last minute because it didn't go according to plan. Until I came onboard, I never realized the countless hours it takes to generate a story. It's really not as simple as bolting on something and forgetting about it. And unfortunately, as deadlines loom, the air around the office can become tense. Thankfully though, we have great people out there who understand the limited time we have and are willing to go out of their way to help us do our thing.

In my eyes though, it's definitely worth it. Not only are we pushing the limits for valuable tech and building great relationships, but the friendships we build allow us to generate the best edit possible. So you know, we also enjoy those of you who stick with us month after month, and we enjoy the random emails about how much the stories helped. We even enjoy the ones that are quick to point out something we might have missed. Good or bad, you know how to reach us, so keep those emails coming. As of now, we are still working on getting our Elco up and running, getting H's Camaro to the track, and getting Nelson's Camaro a new motor. Stay tuned!


What Kind Of Muscle Car Are You?
Ever wanted to see what kind of muscle car you were? While cruising the Internet, weird and random things always fly our way, and we love to share them with you. Check out this site (tinyurl.com/6ybe6o). Take the quiz and find out what type of muscle car best describes you. According to the site, I am a big-block-powered '72 Chevelle SS.-SH



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