The 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle is one of the most iconic and recognizable cars to come out of the horsepower wars from the 1960’s and ‘70’s. Ever since its inception in 1964, the Chevelle has become one of the top choices for people looking to make serious power at the track.
For Don Wilhelm, an ASE master mechanic, the 1970 Chevelle has been stuck in his mind as long as he can remember. Don isn’t a stranger to the muscle car scene, either. A few of his previous builds include a 1976 Monza with a 350 small block and a 1970 Monte Carlo with another built 350. Don even had a ’79 Malibu that began as a side project and wound up as a track car with a 396 big block. Those cars all pale in comparison to his newest project and the car Don has always wanted; a 1970 Chevelle.
The whole story goes back to 2005 when his friend Dave just so happened to have the Chevelle of Dan’s dreams. When Dave put the ‘70 up for sale, Don knew this would be his best opportunity to own the car that had eluded him this far. After the money traded hands Don brought the Chevelle home and got down to work. With the help of his friend Ken (who he’s known since high school some 25 years ago) Don began a mild restoration on the car. The first motor dropped in the ‘velle was a big block Chevy motor mated up to a 700r4 transmission. Next, the exterior got sprayed a beautiful two-tone black and red paint job. After taking the finished-at-the-time Chevelle to the track, Don laid down a respectable 12:76 @ 108MPH in the quarter.
However things were about to change. In March of 2011 Don felt the need for speed again and bought a C5 Corvette and kept the Chevelle tucked away. After sporting the Corvette for a while, Don became really impressed with how well the LS1 put out power without all the complications of old-school motors. This began a brainstorm in Don’s mind. If the LS1 in his Corvette was so good, why not put an LS series motor in his Chevelle?
After doing some research online and in car magazines Don came to a grand conclusion. Fitting an LS engine into his Chevelle, complete with twin turbos, would not only give him the same horsepower as the big block in there at the time but would also give him the holy grail: Better gas mileage. And so the hunt began. Thanks to modern technology, Don was able to find exactly what he was looking for on EBay. He scored a Vortec 4800 LR4 complete with PCM, wiring, and all the accessories needed to get it running.
Next up was the turbos. Relying once again on EBay, Don was able to grab a pair of T70 turbos to give him all the boost he would ever want. The building of the twin turbo 4.8 got underway. As Christmas rolled around, Don’s wife Tina had a few delightful presents for him in the form of LS6 valve springs and a flat flexplate with spacer. By March of this year Don had the motor dropped in the Chevelle and running, sans turbos.
To get the turbos hooked up to the motor, Don had a few tricks up his sleeve. First he began by taking the stock exhaust manifolds and flipping them upside down. After cutting the headers to where the turbos needed to sit, T3 flanges were welded into place. Just to make sure air flowed into the engine properly a modified LS1 intake manifold was installed.
Getting plenty of fuel to the motor in a twin turbo car can be an exercise in frustration but Don was to have none of it. To make sure fuel flow wasn’t an issue, an Aeromotive A1000 fuel system was put in place and plumbed up to 80lb./hr. injectors. To handle the power, the 700R4 transmission was taken out due to some reliability issues and in its place now is a TH350 with an upgraded shift kit. The rear end on this strong Chevelle is now a 12 bolt with disc brakes on all four wheels. In back, the suspension sports Hotchkis control arms and up front the suspension is stock. The wheels and tires are Weld Telstars with P275/60/15s in the back and P235/60/15s up front. Believe it or not, almost 90% of the parts used to build this car were sourced from EBay! Currently, Don is waiting for some free time from his job as a Master Technician at a Chrysler dealership to get his wicked Chevelle to the dyno so he can get it tuned and ready to run on the dragstrip.