At first glance, the interior looks like a lavish restoration-until you do some poking aro
Slipping into the car is what got us really excited. Dave Ross had penned a modern interpretation of what a '57 Chevy interior would look like today, and the GM engineers made it happen, right down to the updated materials, and the continued "X" pattern from the 210 trim on the quarter continued on the doors and waterfall. Once we got comfortable in our new office, we realized that the entire ergonomics of the interior had been changed to its betterment. The shifter was right where it should be, the pedals were close, and our seated position put us in perfect control of the car. And the dash, with a modern Chevy? You better believe it!
At the crack of the ignition key, the ultra-rare 427 roared to life. It had been a long road for that all-aluminum big-block. GM Performance Parts had put it together early in 2007 to develop the production version of this crate engine. Throughout our test drive, the classic Rat never missed a beat, never stumbled, and certainly didn't disappoint. In fact, we had forgotten just how potent "just" a 427 can be. In this world of 500-plus street engines, there's something magical about driving a car with what is arguably the high watermark for classic big-block power. Sampling the Anniversary Edition 427 was like drinking fine wine.
Don't let the "little" 427 badges fool you. X is loaded for bear. We discovered that there
Once under motion, we realized that Project X had been completely transformed. The chassis was stiff, and the suspension worked like it never had before in its first 50 years of existence. Remember, when we dropped off Project X, it had a tacked-in cage that wasn't run to the frame. GM Performance Division had completely redesigned the frame. They strengthened it in all the right places, and, in the process, completely tied the car together. Once we hit the circle track and road course at DPG, the suspension's true capabilities started to show itself. Remember, X was being pushed into the corners by massive steamrollers, yet the C6 front end would dig into the corners, pulling the rest of the car with it, and the big '57 would take a corner. Of course there was understeer, but with minimal input, Project X was taking corners at 60-80 mph without breaking a sweat. Quick lane changes (something that would have rattled the body off before the rebuild) were amazingly quick, with little body roll and very little drama.
The custom wheels were designed by David Ross of the GM design staff, and were executed by
We watched Mike Copeland and Dr. Jamie Meyer put the car through its paces, including several of the maneuvers that today's production GM vehicles go through. But it was the simple act of cruising that might have been most impressive. Remember, one of Copeland's goals was to make sure that this car didn't beat up the driver, and his GM Performance Division team accomplished that in spades. The car tracked straight, didn't buck or load up, and the steering wheel input to the driver was extremely precise, allowing us to place the car without a forearm workout. The ergonomics also paid big dividends during spirited acceleration. Kick the clutch, yank on the Hurst, and away you go. You didn't even have to think about it-everything was right where it should be.
Following through with the "rolling jewel box" theme is the side-exit exhaust, which is el
Project X has been loaded with GM power. Smash the gas, pop the clutch, and hold on. The Anniversary Edition 427 offered loads of torque with a surprising top end charge. And with its aluminum materials, the weight of the 427 didn't upset a thing with the front suspension. We were having so much fun that we had almost forgotten that Copeland's team had wired the electronic exhaust cutout through the car's navigation system. Bring up the "exhaust" panel on the digital dash, push the "open" button, and our ears were rewarded with the sweet sounds of an uncorked Rat. We have to tell you, for a production crate engine, the Anniversary Edition 427 sure sounds nasty through open pipes.
While we've drag tested Project X with all sorts of powertrains over the last 40-plus years, this version is all about street performance. As such, we never ran official acceleration numbers, but our "butt meter" puts this thing well into the 12-second zone. More than respectable for the most well-known '57 Chevy on the planet, and plenty to keep any driver interested.
So, there it is-the greatest version of Project X ever built. You can find the car and us on the Hot Rod Power Tour as we plan on driving Project X the entire week. But what do we do with Project X after that? Do we drive it on Power Tour, and then keep adding parts? Can the car get any better than this? For the first time in the history of Project X, we're not too sure that adding more parts is the thing to do. Maybe you can help us. Send us a note telling us what you think we should do with Project X. Perhaps it's time to get another '57. Project Y anyone?