Even though the car is used primarily for suspension testing, underhood resides actually one of the most interesting parts of the whole car. Naturally, the car needed a little more oomph than the aged 327 was producing. Not only for adequate testing of the suspension, but also for the simple enjoyment of driving the car. Stacy was stepping up the motor in her Camaro, leaving the GM Performance Parts 383 that she was replacing free for service. The Chevelle would be the third home for this 383, as it came out of a DSE customer's car before going into Stacy's Camaro. It was far better than the very tired 327 the Chevelle had.
When the 383 went underhood,...
When the 383 went underhood, high-quality gauges were needed, but the Tuckers didn't want to hack up the dash. So an Auto Meter tach, oil pressure, and water temp gauge were mounted in a custom panel behind the glovebox door.
The engine is basically a GM Performance Parts 383 crate engine with the addition of a Hot Cam Kit. This kit adds a bit more camshaft, matched valvesprings, and aluminum roller rockers. It was topped off with a dual-plane intake and carburetor to keep things simple. Kyle said that the engine was dyno tested at 440 hp, but that was quite a few miles ago.
Other systems that stand out underhood are the accessory brackets, brake master cylinder, radiator, and custom aluminum tank on the firewall. This car is all about function, so don't expect to hear about hidden brake lines or hours of sanding and smoothing the frame-rails-that's not what this car is about. The front accessory drive bracket is a Vintage Air front runner system, and its modern design and function is in stark comparison to most of the components in the engine bay. It was designed to work with the DSE power steering pump, and everything fits nice and tight against the engine. The master cylinder and adjustable proportioning valve power the massive Baer six-piston front and two-piston rear disc brakes. The Be Cool aluminum radiator mounts in the stock location and a single 16-inch SPAL electric fan is tasked with moving enough air to keep things cool. And that funky aluminum tank on the firewall? It's a convenient way to capture oil vapor that would otherwise ooze from breathers in the valve covers. Pretty clever, if you ask us. Typically, the valve cover breathers ooze oil down the valve covers and occasionally onto the headers. This moves it to the firewall and keeps it in one location rather than two. It also matches the race-inspired look of the valve covers and several other underhood pieces.
Kyle and Stacy are only the...
Kyle and Stacy are only the second owners of this car. It had 60,000 miles on it when they bought it in 2001. Kyle uses it as a daily driver in addition to a test car and cross-county cruiser. The odometer now shows 103,076 miles, and it's still counting!
The transmission and rear axle are still the original '65 pieces. Yes, that means that this 383 is spinning a two-speed Powerglide transmission. When we asked Stacy why, she made it plain and simple: There was always something more important to do on a customer's car or for the business, and the stock parts just kept on working. They did find time to slip a Truetrac differential into the 12-bolt, but left the 3.08 gears in place so the car can move down the highway without over-spinning the engine.
This Chevelle is more than a suspension testbed. In addition to the Baer brakes and other components that DSE sells for Chevelles, Kyle and Stacy also used the car to develop their 3-inch exhaust system for A-bodies. This system uses Borla mufflers and routes the exhaust all the way to the back bumper. If you're familiar with these cars, you know that's quite a challenge with the four-link rear suspension.