The construction deadline was the Goodguys 15th PPG Nationals in Columbus, Ohio, this past July, and it was finished with no time to spare. The 18-month build time was miraculous in light of the sheer volume of fabrication, but the throngs of curious visitors at the Woody’s Hot Rodz booth told the story, as did the big smile on Mike Coughlin’s face. The real shakedown, however, would come at the inaugural Popular Hot Rodding Muscle Car of the Year (MCOTY) competition, which was covered in the Dec. ’12 issue of PHR. Since then, the Jega has become acclimated to the rigors of the road, and now resides with Mike Coughlin, who loves sharing rides in it with his sons Clay and Jack.

As for the Morrison Max G chassis, the Vega version has gone into regular production, and a couple more have been sold for Vegas, as well as a slightly longer wheelbase version for the '75-80-era Chevy Monza, Buick Skyhawk, Olds Starfire, and Pontiac Sunbird. Apparently, the GM H-body is beginning to see a resurgence as hot rodders are awakening to the idea of superlight, ultra-short wheelbase street machines that can handle. It's a trend we'd like to see revisited with other platforms too. We can only imagine what a similar '70s Ford Pinto, Mustang II, Dodge Colt, Pontiac Sunfire, or Olds Starfire would be like with the right chassis and powertrain!

By The Numbers

“The Morrison Max G chassis would easily handle the punishment of both road and powertrain, but first it had to be mated to the body.”

1971 Chevy Vega

Mike Coughlin, 44 • Delaware, OH


Type: 454ci Gen IV LSX crate motor (620 hp)

Block: Chevrolet Performance cast-iron LSX

Bore x stroke: 4.185x4.125 inches

Rotating assembly: Chevrolet Performance forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods, forged aluminum pistons

Compression ratio: 11.1:1

Cylinder heads: cast-aluminum LSX-LS7 (330-cfm intake flow)

Camshaft: Chevrolet Performance hydraulic roller; 236/246 degrees duration at 050-inch lift, .635-inch valve lift

Valvetrain: 2.20-inch titanium intake valves, 1.61-inch sodium-filled exhaust valves; LS7 1.8:1 ratio investment cast roller trunion rockers arms

Induction: FAST LSX-R port fuel-injection intake manifold, 46-lb/hr LS2-type injectors

Throttle body: FAST Big Mouth 102 mm

Engine management: Holley Dominator

Fuel system: FAST billet fuel rails, Holley inline fuel pump (PN 12-920)

Oiling: as delivered with Chevrolet Performance 454 LSX crate motor

Exhaust: Edelbrock 1¾-inch primary shorty headers (PN 65712), custom 2.5-inch dual exhaust into dual Flowmaster 40s, then into dual Flowmaster Hushpower mufflers. Entire system ceramic coated by Aesthetic Finishers

Ignition: coil-on-plug with cowl-located MSD coil packs

Cooling: custom aluminum Be Cool radiator and cooling fans

Output: 620 hp

Engine built by: Chevrolet Performance & Woody’s Hot Rodz


Transmission: Hughes Performance Transmissions 4L60E four-speed automatic overdrive with 1,500-stall converter, B&M trans cooler, TCI Outlaw shifter

Rearend: narrowed Ford 9-inch with 3.70 gears and Strange posi


Frame: Art Morrison Max G with Watt’s link rear suspension

Front suspension: Art Morrison Max G with Viking Performance 9DP450 springs and Viking double-adjustable shocks, Art Morrison sway bar

Rear suspension: Art Morrison Max G Watt’s link with Viking Performance 12DP200 springs and Viking double-adjustable shocks

Steering: Woodward rack-and-pinion

Brakes: Wilwood 4-piston Superlite calipers on 13-inch two-piece rotors, Wilwood master cylinder

Wheels & Tires

Wheels: Weld 17x7.5 and 17x9.5 RT-S wheels with black centers

Tires: 235/40R17 & 255/40R17 BFGoodrich KDW