Resurrecting A Classic Chevelle With Chevrolet Performance

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No matter how you look at it, the Chevelle Slammer screams style and presence. It’s low, raked, and oozing with attitude.

Many times, a classic car will be placed in storage and never again see the light of day. All too often, these forgotten projects were once the highlight of someone’s spare time, and might have even been rebuilt once or twice before being set aside. Such was almost the fate of this 1969 Chevelle that was saved in a nick of time by the folks in a division of Chevrolet Performance.

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According to Rich Downing, program manager and product engineer for crate engine development, “This particular car has been owned by Chevrolet Performance for around 12 to 15 years. The car was actually used for crate engine development, and also for COPO suspension development. At the end of last year, management decided that they didn’t have any further use for the car, so the crate engine development group decided to claim it.”

The instrument panel, door panels, and seats are all trimmed or painted Adrenaline Red.

“The ’69 Chevelle is one of the best-looking cars of the musclecar era, and we didn’t want to mess with its classic cues or period-perfect proportions,” said Humberto Ortiz, Chevrolet designer. “We’ve simply enhanced it where we could, knocking down the chrome in certain areas and tightening other exterior details such as the bumpers, grille, and more. It’s still a 1969 Chevelle at a glance, but as you continue to examine it, the details really stand out.” Take for instance the custom mixed Dazzling Black 2.0. While the color is stunning, don’t get too excited, as Rich doesn’t think that it will become a production color.

If you think the exterior shows serious attitude, the interior makes a retina-searing statement in Adrenaline Red. “The contrast between the exterior and interior is stunning and dramatic,” said Ortiz. “The idea was to give the cabin the appearance of being dipped in red.” The seats were confiscated from a 2016 Camaro, and a set of Dakota Digital VHX custom gauges fill the instrument panel.

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Underneath is a Ridetech air suspension system instantly the car’s stance at the push of a button. The car also features a sixth-generation Camaro-based performance brake system, including six-piston front calipers. The chassis was modified to accommodate large one-off 18 and 20-inch polished wheels.

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Sorry guys. The wheels were custom machined for this project, and are not available anywhere.

Under the hood is a direct-injected LT376 crate engine with 535 horsepower, and is the newest and one of the most technologically-advanced crate engines ever delivered from Chevrolet Performance,” said Jim Campbell, GM U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports. “It is based on the LT1 engine found in the Corvette Stingray and Camaro SS, but with a unique camshaft-and-heads package to help it produce 535 horsepower, which is 75 more horsepower than the LT1 in the Stingray.”

More About Power

Chevrolet’s all-new, direct-injected LT376/535 crate engine builds on the Gen V small-block family’s technologies, and takes them to the next level, leveraging CNC-ported heads and the high-lift LT1 camshaft to deliver those 535 naturally-aspirated horsepower. “The LT376/535 crate engine represents the best of Chevrolet’s performance engineering,” said Rocko Parker, Chevrolet Performance parts engineer. “Adhering to the same standards as the development of production engines, the LT376/535 offers tremendous power with the drivability expected from a new vehicle. It’s the best of both worlds.”

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Chevrolet’s LT376/535 crate engine — part number 19355378 — includes a production intake manifold, throttle body assembly, ignition coils, water pump, balancer, and more. It requires Chevrolet Performance’s engine controller kit, part number 12677124.

The Chevrolet-developed camshaft profile extends the horsepower-building range of the engine higher in the RPM band, pushing it to about 6,800 rpm. The direct injection enables a high 11.5:1 compression ratio that contributes to the engine’s strong horsepower-to-displacement ratio of 1.43:1, or 87 horsepower per liter. Chevrolet’s LT376/535 crate engine — part number 19355378 — includes a production intake manifold, throttle body assembly, ignition coils, water pump, balancer and more. It requires Chevrolet Performance’s engine controller kit, part number 12677124.

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As this Chevelle proves, adding modern ammenities to a classic ride can definitely breathe new life into an old project. To find out more about the car and the new engine, check out Chevrolet Performance.

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About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars and has been involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion for performance got him noticed by many locals, and he began helping them modify their vehicles.
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