Homebuilt Hero: How To Run 10-Second E.T.’S In A ’70 Chevelle

The LS engine has reached legendary status when it comes to engine swaps. Just like the traditional small-block before it, the LS engine is now seen in all makes and models. That is due to its availability, diverse series of engines, and inexpensive entry price. The small-block Chevy came in many forms, and so does the LS engine.

Farmland, Indiana’s Brock Sutliff, has owned this 1970 Chevelle SS for 12 years. Brock believes it to be an original LS6/four-speed car, but the original engine was long gone when he got the car.

The engine in Sutliff's Chevelle SS currently is an LQ9 truck engine with ported LS3 heads, and a ZL1 supercharger. The combo, with a turbo 400 in the tunnel, is good for mid-10s at the moment, but Sutliff is hoping for 9s come the spring of 2016.

The engine in Brock’s Chevelle is an LQ9 truck engine with ported LS3 heads, and a ZL1 supercharger.

For a while, Brock drove the car with a 540 cubic-inch big-block in it, but when his friend Adam Hodson suggested using LS power in the Chevelle, he agreed. “I haven’t looked back,” Brock says. Powering the Chevelle, is a 2007 6.0-liter LQ9 truck engine with a stock bottom end with 88,000 miles on it. The heads are ported LS3 castings, and use Brian Tooley Racing valve springs, stock valves, and factory rocker arms. The camshaft is a Comp Cams/Lingenfelter grind, specifically-designed for blower combinations. Up top, the money maker is a 1.9-liter LSA supercharger from a 2013 ZL1 Camaro. Lingenfelter keyed the stock crankshaft to work with the stock ZL1 crankshaft pulley, and the upper pulley is a 2.35-inch unit, which is good for delivering 13 pounds of boost.

Adam handles the tuning of the Chevelle, via a Holley HP EFI system, which also uses a Holley fuel pump with factory ZL1 injectors. To avoid any cooling issues, Brock employed a Northern aluminum radiator in the car, and he widened the opening in the radiator support to get more into the radiator. A pair of Derale fans help keep the combination cool.

Behind the LQ9 is a Matt Rogers-built Turbo 400 transmission with a manual valvebody, and the converter is a Precision Industries Vigilante 4,000 rpm stall unit. Under the car is a 12-bolt rearend with Strange Engineering 33-spline axles, spool, and 3.42 gears.

The 1970 Chevelle is a 1-year only, and can be distinguished by the car's front end, and taillights. The LS6 Chevelle SS is regarded by many to be the one of the greatest muscle cars ever built.

The 1970 Chevelle is a 1-year only, and can be distinguished by the car’s front end, and taillights. The LS6 Chevelle SS is regarded by many to be the one of the greatest muscle cars ever built.

The current set-up has been in the car since the summer of 2015, and so far the best time is a 10.67 at 128 mph, with a 1.48 seconds short time. Brock and Adam are still tuning the suspension. Right now, the Chevelle uses Southside Machine lower control arms and QA1 adjustable upper control arms and double-adjustable shocks out back, with a QA1 coilover conversion up front. The car uses Race Star Industries Dark Star wheels, and the rears are 15×10 inches with a Mickey Thompson ET Street 275 radial. He did have to do some quarter-panel massaging to make it happen.

Speaking of the body, Brock says the paint has some age to it, but “It’s a street car,” he adds. It has its imperfections, but right now the focus is on the car’s performance, not its looks.

Brock just ordered a 10-point rollcage, and a Holley digital dash, and these additions set the stage for next spring, when he plans to turn the car up. “I want to run a 9.99 second e.t.,” says Brock. Nines are not out of reach, since he received a one-race waiver at the NMCA World Finals, after he ran a 10.67, but “there’s a lot left in the car.” Brock says.

About the author

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson brings his years of experience in the Mustang aftermarket and performance industry to StangTV. He has been passionate about cars since childhood, with a special affinity for the Mustang.
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