The Great Swoopster
1967 Chevy Chevelle
Building a car from the ground up is rarely the most cost effective way to go racing, but scrounging for parts and staying up until 4 a.m. getting greasy is how most car guys get their jollies. Meanwhile, piranhas like Jim Forrer lurk around in the pits waiting for the perfect opportunity to swoop in on a car that’s already 90 percent completed, saving themselves a whole lot of hassle and money at the same time. That’s precisely what Jim did when one of his buddies was running a little low in the motivation department. “My friend had just bought a ’67 Chevelle, put a new motor and trans in it over the winter, and took it to the track once or twice,” he recalls. “I decided that I wanted the car more than he did, so I asked him how much he wanted for it. He said it wasn’t for sale, and I told him I didn’t ask if it was for sale. I asked how much.”
The haggling paid off. Jim went home with a new A-body, immediately rebuilt the Powerglide, and updated the 10-point ’cage to 25.5 specifications. That much ’cage hints at as seriously stout engine combo, which takes the form of a 598ci big-block. The bottom end boasts a Dart block, a Callies crank, Oliver rods, JE 12.5:1 pistons, and a 284/296-at-0.050 solid roller. The air supply comes from a set of BMF Racing 385cc cylinder heads, a Dart intake manifold, and a Gary Williams Dominator carb. With a 225hp dose of nitrous flowing through the fogger nozzles, the Chevelle has run 8.63 at 162 mph on 275/60-15 Mickey Thompson drag radials. Planting all that power is yet another remarkably simple suspension setup comprised of nothing more than aftermarket rear control arms, and AFCO double-adjustable shocks. Jim hasn’t quite dialed in the tune on the second stage of nitrous just yet, but once he gets that extra 200 hp to hook, this A-body will be pushing deep 8s.
What makes this feat even more impressive is the Chevelle’s hefty 3,775 pounds of mass. It still has a real interior, a full SpinTech 4-inch exhaust, and no weight reduction measures whatsoever. The way Jim sees things, speed is just part of the equation. “I love going fast, but I don’t care for stripped-down cars with aluminum door panels,” he says. “They have to be streetable, too.”