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1968 Chevy Chevelle SS - Keeps Pulling

Eddie Esacu Finds Streetable Power In A Crate

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"You want me to get on it a little here?" The car was already rolling downhill, yet Eddie was shifting in his seat and preparing for a full-throttle pass. Crew and camera were positioned for the b-roll and trying not to notice the sharp right-hander at the bottom of the hill. A quick glance in the mirror and the car was completely sideways in a roiling fog of BFG. It was a burn that kept going till a hard lift shifted everything back to the left.

Eddie is a loan consultant from Canyon Country, California, so at first we wondered where the trendy, leased, back-slapper Benzo was and why Eddie was driving a 38-year-old musclecar. We were further confounded when he told us he was actually looking for a Mustang fastback when he scored the Chevy. The story goes that his search ended at a cousin's body shop in Colton, California. While Eddie was adding up the potential of the Mustang before him, the Chevelle caught his eye. It was a '68 Super Sport with a 396 and an automatic transmission. So what? A friend packing a '55 Chevy with a fresh GM crate 502-inch big-block had spoiled Eddie.

"That car just kept on pulling, kept on going," he remembered. "Then I heard that it ran on pump gas. That was it."

So Eddie backed the Chevelle out and joined the power-parking scene for a while with dudes from the Contemporary Car Club until he put the loot together for his own 502-crate engine.

"The 502 is perfect for this car," he said. "I could order it carb-to-pan and just bolt it in. Of course right after I did that, the 572 came out." Eddie temporarily wished for the then-new larger crate engine but might have had second thoughts when he started shredding parts. That truth surfaced when Eddie put the 567 lb-ft to the ground and ended the transmission's short career. Soon it was time for a 12-bolt and a new limited slip.

Back on the road, the 502 was getting the car loose. "I just can't stay on the gas," he said. "I have to feather it a little off the line, otherwise it doesn't go anywhere." We flinched a little when we heard that the 396 came out of a factory Super Sport Chevelle until Eddie explained that the original engine and transmission were long gone. That and the sensation of the big barking thing under the hood makes you feel like it was the right decision after all.

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