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1970 Chevy Chevelle - The Iron Fist

Jesse Nelson Builds A Thumpin' Twin-Turbo, 540ci Chevelle That Rocks!

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Short-block: We're going to break this engine down into little bite-size pieces because it's so simple and cool. The block is a lump of very special Dart Big M iron with extrathick cylinder walls and billet steel splayed main caps. Spinning within those cavernous walls is a Shafiroff-machined and -assembled short-block employing a Callies Magnum Pro 4340 steel crank and covetable Oliver billet steel connecting rods along with a set of gently compressioned 8.4:1, JE forged 2618 alloy aluminum pistons.

Camshaft: When you're building a Rat motor to make power, you turn right to the catalog page with the solid roller cams. Jesse went with Cam Motion from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which offers a roller with 254/248 degrees at 0.050 and 0.714/0.706-inch lift. A Cloyes chain connects it to the crankshaft, while Isky Red Zone roller lifters keep in contact with the lobes.

Heads: Breathing is still important even with a couple of turbos, so the call went out for a pair of AFR fully CNC-ported, 345cc, rectangle port heads with 2.300/1.88-inch stainless steel valves. These heads tease the flow bench at almost 400 cfm. Cometic MLS gaskets help seal all the cylinder pressure.

Induction: It doesn't get much simpler than a Weiand Team G intake bolted to an 850-cfm Holley that has been heavily modified by Carburetor Solutions Unlimited. The pressure is created by a pair of Master Power GT45 turbos making over 20 psi of boost. Feeding all this power is the responsibility of a pair of Aeromotive A1000 fuel pumps that push that E85 fuel through several fuel lines. The air/fuel ratio is closely monitored by an Innovate LM-1 meter.

Exhaust: This is where friend Matt Anderson earned his gold stars. Matt built the entire mandrel-bent exhaust system, starting with the 2-inch primary pipe headers that lead to the turbos. The turbo exits are connected with 3.5-inch mandrel-bent tubing that Matt pulled off of hopped-up diesel Chevy trucks. Turbos do a great job of suppressing noise, but Matt added a pair of DynoMax Ultra Flo mufflers just to be sure.

Transmission: You might think that shoving close to 1,000 lb-ft of torque through a Turbo 400 trans could cause drama, but Jesse says his reverse-pattern, manual valvebody trans works great. One important point is the 9.5-inch Performance Torque Converters converter that stalls somewhere around 4,000 rpm (that depends on boost, dontcha know). "We're tightening up the converter because it drove through it on the dyno. That's why the torque wasn't higher." Jesse did all the trans work himself and relies on a Driveline Specialists driveshaft.

The guys at Auto Weld Chassis assembled the Ford 9-inch. When you're making massive torque you don't need a lot of gear, so a set of Ford 3.25 gears twist inside a Moser centersection and assign power to each wheel split by a Detroit Locker differential.

Suspension: If you're expecting a highly modified suspension to manage all this power, you're missing the point. Jesse uses Competition Engineering shocks up front, Rancho RS9000 hydraulics in the rear, a homebuilt rear antiroll bar to help control the torque, and a pair of adjustable upper control arms to set the pinion angle and tubular lowers. Otherwise it's close to stock, right down to the rubber suspension bushings.

Brakes: Those are '78 Monte Carlo 10.5-inch discs with metric calipers up front. The rears are no more than a set of homebrewed parts clamped to a pair of 10.5-inch discs with an adjustable proportioning valve. That's it.

Wheels/Tires: Those tiny front wheels are 15x3.5-inch Weld Draglites that complement the 15x10-inch rears mounted with a pair of 325/50R15 M/T ET Street radials, which seem frighteningly inadequate when you contemplate the engine's power curve.

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