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1966 Chevrolet Chevelle - Riding On Air

Flogging Air Ride Technologies' Corner-Burner Chevelle

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Where: Jasper, IndianaEngine: Jasper Engines is virtually in Air Ride's backyard, so it didn't take much thought to choose a Jasper Ultimate 383 small-block Chevy. The motor starts out with a good four-bolt main iron block and adds a forged-steel stroker crank, performance connecting rods, and a set of 10.3:1-compression hypereutectic pistons to complete the rotating assembly. The next step is a flat-tappet hydraulic cam with 234/244 degrees at 0.050-inch tappet lift that also generates 0.488/0.510 inch of valve lift with help from a set of roller rockers. For cylinder heads, most Jasper Ultimate engines use a set of iron Dart Eagle heads, but this particular engine takes off a little weight with a set of Edelbrock Performer RPM aluminum heads with 2.02/1.60-inch stainless valves. Bret then spec'd a Weiand Stealth dual-plane and a Holley 770-cfm Street Avenger carburetor tuned by Willy's Carburetors. According to the Air Ride techsheet, this engine dyno'd at 430 hp at 5,500 rpm with no less than 430 lb-ft of torque. All that is fired by an MSD billet distributor, plug wires, and an MSD6Al ignition box.

Exhaust: Headers and exhaust take a beating when the ground gets close, but the Hooker 13/4-inch headers don't seem to mind as with the Flowmaster 21/2-inch system that now sits on the car.

Transmission: Bowler Transmissions is another Midwest firm that builds quality stuff, and the 700-R4 behind this 383 is a bolt-in, complete with its Tru-Shift TV cable linkage system and lockup control module conversion. The combination of the 700's 3.06:1 First gear ratio and the 4.11s in the rear makes the overall First gear a stout 12.5:1. To put that in perspective, that's the same overall First gear ratio as a TH350 trans with a 4.96:1 rear gear. No wonder this Chevelle scoots off the light with only a touch of the throttle. Gear ratio is a wonderful thing as long as the overdrive can bail you out on the freeway. Connecting the 700-R4 trans to the engine is a Bowler 2,400-rpm lockup converter.

Rear: The third member is an 8.2-inch 10-bolt but fitted with the aforementioned 4.11 gears, a Posi-traction to plant both tires in the corners, and is strengthened with a set of Moser axles.

Brakes: It doesn't take long to learn that corner diving is no fun without reliable brakes. That's why there is a Baer 13-inch GT brake kit on the front with equally large rotors on the rear, demanding a minimum of a 17-inch wheel just so the calipers will clear. This includes a complete booster assembly up on the firewall with a dual-reservoir master cylinder and adjustable rear brake proportioning valve.

Suspension: Here's where it really gets interesting. Let's start with the frontend, using Air Ride's complete Street Challenge kit that includes Strong Arm tubular upper and lower control arms and an integrated ShockWave airbag with a double-adjustable shock absorber. This also includes 2-inch-taller Fatman G-Max forged spindles and a Muscle Bar 13/8-inch front sway bar connected with Posi-Link end links. The rear suspension is also completely changed over to separate airbags controlled with ShockWave double-adjustable shocks. The rear also gets a 1-inch-diameter sway bar that bolts to the tubular lower control arms that match the tubular upper arms all fitted with poly bushings. Then all four 'bags are controlled by the Air Pod module that sits in the trunk over the rear axle kickup that contains the air tank, electric air compressor, and all the solenoids. The RidePro e2 control box sits conveniently between the seats with the capacity for storing three different airbag pressure configurations. Flaming River supplied the 12.7:1 steering box and tilt steering column.

Wheels/Tires: Those are 17x8-inch Billet Specialties Outlaws on the front and 17x91/2 on the rear (with 6 inches of backspacing) with 225/45R17 front and 275/40R17 BFGoodrich g-Force tires on the four corners.

Interior: When you carve corners, you need a solid base for your butt, which called for Cerullo GT seats and Crow Enterprises five-point harnesses.

Air Ride Technologies
350 S. Charles St
IN  47546
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