How do you get this car to hook? That was the question on everyone's mind. Jim Moran's answer was a non sequitur: "I don't, really. The 60-foot times are around 1.65. I can't hit it too hard off the line or it blows the tires away."
If there are tricks to getting this car to get down the quarter in 10.5 seconds at more than 130 mph, it's the simple attention to detail, soft initial hit off the line, and big-end power that turbos provide. The suspension is mostly stock with new bushings to ensure everything works correctly, and there is a set of Airlift bags inside the stock coils. The tires are 235 M/T ET Street Radials modified to look like stock whitewalls. The 307 tags on Jim's beautiful, black '70 Chevelle and the quiet exhaust note would make you think this was a granny-owned garage find with a new paintjob. To complete the ruse, Jim moved the battery to the trunk and covered it with an old toolbox.
Jim is a 32-year-old from Round Lake, Illinois, who has always loved sleepers. Over the years he has built a lot of cars in his head while working on LS1s at Speed Inc. in nearby Schaumburg. Jim's specialty is turbocharging, so he wanted to build himself a twin-turbo, LS-based classic. The '70 Chevelle had the look he loved and plenty of room under the hood for a couple of turbos. After searching online for a few months and checking every lead possible, Jim finally found this rust-free car advertised on the Phoenix Craigslist. He made a deal with the owner and had it delivered to his house. The car was a stone-stock 307 with a horrible orange-peel paintjob. Jim's friend Kyle Glosson wet-sanded and buffed it, then left it alone.
The Cadillac Escalade LQ9 is a great engine to start with. It's sturdy, deep-skirted iron block has six-bolt mains and proven LS architecture, making it sturdy enough to handle the cylinder pressures produced by turbos and blowers. Jim used this engine because he wanted to spend as little as possible to build a daily driver that runs 10s in the quarter-mile.
Jim completed the project in six months, then put down 567 hp and 570 lb-ft at the wheels with only 9 pounds of boost. The first time at the strip, it went 11.19 at 123 mph, and it's been getting faster every time out. The day of the photo shoot, Jim ran a 10.54 at 130, letting off early 'cause there is no 'cage in the car. We were invited off the property after that run, but with a little more boost and tuning, 9s aren't far away.
Jim planned well and used all his skills to design and build a truly smart, well-engineered, daily-driver, twin-turbo '70 sleeper Chevelle.