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Budget Chevy Performance Cars - 3 Chevys For 10k

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Jeff Schwartz was looking for a smaller car to build when he ran across this Vega with only 44,000 miles on the clock and surprisingly little rust for a Midwest car. The original plan was to stuff a budget '90s LT1 under the hood, but then he ran across a super deal on an aluminum-block 5.3L LS out of a Buick Rainier SUV, to which he added an eBay-scored LS1 intake and a stock LS7 camshaft because he had one lying around. Jeff owns Schwartz Performance and decided the Vega could be a great little autocrosser with some tweaks that included a '99 S10 truck disc brake 3.42:1-geared rear axle assembly-blessed with a TruTrac limited slip. Jeff said they also made the effort to complete the factory stitch-welding, which considerably stiffens this little subcompact. He added a TH350 trans tweaked by his pal Ralph Babineau, and the drivetrain was set. Jeff added a Flaming River fast-ratio steering box, a larger Addco front sway bar, and QA1 shocks all the way around to massage the handling on a car not known for its corner-carving prowess. The final touch was a set of Superlite wheels and BFGoodrich tires. While there is some fabrication work on the Vega, courtesy of Schwartz Performance, there's nothing here that is beyond the realm of a competent car crafter. It's the perfect budget supercar, and it performed well at several Pro Touring events last summer, including CC's own Real Street Eliminator, where Jeff finished Second, and Holley's LS Fest, where the Vega racked up an impressive Third Place finish in the autocross against some super-high-dollar Pro Touring cars. While we don't have a complete rundown of all the parts and investments on the Vega, it's clear that using Jeff's Vega as a template, you could come up with your own Ten-G sportster.

"The aluminum LS is only 40 pounds heavier than the aluminum Vega four cylinder." Jeff Schwartz

Tech Notes
'72 Vega, notchback $1,500.00
5.3L used LS engine, all-aluminum $800.00
Schwartz Performance engine wiring harness $1,000.00
Intake, LS1, used $35.00
Nitrous system, Fogger 150 hp, NOS $760.00
Be Cool aluminum radiator $400.00
TH350 Trans, rebuilt $400.00
B&M torque converter $400.00
Rear axle, '99 S-1O, 3.42:1, used $600.00
Superlite wheels, 15x7, 15x8 $700.00
BFGoodrich tires, 225/50R15 g-Force $500.00
Seats, used $200.00
Flaming River steering box, 16:1 $540.00
Addco front sway bar $210.00
QA1 Shocks $400.00
MagnaFlow mufflers and exhaust $310.00
PPG paint and materials $500.00
Total $9,255.00
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Car Craft