Thumbing through a local Auto Trader generated interesting results. We found a lot of one-owner "jewels" that more closely resembled hunks of Swiss cheese. We did, however, find a '70 Chevelle that had been sitting (hadn't been running) since 1986. The car was far from perfect, but it did have good baseline options such as a 350 V8, front disc brakes, and a 12-bolt (non-Posi) rearend. The owner was looking for around $2000, but since it would only run for 15 seconds at a time, we talked him down to $1500. Thumbing through a local Auto Trader generated interesting results. We found a lot of one- In a perfect world we would all earn loads of money, have plenty of time off, and (of course) drive awesome, tire-shredding street machines. Our world isn't perfect, though, and we usually have to compromise somewhere. As a dedicated car crafter, you really want a cool cruiser, but the time and money you need aren't always available. To make matters worse, chances are the car you're trying to transform can't sit in the garage all week--it needs to be reliable, since it will probably serve double-duty as daily driver and weekend warrior. What you need is an easy-to-do, low-cost, one-step-at-a-time, month-by-month street buildup. What you need is Car Craft's new Cheap Street Chevelle. CC's goal with this new project is to show readers how to build a fairly nice, fairly quick street machine spending as little money as possible. The key to the project is that you will be doing nearly all of the work yourself using common parts from swap meets, newspaper ads, mail-order parts distributors, and your local speed shop. There will be no blowers, no one-off billet wheels, and no radical space-age materials. What there will be is loads of tech info and track testing. If you don't drive a Chevelle, follow along each month anyway, because 99 percent of all upgrades can be applied to any street machine. 01. After getting our Cheap Street Chevelle to its new home, we washed off the eight-year accumulation of grime. The original vinyl top had vanished (probably eroded) years earlier, leaving us with a cool two-tone look. And yes, typical of vinyl-top cars, there was some rust around the back window and the C-pillar area. 01. After getting our Cheap Street Chevelle to its new home, we washed off the eight-year 2. After putting fresh gasoline and a new Champion battery in the Chevelle, the engine ran--but not great. When we tried to put the tranny in gear, nothing happened. Inspecting the dipstick revealed that the trans fluid was low--a whopping 21/2 quarts low. Obviously it had leaked out while sitting for eight years. We didn't have a funnel, so we "modified" a 104+ Octane Boost bottle after pouring its contents into the fuel tank. 2. After putting fresh gasoline and a new Champion battery in the Chevelle, the engine ran 3. Once we got the engine to run (not necessarily idle, though), we revved it for a few minutes to loosen up any junk in the engine before changing the oil. The tar-looking substance that came out was disgusting. Before putting on the new AC-Delco PF25 oil filter, we primed it by adding a quart of oil. If you do this, the engine will have oil pressure immediately on engine startup. 3. Once we got the engine to run (not necessarily idle, though), we revved it for a few mi 4. Yuck! The old spark plugs were fouled, the wires were shoddy, the fuel filter was clogged, and the fuel lines were cracked and leaking. We replaced all the rubber fuel lines on the car as well as the cracked vacuum lines attached to the carb and distributor. To get the engine tuned up, rather than guessing or mixing and matching parts, we purchased stock AC-Delco parts. Later on we may upgrade to hi-po aftermarket parts, but for now we just wanted the car to run using OEM specs (dwell, timing, spark plug heat range/gap). 4. Yuck! The old spark plugs were fouled, the wires were shoddy, the fuel filter was clogg 5. Changing the fuel filter on a Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor is simple. Loosen the OEM steel fuel line and pull it out of the way. Then loosen and remove the fitting that holds the filter inside the carb. The old filter simply pulls out; however, don't lose the spring that holds pressure on the filter. 5. Changing the fuel filter on a Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor is simple. Loosen the OE 6. Doing a quickie rebuild on the distributor was easy. In our overhaul kit we got a new cap, rotor, points, condenser, and necessary hardware. Be sure to adjust the points gap to the proper setting (0.019-inch or 30 degrees of dwell in our case), or the engine won't start or run properly. 6. Doing a quickie rebuild on the distributor was easy. In our overhaul kit we got a new c 7. After putting on new wires and spark plugs, we started the engine and set the timing. Factory specs called for the timing to be set at four degrees before top dead center (BTDC), but we cheated a bit by increasing the spark advance to eight degrees--for that added burst of power! The engine ran much better, but it was still sluggish and occasionally backfired. 7. After putting on new wires and spark plugs, we started the engine and set the timing. F 8. What's wrong with this photo? After pulling the driver-side valve cover, this is what we saw. One rocker arm was completely off, and three were extremely loose. We fixed the one rocker and did a "ballpark" adjustment on the rest of the valvetrain. 8. What's wrong with this photo? After pulling the driver-side valve cover, this is what w 9. After tuning up the valvetrain, we put new gaskets on the valve covers. The old gaskets were rotted, allowing oil to leak onto the exhaust manifolds and cause unwanted smoke. 9. After tuning up the valvetrain, we put new gaskets on the valve covers. The old gaskets 10. Once the car was legal and in running condition, we immediately headed for the dragstrip. Along the way we had plenty of opportunities to "gun it" to clean out any cobwebs that may have accumulated in the carb. Surprisingly, with a matched set of radial tires (the tires we took off were bias-ply and hard as hockey pucks), the car actually drove nicely. Notice the custom headliner repair--not bad for a bunch of Car Craft schmoes. 10. Once the car was legal and in running condition, we immediately headed for the dragstr 11. Upon arrival at the dragstrip the car began to run really rough. Investigation found that two of the new wires were burnt because the previous owner had removed the OEM heat shields bolted to the exhaust manifolds. With a couple of the usable old plug wires, we made custom no-burn units. We slid a piece of garden hose over the plug boot, covered it with a piece of aluminum soda can, tie-wrapped it, and put it on. While not the prettiest in the world, the car fired right up and ran great! 11. Upon arrival at the dragstrip the car began to run really rough. Investigation found t 12. With Associate Editor John "burnouts are cool" Kiewicz behind the wheel, project Cheap Street Chevelle blazes its huge P195/75R14 tires to ensure an optimum launch and a super-low e.t. From the looks of the impressive burnout, the car should run in the mid 10s, right? 12. With Associate Editor John "burnouts are cool" Kiewicz behind the wheel, project Cheap 13. Right after buying the Chevelle, we wanted to take it to the dragstrip--but it wouldn't stay running. After tuning it up it ran a not so good 16.72-second (altitude corrected) e.t. The time wasn't great, but neither was the condition of the engine (stock with 140K miles). After bolting on the Edelbrock intake manifold and PAW open-element air cleaner the car reduced its e.t. to 16.62 seconds. Other interesting performance stats included a not so impressive 60-0mph stopping distance of 188 feet and a speedo error of 45 mph! Is this the shape of things to come? 13. Right after buying the Chevelle, we wanted to take it to the dragstrip--but it wouldn' 1 | 2 | 3 | » | View Full Article Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!