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Chevelle Weight Reduction - Trim The Fat

When It Comes To Drag Racing, Lighter Is Always Quicker, So We Put Our Chevelle On A Diet To Trim The Fat

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The 11 o'clock news talks about it all the time: America is fat-overweight-rotund-and we couldn't agree more. But we're talking about carburetors and muscle cars, not carbohydrates and Lean Cuisine. Over the past few months, we've put a lot of time into our Orange Peel Chevelle, including new paint, a California Performance Transmission 200-4R overdrive, and a pavement-pounding trip between Los Angeles and Phoenix on the CC Anti-Tour. All these efforts were so successful that now we're motivated to push the orange crusher deeper into the 11s. While installing a new shifter, we uncovered a load of factory sound deadener under the carpeting. After yanking out all that sticky stuff, we were shocked to discover the nasty pile weighed 20 pounds. That got us thinking about what else we could do to lighten the car. We then discovered that the partly lightened Chevelle weighed a mere 3,221 pounds and decided right then to trim Orange Peel down to a lean and mean 2,990 pounds.

If this car were a dedicated drag race car, we'd replace all kinds of stuff with oh-too-thin race fiberglass and plastic. But the Chevelle is first a street car. Sure, we've compromised by stripping the A/C, heater, blower fan, and even the windshield wipers, but frankly, we live in Southern California and don't plan on driving the car in the rain. We've come up with what we think are some creative solutions that might give you ideas on ways to trim the fat. Keep in mind that the classic tale of 100 pounds is equal to a tenth of a second and 1 mph is still right on target. We might have gone a bit beyond practical, but you can pick and choose the ideas that best help you to lose a few pounds-and trim the e.t. at the same time.

CC Diet Step 1
We started off by eliminating the heavy parts like the tar paper insulation, A/C, and heater assembly. Then we got into substituting heavy with light. The trick is to do this without spending a lot of money or destroying the car's street manners. In some cases, we were successful and in other cases, the light stuff cost more than we'd anticipated. The chart shows how much initial weight we pulled out of the car. We found it easier to look for 20 places to remove 5 pounds than one place that was worth 100. We needed to trim lots of weight because we also added 100 pounds to the car with an eight-point, Art Morrison, mild steel rollbar assembly. Many of the early parts added were done several years ago, so we don't have a really accurate starting weight, but a typical all-steel '66 small-block Chevelle with A/C weighs around 3,510 pounds without a driver. We also weighed a drum-brake '67 Chevelle small-block that came in at 3,400 pounds, so there is some variation.

Weight Chart
Starting Weight: 3,510
Heavy Parts Weight Light Parts Weight Savings
Steel hood 54 Fiberglass hood 20 34
Steel front bumper 26 Fiberglass bumper 2 24
A/C equipment 80 A/C-delete fiberglass 1 79
Front bench seat 84 Two bucket seats 70 14
Rear bench seat 11 Rear seat removed 0 11
Brass copper radiator 34 Be Cool radiator 17 17
Sound deadener 20 Removed 0 20
Stock starter motor 20 GMPP light starter 9 11
Clutch fan 8 Removed 0 8
Brake booster 6 Removed 0 6
Stock radio 10 Aftermarket 2 8
Cast-iron manifolds 25 Headers 15 10
Cast-iron intake 20 Aluminum intake 4 16
15x8 steel wheels 100 Aluminum wheels 60 40
Power steering 34 Manual 13 21
Trunk mat 10 Removed 0 10
Stereo speakers 30 Removed 0 30
Spare tire 30 Removed 0 30
Weight savings 389
Weight added-AME eight-point rollbar (chrome-moly, 72 pounds) 100
Net weight savings 289
Weight with half a tank of fuel 3,221
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