Car Craft
Click here to find out more!

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

By , Photography by

Time To Get Serious
This is when we decided to get fat-alistic. We had to find a way to chisel another 230 pounds to get our A-body less than 3,000. After the rearend test in the June '08 issue ("The Great Rear Axle Comparo"), we retained the Strange S60 rearend for its durability. But the prospect of dropping 20 pounds demanded the 12-bolt's return. Substituting a California Performance Transmission 200-4R for the original TH400 also netted 14 pounds ("Transformation," Sept. '09). Next we started looking at small, individual components that included a Wilwood aluminum master cylinder, a smaller Optima battery, and we even resorted to making aluminum bumper brackets for the fiberglass bumpers. While searching through GlassTek's catalog, we also replaced the steel decklid with fiberglass. This dropped 25 pounds, even if it was off the wrong end of the car. This is not ideal, but at this point we just wanted to cut weight anywhere we could.

The biggest gain of this entire effort was the tire and wheel package. This is also where we cheated a little bit. Our before weight included a typical street tire and wheel package using a set of 15x7-inch front and 15x8-inch rear Rocket five-spoke Fuel Gray wheels mounted with a pair of 28x10-15-inch Mickey Thompson Sportsman S/R radials in back and 26x6-15 M/T front tires. The larger rear tires are hefty at 27 pounds each, putting the pair of rear tires and wheels at just below 100 pounds. To reduce this bulk, we dug into the Mickey Thompson catalog and found a set of forged, strip-only, aluminum ET Drag wheels. For the front, we used a pair of 15x3.5-inch wheels mounting a pair of 26-inch-tall ET Front tires that barely weigh anything. On the rear, we opted for the DOT-legal 26x10.50-15 ET Street tires mounted on 15x8-inch ET Drag wheels that are a svelte 31.5 pounds each. This shaved an amazing 70 pounds off the car. Not only is this a huge static weight improvement, but accelerating a much lighter wheel and tire package frees more power to accelerate the car. We also chose the ET Street tire because the bias-ply tires are much lighter.

Weight Chart
Starting Weight: 3,221
Heavy Parts Weight Light Parts Weight Savings
Street tires, front, pair 76 Race wheels/tires, pair 41 35
Street tires, rear, pair 98 Race wheels/tires, pair 63 35
Dana 60 rearend 230 12-bolt rearend 210 20
TH400 trans 179 200-4R overdrive 165 14
Optima Yellow Top 41 Optima D51 25 16
Bucket seats (2) 70 Corbeau seats (2) 50 20
Front bumper brackets 5 Aluminum brackets 0 5
Rear steel bumper 20 Fiberglass rear bumper 2 18
Rear bumper brackets 4 Aluminum brackets 0 4
Steel decklid 37 Fiberglass decklid 12 25
Cast-iron master cylinder 9 Wilwood aluminum 2 7
Rear glass 12 Percy's Speedglass 8 4
Quarter-window/regs 15 Percy's Speedglass 5 10
Stereo head unit 1 Eliminated 1
E-brake pedal assembly 2 Eliminated 2
Spal 12-inch twin fans 30 Spal twin 11-inch fans 25 5
Steel driveshaft 19 Aluminum driveshaft 12 7
Net weight savings 228
Race weight of car with half a tank of fuel 2,993
Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!
0 comments
Car Craft