5.7 litre Chevrolet Chevette

Larry L.

Lifetime Supporter
The name on the door says it all! :D

Traveling at higher speeds in a 'straight line' must be hairy all by itself...not to mention making any kind of TURN 'at speed'. :stunned:

'Hafta wonder just how well the rear tires might 'hook up' when under any real power as well.

Regardless - I like it!
 

Keith

Moderator
Hey Mick, thanks for your interest. Yes it was an 'amusing' beast, challenging but rewarding and ultimately the victim of a nasty divorce. I will post some stuff up in a short while.
 
Its not quite the normal Chevette as we know them, different grill and the rear looks different as well. I have had a fair bit to do with Vauxhall Chevettes in the late 80s, I built 2 Rally cars, Co Drove in 1 for about 4 seasons and then had my own car for a couple of seasons. They were the 2.3litre twin cams 5 spd ZF box Atlas diff etc etc, you UK guys will know them as the HS and HSR group 4 spec Rally cars. A friend of mine who has a sizable motor bike and car collection in Auckland still Rallies a 2.3 HS in classic events. I will try to get some photos up but they are all on my PC at home so will be a week or two They were and still are a great little Rally car. Cheers Leon.

I have found some Photos that might spark some coments from our US folks.
Yoy may not notice but there were 2 models The HS was first then they up spec'd to the HSR the main difference was the HSR had the weel base lenghtened by 2" which inproved the cars handling on Tarmac events, The "Circut of Ierland" and the "Manx" (Isle of Man)being the favoured events of the Chevette's The HSR also had inproved Head and about 20hp more. The visual difference is the Flared gaurds, HS has round flare's, the HSR has longe more Box type Flairs. Enjoy . Cheers Leon
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Keith

Moderator
Yes different but I could have easily put the better looking Vauxhall Chevette body on it without issues, but a mate of mine was running a Vauxhall version with a V12 Jaguar and I wanted to keep mine authentic with one manufacturer, so: SBC, TH400 and 12 bolt! I absolutely loved his V12 but I thrashed the pants off him every time :)
 

Keith

Moderator
Story starts here. This is taken directly from American Autoparts Ltd website. They were great friends and helped me very much with this project.



Basically, they wrote it off on a shakedown run literally minutes after they finished it. It had covered perhaps 100 yds before the "red mist" descended in front of the cameras.

I bought the remains, but there wasn't much left to be honest, but a good custom built chassis, some wheels and a narrowed 12 bolt. It was never built as a race car, but as a show car only. I had other ideas. The chassis wasn't ideal for full out comp, but I had a go anyway.

There are no less than THREE Chevettes in this photo including a bit of the original front valance in front of the windscreen :laugh: There were quite a few US Chevettes in the UK as they seemed a favourite choice of USAF personnel who would just fly home after a tour and abandon them in a ditch! I couldn't get an early one so I made do with the more boxy newer model.



I think it turned out quite nicely. I did most of the work myself where I could including the engine building. Before I started this I had never hardly turned a spanner or used a torque wrench.







First ever 1/4 mile run. It drove sweet as a nut..First run was 12 seconds with a nervous driver...



I got it down to 9.80 by the time I got the roundy roundy bug. Highlight was the Brighton Speed Trials 1985 when it was a half mile track. To be honest, the original track was quite dangerous. Dukes Mound was right at the highest power portion of the track and cars would get airborne. I think anyone who was killed or injured at this event probably bought the farm at this point. I was very aware that a Lotus 7 had gone upside down into the banking the previous year and had lost his life, so having very few aerodynamic aids (none) and big bouncy slicks, naturally I was slightly nervous, so I eased back on the gas at around 7,000 rpm with 750 rpms to red line. I was running 4.11's anyway - not at all good for the half mile. So basically, I ran the 1/4 and coasted for a quarter. There's no engine braking on a drag car, as it would be a great way to turn right or left by violently unloading the chassis. The stock 6" brakes were no match for my momentum and so I very nearly took the end-of-course flagman with me into the straw bales, but I had done enough to win the class. 17 seconds for the half mile.

Dragging didn't hold any more allure for me, but I'd had some fun. My next project was to be this:



Al Unser Snr's 1977 Penske IROC Camaro Chassis No. 18. (originally a spare chassis. They apparently used to make 20 chassis each year, presumably in case of accidents. He ran this chassis for the whole series)

But that's another story.
 

Keith

Moderator
There are only two photos I can find to prove I did it..Names on the door.



And (with what looks suspiciously a can of beer in my hand) at a car show at the Motor Hotel and night-club I owned outside Brighton. Can't believe how young I look there at 38 years old already :stunned:

 
Thats Bloody cool Keith. I have to confess to being a bit of Vauxhall Fan, Not old ones But the mordern era from the HB Viva GT's on, although I only ever owned the Chevette Rally car. I loved the DTV circut cars that ran in the allcomers races of the early 70s.The John Pope Special, HC Magnum with a twin turbo Aston Martin V8. Bertha, the DTV V8 Firenza. they were weapons in there day that could still turn a good lap today.
 
Do you remeber thes Vauxhalls from the 70s, the John Pope special, Aston Marton twin turbo V8 and Baby Bertha DTV Firenza built from a F5000 running gear and suspension. John Pope was a farmer, he built the car himself and it was road legal, he used to drive to the race track run in the comp and drive it home. The DTV Firenza was driven by Gerry Marshall who was at the very least a Mad Man and was spectacular to watch. Both of these cars have been restored and the white car (John Pope Special) was for sale about a year ago for 35,000 pounds. Cheers Leon
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Keith

Moderator
Did you run that Camaro in the old ASCAR series?
Hi Colin, unfortunately no, the Series had demised by the time I acquired it but the car was specifically brought over from the United States for exactly that Series along with quite a few other Oval 'refugees' including a magnificent Transam Boss 302 which eventually got wrecked. I found it in a scrap yard in Birmingham on top of a shipping container, but didn't manage to satisfy the sellers high fiscal expectations.

I loved that series and I have no idea why it died. It ran with the AMOC, and had some bloody spectacular big bangers entered. The sound alone would curdle milk at half a mile.
 

Keith

Moderator
Hi Leon, yes I knew those cars and many other specials like them. Modified Saloons was amongst my favourite series back then. Gerry Marshall was an absolute legend, he could win in just about anything with a tin top - a God given talent RIP.

I caught the bug in the '60's, when a guy called 'Doc' Merfield put a 289 in a Cortina but the Ford Falcon was the car I aspired to, and very nearly bought one 10 years later when I had a little cash. Again, the seller's expectations exceeded my wallet size, but I went home with Dennis Leech's famous Boss 429 Mustang Touring Car to attempt a restoration.

Again, that's another story.
 
Do you remeber thes Vauxhalls from the 70s, the John Pope special, Aston Marton twin turbo V8 and Baby Bertha DTV Firenza built from a F5000 running gear and suspension. John Pope was a farmer, he built the car himself and it was road legal, he used to drive to the race track run in the comp and drive it home. The DTV Firenza was driven by Gerry Marshall who was at the very least a Mad Man and was spectacular to watch. Both of these cars have been restored and the white car (John Pope Special) was for sale about a year ago for 35,000 pounds. Cheers Leon

I know a guy that is into his Firenzas, he has the body molds taken from the original Gerry Marshal car. The book Gerry wrote " only here for the beer" is a good read and an incite into life as a racing driver back in the day. I remember John Pope turning up at Goodwood , he just turned up ,did a stonking lap, said I dont think that time will get beaten today, got in the car and went. ( cocky fucker).

[ame]http://www.amazon.co.uk/Only-Here-Beer-Gerry-Marshall/dp/1844253074[/ame]

[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFTBgnCanJo[/ame]

Bob
 
That little white hatch in the Video is quick, I haven't worked out if its a Skoda fast back or a 850 Fiat body. There were some crazy fast cars back then and without all the sofisticated engineering of today. Thats why I loved that era, when a bloke who was handy with a few spanners could go and compete at the pointy end of the feild, now if you don't have a very fat wallet or check book you may as well not bother turning up unless your happy to play with the "Also ran's" at the other end, Thank god for Historic Racing. Cheers Leon.
 
Hi Colin, unfortunately no, the Series had demised by the time I acquired it but the car was specifically brought over from the United States for exactly that Series along with quite a few other Oval 'refugees' including a magnificent Transam Boss 302 which eventually got wrecked. I found it in a scrap yard in Birmingham on top of a shipping container, but didn't manage to satisfy the sellers high fiscal expectations.

I loved that series and I have no idea why it died. It ran with the AMOC, and had some bloody spectacular big bangers entered. The sound alone would curdle milk at half a mile.
A chap called Mick French ran a Boss 302 in Ascar - he tried it with a 427MR but it was all understeer! Flogged the engine and box to me. Probably not the car you recall tho'.
 

Randy V

Moderator-Admin
Staff member
Admin
Lifetime Supporter
Love this thread...

Here's one of my relatively recent lapses of sanity..
2800#
7.7L
1100hp
Totally nuts on the street.







I never got the chance to take it to the strip so I have no idea what it would be capable of.. Maybe 10's?

It was a head turner anyway..

Having raced my Cobra at over 150 MPH in traffic, I can appreciate the quirkiness of a short wheelbase car at speed.. At least I had tires that would take a side loading.. That must have been a blast!
 

Keith

Moderator
That little white hatch in the Video is quick, I haven't worked out if its a Skoda fast back or a 850 Fiat body. There were some crazy fast cars back then and without all the sofisticated engineering of today. Thats why I loved that era, when a bloke who was handy with a few spanners could go and compete at the pointy end of the feild, now if you don't have a very fat wallet or check book you may as well not bother turning up unless your happy to play with the "Also ran's" at the other end, Thank god for Historic Racing. Cheers Leon.

I think "fat wallets" were the order of the day relatively Leon unfortunately. The winning cars were "DTV" Dealer Team Vauxhall, kind of equivalent to your own HRT and the others were "gentleman racers" with some deep pockets as individual sponsorship was sparse in those days. The tuner Bill Blydenstein who was featured in the video was very much a factory sponsored tuning house and developed all the Vauxhall racing brands on their behalf. Clever man.

Very difficult for an ordinary bloke to be competitive and there would be a huge performance difference between the front and rear of the grids. Garage owners tended to make up the bulk of the entries as they had the resources in-house.

The white car I believe, was a very breathed on one of these:

 
Top