When it comes to muscle cars, I have a soft spot for well-done pro-touring builds. This 1966 Chevelle from The Roadster Shop has not only been restored, it’s been improved to perform better than it did when new!
We’ve featured The Roadster Shop’s work in the past when we covered their gorgeous 1962 Corvette C1RS from Barrett-Jackson 2013. This car was featured in Super Chevy magazine in December 2007. I saw it at the Fountain Hills Concours in February 2014, wearing a set of Canadian plates.
This car was actually the “test mule” prototype car that The Roadster Shop used to develop their own aftermarket parts for the Chevelle. Yes, it has massive horsepower and big rims and bright orange paint but it’s not just a straight-line racer – this car can take corners with the best of them.
The whole car rides on an RS Performance chassis, which you can buy yourself for just $15,495. The front uses a jointly developed Detroit Speed and Engineering/RS Performance-modified C6 Corvette spindle setup, with Afco remote-reservoir double-adjustable coilovers. The rear is a four-link designed by RS Performance with QA1 adjustable coilovers and heim-jointed rod ends. A strut tower brace up front also helps keep things level when cornering.
Brakes and tires are extremely important in building a muscle car that can carve around corners, and this car has the best of the best. There are Wilwood 14-inch disc brakes with drilled and slotted rotors at all four corners, with 6-piston calipers in the front and 4-piston calipers in the rear. The rubber meets the road with a set of Boze alloy wheels (19″ in front and 20″ in back) wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport SP2 tires.
But just because this car can handle a corner doesn’t mean it’s not still a proper muscle car! Under the hood is an all-aluminum 540 cubic inch big block V8 from Bill Mitchell Racing. The guts include an Eagle rotating assembly, Mahle pistons, and a solid lifter cam while the outside sports Merlin aluminum heads, Merlin X single-plane intake and a single 1050cfm 4-barrel carburetor. It makes 685 horsepower and 685 lb-ft of torque on pump gas.
One thing I haven’t talked about yet is the transmission, which is pretty unique. It’s a 4L65E, which is an electronically-controlled version of the popular 4L60E automatic transmission that’s been around for years. This car actually has a set of aftermarket paddle shifters from Master Control installed on the steering wheel – an unusual blend of new technology in an old car.
I have to wonder why someone would choose this setup for their muscle car. If you want to paddle-shift an automatic transmission, why not just buy a Cadillac CTS-V instead?
In spite of this questionable choice, I still adore this car from its big block engine to its creamy orange paint. Just like their ’62 Corvette, I would say this Chevelle is another work of art!