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1970 Chevelle SS: The Executive
Part 1: Performance Modifications

Presented By Original Parts Group Logo Motor Trend Logo Hot Rod Garage Logo

Original Parts Group (OPGI) has teamed up with Hot Rod Garage to transform OPGI's daily driver '70 Chevelle Malibu into a fully restored machine. This car is actually owned by OPGI owner Dave Leonard. Back in the '80s, Dave used to own a '70 Chevelle similar to this one, and just recently, he decided he wanted to bring back those memories, only this time with some modern day conveniences and power upgrades. You might call this car Dave's "Executive" order - a car like the one from his past, only this time ordered up just the way he wanted it. This beast will feature all the classic styling cues of the original, plus it'll be packed with modern components that deliver state-of-the-art braking, handling, modern conveniences, and of course - more power! When we're done, we'll have a modern day interpretation of a classic Chevelle SS tribute car.

Read Part One

Along with new suspension, brakes and a host of related components from Original Parts Group, the standard 350 small-block will be axed in favor of a GM Crate HT 502 cube Chevy motor. This snarling big-block will be fed via an Atomic electronic fuel injection system by MSD - all backed by a Gearstar GM 4L80-E Performance Transmission. Oh yeah!

Details of the parts and procedures used to build the OPGI.com '70 Chevelle are presented in the following videos. Click on each one to follow the project's progress, and be sure to check back often as more are added. This is one Chevelle restoration project that you can follow along with, and pick up some ideas for your own car at home. Let's get started!

Episode 1
Engine Dress

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In this episode of HOT ROD Garage, the crew begins working on the OPGI.com 1970 Chevelle project. Because Original Parts Group, Inc. (OPGI), carries every part and component needed to restore a classic Chevelle to better than new condition, expect this project to utilize plenty of those parts! Going beyond a straightforward restoration job, the HOT ROD Garage team also wants to inject some modern technology into this classic ride to create a car that has the clean look of a 1970's muscle car on the outside with modern power and reliability hidden inside. Follow along as HOT ROD Garage's Tony Angelo works with OPGI's own Jorge Lopez to transform a modern GM Crate HT 502 cubic-inch Chevy engine into a look-a-like original big-block 454. Be sure to check out all the episodes as the OPGI.com 1970 Chevelle is transformed into a stunning Chevelle SS 454 tribute car.

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Episode 1 Parts List

Episode 2

The OPGI.com Chevelle gets a new powertrain and goes to the track in this episode of HOT ROD Garage. Tony Angelo installs a fuel injected HT 502 crate motor disguised as an original 454 in our project Chevelle. Tony then sets up the fuel injection and a new 4L80-E transmission before taking the Chevelle to the drag strip for its tire-shredding debut!

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Episode 2 Parts List

Episode 3
Rear End

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In Episode 3 of HOT ROD Garage's ongoing project to turn the OPGI.com 1970 Chevelle into a daily driven SS 454 tribute car, HOT ROD Garage's Tony Angelo notes that although the car performed well at the drag strip in Episode 2, the stock rear end limited the GM Crate HT 502 cubic-inch powered Chevelle to humble one-wheel burnouts.

Seeking to remedy that fact and get the Chevelle to spin both rear wheels, Tony enlists the aid of an expert (Frank from South Bay Truck & Differential in Hawthorne) to help him set up an Auburn locking rear differential along with a new lower ratio 3.73 ring and pinion, axles, bearings, seals and U-joints. Tony also adds Wilwood Superlite 13" rear disc brakes and fits new BFG G-Force Sport Comp-2 tires (275/40ZR17) on 17" x 9" Aluminum Super Sport wheels before installing the revamped rear end.

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Episode 4
AC, Brakes & Suspension

In the 4th episode of Hot Rod Garage's ongoing process of turning the Original Parts Group, Inc. (OPGI), 1970 Chevelle into a modern-performing, yet classic-looking, SS 454 tribute car, Tony Angelo takes us through some final steps. Working inside the car, Tony installs a brand new Super Sport Chevelle Dash Conversion Kit (including Dash Pad) from OPGI. In order to replace the dash, the steering column must be lowered, so Tony decides to remove the stock column entirely and replace it with a new OPGI Steering Column. Tony also installs a complete new air conditioning system from Vintage Air at the same time.

Moving to the front of the car, Tony removes all of the original factory suspension and brake components and installs a Hotchkis Stage I Total Vehicle System Handling Package complete with Ridetech Q-Series Shocks. New Chevelle spindles, steering arms, tie rods and center link from OPGI are also installed. The worn-out factory brakes are tossed and Tony finishes up the front end with a set of Wilwood Superlite 6-piston 13″ Big Disc Brakes.

Moving to the rear, Tony installs Hotchkis Stage I TVS Handling Package components (including Ridetech Q-Series Shocks). With the new suspension and brakes in place, the OPGI Chevelle is driven to the California Speedway in Fontana where Tony puts it through the paces at the autocross track. Prior to installation of the new running gear, the OPGI Chevelle managed a 46:19 second run on the autocross track. With the new components in place, handling was drastically improved and Tony was able to shave over 4 seconds off the time with a very respectable 42:13 second run. Episode 4 of the HOT ROD Garage OPGI Project Chevelle ends with another Roadkill session wherein Finnegan and Freiburger answer viewer's (somewhat random) questions in the usual informal setting.

Read Part One

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Episode 4 Parts List

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