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1970 Chevelle LQ9/T56
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Figured it was time to start up a build thread for my car and do a better job of documenting the progress.

I've grown up in a car family and have always been around car people my whole life. I loved muscle cars growing up, but when Fast and the Furious came out when I was younger, I was captivated by Japanese cars from there on out. This is actually the first non-Japanese car I've ever owned! My dad and I did a restomod of a 240Z when I was in high school, which is my first love, but now many years and projects later, I got the itch to do another old car again. I recently sold a 300ZX twin turbo project I had for a lot of years and wanted a change of pace. I was tired of working in cramped conditions, boost leaks, expensive/hard to find parts, so many computers, etc, etc. so I wanted to simplify and get something with a completely different driving experience than my 240Z, which is what led me back down the muscle car path.

I was initially looking at getting a 68-72 Nova, but then this Chevelle popped up on Facebook Marketplace and was in budget. I was planning on putting on black circle track wheels, black hood, front lip and an LS/T56 swap in whatever car I ended up with, but this car already had all that (LQ9 not an LS, but close enough), plus a 12 bolt Posi rear end with a 3.73, UMI rear control arms and BMR 2" drop springs. Additionally, everyone I spoke to said the Chevelle was a better platform and had more interior space (I'm 6'5"), so it seemed to check all the boxes. I'm not the kind of person who likes stock cars. I like to tinker and hopefully improve things. This car is a Malibu, was an auto with a base V8 and drum brakes, so I have no qualms about modifying this.

So with cashier check in hand, I flew down to FL to buy the car and drive it back. That turned out to be a big mistake. The car was quite a bit more rough than I was expecting... The car ended up breaking down on me in Tifton, GA and I wound up having to get a Greyhound home and arrange for towing of the car back to Cincy. The piece of metal that holds the brake/clutch bracket snapped off, but thankfully I was able to nurse the car to a gas station instead of on the side of the highway in a torrential storm.

Some of the things I've done so far have been painting the interior roof black bc there is no headliner and it was just surface rust and old glue, put in a longer and bent shifter for better ergonomics and a Hurst cue ball knob, added a reverse lockout to the trans, replaced the throttle body, new Borgeson quick ratio steering box, new PS pump, my dad buffed and waxed the paint along with cleaning up a lot of the engine bay and wiring (he also tossed in the fuzzy dice when the car was delivered to our mechanic's shop from GA for them to do a thorough check on the car), secured the intake, installed seatbelts, fixed lights, new rear tires, and fixed various issues inside of the doors and added a passenger mirror.

As it sits now, it is a MUCH better driver, so I wanted to enjoy the car the rest of the summer before I take it off the road to do any more work on the car.

I've been amassing many parts for this winter, and my plans include:

-Wilwood D52 front calipers
-Stainless brake lines
-Rear disk conversion
-UMI front/rear swaybar
-TrickFlow rear diff cover
-Custom Autosound headunit and front kick panel speakers
-SS dash conversion with Dakota Digital VHX gauges
-Rear 3 point seatbelt conversion
-Lots of cosmetic fixes
-UMI front upper and lower control arms
-Global West steering arms
-ProForge front steering kit
-Manual brake conversion
-Rebuilt GM tilt steering manual column
-SS steering wheel
-Heater delete
-Hella horns
-New fluids and engine maintenance
-Paint the frame and underbody
-Eventual basic dyno tune, nothing crazy

I didn't do a great job of documenting much of the things my dad and I have fixed on the car thus far because I was pretty embarrassed about the car for a while, but it is now a lot better once we've fixed many smaller issues. The car was essentially slapped together with the bare minimum effort by the previous owner, so my dad and I plan on redoing quite a few things over the winter to make the car up to our standards. The body is very much a 10-footer, but I don't plan on having it fixed because I know it would be many tens of thousands of dollars to go through this car, so I'll just leave it as a bit-more-rough driver. At the very least, I'll likely take it to our body guy next year to try and adjust all the panels to get better body gaps...

Enough with the talking, here are some of the pics I have from my phone:
Wheel Car Land vehicle Tire Vehicle

Car Automotive parking light Vehicle Land vehicle Automotive side marker light

Car Land vehicle Vehicle Wheel Tire

Car Vehicle Motor vehicle Automotive design Steering wheel

Automotive fuel system Automotive design Motor vehicle Automotive air manifold Automotive exterior

Wheel Car Tire Vehicle Hood

Land vehicle Car Wheel Tire Vehicle

Car Wheel Tire Land vehicle Vehicle

Tire Wheel Land vehicle Car Vehicle

127 Posts
I wish mine looked half that good.
Looks like a fun project for you and your father. Have fun with it.
I have a weak spot for vintage rice in the two wheeled version so i feel your pain.

1970 Chevelle LQ9/T56
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·

I truly am just showing the good angles in the photos, though. The entire rear of the car would be better off cut and replaced, all panels have some sort of issue and I'm sure there's gallons of bondo hiding under the single stage paint. Its really as if someone blasted the body and then painted over everything without fixing any of the chewed up metal. Oh well... Just as long as the paint doesn't start bubbling up, I'll live with it. It's relegated to a nice day only car and lives in the garage when not being driven
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