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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking at getting a classic car soon to replace my ailing Ford pickup, and wanted to ask a couple of questions about the '70-ish Chevelles - they're in my price range, and I love the looks/power/style. (At the risk of being flamed, my other choice is a '64.5-'68 Mustang
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I turn 18 next month, so this is probably going to be my college car - and there's a good chance I'm heading for either Boston or Portland, OR - is the Chevelle wholly inappropriate for heavy rain/snow? (Couldn't be any worse than my truck...) The other option is staying home for college which means tons of money for car toys.


Now for the tech questions - how expensive is it to update some of the suspension/steering/brake tech? I'd really like to go for the handling aspect - how far would lowering springs, 16 or 17-inch wheels, and polygraphite bushes go toward this? Is it possible to put in power steering/power brakes if the original isn't equipped with them (I also plan to convert to disc brakes soon after acquiring the Chevelle)?
I really like the 17" Torq-Thrust II wheels - they're a five-lug pattern, but I can't remember their other info - does anyone know if they'll fit a '70-'72?

Engine/Transmission stuff -
First, did any Chevelles come with manual transmissions? I'd really kind of like a manual, but that's not that high on the list...
Is the 307 a decent engine to modify? I've seen several for sale in the paper with these, but even their gross horsepower was only 200bhp - which seems kind of weak to push around 3800#.
If possible, I'd like to get one with a 350 (I understand they're easier to work on and modify than almost anything out there), but if that's not in the cards - how expensive is it to buy a used (but not abused) 350 and put it in a 307 car?

Final question - I have some questions about interior and sound system stuff - where's the best place to find that kind of info out?



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"Imagination is more important than knowledge" - Albert Einstein
 

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To answer your last questions, yes they did come with manuals, 3-on-the-tree, 4-on-the-floor, (maybe a 3 on the floor too). A 307 is good for gas mileage. It's a good little engine. The 350's aren't easier to work on than any other engine, it's just the parts are dirt cheap & can be found anywhere. Hope this helps.

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Jay W.
In-the-works 67 Malibu-Temecula, CA
genxrodsandcustoms.8m.com
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www.angelfire.com/ca4/67malibu
 

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Mpowell
At the risk of being flamed my first car was a 66 mustang GT. My current toy is a 71 chevelle. I loved the stang, I worship my Velle. If you like working on and modifying your car (and it sounds like you do) then stick with a Chevelle. you'll get a lot reasons for doing so from the responces on this site.

As a daily driver the chevelle will perform very well as long as you keep it in sound shape. All older cars have thier challenges and bad weather will bring up concerns about rust, but the velle is not inappropriate for rain or snow.

As far as updates to the engineering of the car, alot is availible. One of the nice things about the car is that if something was an option for a 64 to 72 Chevelle then it will fit almost all Chevelles weather it was originally equipped or not. Chevelles came from the factory with power disk brakes, power steering, AC, Big and small block engines, manual and automatic transmissions. All of these options are direct bolt in items for a chevelle. There is also a great deal of stuff availible from the aftermarket and other GM cars (GM made alot of it's parts so that they would fit on more than one car line, and GM made a lot of cars)

For some of your more specific Questions.
Torque thrust II's can be had in sizes that will fit a chevelle, contact American Racing Equipment.
Hotchkis INC and Global west both make suspension kits that claim to make a Chevelle a real turn carver. The kits are expensive but they work. (global claims that you can just about keep up with a late model Vette) Poly graphite bushings are a common modification and they do take away the boat feeling while driving.
the 307 is not the Ideal engine for power modifications, It is not a bad engine by any means but it is an unusual bore stroke combination. The 350 and the small block 400 have the same external dimensions and wieght and as they say "there is no substitute for cubic inches". Used small block chevys that run can cost as little as 50$ to as much as 6000$, but I'd expect to pay 500 for a running stock engine that is nothing special.

Spend about a week and read as much of this site as possible this is by far the best place to get info.

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Clark
TC #68
Ft. Polk, Louisiana
 

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mpowell, just my $.05.

I partially restored a 66 Mustang five years ago. I have a 70 Chevelle now.

Since it sounds like you are on a tight $$ budget, I figure you are looking at what I look at as far as $$ goes.

On the Ford Plus side, the 66-67 'Stang is the most popular year for reproduction parts (you'll need 'em
). Big Minus is that you WILL likely spend $$ having the trunk floor, rocker boxes, shock towers or frame rails welded. They all rust out in these areas.

On a Chevelle PLUS side, specifically the 70, you have more donor cars to pick from than if you picked a 'Stang, so used parts are more availible. You can't get more bang for your buck than a GM 307/glide or a 350/350 combo. And you can live with a lot of rust as long as the frame is there.

So, to answer everything else, go to swap meets, get a few free catalogs, ask Q's on this site. Keep an eye on prices of the years and cars you are considering in the trading post.

Best advice, fix the things that are broken, bent, leaking and torn. I'm not saying skip the restification along the way if you run into a deal. Just don't get lost in the dream. I mean if the car made it 30 years on the 307, that's saying somethin'.


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DG
Springfield, Ohio
70 Chevelle Malibu

www.wright.edu/~adams.6/chevy.htm
Genx member (Founder 4 Ohio)
TEAM Chevelle Member #0086




[This message has been edited by DG (edited 08-28-99).]
 

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If you choose a school in Boston then you do not want to take an old car there. The roads are rough and the salt will eat an old body very quickly. Plenty of theft too.
Boston is also a very TIGHT place to drive and you'll be way happier in a smaller front-drive car.
Save the older cars for better climates.
As far as what you can do with a Chevelle, the only question is "what's your budget?" For about seven grand you can get a really nice car. Modifications will be extra.
 

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Ditto last reply, urban driving will wreak havoc on your ride. Especially near campuses.

If you go away for school, you might reconsider a classic musclecar. You definitely must have access to a garage or a place to perform some of your own maintenance. I could've done it in the Army; it would've been tough in college. But maybe some youngins here have something to say ( don;t talk like a gen X'er do I SoCAl?).

In my humble opinion, and the reason I chose a Chevelle over other musclecars, is that it's a perfect platform for the hallowed RAT. The picture is complete with a stick beacuse real men shift they're own gears.

Seriously, whether I choose a mouse, or the highly preferable rat, for your motorvation, I would encourage you to opt for a 4 speed, or 5,6 speed,.

I think a gent named Smokey Yunick ran a 66 Chevelle stock car. Probably handled like a charm, even with 60's technology. Low, on stiff springs, large wheels, and muscular anti sways, no doubt chevelles can made to handle extraoridinarily well.

Net/net, you're thinking in the right direction! HEY before you consider a Stang, check out a thread a week or two back, regarding 60 minutes II. Apparently these things have ****ty gas tanks. You'll have to do a fuel cell. Chevelles are big and safe, IMO.

Good luck!

Gene Chas
Gold Member 62
67 SS L88
 

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I completely agree with the last 2 posts. I feel that a Chevelle is the wrong car for what you need. The last 2 posts explain why.

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Ted Stojkovski
(formerly Skunkynuggets)
Syracuse NY
Team Chevelle #172
 

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I think if you stay for school at home go for a chevelle they kick @$$. You need somewhere to store it at night (somewhere safe) so no one will steal any of the mods. Up here in Canada, Ont the salt kills any kinda car not too sure bout what they use in the us. To be safe and save the car you need to store it in the winter so your resto work stays good. If you stay at home buy one they are great and since bowtie there are tons of parts around and even alot of them interchange from model to model. My car isn't street leagle yet but has a 350/350 setup and only prob i had was finding an oil pan cuz the dip stick is on the drivers side. decode the engine and it comes out to be 69 - 80 sbc 350. most chevy sb's have dipstick on passenger side. but all the parts are cheap and pretty easy to find

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Owner of a 66 chevelle malibu.... might be on the road next year. I HOPE!!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks to everyone for the suggestions - I should know in a month or two which one I'm heading for, if either (more likely to be Portland than Boston - nicer climate, smaller school - Lewis & Clark), so the decision will probably be made then. (Oh, for those curious, staying home means the University of Texas at Arlington or the University of North Texas, which are pretty good universities. Then there's always UT-Austin.)

Now for the fun part - research (I wish I could find a career that just let me research all day long and paid good money...).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks to everyone for the suggestions - I should know in a month or two which one I'm heading for, if either (more likely to be Portland than Boston - nicer climate, smaller school - Lewis & Clark), so the decision will probably be made then. (Oh, for those curious, staying home means the University of Texas at Arlington or the University of North Texas, which are pretty good universities. Then there's always UT-Austin.)

Now for the fun part - research (I wish I could find a career that just let me research all day long and paid good money...).

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Matthew Powell
Arlington, TX
~'70 Chevelle, soon
~'65 Vespa scooter, not-so-soon
"Imagination is more important than knowledge" - Albert Einstein
 

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I kind of hate to ask, but when you guys raise the question of "handling" I wonder what exactly do you mean? To me there's a big difference between CORNERING and HANDLING.
And just to show you what kind of guy I am, I will offer my next burned-through Quadrajet base gasket(FREE) to the writer who posts the best explanation. You guys be the judge.
Richard
 

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Discussion Starter #12
My definitions -
Cornering - cornering is the shear ability to take a corner. It's a combination of weight, steering, tires and center of gravity/height, for the most part. It can be judged by the ability to take a turn at X speed (i.e. - with 35-year old bias-ply tires I might be able to take that corner at 35 without being FUBAR, but lower the car an inch and give it tires with a shorter sidewall and better grip, I might be able to take that corner at 50 or 60), or with a skidpad measurement.

Handling, on the other hand, is highly subjective. It's a combination the factors mentioned above to a certain extent, weight, how the suspension is set up, etc.. A Miata handles great - its skidpad rating may not be as high as a Viper with 335/35 tires, but it inspires confidence as you take a turn. Handling, to me, is the ability to take turns at speeds other cars wouldn't, and feel confident doing so.
 

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can we really compare a pre-70 mustang to a chevelle? really different items I would think. weight, size, interior, etc... to many distinctions.

i think my 70 SS clone drips testosterone. how may cars have the stance of a 70 SS with a cowl-induction hood?

A fast-back mustange is a sharp car. I like all cars, even some rice-burners (god forbid), but at the emotional level, put a 70 Mustang next to a 70 SS Chevelle and the 'stang looks like the inspiration for Disco


BTW, I wondered what happened to skunkynuggets!
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members.tripod.com/dfdolerjr



[This message has been edited by ddoler (edited 08-30-99).]
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'm not really comparing the two - they're just the top ones on my list. The others are a classic truck (which would go more to the "street rod" style, I think), a newer econobox (Nissan Sentra-style thing), or a mid-'80s RX7 (cool looking, great handling, but about as unreliable as they come). If I bought the econobox, I'd probably look into buying a motorcycle at some point for ~$1500 to learn on and use as "fun" transportation.
I'd prefer to just win the lottery (18 in Sept. woo-hoo!) and take a four-month road trip in my cherry '70 Chevelle SS454.

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Matthew Powell
Arlington, TX
~'70 Chevelle, soon
~'65 Vespa scooter, not-so-soon
"Imagination is more important than knowledge" - Albert Einstein
 

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Ah Handling... it means so many different things.
First and foremost, it shold take away the BOAT feeling of Sixties and Seventies cars. Heck, as soon as possible, the Elky gets suspension mods.... talk about a BOAT! Second it gives you the confidence needed to beat that darn 5.0 Rustang, and then out corner his butt as well.
And third.... BRAKES!!!! Cannot say enough about brakes. Until you've driven great brakes, you just don't know what you are missing. (Elky should get a Baer upgrade, but at least is gonna get the best pads I can get!

Whew, my fingers are tired!

Dave H.
Houston, TX

P.S. Did I mention BRAKES???
 
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