Since it’s been a while since my last update on the Chevelle build I thought I’d take a little time to document what has happened since I last wrote about it. In my last installments I’ve documented that:
- The Chevelle made it to Allison Customs in New Mexico
- Was disassembled and examined
- Required a truckload (or two) of sheetmetal from National Parts Depot
- Was about to receive a new suspension from Detroit Speed
Today’s post will be mainly a photo documentary, as the pictures really tell the tale. As Jeff Allison examined the frame he didn’t like what he saw. Since the goal for this build is to use the car heavily on the autocross Jeff wanted to be sure that the frame was solid enough to handle the duty, and he was not too happy about the rust and thin metal in certain sections of the frame. It ended up taking more time and effort than initially anticipated, but the end result is going to be spectacularly strong….and will also allow the use of a larger rear tire WITHOUT having to modify any suspension pickup points!
Since it was our goal to simply bolt the Detroit Speed suspension on, the process described below was was the best route to go to allow the larger tire use. If you’re considering DSE suspension for you Chevelle, this was a completely optional step that we chose to take and is by no means necessary for a bolt-on situation.
Jeff began by making sure that the frame was square corner to corner, and he then boxed the frame rails in as a convertible or El Camino chassis would have been. He replaced a majority of the metal in the front horns due to rust and some thin metal and also strengthened the area where the A-arms bolt on. He cut the center section of front cross-member and replaced it with tubing to add further strength and to make additional room for the LS swap that will happen sometime in the future.
After that he went to work on the rear of the frame and notched the outside of the rails where the wheels would be to accommodate a 295/35/18 tire. To strengthen the area that was notched he added internal boxing, plated the outside, and then added in triangulation barts to keep everything square. He also replaced all of the external frame body mounts with new ones! The end result of the process will be a frame that was far stronger than it was when new, and one that can stand up to the rigors of daily driving and weekend warrior use!
I’ll post a follow-up update soon to show what the frame looks like after poweder coat has been completed. For questions about the process please contact Jeff Allison at Allison Customs. Jeff will also be on next week’s podcast show (Episode 94) to give a full update!