Chevrolet Chevelle Summer School
From GM press: When eight students from Washtenaw Community College (WCC) in Ann Arbor, Mich., returned to school this fall, their response to the question, “How did you spend your summer vacation?” was unlike that of any other student on campus. That’s because they spent the summer restoring and modernizing a ’70 Chevelle.
The eight students – seven men and one woman – are part of the college’s auto body curriculum and were selected for this high profile project based on their skills. Half are advanced students; the other half beginners. Some specialize in mechanics, some in welding, and some in auto body. Collectively, they put their skills to use installing a new drivetrain, a new interior, and of course, a new custom paint job.
Their goal: have it ready in time to be revealed in the General Motors display at the 2005 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas. “Our students had 100 days to design, restore, and customize one of GM’s most famous muscle cars, and they had a lot of challenges to overcome,” said Gary Sobbry, the student’s instructor at WCC. “They got a lot of help from the people at GM Performance Parts, but really came through by working as a team. It was a great learning process for them.”
In addition to being a featured GM vehicle at the SEMA show, the student’s work was showcased on “Rides,” the popular vehicle customization TV show on The Learning Channel.
The team installed larger disc brakes on all four corners and upgraded the wheels from 15-inch steel to 18-inch front and 19-inch rear five-spoke forged aluminum mags. They also upgraded the original vehicle’s ride and handling with a Hotchkiss front and rear suspension.
The Summer School ’70 Chevelle is powered by a 620-horsepower, 650 lb.-ft. of torque ZZ572 GM Performance Parts crate engine mated to a GMPP Hydra-Matic 4L85-E four-speed automatic transmission. The electronic transmission is directed by a GMPP controller. The crate engine, transmission and controller are readily available from any GM dealership for enthusiasts wishing to do their own “resto-mod” muscle car.
“GM supports programs like Washtenaw’s because our industry needs more highly skilled automotive technicians,” said Lisa Reffett, GM Performance Parts marketing manager. “Today’s techs have to be much more than mechanics; they must be well-trained professionals with problem solving skills and a deep passion for vehicles. We felt a project like the Summer School ’70 Chevelle would give these students an opportunity to show what they could do using modern vehicle technology.”
Summer vacation is over now. And their grade for the project? “They did a great job under a lot of pressure,” Sobbry says. “As a group, they all get A’s.”