BadAss 1965 Chevelle LS1 Restomod Makes 700 HP, Is Fully Custom (Video)
The short-lived first-generation Chevrolet Chevelle isn’t as sexy or famous as its coke bottle successor. However, it hit the ground running in 1964 and managed a lasting impression on the American mid-seized segment. It also represents Chevrolet’s entry into the muscle car war with the Chevelle Super Sport.
In 1965, Chevrolet made and sold almost 300,000 Chevelles, 77,000 of which were SS models. That year, they began offering the 350 horsepower 327 V8 option. The following year, the 396 big-block began arriving. And with such pedigree, we’re shocked that more people aren’t building cool first-gen Chevelles.
Until today, I had no idea that somebody had ever “blown” a great engine and lots of money on a 1965 Chevelle. And thankfully, this glossy build stopped over at the shop where AutotopiaLA usually showcases muscle cars and trucks.
The first thing you notice is how good the bodywork looks in this bright shade of red. Of course, this is a heavy restomod, and we have a sneaking suspicion that the panel gaps and body lines were all fixed before a coat of Victory Red was applied. This is the same color you’d see on most C6 Corvettes or 2010 Camaros.
To make it pop, this build also gets the “Shadow Line” treatment, where all the trim is blacked out. The grille is black, the bumpers are black, the door handles and even the windows. Even the ugliest muscle car would look good after such a treatment. I’m not saying the old Chevelle was ugly, but it’s so boxy and simple compared to the Corvettes and Camaros of that time.
Speaking of modern Chevy cars, this thing has dropped its 60s powertrain in favor of an LS1. The V8 has had a mild bore to a 355 cubic-inch or 5.8-liter. Thanks to a Whipple supercharger and a bunch of other mods, she’s now making 601 hp at the wheels, and over 700 lb-ft of torque. That’s basically 700 hp at the crank, about double what some LS1s make.
Things get even crazier after that because this has basically a drag racing gearbox with three levers to select the gears. And while the chassis is still stock, the owner did everything he could to strengthen it. She’s also been tubbed at the back for bigger wheels, and you’ll notice a modern-looking diffuser for the rear.
The upholstery is also absurd. The factory seats were kept but given extra bolstering. The Alcantara leather and carbon dash are far-removed from the world of 1960s Chevy interiors. And in the trunk, the fuel cell has been wrapped to look like a suitcase.
As much as owner John loves this car, he just can’t keep hold of it for some reason. It was his first ride, bought by his mother when he was a teen. He sold it, and bought it back a decade later. However, the body shop that was supposed to paint it after that closed and it was basically stolen for two years.