Ed Kiebler knew what he wanted. The Hot Rod Power Tour had caught his attention, and he could think of nothing better than a rolling vacation with his car buddies. The chariot of choice would be a ‘65 Chevelle that was built for comfort and modern performance but still retained a classic muscle car appearance. His other goal was to make it as red as he could get it.
He called upon the crew at COMP Performance Group to create a top-shelf powertrain package that would throw him back in the seat when floored and keep up with the fast crowd on long trips. They responded with a full range of products from RHS, COMP Cams, FAST, TCI and ZEX.
He located a Chevelle in Washington and shipped it home to Cedar Hill, Missouri. Though it looked solid, it was deemed too rusty after closer inspection and a trip to the media-blaster. A second, more suitable car was purchased from friend with a ‘65 Chevelle race car who happened to have another stashed in his barn. With a little metalwork, the new body was ready for a pair of Detroit Speed mini-tubs and prepped for paint.
The frame was boxed and fitted with Detroit Speed suspension fore and aft. Wilwood brakes were also used, and the 12-bolt rear was narrowed to fit the 15×10 Cragar wheels Ed found. They’re wrapped in a set of 295/50/15 BFG’s with a pair of 225/60/15s for the skinnier two up front. An Eaton third member with 3.42 gears makes sure both rear wheels spin when needed.
With the car and chassis back together, the “red as red could get, with no orange” request was answered with Dodge’s Viper Red. The base/clear is flawless inside and out, and complimented by many NOS and beautifully restored emblems and trim pieces.
Since cruising long distances was the ultimate goal, a set of 10-way power seats with good lower back and lumbar support were plucked from a Ford Taurus. Hytech Auto Trim in Columbia, Illinois, covered them in supple white leather with perforated inserts. They did the same for the back seat and the one-off door panels. A contrasting black was used on the seat bases, the dash and the custom console. A full rack of Dakota Digital analog gauges helps Ed keep tabs under the hood.
When it came time to power this slick red ride, Ed chose RHS. He knew their new aluminum LS block would be right at home between the rails, and he selected their LS7 heads. He turned the components over to his good friends Gordon and Mike at Performance Automotive in Bethalto, Illinois. They honed the cylinders to spec, installed bronze lifter bushings, and balanced the forged 4.125” stroke Callies crank and 6.30” H-beam rods. A set of Ross pistons fill the 4.165” bores, sealed snugly with a Total Seal ring set.
COMP Cams supplied the timing chain, camshaft and lifters. T&D shaft-mount rockers and a Melling HP oil pump were also selected, while a Wegner Motorsports serpentine belt system was chosen to spin the accessories and Vintage Air compressor. Casey Wegner also hooked him up with the trick, two-piece valve covers that hide the ignition coils in style.
Nestled between them is a FAST LSXr intake with a 102mm Big Mouth throttle body. A 100 HP shot ZEX nitrous kit adds to the pep, you know… just in case. The bottle was neatly mounted behind a side-panel in the trunk. The fuel and ignition system are controlled with a FAST XFI Sportsman that was given the super-tune by David Page. David works for FAST and is the digital maestro when it comes to dialing these systems in.
Backing the RHS block is a TCI 4L80E transmission and flex plate with their EZ-TCU controller. It’s compatible with the FAST system for flawless integration.