Taking on a build project like we did with our Project BluePrint Chevelle is a daunting task, but it can also result in some fantastic results in the long run. While we’re not completely done with Project BluePrint just yet, we have made some astounding headway on the car in recent months by the way of power, performance and handling. Not only has this set our ’64 Chevelle up to be a fantastic street car, it’s also prepared the car for some serious competition in the future. So let’s take a look back at what all we’ve done to our GM A-body and bring you up to date on where we still see our Chevy going in the future.
Project Build Diary:
July 2, 2013: Project BluePrint Makes Her First Feature Article
We had a ton of fun upgrading our Project BluePrint Chevelle and the end results are nothing but fantastic. In addition to a fully streetable beast, we also made ourselves a highly-competitive pro-touring Chevy. This is not only seen in the power and performance of our GM A-body, but also it’s stance, aesthetics and pure pleasure to drive. All of this and more is covered in our most recent BluePrint update titled Signed, Sealed, Delivered: BluePrint Gets a New Lease on Life.
While Project BluePrint may seem complete, we still have some tricks up our sleeves for the future. So stay tuned as we try out a different transmission controller and upgrade our Chevelle with electronic fuel injection!
June 27, 2013: A BluePrint Engines 427ci LSX Crate Engine Upgrade
With big goals in mind, the ultimate upgrade to our ’64 Chevelle had to be the engine. Lucky for us, we were able to team up with the folks at BluePrint Engines to secure what turned out to be the ultimate pro-touring powerhouse under our Chevelle’s hood.
Wanting a bit of modern technology and old-school cool under the hood, we ultimately decided on BluePrint’s GM LS Series 427ci Engine (Part # PSLS4270CTC) with a retrofitted carburetor system. Not only would this give us the reliability and power of a modern engine, it also provided us with that good ole muscle car carburetion via an AED 850cfm carburetor.
In addition to a new GM LS3/L92 aluminum block, the LS 427 engine from BluePrint came with a forged steel crank, forged rods, and forged Mahle 11:1 compression pistons.
A hydraulic roller camshaft backed by GM factory rollers with upgraded roller truion keeps everything in the engine cranking at high performance standards while a balanced rotating assembly and non-weighted harmonic balencer makes the power plant’s work nothing but smooth sailing.
Topping the engine off are LS3/L92 aluminum heads while a Edelbrock/GM Performance Parts Single Plane Satin Aluminum intake manifold helps distribute cool air in the engine. Spark is accomplished thanks to ACDelco high-performance spark plugs. To finish everything off, the engine is fitted with valve covers, an oil pan and timing cover.
Although swapping in a new engine can seem like a major task, we were able to accomplish this part of the build with little trouble thanks to advice from BluePrint and our own know-how.
June 12, 2013: Swapping a 468ci Big Block for a 427ci LS Crate Engine
Swapping an engine is just as much about planning and avoiding trouble as it is actually doing the swap. That’s why with our Project BluePrint Chevelle, we addressed some standard issues that come up when doing an engine swap before sourcing additional parts and putting everything together.
At the top of our list was how much fabrication and work we wanted to do to fit our engine of choice into the engine bay. We also had to look at the intended use of the car to help determine an optimal transmission setup, designate the best choices for all our engine’s supporting components, choose an exhaust system built for our car and its intended use, and configure any fitament issues that could arise. We also made sure to determine what type of oil pan we needed. In the end, we were realistic with our goals, which made for an easier swap.
With our BluePrint LSX crate engine already on order, there were a few additional components that had to be sourced in order to complete our engine swap.
What would a good pro-touring car be without superior instrumentation? Well, not one of our project cars at least. That’s why we selected Dakota Digital’s VHX Series kit (Part # VHX-64C-CVL) to upgrade our 1964 Chevelle’s interior with a modern data display. But just because we went with a new instrument panel doesn’t mean we did away with any of the interior’s old-school feel. In fact, Dakota Digital specializes in the latest and greatest data reading technology with all kinds of faces, including these retro red back-lit beauties.
A complete kit, the Dakota Digital VHX Series kit came with everything we needed to tie our new gauges into our classic Chevy’s dash, including the VHX display, universal sender pack, control box, blinker harness, CAT5 cable and necessary hardware. With just a couple of hours and some basic wiring knowledge, we were able to upgrade our Chevelle’s instrumentation to the superior level that Dakota Digital is known for. Check out the full installation of the Dakota Digital VHX Series in our tech article titled Dakota Digital VHX System Facelift- Modernizing the Interior.
September 19, 2012: BluePrint Engine And Gearstar Performance Transmission Install
With driveability a factor in our part-purchasing decisions, we knew that this particular Chevelle would be spending a lot of time out on the road. Unfortunately, we have yet to drive the car much. In the meantime, we made sure to outfit our Chevelle with the Level 4 4L65E transmission from Gearstar Performance. With the addition of our 600HP BluePrint LS engine, Gearstar’s overdrive will be a nice compliment to an already potent package. While our install involved a lot of heavy modifying of the factory A-body transmission tunnel and engine motor mounts, it’s certainly something any weekend-wrencher could handle.
July 31, 2012: Brakes, Wheels, Tires and Suspension
Years ago, obtaining that perfect stance took custom parts, lots of fabrication and a load of headaches. Nowadays, you can achieve that custom, one-off look with a few bolt-ons and some time in your very own garage. With autocrossing on the table as one of the Chevelle’s duties, we needed the right parts to get this A-body to hook. With a quick search of the RideTech website, we had a complete, front to rear bolt-on coilover suspension kit. It came with all the necessary hardware and even the RideTech splined front sway bar. In an afternoon we had the factory components off and nearly all the front end completed with the new suspension. It took another full day to remove the old factory parts from the rear and the remainder of that day to get the rear dialed in with the RideTech parts.
You can see here, the new RideTech A-body kit is installed on the front of the Chevelle.
Comparison of the original suspension and the upgraded RideTech suspension package is like night and day
We went as wide as we could get in the rear without having to tub the rear wheel wells. For BluePrint's tires, we went with Continental's new line of performance tires, the ExtremeContact DW. These are Continental's Ultra-High Performance summer tires for performance driving in dry or wet conditions. The Z speed rating and tire aspect ratio will give us the handling characteristics we need to navigate through the cones
With our game plan in place, it became clear that this project build was well thought out and the goals were very achievable. What makes a well defined project car that can achieve the target goals is a clearly defined build plan with purposeful selection of components – a blueprint, if you will. The final step in planning is to give the project a name. Based on the thought process that went into planning this build, BluePrint Chevelle seemed like a meaningful project name.
As work has already started on our BluePrint Chevelle project car, you’ll want to check back often to see where we are in our build process. We promise to give you all the details, each step of the way. Pardon us while we go back to the blueprints and get this project rolling.
Summer 2012: BluePrint Chevelle Video Productions
If you’re like us, time is a hot commodity and spending hours sifting through this build thread can be a bit daunting. While we’ve got most of the updates on the current ’64 BluePrint Chevelle build below, we couldn’t help but showcase some of our latest, in-house productions with the Chevelle.
We’ve carefully documented some of our most important endeavors on film including the install of our complete upgrade of the factory suspension with RideTech and new wheels and tires from Billet Specialties and Continental tires. We’ve also featured the BluePrint LS engine swap and illustrated just how easy it is to do the swap yourself. Of course, for more videos on everything we do here at Chevy Hardcore and Power Automedia, be sure to check out our entire library of videos, right here. Sit back and enjoy our build episodes.
August 13, 2012 BluePrint Engines Makes Crate Motor Swaps Easy
August 8, 2012 Billet Specialties Street Smart Wheels
July 31,2012: Power Automedia 1964 Project Chevelle Upgrades With New Suspension, Wheels, Tires and Brakes
April 20, 2012: Introduction- What We Have Planned
As the evolution of hot rodding has changed, we couldn’t ignore the instant and continued success of the LS powerplants. While the current setup of the Chevelle including a naturally-aspirated big-block and 3-speed Turbo 400 transmission certainly allowed the A-body to scoot, we were after something modern and convenient. We’ll also be updating the entire Chevelle, both inside and out.
The Chevelle came to us with a mild, 468ci big-block engine that was going to have to go to make way for something a little more gutsy. For the time being, it powered our hefty Chevelle around the Goodguys autocross without a hitch.
The BluePrint LS engines front drive system will comprise of a Billet Specialties system. Supplying fuel to our LS will be an AED Carburetor, Holley fuel pump and Earl's fuel lines. MSD will be on tap, too, and will be assuring that our new LS will crank over via MSD starter and firing off all the cylinders with their complete line of ignition components.
It’s no secret that AFCO started out as a small radiator company, but they have grown into a major company manufacturing and supplying many different components for racers. While they have diversified into other areas, their knowledge and experience in cooling systems has continued to advance as well.
We plan to tag team the exhaust effort with two names that are revered in the performance marketplace, Hedman Hedders and FlowMaster Exhaust. We expect this to be a very popular upgrade to our project car and look forward to hearing how many of our readers duplicate our choice in exhaust systems for their LS based engines.
We’ve selected the 4L65E Gearstar Level 4 transmission with converter for our project from Gearstar Performance Transmissions. We needed a transmission that was able to deal with the abuse that we were going to subject it to. In our do-it-all project car, we selected a solid do-it-all transmission.
For a spectacular all around suspension that will help our classic muscle car put it’s best footprint forward, we selected a coilover suspension from RideTech. For street, road racing and autocross, we expect RideTech’s to really make a difference in the way our Chevelle handles.
Performance brakes are a necessity on road and autocross courses. We selected a brake company that we were familiar with and had used on previous project cars with much success. These SSBC big rotors and multiple stainless steel pistons will help us slow down at the last possible minute for quicker track times.
Billet Specialties 17X8-inch fronts are paired with 17X9.5-inch rears. Once again we went with a company that we were familiar with. Billet Specialties brings the strength that we are looking for in a wheel with the added benefit of helping our project car become more than just a race car. We wanted show-car good looks to complete the “do-it-all” theme of this beauty.