Chevelle Reborn: Nathan Van Tol’s Twin-Turbo LSX-Powered Monster

Nathan Van Tol’s 1965 Chevelle SS may look rather tame at first glance and that might convince some it would be an easy win at the track, but they’d be dead-wrong. Just like any good project car, Van Tol just couldn’t leave well enough alone and decided to refine the potent twin-turbo combination in his Chevelle even more. With a fresh build, Van Tol is ready to attempt breaking into the four-second zone in his street car that has a whole lot more bite than bark at the track.

Previously, when we first looked at Van Tol’s Chevelle, it had just been completed and hadn’t seen much track-time yet. After he got the car back from Matt Marron at Matt’s Fab Shop, the 427 cubic-inch LSX engine that was built by LME was able to push the 3,600-pound Chevelle to a best time of 5.23 at 138 mph — but that just wasn’t enough for Van Tol.

With the desire to run bottom fives at the track, and maybe even tickle the four-second range, Van Tol decided to revamp the Chevelle a bit more to optimize the car’s ability to make power.

“We changed the area around the front of the frame and the a-arms up to chrome-moly tubing — this was done to provide more room for an intercooler. After that was done we upgraded to a Shearer Fabrications intercooler to help the car make more power. On the turbo side of things, we changed from a pair of Precision Turbo 7275s to twin Forced Induction s480s with a .90 A/R.

The intake was also changed to a CID two-piece unit with eight Deka 225 injectors and then finished off with Wilson Manifolds billet elbow and 105mm throttle body. For exhaust, we changed to a set of Jardine headers to pull the turbos back a little and gain some room. The fuel system was also changed and we added a 15-gallon fuel cell in the trunk with a Holley vr2 fuel pump system,” Van Tol explains.

The reason for all these changes was to simplify the car and solve several issues Van Tol was having with the engine running twin throttle bodies and 16 injectors. The changes were also made to address fuel pressure issues he was having with the old tank setup. After making all the changes, Van Tol says the intake temperatures are down 50 degrees, the turbos are able to work more efficiently, and he was able to increase the intercooler size to add more horsepower.

With the car buttoned up again, Van Tol is ready to start setting some new personal bests at the track while enjoying his Chevelle as much as he can.

“For now want to run some small-tire and street-car classes, I would also like to try taking the car on Drag Week at some point, too. The car is still all-steel except for the hood and it still has a stock-style suspension, so it’s very much a street car. When the car isn’t busy being run at the track, I use it to take my wife on cruises and dates regularly, “Van Tol explains.

Nathan Van Tol’s Chevelle is the classic example of what every hot rodder and racer does — they push a build to its limit and then find a new way to reimagine it. With such a clean and unassuming car, it’s a sure-bet that Van Tol has surprised more than a few cars at the track or on the street when he drops the hammer and shows off his Chevelle’s taillights.

About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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