“Mayhem”-1971 Chevrolet Chevelle

1971 Chevrolet Chevelle


Three generations of ownership are being preserved in this build.  The client’s grandfather originally owned it.  Eventually, it was handed down to the client’s father and ultimately to the client.  It had one prior paint job and the usual 70’s/80’s custom parts.  A decade ago, it got rear-ended while parked in a driveway and has been sitting in the backyard for almost 5 years.  The usual rust is present around the rear window and lower areas of the fenders.  This will be every bit of a “body-off” build, but so far, we don’t see the need for rotisserie work.  The end result will be a very fast, very comfortable resto-mod driver that the entire family can enjoy.  All that will be left on this vehicle from 1971, will be the body and the frame.

After winching it onto the trailer and transporting it to DCC, we grabbed some fuel and a battery for the car.  As complete as this rig was, we figured it could very easily be under its own power until such time we HAVE to pull the drivetrain.  It has an appointment with a frame-straightening rack, so we didn’t want them to have to push the car around by hand.  Fuel was poured into the tank, the battery was hooked up and with one turn of the key – – MAYHEM is alive again!  While waiting for the frame appointment, we started minor bodywork and stripped off non-essential body parts.  We have purchased the entire left rear quarter panel since the labor to straighten the damaged existing piece would be cost-prohibitive.

Now for the FUN part.  The owner has been planning this build for the last decade.  This car is being built for cruising to LS FEST, car shows, and various US Power Tours.  It may spend some auto-cross track time at these events and maybe even a few timed trips down 1320 feet of asphalt.  With all of this in mind, the owner decided on a nice new GM Performance “Connect-and-Cruise” LS-A supercharged 6.2L crate-motor backed by a 4L85E transmission.


Mayhem turned out EXACTLY as planned!  The GM LSA/4L85E crate-combo was easy to deal with and fired right up.  After calibrating the gauges, verifying fan operation, checking brakes and lights, it was driven around the block.  We had all 4 gears, converter lock-up, and it got a four-wheel-thrust alignment.  As I was driving this car back and forth between Bakersfield and Corcoran, I told the owner it was THE BEST DRIVING A-body I had ever driven.  The BMR suspension is perfect in all respects.  The car has a very comfortable ride, handles curves at normal freeway speeds, doesn’t “bump-steer” at all and stops on the proverbial dime.


After straightening the frame and replacing the left quarter panel, the body was body-worked and blocked straight.  Viper Red OMNI base coat was used for the entire body, door jambs and under the lids.  PPG urethane clear went over that.  We scuffed the hood and trunk and taped off the SS stripes.  We all wanted the stripes to stand out from solid colors that are normally used.  2017 Cadillac “Dark Granite” was chosen and compliments the red quite well.  The whole car was cleared again and then sanded with 1000-grit, then 2000-grit abrasives.  The entire vehicle was rough compounded to get the shine back, but not polished until ready for delivery.  When that time came, a SCHLEGAL wool compound buffing pad with MEGUIARS M105 was used rotary-style to remove all the surface scratches.  After that a Maguire’s foam polish pad was put to work with M205 to polish the surface and remove swirls from the M105.  Finally, a foam finishing pad on a dual-action polisher in conjunction with M305 glaze, then Hybrid Ceramic was properly applied to the finished product.


Due to the HP/TQ of the LSA, we employed HELLWIG’s Frame-FX strengthening kit.  After that was all welded up, we covered the clean frame in POR-15 epoxy.  A complete Stage-II suspension kit was obtained from BMR SUSPENSION, which includes BILSTEIN shock absorbers.  The tubular A-arms and trailing arms were quickly attached to the frame.  Stock-height spindles were used and with the 1.25” drop from the BMR coil springs the ride-height stance came into proper focus.  Our usual 11-inch 4-wheel disc brake conversion from THE RIGHT STUFF was installed.  I had ordered the kit without booster or master cylinder, since we were going to use a Hydroboost hydraulic assist piece.  A “Street-Beast” booster/master cylinder combo was purchased from CPP.  This combo provides great looks as well as unsurpassed stopping power.  We really like using the Hydroboost units for builds like this that have either low-vacuum or the opposite of vacuum – which is boost.  A special power steering reservoir was used, which has dedicated dash-6 return-line fittings for both the power steering as well as the Hydroboost.  This way, we didn’t have to restrict the return lines from each by putting in a “tee” fitting.  The power steering box is a 12.7:1 unit from CPP as well.  PROFORGED delivered the remaining parts of the steering system.

To round-out the chassis components, we again used PERFORMANCE INDUSTRIES in Bakersfield for the differential upgrades and the drive shaft.  The original 10-bolt “one-leg” diff said goodbye to its factory 2.56 gears.  A new 3.36 ring-and-pinion gearset was installed onto an AUBURN Pro-Series limited-slip unit.  In addition to all-new bearings and seals, we upgraded this assembly with a set of TOM’S AXLES.  A minor detail not to be overlooked:  The axles came with ½” wheel studs.  Instead of reversing those to 7/16” to match the front disc rotors, we continued forward and bumped the fronts up to ½” to match.  Problem solved and safer all around.

Closing up the back of the housing is a PERFECT LAUNCH inspection cover with carrier bearing cap preload studs for better high-horsepower stability.  We packed the front wheel bearings with Mobil-1 red grease, the trans got LUCAS Sure-Shift fluid, the diff drinks LUCAS 75/90 Synthetic and the brakes bleed purple with Dot-5 silicone to protect the coatings.  To make the whole ensemble roll again, the owner ultimately chose AMERICAN RACING VN-510 “Draft” wheels.  18”x8” in front and x10” in the back wearing NITTO tires.


Since we needed an “LSA-specific” accessory drive, WEGNER MOTORSPORTS was sourced for the serpentine arrangement.  Everyone involved really liked their setup because it has a separate 8-RIB drive belt for the supercharger.  This way, the owner can increase boost later without affecting the other driven pieces on front of the motor.  The extra 2 ribs for the blower allow the owner to run pulleys up to 840hp without slippage.  We chose black with machined detail (two-tone) on this setup, and it came with a 140-amp alternator, GM type-II power steering pump and a 7-piston Sanden AC compressor – all for less than $3,000.00!  Serpentine setups WITHOUT superchargers can soar past that amount.  Quality components at a fair price.  Installation went as planned and alignment is superb. 

The whole assembly maintains appropriate tension and looks just as good in motion as it does stationary.  LUCAS synthetic power steering fluid was used in the power steering / hydro boost circulatory system.

We used HYPERFUEL on this build for the entire fuel delivery system.  They provided a direct-fit 20-gallon TANKS INC fuel tank, their own in-tank module with 340-lph WALBRO pump and a fuel gauge sending unit.  Also included was a high-flow pressure regulator with return port to keep the fuel cool.  The entire system is rated for 875hp.  Plenty safe for the power level of this build, including the possibility of future pulley (boost) changes.

A K&N air filter assembly stands guard defend against unwanted particles in the incoming oxygen and provides a mounting location for the MAF sensor.

A pair of HOOKER HEADERS mid-length LS-swap items merge through 3” collectors to a complete 3” PYPES EXHAUST system.  Right from the start, this client specified he wanted BLACK WIDOW mufflers used for the build.  He purchased the 3” Race Venom models from them directly and they were welded in place.  Pypes polished stainless Chevelle-style exhaust tips punctuate the installation by peeking out at the rear valance.

We used a GRIFFIN aluminum dual-pass radiator with two fans, matching shroud and trans-cooler which provides more cooling than the drivetrain will ever require. 

A DAKOTA DIGITAL (DD) 2800BT dual fan controller was employed and wired to the VINTAGE AIR (VA) trinary switch.  PEAK pre-mixed 50/50 antifreeze/coolant tops off the radiator and intercooler system.

We had to get creative with the intercooler reservoir, since those must be the highest point of the charge-air cooling system.  We used an Edelbrock universal heat exchanger, carefully mounted in the front airflow area.  HOLLEY motor mount plates and A-body LS swap oil pan kit were used to fit the powerplant between the frame rails.  Mobil-1 5w20 was poured into that oil pan and changed after fire-up and again after 350 miles.


MARK’S UPHOLSTERY was contracted for the interior.  Once again, DD was contacted for the VHX gauge panel with black background and red lighting.  We had already installed a tilt steering column with DD cruise control switch to operate the CRS-2000.  Mayhem’s owner got his hands on a pair of power bucket seats from a wrecked 2014 Camaro.  We had to make some stanchions to get proper height, but they fit in the A-body very well.  They offer a significant amount of front-rear travel for a variety of drivers and passengers.  At the owner’s request, Mark deleted the headrests and stitched up the custom leather for the buckets as well as the back seat.  Side panels and dash were matched, and black carpet was placed over our DYNAMAT installation.  A reproduction SS console was utilized and outfitted with a B&M Quicksilver shifter modified for the overdrive transmission.  A VA sure-fit Gen-IV heater/AC combo was tucked under the dash, which exits through factory vents.  Mark’s shop also did an outstanding job adding two cupholders to the forward portion of the console and they look like they were born there. 

All the miscellaneous Chevelle-specific items (door handles, hinges, knobs, etc.) were ordered from ORIGINAL PARTS GROUP (OPG).


An entry-level stereo was mixed into this project, using a RETRO-SOUNDS Bluetooth/Apple IOS factory-fit head-unit, NVX 6×9 speakers in the rear package tray as well as 5.25s in the front kick panels.  A BAZOOKA 12” subwoofer tube assembly was placed in the trunk and all of the components are connected together by a NVX 1100 watt 5-channel amplifier.  Positive and negative electrons circulate throughout the system via a NVX 4-gauge / 5-channel installation kit.  We used an AMERICAN AUTOWIRE complete harness, and an OPTIMA red-top battery with a CTEK on-board 4.3-amp maintainer.  DD makes the very functional LED replacement tail/brake lights.  ORACLE lighting was sourced for the 7” LED sealed beam headlights with red halos.  For legal purposes, we wired the relay for the red halo lights to the parking brake.  This way, they won’t be on when vehicle is in motion.


The client took possession of his completed vehicle on Friday, December 4th.  The following day, he drove over to Paso Robles (and back) for a “Poker Run” event. 

Since then, this car has been very active in car shows and automotive events.  It has traveled as far as Tucson, Arizona for the Roadkill Duct Tape Drags, where it was asked to be on display at the Black Widow Exhaust vendor booth.  Don’t be surprised if you run into Mayhem when you’re out and about.



#GM Performance #Performance Industries #Hellwig Suspension #BMR Suspension #Bilstein #The Right Stuff Detail / GetDiscBrakes #Dakota Digital #Vintage Air #B&M #Edelbrock #Nitto Tires #American Racing Wheels #Retro-Sounds #NVX Mobile Audio #Mobil-1 Oil #Lucas Oil #Peak Coolant #Hooker Headers #K&N Filters #PYPES Exhaust #Black Widow Mufflers #PPG Automotive Finishes #Meguiars #Oracle Lights #American Autowire #Optima Batteries #Mark’s Upholstery #Bazooka Bass Tubes  #CTEK Smarter Chargers #HyperFuel