Next Tuesday, Feb 21!

Hi all – no new pictures to share this time around but some great news!   Next Tuesday, Feb 21, Kelly at Level 10 will be done with the Chevelle!

I will be driving down to Mesa to the shop so Kelly can walk me through all of the electronics we’ve installed in the beastie… the biggest one for me is the VIPER alarm, not for the obvious “alarm” functionality, rather for it’s GPS tracking and fully remote, cellphone app based remote start abilities!   Living in Arizona in the summer you really do want to leave the A/C turned on then remote start your car and let it run for 10 minutes before you head out.  No problem on a modern car… but now also in my 1971 Chevelle!

Once Kelly finishes the walk-thru (I will be snagging pics and videos for posting here later in the day), we will load her up on the trailer and take her back to Sean at Top Gear Motorsports.  Sean only had a few minor things to work though with the drivetrain (the ECU isn’t seeing the RPM signal for some reason so it never triggers the transmission to shift, plus a faulty starter motor and a few other minor adjustments)… then she will be ready for her final dyno engine tune, emissions test and her 3-day temp registration so I can DRIVE HER HOME!

Stay tuned!


Still Making Progress on the Chevelle

Okay, so I wouldn’t blame you if you thought I had fallen off the face of the planet.  It’s been quite a while since my last blog post about my Chevelle.  Suffice to say my family had a LOT going on in 2016 so while progress was continuing on the car, my free time required to do things like this was… well, cut short.   That said 2017 is looking to be a better year and I thought I would try to kick it off on a good note with a blog update!

So, what IS going on…  well, the car has been with Kelly at his shop in Mesa (Level 10 Performance).  He has been working on the electrical systems for me since we had the “unfortunately incident” with an electrical shop whose name I shall never mention again (yeah, it was a bad experience!).   Kelly, on the other hand, has been awesome!   He has the Viper alarm / remote start / GPS system installed, the full electric window upgrade (all four windows!) and all of the various Dakota Digital components.

He has also been working endlessly to fabricate custom brackets and such to get my new front seats mounted.  I opted for modern (fully adjustable electric) seats but had to search high and low (pun intended, as you will see in a moment!) to find the right ones.

Kelly’s first attempt to mount the seats met with a stunning realization… even though these seats were physically pretty compact, the mounting base used on the seat was NOT small.  As you can see in the pictures below the seats were sitting so high inside the cabin that when I sat down my head was literally touching the roof skin (no headline) and my neck was bent to the side.   Yeah, that ain’t gonna work!  (as always, click on the pictures to load higher-resolution versions!)

casey-frontseats-901 casey-frontseats-900

The seats themselves felt great so I asked Kelly to rethink the mounting situation.  That has taken quite a bit of time…  new brackets to fab, some “floorpan massaging” with the sledgehammer (I mean the Persuader!)… and now we have this:

casey-frontseats-002 casey-frontseats-001

I was down at their shop last Saturday (Jan 21, 2017) to test-fit the seat locations.  SO MUCH BETTER!    The seat leather is scuffed in places but no worries as they will be completely recovered in new tan colored leather when the car heads to the interior shop!

SO, we are on the right path with the front seats.  Remember, this car is intended to be a daily driver so comfort is a requirement and Kelly has nailed it!

What else has been going on?  Well, before the seat work Kelly went through the entire interior with some sound deadener… think DynaMat but without the price.  🙂

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And here are some pics of the new glass, freshly installed (you can’t see the hardware but trust me, the conversion to all electric windows is there..

casey-newglass-002 casey-newglass-001

With the front seat locations approved, Kelly is wrapping up the final fabrication plus electrical hookups for the front seats, plus a few minor final electrical connections here and there.  After that the car will go back to Sean at Top Gear Motorsports to troubleshoot a transmission that won’t shift (looks like the ECM isn’t seeing the RPM signal so it isn’t triggering the transmission to shift) plus a few small items.   After that the car is COMING HOME…  complete with registration as she will be street legal!   More to come soon…

Dashing Through The…


well, it’s certainly not snow… at least not here in Phoenix, Arizona in April!

BUT.. on the Chevelle project we are “dashing” about but in a slightly different way!

Remember all of those tasty Dakota Digital goodies I purchased many months ago?

Casey-Dash-001 Casey-Dash-002

Casey-Dash-003 Casey-Dash-004

So … yeah!   We’re not quite live yet (no start-up) but we’re close…  still some final connections for the electric fans but that should be soon.

And here’s a last shot of the engine bay with a shiny new addition


Weekend Update

I dropped by Sean’s place after work on Friday for a quick chat with him about next steps.  Imagine my surprise when I learned they had been making more progress than they were initially letting on about.

Specifically, the picture below is of the new Holley oil plan.  In the last post I talked about the engine location being too low and there being interference with the pan.  That was true, but the fix wasn’t to change the motor mounts… it was to switch to a new Holley oil pan.  This design should eliminate the interference with the Chevelle’s front steering linkage.


Next up, Sean and AJ have made significant progress on the electrical setup!  This was the part Sean was sandbagging me about… I had no idea they had jumped into the electrical installation yet, to say anything about how far along they are!


Yes, I know this looks like a big ol’ plate of spaghetti for dinner but there is a a reason for every wire danging below the dash, and AJ was able to walk me thru every single wire.  I was very impressed.   Sean is tackling the full wiring of the car, including the main chassis harness, the front and rear light harnesses, the cabin wiring (lights, electric windows, etc.) as well as the obvious… the main engine and fuel injection harness.  In short, this is NO small job.

In fact, take a look at the picture below!


So this picture needs a bit of description for you to fully appreciate what’s going on.  Behind the dash, up toward the right side of the picture you will see a dull gray aluminum-looking box that says “DELCO”.  That is the engine ECM, or the electronic brain required to run the new LS engine in the Chevelle.   Now, in about the middle of the picture you will see the glove box.  Above that you will notice that AJ has already started installing some of the Dakota Digital add-on modules I purchased.  He also has laid out the installation for the Viper GPS / Remote Start alarm system, the full electronic cruise control and the appropriate routing of all the A/C ducting that also must fit behind the dash.   Yeah, there won’t be much space back there once AJ gets everything installed!

Anyway, just wanted to share yet another batch of pictures!   Once the oil pan gets swapped and the firewall smoothed out a bit and painted (both should be next week hopefully) then the engine and trans will be headed back under the hood.  Progress!