We all have different visions about what we consider to be the ultimate hot rod. For some, that vision requires the car to be a numbers-correct restoration. Others feel that a few “day-two” style mods are part of the equation. Then we have guys like Michael Williams of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. One look at Michael’s ’70 Chevelle convertible, and it’s immediately apparent that his ultimate hot rod strays away from traditional.
Like every project, this began with an exhaustive search. “I had been looking for a Chevelle for about five years,” says Michael. “While doing an online search, I found this one in Maryland. I immediately drove to see the car and bought it on the spot.” When he first laid eyes on the convertible, he says the paint was “weathered” but looked good from a distance. Unfortunately, that initial assessment would change when the process of rebuilding the car got underway.
“As soon as I got it back from media blasting, I learned the car had a lot of issues,” says Michael. Quite a bit of metalwork was needed to make the body “solid.” Although many surprises were sprung on Michael, he did not give up. Once the metalwork was completed, the roofless ride was then sprayed with Chevrolet’s Velocity Yellow that he borrowed from a Z06 Corvette. With the eye-searing color applied, a set of Super Sport stripes were added. By the way, what you probably can’t see is the hood is not what can be called traditional. Under the paint is a carbon-fiber hood made by a company called Anvil.
As great as the body looked after the long stint in the body shop, Micheal never planned on this being a 1:1-scale die cast. From the beginning, he planned to build a driver that was more than capable of handling a street—or road course for that matter. To make that a reality, he turned to the chassis guys at Schwartz Performance. The chassis now residing under this corner-carving head-turner is Schwartz’s bolt-in G-Machine chassis.
The foundation sports a set of Ridetech triple-adjustable coilovers that allow him to fine-tune the suspension for a specific type of driving. There is also a power-assisted rack-and-pinion for finite directional pointing and Baer 14inch rotors that are capably clamped by six-piston Extreme Plus brake calipers. The rear of choice in a Schwartz chassis is a Moser-built 9-inch with an Eaton Truetrac differential, 31-spline axles, and 3.70 gears.
When it was time to choose what would motivate the car, Michael could have chosen a traditional small block or even followed the latest hot rod trend and placed an LS engine under the hood. He could have…
Instead, he reached out to Scott Shafiroff to have him build an all-aluminum big block. When the machine work was done and the engine assembled and dyno’ed, Michael was the proud recipient of a 598-inch big-block developing 900 horsepower. Behind that is a TREMEC T56 Magnum with a twin-disc clutch and aluminum flywheel. Finally, a carbon-fiber driveshaft was built by The Driveshaft Shop.
Again, Michael planned to spend as much time as possible racking up miles, so the interior needed to be reflective of how impressive the rest of the car was becoming. To that end, a custom upholstery was stitched together by Cassin Customizing in Woodstock, Illinois. The leather-covered Cobra brand seats feature yellow stitching and the Fesler fiberglass door panels were customized to receive a set of Audiofrog speakers. The dash has been wrapped in leather and surrounds an Ironworks billet gauge cluster with AutoMeter gauges. Keeping Michael cool is a Vintage Air Gen IV A/C system.
Defining the ultimate hot rod will surely spark debate, and the fact that we all have a different way of defining such a vehicle is what makes this hobby great. Michael built what he felt to be the best ’70 Chevelle possible and we applaud the end result.