By: DAVID FREIBURGER
Photography: Wes Allison & Phil Brewer
Reprint from Hot Rod Magazine, September 2003
t was a tale of a mad trash, a big fire, and something about trans parts shooting through the floorpan during a chassis dyno test. And that was just in the last few days before Power Tour ’03, but they made it.
Here’s the complete chassis, which was fabricated on the bare body tub as it was spun upside-down in the BRP shop.
That was the culmination of a plan that the Year One guys had hit us with after their Innovator ’69 Camaro ragtop first appeared at Tour ’02 and then on our September cover last year. The company known for GM, Mopar, and now Mustang resto parts has caught the street machine bud, and after moving the Pro Touring thing up a notch with their sweet-potato-orange-and-white Camaro, decided it was time to put the same rub on old-school Pro Street. Tubs were out of the questions, but the guys wanted to revitalize the drag-race vibe and performance of the early ’90s in a modernized capable cruiser worthy of Power Tour and another HOT ROD cover. We bench raced a while, us mostly just nodding confirmation of YR1’s rock-solid ideas for the car, and came up with this: a ’67 Chevelle that’s Pro Touring at a glance, drag racy on closer inspection, and road-trippable as proven on the recent 2,300-
mile trek from the company’s Atlanta headquarters to Nashville then Dallas and back during the mayhem of HOT ROD’s annual Power Tour. There’s also a street-rod build quality, and with all those themes thrown into one A-body, we call it Drag Touring. The Brewers Restoration and Performance guys call it a Muscle Rod.
Who’s BRP? As with the Camaro last time, this Chevelle is a homogenous blend of the efforts of Year One and Brewers in Cumming, Georgia. And to keep nepotism alive, the car is actually owned by Phil Brewer the younger, who is both Year One’s Creative Director and the son of Phil Brewer the elder, owner of BRP. Concepts flowed from Dennis Roberts and Phil Jr. in the Year One office, and sparks flew at BRP. We find the chassis construction most notable, using gennie Chevelle rails from the firewall forward and a BRP-fabbed tubular
1 The drag scheme meant big-block, aptly filled by the World Products 540-incher tht runs on pump gas but with a suitably grumpy idle thanks to a Comp 260/268-at-0.050 solid roller. All the ram air stuff was fabbed at BRP.
2 The guys felt that EFI would tame the driveability, and chose Holley’s Commander 950 controller along with a 2,000-cfm throttle-body and custom-plumbed manifold fitted with injectors and an NOS NOSzle nitrous system.
3 The finished trunk includes all the standards. Your only question might be the 1-gallon Moon tank to the far right it carries 116-octane race fuel for use only during nitrous blasts. The nitrous bottles are mounted to the rollbar with brackets from Evolution Industries.
Phil Brewer Jr.
’67 Chevy Chevelle
Type: 540ci big-block
Block: Word Products Merlin II, 4,500 bore
Crankshaft: Eagle forged, 4,250 stroke
Connecting Rods: Manley 6.385
Pistons: JE, 9.5:1 compression ratio
Cylinder Heads: Merlin rectangle-port aluminum, 350cc intake ports
Camshaft: Comp Cams solid-roller, 260/268 duration at 0.050, 0.671/0.671 lift, 114-degree LDA, 1.7:1 Comp Pro Magnum roller rockers
Induction: Holley 2,000-dfm throttle-body, Holley 50-lb/hr injectors, Holley Commander 950 engine management, NOS NOSzle direct port nitrous injection with NOS progressive controller, Aeromotive fuel pumps (11101 for engine, 11106 for nitrous), Earl’s plumbing
Ignition: Mallory Hy-Fire
Exhaust: Hooker Super Comp headers (tucked to body for ground clearance). QTP electronic exhaust cutouts,Hooker Aero Chamber mufflers
Cooling: Be Cool aluminum radiator, dual electric fans, Aerospace Components electric water pump
Transmission: TCI reverse-pattern TH400 with trans-brake, TCI 2,500-stall torque converter (stalls to 3,500 on trans-brake), Gear Vendors Over/Underdrive unit
Rearend: Moser 12-bolt rear with 4.10 gears, 33-spline axles, Eaton limited-slip differential
Front Suspension: Stainless Steel Brakes drop spindles. Global West tubular front upper and lower control arms, QA1 coilover conversion
Rear Suspension: BRP tubular back-half frame, BRP-fabricated ladder bars, track locator, NASCAR-type rear sway bar, QA1 coilovers
Brakes: Stainless Steel Brakes 12-inch front and 10-inch rear discs, Hurst Line/Loc
Steering: Shock front clip modified by BRP to accept Flaming River steering rack, Flaming River steering shaft, and Flaming River tilt steering column
WHEELS & TIRES
Wheels: Billet Specialties Strip design, 17×7 and 18×10
Tires: 245/45-17 Nitto 555x front, 305/45-18 Nitto 555R Drag Radials rear
BODY & PAINT
Body: Year One composite cowl induction hood, BRP-modified tailight bezels, Powdercoated molding and trim by Buford Painting and Powdercoating (Buford, Georgia)
Paint: House of Kolor Blue Blood Red and Orion Silver with Kandy Tangerine and Pagan Gold Frames
Full rollcage by BRP, ’98 Firebird bucket seats with Year One ’67 Chevelle red seat covers, Hurst Pistol-Grip Quarter Stick shifter, ACC floor mats and carpet, Detroit Speed & Engineering wiper motor and switch, Vintage Air HVAC system, Custom Autosound hidden stereo/CD system, Billet
Specialties steering wheel, RCI five-point harnesses
Jimmy Kerlin, Jeff Georges, Nick Reed, Chad Fezatte, Dave Gravley, Kevin Orr, Dennis Roberts, Kevin King, Keith Maney, A.J. Brewer, Pat Staton, Brad Brand (Atlanta Chassis Dyno)
4 The dash full of Auto Meter says Pro Street, as does the Hurst Pistol Grip shifter, but the seats say “drive me comfy style.” They are late Firebird units recovered in Year One’s stock of red Chevelle vinyl. 5 The NOS progressive nitrous controller is on a
remote, flip-down panel for easy access, yet is hidden when driving. The custom Autosound stereo is also concealed. 6 Recalling the Super Stock days, the inner headlights were chucked in favor of fresh air. We also like the screen detail in the bumper
opening. 7 The wheels and tires are 17×7 and 18×10 Billet Specialties Strip billets with 245/45-17 Nitto 55s up front and 305/45-18 Nitto 555R Drag Radials on the rear. The brakes clear 15-inch wheels if pure strip meats are needed.
combination of square and round tubing designed in a lower-than-stock profile to drop the body lower on the chassis-kind of a modern version of channeling, or what the sport truck guys call a body drop, but without the sheetmetal butchery of recessing the stock frame into the floorboards. The chassiswork also allowed for dropping the engine 2 inches and setting it back 1 Â½.
From there on, the Pro Tour and drag-race metaphors get mixed, with Global West tubular front A-arms and QA1 coilovers riding alongside a modified crossmember with a Flaming River manual rack and fabricated tie-rod ends mating to the spindles. Smallish 12-inch-front and 10-inch-rear Stainless Steel Brakes rotors were chosen specifically to thwart a road-race look, and to accommodate the inevitable 15-inch wheels to be used on the dragstrip. The rear suspension blends BRP-fabricated ladder bars and a track locator with a NASCAR-type rear sway bar. So there’s something from every venue, all working together to deal with the Holley-fuel-injected World Products 540ci big-block
on NOS sniff. More of the mixed message: Power transmission includes both a TCI trans-braked TH400 and a Gear Vendors Over/Underdrive unit taming the 4.10s out back.
Reports from the maiden voyage reveal 80-mph cruise speeds at 2,800 engine rpm, 200 degrees in the Be Cool radiator with the Vintage Air system set on freeze, and pure reliability with the exception of some fuel-map bugs that were laptopped into submission during Power Tour. Dragstrip times? Sadly, that’s the one thing we can’t claim as yet. We know the World Products 540 makes 600 hp, and even with all those planetary gearsets between the flywheel and the rubber, it made 515 at the tires. And that’s without the nitrous. Year One hopes for low 11s on motor and high 9s on spray. Assuming that happens, this car could define a new trend of driveable drag cars. The technology is out there.
Muscle Rod? Modern Pro Street? Drag Touring? Whatever. Just follow. HR