The 496 Big Block Chevy for the SS496 Chevelle is taking shape - which means the crew at Fast Times Motorworks literally had to change the shape of a few things to make it all match perfectly. They chose to mill the intake slightly to match the ports precicely, the trick Lunait rocker arms were machined to fit under extrememly short stock valve covers... little things that take time but make big differences. We'll hit the dyno later today! 

 
The final assembly begins on the SS496. This time, the convertible top mechanism went in, some trim, rear bumper... there's alot to do. The wiring job, engine install, and brake system are all up next. These are the days that turn into long nights... 11 days to go! 

 

We had the 496 Engine shipped to our shop from Fast Times Motorworks, and now we're starting to transform it to look like it belongs in a 1969 Chevelle. 

 

New-style lighting not only looks great, it helps keep your car safe. This time, we're starting the install of several high-tech lighting products on the SS496 with the taillights. These are called Digi-Tails from Spaghetti Engineering, and they're LED lights that sequence or light up traditionally. You can see a demo video of these here. We also painted the engine Poppy Red, the original Chevy engine orange color to lend a stealth appearance to the SS496.

 

We've cleared another hurdle with the SS496 project - the engine, transmission, and driveshaft are all installed in the car! We still are not 100% sure about our hood clearance issue, and the Hooker Super Comp headers needed a little massaging to fit, but at least it's all in the car. We bolted the 496 in the car, then installed the Turbo 400 tramsmission to the TCI SFI-spec felxplate and the TCI Breakaway torque converter. The Breakaway offers a 2400 RPM stall to deliver a good launch and decent highway cruising. We were considering a lower stall converter seeing that this car makes alot of torque at a low RPM, but we'll see how it feels on the street. We may be going through tires often! The header flanges on the head side were contacting the taller-than-stock ARP head bolts, so a little grinding was in order. Other than that, the ceramic-coated tubes look great. We also received the 17x8" V40 wheels from Vintage Wheel Works... these are awesome! Vintage Wheel Works builds some fantastic looking wheels, and the 2-piece V40 has the perfect look for this car... nostalgic and aggressive without too much flash. Wheels make a car, and these really kicked the SS496 up a notch. Stopping this big ragtop is being helped by a Hydratech Hydroboost system, which we installed and plumbed today.

 

The wiring process has started on the SS496. Kelle is installing a reproduction harness from American Autowire, and it seems to be going well. The AAW harness is completely correct for the car, and Kelle started by installing the wires on the dashboard and then installing the dash unit into the car. 

 

More front end items went on today - the grille, trim, bumper... lots of resto items from Original Parts Group, Inc. They've got tons of parts for GM "A" bodies, and we're happy they've had what we need in stock. OPGI also had a new set of the original style valve covers for this car, seeing that we dented up a set "clearancing" the rocker arms. We also installed the trick headlights from Musclerodz. These are 9007 bulb new-style glass lenses with a headlight relay kit. Cool stuff. More to come!

 

Here's the wiring for the headlight relays and how they all work. There isn't that much wiring to do on this car, and it's almost finished!

 

Tonight, Kelle make progress on the interior, John mounted the side trim on the car, Kevin added more detials to the engine, and we honor Gene Kranz, a great American and inspiration to us all.

 

The sound of a muscle car is half the attraction, and tonight, Scott Guehne began installing the 2 1/2 inch stainless exhaust kit from Magnaflow. Magnaflow systems are nice because they are pre-bent for the car, all mandrel bent, stainless steel, and they utilize cool clamps and hardware to make the install easy.

 

We've been working on this car for almost a year, and now we're down to the last 36 hours before we load it on the trailer and haul it to Las Vegas for the 2007 SEMA show. It's almost ready, but we're still tackling details. We fixed the spring situation with the help of OPGI, and we hope to fire the engine later tonight!

 

The SS496 comes to life, a mere 10 hours before we're supposed to leave to go to the SEMA show in Las Vegas!

 

Well, we've done all we can, and the SS496 is a running, driving, stopping, and good-looking ragtop! We've loaded it into the trailer and we're off to the 2007 SEMA show in Las Vegas, NV! Look to www.v8tvshow.com for more updates from the SEMA show during the whole week! Comment on www.v8tvshow.com/forum today!

 

We've got the Chevelle SS496 loaded up and headed for Vegas... now we just have to get there safely!