Alan Palmer, who runs the paint and body department at Roadster Shop, explained that was a conscious choice regarding the striking black car featuring white stripes.
“A lot of our builds are over the top, trying to always do something new, something different,” he explained. “With this car, there’s not much you need to do to it or should do to it. We wanted to have the factory stripes, all the stripes on the car are original size, we didn’t do anything to them. It’s an original color. Really there was nothing to do to other than just refine the car. It’s just a car you want to get in and drive.”
As the Chevelle originally was equipped with a big-block 454c.i.engine, the Roadster Shop staff wanted to also mimic the original power plant as much as possible, but with modern upgrades like electronic fuel injection. As a result, they chose an LSX454 crate engine from Chevrolet Performance.
“When you open up the engine compartment, people don’t realize that there’s a modern engine underneath there,” Palmer said. We’ve got the big block valve covers on there, we’ve got the factory air cleaner on there.”
The dressed-up version of the LSX454, which Roadster Shop meticulously worked over to look original, impressed GM designers enough to honor the car with the Chevy SEMA Design Award for Crate Engine of the Year as it sat in the ATech Motorsports booth in the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Palmer himself has never seen a Roadster Shop build without a Chevrolet Performance crate engine.
“Roadster Shop uses Chevrolet crate engines because of the reliability and also the ease of the plug and play during installation,” Palmer said. It’s the whole package that you get with the engine.”
The Chevelle rides smoothly on Roadster Shop’s SPEC chassis, utilizes big brakes for stopping and has custom one-off 19-inch rally-eque wheels for a modern look and aggressive stance. White-lettered Goodyear tires also add to the car’s classic theme. The interior is by Avant Garde who provided a high-end, modern interpretation of the original stock interior.
“Of course you want to do more, you want to tweak this a little bit more, but the whole plan from the beginning was to stick with the original style of the car,” Palmer said.
He and the rest of the Roadster Shop staff were, of course, pleased, but also surprised, to receive a Chevy SEMA Design Award.
“Any GM design award that you get is incredible, and because of the subtleties of this car we weren’t expecting a whole lot,” Palmer said. “We put everything we have into every car, but [this one is] kind of subtle. It stood out to them though so it’s a big deal.”