Who wouldn’t love to have a 1970 Chevelle SS that is able to fry the hides in fourth gear just by mashing the throttle? With 1,100lb-ft of torque, this black beauty is surely capable of filling that desire with ease. For those who read between the lines, you’ve likely noted that nowhere in describing this torque monster did I ever use the words “big-block.”
That’s because all that earth-rattling torque comes by way of a dual-turbo’d diesel engine. What started out as an LBZ Duramax engine, like what you’d find in a 2006 Silverado, has been fitted into the Chevelle chassis with just enough room under the hood to situate two turbos and all the requisite plumbing.
Of course, the rest of the drivetrain needed to be beefed up as well. To that end, a G-Force 5-speed handles the torque with ease. The hardest part of having all that torque at such a low RPM is making it do a 90-degree turn out to the wheels, as the folks in this AutotopiaLA video found out—the hard way.
The car was completed in 2013 and still looks quite nice. One of the great things about the hot rod is that the builder didn’t veer too far away from the classic styling that made these vintage Chevelles such a fan favorite. From the outside, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything hinting that there wasn’t a big-block resting under that cowl-induction hood. Until you pop those hood pins.
Even then, the level of craftsmanship is out of this world. Sure, there are shiny tubes running all over the engine bay, but they’ve all got a purpose and they are well-implemented. Even the Duramax engine has been treated to the shiny bits catalog and looks right at home in the black engine compartment.
While you would almost expect an LS variant as the second choice down from a big-block, this Duramax just shows that there are alternatives to those folks who can think outside of the trend box and aren’t beholden to factory restoration manuals. We like it, and we could see putting many more miles on this car. The fact that this torquey diesel engine gets around 30 miles per gallon in this car just makes even more sense to do so.
The best part is that anyone can own this exact car, if they’ve got enough coin to be the highest bidder on the Bring A Trailer Auction that is running until Monday, June 19, 2023, at 5:37 pm. Check out the bidding at BAT and also check out the video from AutotopiaLA when they highlighted the car and took it out for a few BREAK-in runs.