We absolutely love it when people tell us about their Vortech Supercharged rides. We love seeing the pictures, hearing the stories, seeing the results of hard work and true gearhead passion. We have an entire area of our website dedicated to our fans’ cars and trucks called “V-Rides“, where people can post up pictures of their vehicle, list their mods, and tell us their story. We get all sorts of submissions there, from the tame to the wild, and very often the wilder models are vehicles we have already become familiar with over time prior to their being posted up. However, last month I was on the website checking through the new submissions, and then the sickest Twin Supercharged Big Block Chevelle just appeared out of nowhere with the rest of the normal submissions. This car is impressive to say the least, and the twin Vortech V-7 YSi Supercharged 572 Big Block under the hood, all polished up and looking fine alongside the twin Vortech BV57 Bypass Valves is enough to make our heads spin! Here is the story of the build, as told by owner and builder Mike Ramsey…
1968 Chevelle Twin Vortech V-7 YSi Supercharger Project
My wife Tami always wanted a ’68 Chevelle, mainly because she grew up around muscle cars as a teenager, but she has a certain passion for cars, which makes me a lucky guy. I have restored many old Camaros and Novas, but never a Chevelle, so we went looking for a restoration project. What we found was a 1968 Chevelle SS with virtually nothing but a core body and frame that was sitting and rotting away here in Atlanta. We ran the VIN to verify the origin and found that it had been a one owner, Atlanta built car and we knew that it was the perfect project starter for my wife and I. Once we pulled the car from the field, the planning began and it was a discussion that lasted several days before we decided what to do with it. Since I had been doing the “Number Matching” restoration thing more times than I care to remember, I proposed doing something more radical and a bit more fun…..going Pro-Street with the build. My wife said, go for it and let’s make it something fun to look at, drive, and someday maybe take it to the track to see what it will do on the quarter mile. I said, alright then with a broad smile, as I knew this would be fun!
We started with removing the body from the frame and placing it on a rotating body rack. Since the paint was going to be done by a local paint shop, I figured that the body work needed to be done first so I could focus on the chassis and driveline while the body was in paint. I sand blasted the two coats of paint off the car, top and bottom and then sandblasted the inside of the body. Everything had been completely removed down to just he metal shell of the body. Once the sand blasting was done, I proceeded to cut out the rear for the new wheel tubs we were going to need. Then started with the floor braces and 10 point roll cage as I wanted everything in place before going to paint. Once the tubs were welded in and the body was completely free of the old paint, the body work began. I installed new quarters on both sides and repaired the small areas in the floor pans (the rust was surprisingly very minor). Since the only original body part that I would be using was the core shell of the body, I ordered every single body part needed from Ausley’s Chevelle parts and shipped everything to the body shop to begin paint. The paint shop mounted the body on the jig and then bolted up all the body pieces to begin the body part fitting process. To my surprise, there was still a lot of work to do just to fit the aftermarket parts. The doors, trunk lid, fenders, virtually everything needed some extra time to perfect the fit. Once the car was in good hands with the body shop, I left them alone to finish their work and began the chassis process.
I started by cutting off the back two-thirds of the original frame and then sand blasting the front portion. Then I welded up the rear four link assembly and a few sub-frame supports to add some strength to the overall frame. Once completed, the frame went off to the powder coat shop. The rear end I used was an old 35 spline 9 inch ford rear end that I had been saving for something good. I cut the axle tubes down to the desired width and welded the tub ends on for the flanges and the aftermarket disc brake assembly. The rear end was completed with 4:33 Richmond Gears using a Moser spool, Moser race series axles, and a 4340 front yoke.. The rear end was the then sent to the body shop to be painted the same color as the car. The aluminum driveshaft was built by a custom driveshaft company out of California and shipped with 4340 front yoke and heavy duty u-joints. The transmission was purchased from Summit Racing and is a TCI 400 Race Shorty transmission with a manual valve body and trans brake. The Converter is from JW Performance and is a 6000 stall, 9 inch converter. The wheels are 15×15 Weld Wheels with Goodyear slicks on the rear and 15×4 Weld Wheels on the front. The front suspension is all tubular a-arms, with a custom sway bar, and hand cut springs to get the ride height that I wanted. The rear springs are coil over springs mounted over the drag shocks. Once the rear end came back from the paint shop, I completed the rolling chassis, finished all the disc brake systems on the front and rear, mounted the twin magna fuel race pumps, with regulators and in-line filters, and then completed the brake lines and fuel lines along the frame.
Once the body parts were finished, I installed the body on the frame and completed the body assembly. The wiring for the car was all custom, as was the entire dash assembly, and the interior. I did use the factory door panels and installed a factory head liner, but everything else was custom. I used a stainless steering column, autometer pro comp gauges, and a B&M shifter. Installed 5 point harness belts and aluminum seats. The next thing was to have all the glass work done, which I did the doors and quarter windows myself, but had a glass shop install the new front and rear glass and chrome trim. Before the front clip and nose of the car was installed, I needed to begin the engine changes.
The engine is a crate GM Performance 572 Gen VI Big Block 620R motor. The crankshaft was upgraded to a Callie’s Dragonslayer Crank, the camshaft was bumped up to a 7.14” lift Comp Cams mechanical roller, and the cylinder heads were replaced with Dart Big Chief heads and Jesel shaft rockers. That was all that I changed on the base 572, which at 8.3:1 compression was just waiting for some boost to make some serious power. The original intent was to go with one supercharger, but I decided that the twin supercharger system would not only perform well, but look really good as well. I reached out to Vortech Engineering for some advice on what my options were and found some help from one of their support staff, Frank Quintero. He told me that the twin kits were not available, but he gave me a great deal of information on the single kits that I could use as a baseline to design a dual setup. Frank also shared some photos he had of some other car builders that had done the twin setups. But there were a couple of things that bothered me with the other cars I saw, one was that the systems did not look symmetrical in the way the plumbing was designed (which made the systems look very unequal from one side of the motor to the other) and the second thing I didn’t like was the drive systems, which also seemed to have very little pulley wrap or were off set to run two separate drive belts. My goal was to have two V-7 YSi race superchargers, with symmetrical plumbing, all ran off of one drive system and somehow that was going to be achieved. However, after meeting with the Vortech engineers at the Oxnard CA headquarters, I was told that due to the mounting and clocking of the superchargers, along with the oil delivery and drain setup, and also the lack of any known drive system that it would be very, very complex to achieve………and they were absolutely right!
So I decided to start simple and work my way up to what I really wanted. I have a friend who is a local machinist (who’s shop is not known for race work, but instead builds high tolerance aircraft parts for Delta and American Airlines) sit down with me and talk through what I wanted to do. We started by scanning the original Vortech cylinder head mounting bracket (which is a cast mount) and then scanning the inner and outer supercharger plates. He then “mirrored” the plates and the cylinder head mount for the reverse mounting that would be needed for the passenger side configuration. Once the scanning was done, he CNC machine cut both the right and left cylinder head mounts from 8”x”8”x8” blocks of 6061 aluminum, the results were beautiful mounts with all of the recessed mounting holes drilled to perfection. Next were the inner plates, both were scanned and then reversed and machined out of ½” plate 6061 aluminum. He was able to completely match all the mounting holes, cut-outs, etc from the original Vortech brackets. I then did the mockup of the superchargers on the Chevelle to get an idea of where the output ports would be located as I wanted to see if I would be able to make the ports symmetrical in the flow through to the dual inlet Vortech “Power Hat”. What I found was two issues, first the passenger side port could not be turned enough to bring the port far enough to produce the desired symmetrical intake tube design, the second issue was that the Oil feed and drain was now at the top of the supercharger (not the bottom as is required). To address the first issue, I had my machinist modify the passenger side cylinder head mount, which allowed me to clock the supercharger exactly where I needed it to produce the symmetrical intake ports/tubes. The second issue was resolved with the help of the Vortech engineers who told me what needed to be done to handle the oil feed and drain modifications. Both issues were resolved fairly easy and I continued with the final mockup of the superchargers. Next came the power steering pump and mounting, which I used the Vortech power steering kit (#4GA110-010) as referred to on their website that utilizes the non-reservoir GM pump from a 1987 Pontiac Sunbird. This process worked out great and allowed me to keep the power steering intact, drive it from the Vortech lower drive pulley, and custom make the high and low pressure hoses for my Chevelle. I highly recommend this configuration as it gives you a great deal of room to run the hoses and still have easy access to the pump adjustment. Next came the Alternator positioning and for this I went with the Powermaster 100 amp Drag Race kit for a Big Block Chevy. This kit allows for driver or passenger side mounting, and for my Chevelle I choose to mount it on the lower passenger side and drove it from the second v-groove of the factory Vortech lower drive pulley. Again, this worked out great and was very easy to install.
Once the alternator and Power Steering was mounted and aligned, I began making sure that all of our measurements for the single drive belt were accurate. My goal was to drive both superchargers from one single 10 Rib Gates Racing belt through a serpentine design which gave me at least 40% pulley wrap on all drive on all load pulleys. The measurements were perfect, no spacers or adjustments needed, so now all that was required was to produce on single front supercharger plate the bolted up to the front of both superchargers and also contained an idler pulley in the cross bar that was needed to address the belt “Flop” over the 35” from left to right supercharger. Again, I called on my machinist to mirror the original front Vortech supercharger plates, which he did to exactly match the original Vortech plate from the driver’s side. I then bolted them up and cut my cross bar from 6061 ½” thick aluminum plate where it would sit exactly where I needed it to and still allow clearance for the mounting of my idler pulley. Once verified, I ground a V tip on the cross bar and also on the portion of the front plates where the cross bar would be welded to, this would allow for a deeper weld penetration and more strength. I then welded the two front plates and the cross bar together (very hard to weld ½ plate aluminum as you really have to preheat it), then bolted it up to make sure the everything fit as needed. Next came the idler mounting and then the drive belt installation which went surprisingly easy as I had ordered 6 different length belts based on what I “Thought” I would need for overall length and fortunately one of them fit perfect and in the process gave me 60% pulley wrap on all load pulleys. The final mockup process involved creating the intake tubes needed to go from the superchargers to the Vortech Dual inlet “Power Hat” system and also welding in the “Bungs” for the two Vortech BV57 Blow-Off Valves that I would be using.
Once all the mockup was completed, everything had to be disassembled for final finish and plumbing work. All the parts were hand sanded, yes, a total of 5 days spent wet sanding the welds off of the intake tubes and the front mounting plate. Once the welds were sanded off, then came the wet sanding process of 600 grit wet, then 1000 grit wet, then 2000 grit wet and finally 3000 grit wet sanding to prepare the plates and tubes for hand polishing………..what a pain this process was (probably the most time consuming piece of the whole project)!! Everything got hand polished and all the wiring and plumbing had been completed, so next came the re-assembly and the test run.
Since this story has gone on long enough, I will just say that the Holley HP Race series carb did require some jetting modifications, but they were fairly small. I set the MSD boost controller to retard timing .8 degrees for each pound of boost and with my pulley setup on this system producing a max of 14 psi (all of my pulleys and idlers were bought from Vortech). From there I did some short test runs with it and then off to the chassis dyno to see what it was actually going to do, but it sure sounded mean enough. The chassis dyno was a nerve racking experience to say the least, pushing everything multiple times to the limit and then making some adjustments between each run just to do it all over again. The final (7th run) produced 1320 RWHP and 995 lb. ft. of torque running on 116 octane VP fuel.