Hot rodding and drag racing have always been intertwined. Warren Kottl’s ‘67 Chevelle shows how well the two pastimes can coexist in one car. His 300 Deluxe coupe is a 10 second car in the quarter-mile that he drives on the street “all day long”.
Originally from Long Island, Warren worked at an alarm company for his friend Nick Gamma. Nick owned the Chevelle before Warren, and was working underneath it when the car rolled off its jack stands. Sadly, Nick was killed in the accident. Warren obtained the car 12 years ago and has built, driven, and raced it as a tribute to his friend.
The car had a big block, originally built by former NHRA Pro Stock driver Richie Zul. A stray piece of metal from the air cleaner that got down into the motor necessitated a complete rebuild by Warren. He bored it out, and with the addition of a Callies crank, it now displaces 498 cubic inches.
The motor features AFR aluminum heads with custom valve covers, a FiTech fuel injection system fed by an Aeromotive fuel pump with a 10 AN line to the EFI and 6 AN on the return. An MSD electronic ignition with a two-stage rev limiter provides the spark.
In its current configuration, it puts out right at 700 horsepower.
Chevy fans may cringe, but that Bowtie engine is mated to a Ford C6 3-speed automatic with a trans brake and electronic overdrive, which has been mounted to a Chevy bellhousing. The trans was made by FB Performance Transmissions. “They mostly do it for fire truck racing,” Warren told me. (I guess GHR will have to expand to include fire trucks now.) A Turbo Action shifter controls the manual valve body. The C6 spins a Detroit Truetrac locking differential with 4:10 gears and 33-spline C-clip eliminator axles.
Warren says the 300 Deluxe Post was the preferred Chevelle model for drag racing. “It was lighter than the SS version, and stronger due to the post,” he said. Even so, running 10s at the drag strip isn’t easy on a chassis, and Warren has beefed it up considerably.
A critical component – both for rigidity and to be compliant with safety rules – was a roll cage. Bernie Schacker, one of the pioneers of the rear-engine dragster (he’s generally the person credited with running the first 6-second pass in a rear-engine fueler), built the 6 point roll cage. Warren says that running in the 10s, as he does, only requires a 6 point cage. If he dropped into the 9s he’d need an 8 point cage.
Launching the car off the starting line frequently resulted in uneven planting of the rear tires and a driver’s side wheelie. “I was bringing this thing up in the air 3 feet on one side,” Warren told me. That’s not good for traction or ETs.
Warren reworked the rear suspension with adjustable Moroso upper and lower control arms, and an anti-roll bar across the rear end. “It has turnbuckles that tie it to the rear end,” he explained. “It actually pushes the rear wheels into the ground. It puts all the pressure on the tires.” Hell Bent Racing in New York helped Warren sort out the suspension. Warren says his Mickey Thompson street slick radials work better than pure racing slicks. He’s got Ultralight wheels on all four corners.
Originally a turquoise car, Warren’s Chevelle is now a beautiful blue, with flames on the hood and the sides. The trunk features a tribute to Warren’s friend Nick.
Warren has enjoyed lots of success at the drag strip. He recounted one day at Raceway Park, in Englishtown, N.J. for me “This car was the car to beat,” he said. “I would let everyone take me off the line and I’d blow them away. ‘Beat that blue car’ they were saying. But nobody could.”
A ten second quarter-mile drag car is great, but it’s even more impressive that Warren regularly drives his Chevelle on the street. With the FiTech EFI, MSD ignition, and overdrive transmission, it runs great and is easy to drive.
“But it still sounds like a monster,” Warren said with a smile.