1970 Chevrolet El Camino 454 SS
We all hear, from time to time, about super-clean California barn finds; it all sounds like a fairy-tale, but sometimes it’s based on a true story. After finding his car in the auto ads, Bob Pettigrew drove his 1970 El Camino 454 SS drove the car on the back roads of the U.S. before returning to his northern Illinois home.
Along the way, some components were loaded in the back, including some rare factory aluminum intakes, an original Chevelle cowl-induction air cleaner, a host of trim pieces for the El Camino, and so on. The project started off with a new Dark Maple Deltron paint-job , topped by a smooth layer of clear.
Advanced Plating allowed the chrome pieces to come back to life, turning into attention-grabbers. The interior is somewhat stock, with deep black shades covering the original GM vinyl buckets, carpet, and auto console. The dash-mounted Kenwood head unit covers a Zeitronix wideband digital display, working along a GM six-gauge dash cluster. There’s also a set of Kenwood speakers and Rockford Fosgate sub, as well as Vintage Air A/C system, making sure every ride is an unforgettable one.
Thinking about muscle-cars, Bob boxed the frame and added lateral crossbracing. The Belltech spindles and QA1 coilovers take care of the handling, with the Global West tubular A-arms and Currectrac rear control arms also part of the custom vehicle. Braking is handled by 12-inch Bendix rotors at the front and 11-inch PBR rotors at the back.
No muscle-car project can be taken seriously without a powerful engine, which is why an LS5 454ci block engine – put together by the people at Rhyne Competition Engine – is hiding under the hood. It includes a Cola crankshaft, pump-gas friendly 9.5:1 Wiseco pistons, and a mild pavement pounder 0.586/0.610-inch lift Crane cam. Let’s not forget about the aluminum GM oval-port heads and an Edelbrock Victor EFI intake, the Holley multiport EFI system allows the big-block plenty of air and fuel.
The upgrades list goes on, featuring Jet-Hot-coated Hooker Super Comp headers and Stainless Works exhaust, along with a COMP Cams beltdrive system, a Delphi coil-on-plug, and a Holley ECU. The powerful engine was mated to a 4L70E transmission, courtesy of Finish Line Transmissions; along with the limited-slip diff and Strange Engineering axles, with C-clip eliminators, this homebuilt beast is definitely fun to drive, if looking at it doesn’t get you smiling enough.