The Roadster Shop chassis used in this 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle uses new frame rails for an incredibly low ride height yet sufficient ground clearance for normal street driving
While the origin of the muscle car has been debated over the years there is little dispute about the reason for a muscle car’s existence. Plain and simple, the muscle car was meant to go fast in a straight line. The increasing popularity of drag racing created a horsepower war between rival auto manufacturers and bragging rights were earned based on the time it took to go one-quarter of a mile.
Technical advances in suspension and drivetrain, like independent rear suspension, ensure this 1966 Chevy Chevelle SS can be competitive on track but be driven to and from the event
Quarter-mile times were the number one goal fifty years ago; however advancements in suspension and braking technologies have raised the bar for modern muscle cars. Criteria such as lateral g-forces measured on a skid pad, the 600-ft slalom speed test, as well as 60 mph to 0 braking tests have become almost as important as horsepower ratings and acceleration. Innovations in handling and braking have spawned a new type of classic muscle car enthusiast. This new enthusiast embraces the “pro touring” notion which dictates that a car must combine the ability to accelerate, brake, turn corners, and still be driven on the street.
The pro touring concept has been supported by sanctioning bodies, such as the Ultimate Street Car Association, and is becoming increasingly popular. Chris Jacobs is a life-long muscle car junkie who prefers to vacation in Las Vegas, Nevada for the largest automotive aftermarket tradeshow instead of visiting a tropical island. As Jacobs approached his fortieth birthday he began to feel the itch to buy a new Corvette Z06. After some consideration Chris decided a tricked out muscle car would better suit his style than that new Corvette. With the growing regularity of pro touring competition, Chris and his wife Lynda agreed upon building a competition worthy muscle car that could also be driven daily.
At first the duo entertained the idea of modifying a 1968 Camaro they already owned. After careful consideration Chris and Lynda Jacobs decided the Camaro was better off left in its current restored to period-correct state. Eventually an opportunity to purchase the 1966 Chevelle SS 427 from builder Randy Johnson of D&Z customs presented itself to the Jacobs’. The couple left their newly acquired Chevelle exactly as they bought it from Randy for a mere six months.
After six months and 5,000 miles of aggressive use, Chris Jacobs began to notice weaknesses in the Chevelle’s design. As with many car guys a small project turned into something much more extensive following a trip to the Mundelein, Illinois based Roadster Shop belonging to Phil Gerber. Originally Jacobs took the car to Phil for some chassis modifications and new tail pipes. But when the Chevelle left the Roaster Shop it had an all new chassis with independent rear suspension. Jacobs says the new chassis makes the car feel “much more solid and the ride is fantastic.”
With the chassis complete, Jacobs was ready to show the world what his 427 cubic inch (7.0L) LS7 Corvette powered 1966 Chevelle was made of. He and his wife Lynda drove the car to Des Moines, Iowa for the Goodguys show where they won their class in the Autocross event. Chris and his 1966 Chevelle had the second fastest lap-time overall, only .22 seconds slower than the overall winner. Most recently Chris Jacobs competed in the USCA Optima Search for the Ultimate Street Car event held at the Road America course near Elkhart, Wisconsin. Once again Jacobs was able to take the GT3K class win in the Autocross event with just .218 seconds between his fastest lap and that of the overall fastest car. The USCA Optima Search for the Ultimate Street Car series is a multi-faceted event which tests cars based on several areas of performance. Jacobs’ 1966 Chevelle SS took the 8th position in the overall competition results.
Jacobs has relied on the performance and protection offered by his Spectre High Performance Racing air filter and intake system since 2011. Jacobs installed his custom Spectre Performance air intake and filter on the 7.0-liter LS7 engine just in time for the 2011 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show. The 1966 Chevelle SS 427 was selected at the SEMA show to compete in the2011 Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational in Pahrump, Nevada. Jacobs went on to a very respectable top 20 finish that year.
Despite impressive race results, Chris and Lynda Jacobs’ 1966 Chevrolet isn’t a purpose built racecar. “You will never see a roll bar or a stripped out interior in this ride” said Jacobs. He went on to say “Our Chevelle has almost every feature you would find in a new Camaro or Mustang including keyless entry, power windows, leather interior and air conditioning.” Jacobs claims the Chevelle, rated at over 500 horsepower at the rear wheels, is also capable of 24 miles per gallon. His car truly embraces the pro touring spirit in that it can hold its own the track, or hold a trunk full of groceries.
Important Tech Specs of Chris and Lynda Jacobs’ 1966 Chevelle SS 427 includes:
Roadster Shop Fast Track IRS Chassis
427 ci (7.0L) Chevrolet LS7 engine
514 horsepower @ 6393 RPM and 467 ft-lb torque @ 5122 RPM
Spectre Performance Intake and Air filter
T-56 Six Speed Manual Transmission
Wilwood Superlite 13” Brakes
Weld RT-S 74 Wheels
BF Goodrich Rival Tires
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