Video: Awesome 9-Second Duramax Diesel-Powered Chevelle
Ask ten different drag racers how to go fast and you’ll get twenty different answers. If you throw in how to do it in a street car, the number of answers will grow and vary. The majority will tell you to use a power adder, put the car on a diet, and run some high octane fuel, but Rick Fletes laughed in the face of conventional thought when he built his 1970 Chevelle with the help of Russ Wullenwaber of RPM Motorsports. The Chevelle, known as “The Triple Threat” is rocking a Duramax engine with a few turbos, lots of torque, and rolls enough coal to black out the sun when it builds boost.
Building this single digit monster has been a multi-year project for Rick. At first, the Chevelle saw heavy street duty when it was around the 500 horsepower mark. When the swap was first completed a 2006 stock LBZ Duramax engine was used. Feeding the boost were three — yes three — 66mm compound turbos. The motor was backed with a Turbo 400 and transbrake Rick built himself, a PDQ Converter, and Gear Vendor overdrive unit. All of this was good enough to push the 4,400 pound tank into the 11’s.
So, what do you do after pulling off a killer swap like this and making it work? You do what any go fast junkie does and dial up more power. Russ Wullenwarber, owner of RPM Motorsports, filled that gap for Rick and the Triple Threat Chevelle. The new RPM motor now makes 850 horsepower and 1,400 ft-lbs. of torque at 90 lbs. of boost, but should be able to put down close to 1,100 horse and 1,800 ft/lbs. of torque when things get figured out. Sucking up and putting down all the power is a Hughes Performance XP5 Powerglide transmission and XP5 13-inch converter. Out back Rick relies on a Strange Engineering rear end with big axles to put all the power to the 29.5 x 10.5W tires. All of this has pushed the 4,300 pound car into the high 9’s at over 140mph in the 1320!