Reno Drift #2 Super Update… ONE Month Later

There was a Reno Drift 8/16… so this is a late posting but its been busy.

Again, the Chevette and the Buick V6 proves to be a durable match for drifting and the combo is sufficient for some sliding. The new suspension set up also proved to work extremely well. Turn-in was great and the car handled flat. I was able to hold and control slide much better on a much better dampened and sprung car. However, the more and more I dug into tossing it the more I found that I wasn’t getting that far with it.


The Grid


grand ovation





Despite that, I was able to get almost 20 runs in and learned how to handle the Chevette fairly well. For preparation of the event, I took the hood off and had a sprayer on hand so all the troubles I had with the car with overheating my first time out, for the most part, were taken care of. A spacer and heat shielding on the fuel lines were also added to battle vapor lock. The Chevette ran cool and consistently the whole day.


Cooling mods.


After shock from the event

The event itself was, again, amazing filled with good people, grassroots fun, and tons of driving time. Here’s a video made on a quadracopter at the event. Check out his channel when you can! See if you can spot the Chevette!

Stay Tuned for a history lesson !!


Chevette budget suspension set up

After some researching, measuring, and theory crafting, I’ve put together what I think is a nice budget suspension set up for the Chevrolet Chevette. I’m not sure If it will work for all the variations of the T-Body but it should be applicable to them all. Upon tearing it apart, I found that my car had cut springs(and a set of blown shocks). After installing the set up, it was the same height as it was before. I would say it would lower a stock Chevette maybe 1.5″ to 2″. Do note this is a budget set up. You can always improve/get better parts than what I have. anyways..

Front Set up:

Bilstein AK5555F Street Stock Shock
– W/ proper lower bushing installed. $92 something each off amazon.

It seemed like these shocks had the most reasonable valving of the “AK” series of shocks from Bilstein and their sizes matched my set up. Length can be an issue without lowering ball joints. Stock:15″ Bilstein: 13″

Springs: Monza front Springs  Moog 6490 Coil Spring Set w/ 2 coils cut (estimated spring rate: 7 kg/mm). These go for about ~$50 off Amazon. Super cheap. I think they are off of monte carlo..

Rodney Dickman Fiero 1″ lowering ball joints – These allowed me to use the Bilstein shocks because it pushed the upper control arms up by one more inch. Stock Shock :15″ // Bilstein + Lowering Ball Joints: 14″  Plus, without the lowering ball joint my front height would be too high for the rear so another coil would have to be cut or a different spring would have to be used.

Slotted upper ball joints – For camber. – Gives camber adjustment to correct the suspension from the lowering ball joints. Modifications could be made for more static camber.

Prothane Fiero front urethane bushing kit. (not installed) – It looked like it would fit.

Rear set up:

Shocks: 1976 Ford Thunderbird rear KYB Gas adjust. KYB KG5519 Gas Shock ~$75 for both.

Springs: Chevette front springs. 2 coils cut. (estimated rate: 5 kg/mm) – a better spring could easily be used.

S10 19mm sway bar. W/ custom mounts put in.

UMI Monza adjustable rear panhandle par. (Not installed. It’s 3 inches too long)

Total: Roughly $350 in parts.

Notes: An additional coil can be cut from the front and proper springs + camaro agx or qa1 shocks in the rear would give you another .5″ or so but can get you into the F: 8 kg/mm  R: 6kg/mm range.

Front shock mounts need to be changed and springs needed caressing to fit properly. Upper control arms need to be modified for more camber out of the slotted ball joints. Lower control arm, where the ball joint is, needed to be ground down to clear the brake disk during suspension movement. GM ball joint separator tool highly recommended.

Rear sway bar mounted like the camaro. Sway bar link mounts were fabricated and Nissan Quest front sway bar links were used. Like $18 on Amazon. The difference was huge though! The Sway bar, however, may be too large for the car/my set up. Thunderbird Rear shocks fit on the stock cantilevers that were already on the axle.

Overall the set up was phenomenally good compared to the cut spring/blown shock set up in the car before. The suspension inspired a lot more confidence during braking, and initiating turns.

Stay tuned for a August 16th Reno drift event update. The suspension was definitely tested there 🙂

Interesting Comparison: 1975 280z vs 1976 Chevette

The trip in “Project Shove-It” proved to be successful and it did better than I had expected. However, that is a story for another post. While at home base, I was able to compare the Chevette and the Z because they sat no more than 20 feet from each other. Being from the same year I figured it would be an interesting exercise. What I noticed boggled my mind.

Its obvious that the Chevette is an economy car. Its in its DNA, It was thought up to compete with the economic cars of the day. The seating makes you feel suspended inside of a box. The vibrations rattle the whole car. The layout is simple and bland. Looks can be described as less than appealing. At least it has a backseat. With that being said, a stock Chevette isn’t “Project Shove-It” with a V6 swap and other goodies. For Project Shove-It take those issues and multiply them by 5.


Economy cars. At Home Base.

The Z, on the other hand, is a  sports car. The cockpit, the styling, the design, the FEELING. Now you may read this and go “Duh” but having them side by side really underlines the differences. I have gained even more respect for the Z. Everything about it felt more refined and planned out. It really explains why the Z has a huge following and the Chevette following is much less. (It may have to do with the Z’s good looks too :] ).


Dusty, Sleeping Beauty.

I understand a fair comparison would be to compare the Chevette to the Toyota Starlet or even the Datsun 210/510. Maybe one day I’ll get there. But these were available to me at the time. Wish I had taken more pictures for even more comparison purposes but I ran out of time. Maybe next time.

Soon: New Z video and Updates on the Chevette Roadtrip

New: Project Shove It is Born!

A couple of months ago I came across a very interesting car that I couldn’t pass up: a 1976 Chevrolet Chevette.

This was no ordinary Chevette. On the outside it was, but upon further inspection it was something that someone took their time on and built from the ground up. It definitely had a character about it. Plus, it ran!

I now present to you a new project for Behind The Auto, Project Shove It


Shove IT 1


Shove It 2


Shove It Heart

Current Specs (possibly missing some stuff):

  • Buick 231(3.8L) V6 (Uknown Specs)
  • Carter AFB Carb (600cfm)
  • Edelbrock Manifold
  • After market Monster Tach with Shift light 🙂
  •  Hooker Headers Buick V6 Swap Kit (NLA)
  • Electric Fans
  • T-50 5 speed
  • Hurst Shifter
  • Monza 7.5″ 10 bolt Rear end (Supposedly Posi-trac)
  • Adapted Monza Torque Arm.
  • Monza 13″ rims
  • Flowmaster Exhaust
  • Odyssey Battery
  • JVC head Unit

Almost like an American Toyota Starlet (Starlet Fans, don’t hate :smile:)


Project Shove It: The Future

Upon first driving this thing you notice how awesome the rumbly American V6 torque is when swapped into such a light chassis(like the Z). The Buick 3.8L is quite common found in Regals, Grand Nationals, Skylarks, etc. so it is loving life in the starlet. Then you try and stop. Which it doesn’t. The brakes are SO bad on this thing. The heavier V6 and lack of a bake booster definitely doesn’t help. It can become a huge safety problem.

My goal with this project is to keep it as reliable and cheap as possible, attending more than 3 events in 2014 and look good doing it.

There’s a few footwork and interior updates on the way and I can get some videos rolling.

Thats all for now…Definitely keep an eye for updates on this guy.


Ready to pounce.

Government Lowballs my car. Also, Norcal Events for 2014!

Got a letter from California offering me $1000 for my car. I was astonished! My car for $1000?! But hey, I can see what they are thinking and I would probably do it if it wasn’t a Z or any other classic car. 68′ Camaro. $1000. Good deal. Even better, it has to be running and smog-able! They are going to “scrap” the cars. All in the name of better environmental standards. I feel like I should work there and find some cars.



This ruins the used car market. The running used cars now have a price floor. $1000 and up for a decent running car. 1975 to 1994 is a wide gap and there are a lot a cars that fall in that slot.

For 2014 Norcal Events, there is Sonoma Drift, Norcal UFO, and Thunderdrift.