“Blue Sky” – 1971 SS 550 Merlin “Urban Assault” Chevelle
Look up the definition of muscle car and the second generation Chevelle is almost always directly referenced. Offered in trim levels ranging from stripped economy champ to luxury pavement pounder, Chevrolet produced Chevelles capable of satisfying the needs of nearly every buyer and every wallet. That legacy of universal appeal has continued across the last forty years, giving fans and aficionados the parts and inspiration to create their own unique hot rods. Take this ’71 Super Sport for example. Decked in 1970 body panels, updated with modern chassis components and hooked to a Merlin Urban Assault big block, this tastefully modified Chevy turns a traditionally appealing platform into an off-the-charts super star. If you’re ready to hit the streets in a head-turning muscle car that’s built to take on anything, have a closer look at this stunning Chevelle!
The original paint was stripped and replaced by a vivid coat of Ascot Blue. White SS-style stripes literally put the icing of the cake. And those feeble drivetrain and interior components were traded in for modern performance and traditional black buckets. Today, this Chevy’s Deltron paintwork presents well, offering crisp, accurate reflections thanks to a razor-straight body. And all the car’s detailing adds up to great panel fitment and surprisingly even gaps.
Many enthusiasts view the ’70 Chevelle as the pinnacle of both muscle car and classic Chevy design. That’s probably why this ’71 is so intent on lying about its true age. At the front of this blue barn burner you’ll find a familiar crossbar grille which hangs a fresh and prominent “SS” emblem between a small “CHEVELLE” script, four stainless-trimmed headlights and a fresh chrome bumper. Above that bumper, a familiar cowl induction hood anchors rebuilt hide-a-way wipers at the base of new glass that’s framed by pristine stainless trim and capped by new chrome drip rails. At the base of those drip rails, new red and white inlayed “SS454” badges combine with straight stainless rockers, traditional chrome door handles and flashy chrome mirrors to add visual detail to the car’s liquid smooth profile. And at the back of that profile, a second chrome bumper hangs a black Super Sport inlay between clear brake lights, a fresh “Chevelle by Chevrolet” trunk emblem and spotless chrome exhaust tips.
Gaze into this Chevy’s powder-coated engine bay and you’ll find 550 cubic inches of naturally aspirated, big block fury that was professionally assembled by the pros at Ohio Crankshaft. The engine is rated at 600 horsepower with 600 foot lbs. of torque at the rear wheels! Unlike those geriatric LS motors that seem to be the only restorations getting any respect, this Merlin Urban Assault iron block is a pump gas torque monster that’s just as comfortable cruising country roads as it is lining up at stoplights. At the top of the sinister black mill, a big Holley 4-barrel mixes wind from a K&N Xtream air filter with fuel supplied by tightly braided hoses, and floods a serious Brodix intake. At the sides of that intake, you’ll find aluminum Brodix heads that have been fitted with polished and blue-detailed valve covers. Below those heads, a 4340 crank utilizes Speed Pro bearings to spin SRP pistons and Speed Pro H-beam rods in cadence with a Comp hydraulic roller camshaft. At the back of that crank, an MSD Pro-Billet distributor sequences sparks between an MSD 6A box, an MSD Blaster 2 coil and loomed Taylor plug wires. At the sides of that distributor, ceramic coated Hedman Headers funnel spent gases into an aluminized, true-dual exhaust system. And in front of those headers, a heavy duty radiator circulates coolant through billet hardware and a custom catch can thanks to a coated Weiand water pump. While this engine’s main purpose is to go straight at a very high rate of speed, it’s still very impressive to look at. Outfitted with a plethora show and go pieces, its polished surfaces contrast well against the car’s Ascot Blue exterior and clean, color-keyed engine bay.
Beneath the car, a clean undercarriage tells the story of easy living and exceptional restoration work. Rock-solid floorpans are coated in bright Ascot Blue, setting the perfect back drop for a roster of high quality parts. Behind the immaculate big block, a proven Turbo-Hydromatic 400 3-speed is wedged between a 2,200 RPM stall converter, a powder-coated Moser rear end and smooth 3.50 gears. That excellent drivetrain is framed by a mostly stock suspension that’s been upgraded with heavy duty 4-link components. When the road starts to twist, the driver’s input is maximized by factory power steering. Braking is handled by four discs and matte Wilwood calipers. Spent gases race from the aforementioned headers into large diameter pipes and welded, dual-chamber mufflers. Power flows to the pavement through a mirrored set of 15 inch Cragar Street Pros that spin 215/70 BF Goodrich Radial T/As in front of 275/60 BF Goodrich Radial T/As. There are plenty of detail items like stainless fuel hardware, a powder-coated cross member, a Milodon oil pan and a high performance Melling oil pump. And when all this first rate componentry unites, the car’s lightly modified chassis feels agile and more capable than any stock Chevelle.
Featuring a host of fresh 1970 interior components, this coupe’s crisp, black cockpit is both inviting and unique. Its slick bucket and bench combo, which used to be strictly bench, is firm to the touch and shows no signs of wear at all. In front of those seats, a straight and crack-free dash hangs Dakota Digital gauges and a direct fit stereo behind and a correct Super Sport instrument panel. In the glove compartment this a brand new Kenwood KDC 355U radio and CD player. Below that dash, a stainless-trimmed console anchors a traditional horseshoe shifter above clean black carpet and SS 454 floor mats. At the sides of that carpet, pick-free door panels center spotless stainless trim and prerequisite “SS” emblems on bright chrome handles and pliable black armrests. In front of the driver, a reproduction GM Rally wheel spins a color-keyed rim around a red, white and blue centerpiece. And behind the passengers, a fully restored trunk rests a full-size spare, a correct jack assembly and a small amplifier on a new mat and fresh heat wrap.
The sale of this bright blue road warrior includes a few component manuals and a small stack of restoration photos. With its incredible motor, lust-worthy body and fully sorted chassis, this Chevelle is the very definition of muscle car. Its professional build, which combines stunning design with no-limits performance, represents first class showmanship at its very finest. If you’re in the market for a top notch classic that’ll win trophies and literally own the street, this Chevy is your kind of car!