Twin Turbo LS-Powered Chevette Is an Econobox No More
An old-fashioned recipe for speed turned this old Chevette into an 8-second twin turbo monster on the drag strip.
If you were around back in the ’80s, you undoubtedly remember the Chevrolet Chevette. The little subcompact economy car, like many from its era, was born directly as a result of the fuel crisis. It was an instant sales success, despite packing a dreadful 1.4-liter inline-four putting out a snore-inducing 53 horsepower. This was a car that couldn’t even get out of its own way. But that’s nothing a little twin turbo LS swap can’t fix, now is it?
The good thing about the Chevette is that unlike most econoboxes through history, it’s actually rear-wheel drive. It is also incredibly light. Thus, many folks have converted these little rides into drag racers over the years. But few can measure up to the insane “Po-Mod” Chevette owned by Canadian racer Dario Gaiga. Which might also be the cheapest 8-second build in history.
That quest for cheap speed initially had Gaiga wanting an RX7. But the 6’7″ Canadian quickly realized he wouldn’t fit in one.
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“A Chevette has similar dimensions to an RX7 except it has a taller roofline,” Gaiga told DragZine. “So I figured if I was going to do one, I would do one of the ugliest years: a 1976 model. I found this car online and bought it off some hippy kid for $500. When I got it the car had purple trim, purple wheels, and smelled like spilled bong water. I drove it stock for six months before I cut into it. It was literally the slowest car I’ve ever owned.”
For kicks, Gaiga strapped the Chevette to the dyno before surgery began. It responded by laying down a comically terrible 33 hp. Today, it pushes out just a bit more than that. It also weighs a mere 2,350 pounds, even with a new chassis, full cage, and aluminum LC9.
With the new twin turbo LS, the little Chevette has laid down an 8.52-second quarter at 159 mph on 29 pounds of boost. Proving once again that you don’t need a cool car or tons of cash to go fast. Just a pair of turbos and a built LS!