Mike Racke has owned several Chevelle cars. So for his next Chevelle project he wanted to try something different. Inspiration hit after riding in his friend’s upgraded Hummer H1. The big vehicle could pull as hard as his 10-second Chevelle. So Mike set out to install a twin-turbo 6.6 L Duramax diesel V8 in a Chevelle.
Mike’s Duramax is mostly stock expect for Carrillo steel rods, CNC-ported heads, larger solid-roller camshaft, and two large turbochargers. The combo makes 950 hp and 1,700 lb-ft of torque on 30 psi of boost. All that power and his Chevelle is able to reach 32 mpg. Mike says after a nitrous upgrade the motor could reach 1,200 hp and 1,900 lb-ft of torque.
[Mike] I’ve built tons of small- and big-block Chevys in my day, but I’ve never seen anything like this Duramax. The thing is built like a tank. It’s a deep-skirt block with huge cross-bolted main caps and reinforcement webbing everywhere. There are six studs surrounding each cylinder, cast aluminum covers on the front and back of the block, huge lifter bores, and a gear-driven water pump and timing set I’m not sure what the limit is, but there are people putting 1,500 hp through these blocks.
Although Mike had help, he did a tremendous amount of work himself on this project. The wiring and plumbing alone took Mike six months to complete. Mike estimates when he gets the Chevelle to the drag strip it should reach the 9s easily.
Pacific Performance Engineering says a stock Duramax can make 800 hp and 1,600 lb-ft of torque with an upgraded turbocharger, basic fueling upgrades, and a four-inch downpipe. Popular Hot Rodding mentioned that the going rate for a Duramax with ECU, wiring harness, and Allison transmission is about $7,000. Or if you want you could have someone build you this project for around $250,000.