What it Is
Mothers 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle ProPane Preview – SEMA Show: To heck with hybrids, diesels, and fuel cells. Ask the folks over at the Mothers car care products company and you just may be convinced that propane is the way to go. It’s more environmentally friendly than the 87-octane juice you’ll find at your local gas station, and in the case of a certain 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS, is responsible for making a 1,000-horsepower small block fire on all eight cylinders. That engine is only one part of the Chevelle ProPane, a collaborative effort between multiple partners including Chip Foose, that was showcased at the 2007 SEMA Show.
by Thom Blackett
Photo Credit:Thom Blackett
Why it Matters
In the grand world of cardom, the ProPane wouldn’t seem to hold a tremendous amount of significance, if for no other reason than it’s just one vehicle. But there is something to be said for the promotion of a fuel that’s cleaner than gasoline, a beautiful interpretation of what's arguably Chevy’s best 1970 muscle car, and four-digit horsepower. Plus, the clean propane system is already seeing widespread use in fleets and diesel trucks, with the Chevelle SS demonstrating even broader possibilities. Rounding off the list of positives is the water-based paint process, which is more eco-friendly than oil-based.
What’s Under the Hood
All of the individuals on hand for the ProPane’s unveiling at the 2007 SEMA Show were apparently so proud of the monster between the front wheels that they, well, decided not to cover it up with a hood. Power comes from a Haigh Blocks-built 527 Chevy engine pushing more than 1,000 horsepower and 800 lb.-ft. of torque and a 13.5:1 compression ratio. The fuel system, including tanks, lines and injectors, were created by Propane Performance Industries. A G-Force six-speed manual transmission is featured, and the chassis hosts a custom O Brothers suspension, Baer brakes, Magnaflow exhaust, and Foose wheels rolling on Pirelli P Zero rubber.
What it Looks Like
Chip Foose was charged with interior and exterior design. On the outside of the ProPane is a two-tone paint scheme represented by white on top and a cool blend called champagne nickel on the lower half of the body. The wheels are one-offs from the house of Foose, and red pinstriping was provided courtesy of Dennis Ricklefs. Inside is a red and black cabin offset by aluminum trim, Cobra seats and harnesses, and a custom rear suspension that sits atop the rear floor and connects to the axle through two small cutouts.
What We Think
Put it on blocks, paint it ten colors, unleash a family of hungry mice inside, spritz the headliner with deer scent and we’d still feel fortunate to be in the presence of a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS. Paint it up Foose style and drop in a clean-burning neck-snapping small block and we just might be giddy. Besides power and style, the ProPane Chevelle impresses us with its attempt at marrying hot rodding addiction with environmental awareness, even if it doesn’t equate to a 55-mpg Toyota Prius