This 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle was spotted at SEMA 2009 with a 6.6L Duramax twin turbo diesel swapped in. Mike Racke has owned several different Chevelles and wanted to try something different on his next project but didn’t know what. Then the idea to use a modified Duramax was created when he took a ride in his friend’s Hummer H1. The Hummer was pulling as hard as his 10 second Chevelle.
Currently the engine combo is putting out 950 horsepower and 1,700 torque and still is able to get 32 mpg. After a nitrous upgrade the combo could reach 1,200 horsepower and 1,900 torque. The turbos are cranking out 30 psi of boost. Other then the turbo upgrades, the rods being upgraded to Carrillo steel rods, CNC-ported heads, and a larger solid-roller cam, the engine is mostly stock. Mike says “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.
If anyone else is thinking about running a Duramax engine, Pacific Performance Engineering claims you can reach 800 hp/1,600 torque with an upgraded turbo, basic fueling upgrades and a four inch downpipe on a stock duramax engine. Popular Hot Rodding mentioned that the going rate for a Duramax with ECU, wiring harness, and allison trans is about $7K. Or if you want you could have someone build you this project for around $250,000.