RWD Conversion-Built Art Morrison Max G Chassis That Will be Driven by a Blown LSX Engine
By Barry Kluczyk – Photography by the Author
Nearly a decade ago, Sam Buscemi made waves with a turbocharged, 800-plus horsepower ’07 Monte Carlo SS—one of the short-lived and comparatively outrageous LS-powered front drivers produced by General Motors.
Buscemi’s car swapped the original, transversely mounted LS4 for a custom engine based on a Dart block, World Products heads, and a Comp Turbo 84/88mm CT5 turbocharger. It was a stunning combination, with most of the fabrication work handled by Utah-based Paul’s Automotive and 4×4.
But shoving more than 800 horses through the front wheels brought some obvious compromises.
“The car has 245s on the front, and the car is wayyyy too overpowered for the street or strip,” Buscemi says. “I had 10.5-inch drag radials on it for a while, but they weren’t enough—and then had 13.5-inch drag radials, which helped on the track but they stuck out 3 inches per side, which was ridiculous and illegal on the street.”
In short: Despite the capability of doing 80-mph burnouts on the highway, Buscemi nonetheless couldn’t get the full use or max power out of the car on the street, which was its primary use. Changing to a Camaro or Corvette would change that, but the silhouette of those seventh-gen Monte Carlos still tugged at the heartstrings.
The solution was to move the drive wheels to the rear axle where nature intended. So, Buscemi tracked down a suitable project car and again turned to Paul’s Automotive to handle the fabrication work, which is where we’ve caught up with it for this project sneak peek.
The shop used a plasma cutter like a scalpel to slice out the floor of the unitized chassis, and the Monte Carlo’s sleek body was shoehorned over an Art Morrison Max G chassis. A certified cage was also welded to the new foundation, as Buscemi plans to send the reconfigured sport coupe down the dragstrip.
“It’s a good fit all around,” Matt Snell, of Paul’s Automotive, says about the new frame and the Monte Carlo’s body. “The Max G chassis was designed to support cars originally built on a unitized chassis.”
Sure, there will be some trimming to come in the cowl and other areas, but Snell notes the engine is located spot-on in the new chassis. The only challenge with that, however, will be the installed height of the planned powerplant—a 454ci engine based on a tall-deck LSX block that will be force fed by a 4.5L Whipple blower.
“It will need a custom hood, for sure,” Snell says. “The hood line of the Monte Carlo is much too low.”
Backing the blown LSX engine will be a strengthened TREMEC six-speed manual, which will send torque to a 9-inch rear axle. The suspension elements will include C6 Corvette elements in front, along with coilovers and a triangulated four-link in the rear.
There is still plenty of work to go, but this is such a unique and promising project that we couldn’t help but share a preview of it. Buscemi and Snell are aiming for later in 2023 to have the car on the ground and spinning its rear wheels. We’re looking forward to going for a ride when it’s ready.
Art Morrison Enterprises
Paul’s Automotive and 4×4