Steve Hofferber’s Pro Street 1970 Chevelle
By Nick Licata – Photography by John Jackson
Ahhh, the ’80s; day-glow clothes, synthesized new wave music, freaky sunglasses, leg warmers, Members Only jackets, the Energizer Bunny, and Pro Street muscle cars were all part of the culture, most of which were not to be heard from or seen again. Although, Members Only jackets are apparently back (Amazon.com starting at $98 on up to $448), the Energizer Bunny is “still going,” and Pro Street muscle cars are making a huge comeback, although some say the movement never went away.
Steve Hofferber was infatuated with the Pro Street scene, and in 1982 he set his sights on building the baddest street machine Hooker, Oklahoma, had ever seen. He started with a ’70 Chevelle that he found in The Oklahoman classified section. “I had a friend, Verlan Raines, go look at it for me,” Steve notes. “It had no hood or front fenders, but I bought it anyway. My vision was to build a car with that Pro Street look that was so popular at the time rather than do a stock restoration.”
Steve’s vision was to build it, drive it, then pass it on to his son, Neal, when he turned 16. Steve got busy and rounded up a few friends. He got together DeWayne Ehrhardt and the two brainstormed on the build direction and Ehrhardt agreed to do the paint and bodywork, while Greg Lynch came on board to modify the chassis in order to fit the massive wheels and tires out back. The young crew were focused, they were determined, the plan was in motion… until it wasn’t.
Life threw Steve a few curve balls; a career change and relationship shift left the Chevelle on the backburner—it sat for years in various stages of unfinished business. “I had my doubts the car would ever get put back together,” Steve confesses. “My wife, Teresa, encouraged me to continue acquiring parts for it, which I did, unfortunately Ehrhardt died in 2016 and those doubts became even stronger.”
At that point Neal stepped in and took the car to his shop and the father and son team worked on the Chevelle together on weekends, taking the car as far as their skillset allowed before Nicholas Hofferber hauled the car to Davis Hot Rods in Collinsville, Oklahoma, for a frame-off overhaul back in 2019. At that point, the long-block had been sitting for so long that the lifters were rusted. That’s where Chad Hodges of Hodges Engine and Performance stepped up and freshened up the engine with new cam, lifters, and he massaged the heads.
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A deeper dive into Steve’s Chevelle today reveals a burly 454ci Mark IV engine stuffed with a Pro-Comp crankshaft and steel H-beam rods along with 10.25:1 Probe pistons and Pro-Comp aluminum heads. A Holley Hyperspark lights the fire, while a Holley Super Sniper Stealth EFI system forces fuel into an Edelbrock RPM Airgap intake manifold. Hooker headers blow waste through a custom-built 3-inch exhaust system by Kris Hanselman, with a pair of Black Widow Race Venom mufflers releasing a furious exhaust note that fits the Chevelle’s muscular demeanor. It’s all worth a burley 602 hp. “The car carries major attitude but still has excellent street manners,” Steve reports.
Dressed to impress, the engine features black Holley Sniper valve covers and air cleaner and a Holley mid-mount accessory drive system fronted by a black Cold Case aluminum radiator. The black Ringbrothers hood hinges conform to the engine’s malevolent disposition.
Jody’s Transmissions (PN JTN700Z) beefed-up a GM M-24 built with proprietary bits, giving it the strength to handle the merciless grunt delivered by the big-block’s mayhem. A McLeod twin-disc clutch and aluminum flywheel enable quick shifting via Jody’s custom shifter designed specifically for the ’68-72 Chevelle. That power travels through a Drive Shafts 3-inch driveshaft to a 9-inch rearend armed with 3.50 gears, Quick Performance Truetrac posi unit, and Strange 33-spline axles.
Underneath, Steve had Greg Lynch back-half the chassis and narrow it 6 inches per side, while Steve and Neal installed the HPI Customs K-brace kit and rear suspension mounting brackets. It offers a more-than-solid foundation and works in conjunction with the Ridetech ShockWave dampers. Up front, the stance and performance handling come by way of Ridetech spindles and Ridetech ShockWave shocks.
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Schott Magnum EXL wheels feature polished five-spokes with black centers, presenting a cross pollination of vintage style with a modern personality. The 18×7 inchers up front look modest compared to the 20x15s out back. Getting those massive Mickey-wrapped 20-inch rears tucked within the rear quarters was no easy task, but the results speak for themselves and give the Chevelle a low-slung Pro Street look, which was exactly Steve’s intention—along with feasting on Claremore, Oklahoma’s asphalt. When it’s time to bring the big dog back down from speed, a set of Wilwood disc brakes get the job done with ease.
At first glance, the interior appears to be a factory ensemble, but a closer investigation reveals mostly TMI attire, including the charcoal black covered seats, door panels, and dash that play homage to the Chevelle’s ’70 born on year. The Dakota Digital RTX gauges offer a factory look with late-model features and fall in line with the Classic Car Stereo head unit and Restomod Air control panel.
Kris Hanselman of Davis Hot Rods in Collinsville, Oklahoma, burned in the Auto Weld Chassis six-point rollcage for increased chassis stiffness, and of course, additional safety measures. Jay Kirkland is responsible for the custom rear package tray and trunk enclosure along with the stereo installation process.
Outside reveals a stellar example of precision bodywork by Jim Davis of Davis Hot Rods. Once he massaged the sheetmetal to a fluid canvas, he then sprayed a decadent custom mix of Tamco Blazin’ Blue with Blizzard of Oz white stripes. The AMD glass, bullet side mirrors, and rechromed stock bumpers and wheelwell trim complement the Chevelle’s stylish appearance.
Although Steve’s Chevelle took much longer to complete than he ever intended, he never gave up on his dream of owning the baddest Pro Street Chevelle in town. “On February 20, 2022, just days after the car was finished, I was awarded with Outstanding Street Machine at the 58th Annual Darryl Starbird Rod & Custom Show in Tulsa,” Steve excitedly reports. “I had serious doubts of this car ever getting done, but I had people in my corner who refused to let me give up, and I can’t thank them enough for helping me cross the finish line with this absolutely incredible ’70 Chevelle.”
As history repeats, Steve Hofferber’s ’70 Chevelle is confirmation that Pro Street lives.
Owner: Steven Hofferber, Claremore, Oklahoma
Vehicle: ’70 Chevelle
Type: Chevrolet Mark IV big-block
Displacement: 496 ci
Compression Ratio: 10.25:1
Bore: 4.25 inches
Stroked: 1/4 inch
Cylinder Heads: Pro Comp aluminum
Valvetrain: Comp Cams valvesprings, 1.7 Crane rockers
Rotating Assembly: Pro-Comp crankshaft, Pro-Comp H-beam steel rods, Probe pistons, Clevite bearings, Hastings rings
Camshaft: Comp Cams (0.578 lift, 290 deg. duration at 0.050)
Induction: Edelbrock RPM Airgap, Holley Sniper air cleaner
Fuel Injection: Holley Super Sniper Stealth
Exhaust: Hooker 2-inch headers, Custom by DHR 3-inch exhaust, Black Widow Race Venom mufflers
Ignition: Holley Hyperspark
Machinework and Assembly: Chad Hodges at Hodges Engines and Performance (Coweta, OK)
Drive System: Holley mid-mount
Ancillaries: Holley Sniper valve covers, Ringbrothers hood hinges, Cold Case aluminum radiator, Rick’s Tanks 18-gallon designed by Rick Fowler
Tuning: Randy Prevatt, Prevatt Automotive Dyno Tuning (Tulsa)
Output: 602 hp and 654 lb-ft
Transmission: Jody’s Transmissions, PN JN700Z
Clutch: McLeod twin-disc
Shifter: Jody’s Transmissions
Driveshaft: Drive Shafts’ 3.5-inch
Rear Axle: Ford 9-inch rearend, Quick Performance Truetrac limited-slip differential, 3.50 gearset, Strange 33-spline axles
Modifications: Back half narrowed 6 inches per side by Greg Lynch (Hooker, OK), HPI Customs K-Brace Kit installed by Neal Hofferber and owner
Front Suspension: Ridetech spindles Ridetech ShockWaves shocks, Ridetech Muscle Bar
Rear Suspension: Ridetech ShockWave shocks
Brakes: Wilwood 11-inch rotors, four-piston calipers front, Wilwood 12-inch rotors, four piston calipers rear, Wilwood master cylinder, Wilwood proportion valve
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: Schott Magnum EXL (18×7 front, 20×15 rear)
Tires: Mickey Thompson Sportsman S/R 28×6 R18 front, 29×15 R20 rear
Upholstery: TMI charcoal black vinyl
Carpet: Factory-style black loop
Installation: Jay Kirkland at Davis Hot Rods (Collinsville, OK)
Door Panels: TMI
Console: Custom Top Plate by Helix Metal Works (Tulsa, OK)
Rear Package Tray: Jay Kirkland
Seats: Factory with TMI foam and upholstery
Harness: Morris Classic Concepts
Rollcage: 1.75-inch ERW Tubing/Auto Weld Chassis six-point installed by Kris Hanselman at Davis Hot Rods
Power Windows: Nu-Relic
Power Door Locks: Modo Innovations
Wiring: American Autowire by Jay Kirkland
Steering: Flaming River steering column, stock, leather-wrapped by Craft Customs (Rockwell, TX)
Shifter: Jody’s Transmissions
Instrumentation: Dakota Digital RTX
HVAC: Restomod Haymaker II
Sound System: Classic Car Stereo USA 740 head unit, NVX VAD 11005 amplifier, NVX speakers (6.5-inch front, 6×9 in rear package tray, NVX 12-inch sub in trunk), installed by Jay Kirkland
Bodywork and Paint: Jim Davis at Davis Hot Rods
Paint: Tamco Blazin’ Blue with Blizzard of Oz stripes
Front Bumper: Stock, rechromed
Rear Bumper: Stock rechromed
Side Mirror: Bullet