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A 556-Horsepower Chevelle With Earnhardt Touches Introduces G.M.'s Crate Performance Packages

By Jerry Garrett on November 1, 2011, 4:58 PM

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Jerry Garrett for The New York TimesEarnhardt Jr.'s Chevelle at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS - The Nascar driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. was on hand at the Specialty Equipment Market Association trade show this week to introduce a 1970 Chevelle SS with a 2011 twist: the first installation of a new powertrain system, called Connect and Cruise, being offered by Chevrolet Performance.

"We're the company that pioneered the crate engine almost 45 years ago," said Jim Campbell, the General Motors vice president in charge of performance vehicles and motorsports activities. He said that this new performance package offered "factory-engineered engine-and-transmission combinations, matched with all the electronic control modules, wiring harnesses and other key components."

The combination installed in the dark gray metalflake Chevelle was a 556-horsepower supercharged LSA engine and 4L85-E automatic transmission combination.

"Connect and Cruise is something I can really relate to," Earnhardt said in a statement. "There's not much time for myself. I don't have a lot of time to work on a car. When it's time to go somewhere, I want to go right now."

Besides the LSA engine/4L85-E transmission combo, Chevrolet also now offers a Corvette-based 430-horsepower LS3 V-8, which is matched with a 4L65-E 4-speed transmission.

Of interest to hobbyists and restorers, specially calibrated controllers for the respective kits are designed for retrofit installations in older vehicles.

The engines, transmissions and all other components are all new, and each crate powertrain system is covered by a 24-month/50,000-mile limited warranty.

The Chevelle's LSA V-8.
Jerry Garrett for The New York TimesThe Chevelle's LSA V-8.

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