1970 Chevrolet Chevelle: The Perfect (Sand)storm

When the proper mix of automotive elements is combined, a rolling masterpiece can be conceived, as evident in Jonathan Ivy’s ’70 Chevelle.

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Story: Evan “Evo” Yates

Photography: Andrew Link

The ultimate old-school recipe: Mix one part meticulous, dedicated, automotive visionary and one part young, successful car enthusiast; combine with a splash of superb timing and a pinch of chance. Too often, whip-game ballers with lofty desires fail to forge bonds with the most suitable automotive architects. But in the rarest of circumstances, the two parties collide to create a connection that can only be described as the automotive perfect storm.

John “Sandman” Derakshan and Jonathan Ivy met at a Georgia car show in August 2011, and by the following week, they were collaborating on a rolling masterpiece. “After meeting him and seeing his work, I wanted to buy one of his cars, but he had already sold it,” explains the Chevelle’s owner, Jonathan, who also owns the gold Donk seen on the cover of RIDES July/August ’11. “The more we talked, we decided to build a car neither of us had attempted before and decided on the Chevelle.”

Once settled on the prospective ride, Sandman knew exactly where an ideal specimen was hiding, even though it was not for sale. “I turned to my friend Jason Fite of Maple Motors, to purchase his pride and joy,” explains Sandman. “It wasn’t for sale, and he kept it locked up tighter than Fort Knox, but he eventually decided to sell it to us because he knew we would do it justice.” Given free reign to design the Chevelle as he saw fit, Sandman laid out a master plan that Jonathan cosigned, and the project was immediately fast-tracked. “The very next day, Jonathan wired me the funds for the car and the 502 crate motor, as well,” says Sandman. The fuel-injected 502 Ram Jet was chosen not only for its respectable horsepower but for its reliability and drivability, as he knew a guy like Jonathan would want to enjoy the driving experience in addition to admiring the aesthetic.

The extent to which this Chevelle has been modified is almost unfathomable, with hidden details that prove nonevident to the untrained eye. And although Sandman engineered the project and got his hands plenty dirty, for certain aspects he relied on his vast network of friends and colleagues, who just so happen to be masters of their respective crafts. The most vital supporter to the project was Troy Miller of Redrum Customs, who spearheaded the drive-train installation, paint and other miscellaneous tasks, as well as provided a second set of eyes and ears for any hurdles that arose. “The two of us are total opposites who complement each other’s style. We can solve any issue or fabricate a solution for any situation,” explains Sandman. “Troy can visualize my direction and help me make it come alive, and vice versa.”

To limit the scope of this comprehensive Chevelle to merely a “big wheels” car would be doing it a supreme injustice; this silver specimen could hold its own at any show, anywhere in the country, with the most stringent competition. To affirm its position in the game, it’s not only secured a spot on our cover, but it’s to be featured on Spike TV’s Powerblock, as well as earning a future spot on the floor of the 2012 SEMA show, where the hard work and mountains of money will ultimately be validated

Spec The Technique:

Year/Make/Model: 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle

Performance: 502 Ram Jet crate motor, tuned by Injected Engineering in Atlanta; Street and Performance air cleaner; custom Sandman Designs serpentine setup; custom 3-inch MagnaFlow exhaust system with Doug’s Headers; Be Cool radiator with 13-inch fans; Edelbrock Victor Jr. reverse rotation pump; 4L80E stage three transmission; shortened Ford 9-inch Detroit Truetrac rear end with 4.11 gears; polished custom driveshaft; Walbro fuel pump

Exterior: Vapor silver paint; EMS billet hood hinges; Fesler hood latch assembly; all new exterior trim; color-matched grille

Suspension/Brakes: Wilwood big-brake system with 14-inch front rotors and 6-piston calipers in front, 14-inch rotors and 4-piston calipers in rear; stainless braided lines; Hydrastar brake booster; Wilwood master cylinder; Stage 3 Detroit Speed front and rear coil-over suspension system with front tubular suspension and upgraded sway bars

Interior: ’06 GTO front and rear seats modified and redone in perforated red leather; Mercedes-Benz carpet; one-piece sculpted headliner; custom Fesler door panels; ’96 Impala center console with custom power window switches; vintage air controls; hand-stitched shifter knob; exterior-matching plastics; dash recovered with red leather and French seams, done by Mark Stephens of Stephens Brothers Upholstery

Ice: Pioneer AVIC-Z130 navigation head unit; three JL Audio W6 subwoofers in rear deck in custom fiberglass and ballistic 1.25-inch Lexan glass, 600/4 amplifier, 1200/1 amplifier, two sets of ZR650-CW component systems, built by Joey Keasler and Sandman; motorized hidden gun rack with a Sig Sauer P556; Viper remote start with window roll-up modules; push-button start; red Dakota Digital gauges; 300 amp alternator, built by Nate at Excessive Amperage

Wheels/Tires: 22-inch front, 24-inch rear Forgiato Martellato wheels; Toyo Proxes 4 tires, 265/35/22 front, 295/30/24 rear; by Brian’s Motorsports of Hendersonville, Tennessee