Car Feature: Demonic Cavalier

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photos by: LeeAnn Obermeyer

Not your Father’s Chevrolet Drag Car…

Wow, we’re not even sure where to begin with this one. Typically, when one thinks of a Cavalier, images of your little sister’s first car, the stoner pizza delivery guy’s transport of choice, or that pile of junk you see in the scrapyard that was probably a former Thrifty rental car at one point. it’s not normally the first thing you think of when you hear things like turbocharged, parachute and 9-second quarter-mile times. But that’s exactly what you’ relooking at on this page.

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Owned and built and by Brandon Fetter, and apparently possessed by an unearthly force, this 2000 Cavalier isn’t one you would want to second-guess. Admittingly tracing his roots to watching his Dad circle-track race, perform bodywork on customer vehicles and wrench on his race cars, Brandon was a car-guy early on. He started tinkering with cars when he was still in high school, taking a small loan from his grandfather who helped him purchase his first car — a Cavalier.

While Brandon tells us that this car and his first vehicle are not in fact the same steed, he sheepishly admits that he went full-on Fast and the Furious, circa, 2001 during that time period. With a modified, and eventually, a turbocharged 550 hp Twin Cam 2.4L on board, the Cavalier was relatively quick for what it was — but Brandon ultimately wanted more.

Looking for an entirely fresh start, he sourced another Cavalier, a 2000 model (the one depicted here) and started from the ground up. It eventually evolved into a project car for the sake of having a hobby, that led to Brandon starting his own business fabricating one-off and unique race car components. Dubbed B-Fab, he quickly started fabricating and branding everything he made for his friends and his own race car.

At this point you’re probably wanting us to cut to the chase and layout what exactly Brandon has going on under the hood to create a 9-second Cavalier. So let’s do it…

Not wanting to delve back into the old-school (by today’s standards) Twin-Cam 2.4L, Brandon elected to swap in a modern 2.2L Ecotec-based mill. Already equipped with a forged crank and connecting rods, Brandon hired our friends over at ZZPerformance for the full-on engine build. ZZP installed forged JE pistons into the aluminum block and installed an M2 Race assembled and ported 2-liter LSJ head for the perfect balance of air flow and compression ratio, which the latter specs in at 10:1.

The oiling system is on point, too, with a B-Fab modified oil pan to fit the rotated motor mounts and a Bates Engineering hardned oil pump gear helps ensure the rotating assembly survive the boosted, full-throttle blast down the quarter-mile.

A pair of COMP Cams hydraulic bumpsticks speccing in at… ahhh…. undisclosed specs help the ported head and 122-cubic inch powerplant do its job down the quarter with the help of a rather massive turbocharger. The turbo in question is a BorgWarner S400 67mm snail with a 1.10 a/r, a TiAL blowoff valve, twin 38mm wastegates and a B-Fab modified 24x12x4.5-inch intercooler with a Garrett piece as a core. Brandon also fabbed up his own turbo headers, with a 4-inch diameter downpipe running off the turbo.

The fuel system has been improved upon with the help of Injector Dynamics 2000cc injectors, dual 044 fuel pumps and a Fuelab regulator. The injectors are mounted near the B-fab intake manifold and Accufab 75mm throttle body, and the whole engine looks like it’s something from an alternate timeline.  It really is a stunning piece, and definitely caught our attention when we first heard of the car on Facebook, of all places

Some of the other details of the engine include a MSD coil, distributor, plug wire set and a quadrant of NGK plugs. With spark running at an all-time high, a F.A.S.T. XFI 2.0 ECU adds a vast amount of tunability that sin’t normally available of an Ecotec Cavalier. With Brandon’s built to this level, supreme tuning capabilities are a must.

Sitting behind the Ecotec powerhouse (first time anyone has ever said that in the same sentence), is a Getrag F23 manual transmission, with a Clutchmasters FX700 Triple-Disc clutch and flywheel. The power is then transferred to a modified B-Fab Chromoly rear axle and DSS Stage-5 axles.  

The Achilles heel to just about every front-wheel drive car everexisted is the potential for wheel hop, and the more power you make, the more likely that it will happen.

Despite not having any dunno numbers on hand, Brandon’s car makes enough power power and torque to sending it screaming down the quarter-mile in 9.7-seconds at 165 mph with a 1.6-second short time. Of course that can’t be done with the right suspension setup and some proper hides all the way around.

That’s why a combination of adjustable Strange and Santhuff shocks/struts keep the car planted with Eibach springs at all four corners helping along the way. Lightweight Keizer rollers with M&H slicks up front and Toyo skinnies out back get the car down the track. The overall execution of the exterior of the car is subtle, simple, but yet, breathtaking all at the same time.

The flared front fenders allow for a wider track, everything that can be trimmed, shaved, slimmed down or removed altogether has been, and that extends to what’s going on inside the cockpit and well, where you’ll find a B-fab 10pt roll cage, Kirkey Pro Drag driver’s seat, G-force 5-pt harness, M&R window net, Sparco steering wheel, and an ASD hand brake. On the dash, you’ll find a Racepak and a race-spec switch panel.

If we were to sum up Brandon’s Cavalier in a few words… we’d find ourselves struggling to do so. It still leaves us speechless, even after a few months of staring at these photos and looking over the time slip. Brandon has pondered cutting the Cavalier loose and building a new project — but we’re kind of in love with this one ourselves.

TECH SHEET:

  • CAR: 2000 Cavalier
  • OWNER: Brandon Fetter
  • ENGINE BLOCK: GM, ’06 2.0L LSJ Ecotec
  • CRANKSHAFT: GM, ’06 2.0L LSJ Ecotec
  • PISTONS: JE; forged
  • CONNECTING RODS: Pauter
  • CAMSHAFT: COMP Cams; hydraulic, undisclosed specs
  • CYLINDER HEAD: LSJ; ported, polished and assembled by M2 Race, Supertech intake/exhaust valves
  • COMPRESSION RATIO: 10:1
  • INDUCTION: B-Fab intake manifold, Accubfab 75mm throttle body 
  • POWER ADDER: BorgWarner S400 67mm snail with a 1.10 a/r, a TiAL blowoff valve, twin 38mm wastegates
  • INTERCOOLER: B-Fab modified 24x12x4.5-inch Garrett intercooler 
  • BOOST: 40-psi.
  • IGNITION: MSD coil, distributor, plug wires, NGK plugs
  • EXHAUST: B-Fab headers, 4-inch downpipe
  • OILING: B-Fab modified oil pan, Bates Engineering hardned oil pump gear
  • TUNING: F.A.S.T. XFI 2.0 ECU
  • TRANSMISSION: F23
  • CLUTCH: Clutchmasters FX700 Triple Disc
  • FLYWHEEL: Clutchmasters
  • DRIVESHAFT: DSS Stage-5 axles
  • SUSPENSION: Eibach springs; 450-lb (front)/750-lb (rear), Santhuff dual adjustable struts (front), Strange single adjustable (rear)
  • CHASSIS MODS: B-Fab Chromoly Rear axle 
  • BRAKES: Wilwood; 4-piston (by Twisted Metal), drag brake kit (borrowed from a ’68 Nova)
  • WHEELS: Keizer; 15×3.5 (rear), 13×10 (front)
  • TIRES: 24.5×9.5 M&H slicks (front), 25×4 Toyo (rear)
  • HP/TQ.: ????
  • 1/4-MILE E.T.: 9.7 at 165
  • 60-FT.: 1.6
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Being infatuated with cars since he was a toddler, GM EFI Founder and Editor, Rick Seitz, has a true love and passion for late-model GM vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.
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