The General has a tough time getting R-E-S-P-E-C-T in Southern California. But in the Heartland, the Cavalier has generated a devoted following as well as an emerging pool of parts. Winning both the NHRA Hot Rod and Pro FWD classes in 2003 further solidified the credibility of the Ecotec powerplant and its aftermarket parts. Turbo was there during the early development phases of the Ecotec drag race engine and we can attest to the stout nature of the eager four-cylinder. General Motors is updating the J-Body with the new Cobalt and one has to wonder if the new version will fire the imagination of enthusiasts west of the Mississippi as well.
The verdict on the Cobalt's new bodylines is still out, but the fresh sheetmetal still wraps around the hearty Ecotec. When it comes to Ecotec power mods, Hahn RaceCraft (HRC) is at the tip of the spear. Its Oswego, Ill., location places HRC in the epicenter of Cavalier country and the turbo system company has conjured a complete turbo conversion kit for the car.
The Cav featured here, owned by Rick Bottom Custom Motorsports, has more moves than LeBron James as it has been tuned inside and out. The kit features an HRC Super 16G turbo, all the piping, a blow-off valve, an HRP log-style intake fabbed from 304 stainless steel, an HRC-spec front-mount intercooler and a custom intake system featuring a K&N filter element. A Rick Bottom Motorsports 3-inch exhaust system evacuates spent gases from an HRC downpipe. The Ecotec also runs a Nitrous Express single-nozzle system jetted to 100 hp.
The Cav flexes a Euro lowrider-style bagged suspension from Air Ride. The car can scrape the pavement on the show floor and rise to the occasion when it's time to motor. Its contact patch is provided by ballin' big 19-inch Axis WSM-2 aluminum and BFGoodrich rubber. Stopping power is addressed with 12-inch rotors and four-slug calipers from Stainless Steel Brakes.
Body tuning is handled by a 360-degree body kit from Razzi, a custom rear spoiler from California Dreams and wild paint and graphics by Rick Bottom Custom Motorsports.
Interior tuning consists of Konig V-Racing bucket seats, Auto Meter Cobalt-series gauges, an MTX-based audio system and a full-tilt roll cage. All interior modifications were performed by Rick Bottom Custom Motorsports.
The Cavalier, dubbed Cavalier Attitude, illustrates the styling and performance possibilities of the J-Body. Looking at it, one wonders why the Chevy Cavalier hasn't fired the imagination on the left coast?