My first car. From an enthusiast’s perspective those three words probably carry more weight than the million or so others around them. Even if your first was a turkey, chances are you’re still pretty fond of it. It meant you never had to rely on anyone else to go somewhere. In fact, some peoples’ first car put them on their path, so to speak.
For our purposes, Scott Peterson’s path began in 1986 with a ’67 that started life with six cylinders and half as many speeds. “It didn’t take long for me to pull the motor and transmission and put in something bigger and better.” His weapons of choice: a built 327 and a T10. Rules of the day dictated Centerlines and Radial T/As—a combination that got him through high school in style. “Then I entered the mainstream,” he continues. Sadly, that meant the Camaro sat on the sidelines. A dirt car Scott bought in the late-’90s needed power so the 327 was liberated from the Camaro. Then it sat some more. “But I refused to get rid of it.” Then, in 2004, the mechanical interests kindled by the Camaro 18 years prior inspired Scott once again. He and his wife, Julie, founded SDS Machining. But this shop doesn’t just machine parts; it makes ’em on a host of CNC-operated tools.
Inspired by his new toolbox’s potential, Scott did the same thing you and I would: he started dreaming up parts. Reinvigorated, he dusted off the thing that started him on his path. Only this time he did all the things he never could’ve dreamt of before.
Wade Delco and Ryan Winkler with help from Dale Wickline, Ryan Delco, and Dave Harris established the car’s racing theme with a 10-point ’cage made from A513 seamless tubing. “We knew the big-block we were having built would twist the car up, so a rigid foundation was important,” he explains. Rather than finish the chassis with universal production components, Scott employed his resources to tailor it specifically for the application. “All of the suspension was designed by Wade and Ryan and fabricated by them or machined by the team here at SDS Machining,” he indicates. The front package consists of tubular control arms, knuckles, and steering arms designed to optimize the geometry. A triangulated four-link system locates a 9-inch-style Moser housing. RideTech’s Level Pro system and 1000- and 7000-series ShockWaves optimize the vertical spring force for the ideal ride quality and stance for any occasion. Antiroll bars and custom-fabricated endlinks optimize the lateral spring force for ideal handling.
The 4.6-inch-bore Dart Big M block and the 4 3⁄4-inch stroke Eagle crank swinging in it more than hint that this is no ordinary engine. Nye’s Automotive in Muncie, Indiana, made the most of every one of the engine’s 632 cubic inches by endowing it with an aggressive COMP Cams mechanical-roller-tappet cam. It’s a stick that boasts 313 and 322 advertised duration, figures sufficient to cripple most smaller performance engines at speeds just short of their redline.
Engines as big as this one breathe deep, as do the 385cc intake ports in the Brodix Head Hunter cylinder heads. The flat-top Diamond Racing pistons yield a 10:1 static compression ratio. Though he used a Quick Fuel P-series 950-cfm carburetor on an Edelbrock Victor manifold for the time being, Scott equipped the 20-gallon Fuel Safe cell with an Aeromotive in-tank A1000 fuel pump in anticipation of a future EFI system. The monster snorts through 2 3⁄8-inch headers, a 4-inch-diameter exhaust, and oval mufflers fabricated by the build team at SDS Machining. Despite its pump-friendly nature, the engine churns 804 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 rpm and a whopping 811 horsepower at 5,800.
One end of the engine drives a March Ultra Drive system; the other, a Bowler Performance torque converter and a 4L85E gearbox built and modified for six-speed operation by Mark Bowler. It shifts by two means: stick by way of a TCI Outlaw shifter and paddle by way of the paddle shifters.
Portland’s Driveline Specialties fabricated the steel driveshaft. It spins a 3.70:1 gear on a limited-slip carrier in the Moser housing. Speedway Engineering provided the 31-spline axleshafts. To give this juggernaut a chance to scrub speed, Scott chose Wilwood’s 14-inch rotors and six-piston calipers. He also used the company’s dual-circuit master cylinder, but took advantage of his company toolbox to make the pedals.
Though extensive, the body modifications throughout the car don’t immediately reveal themselves. In fact, most owe their existence to mechanical necessity. For example, the four inches that Wade Delco and Ryan Winkler extended the rockers make the already low car appear even lower, but that’s actually secondary. The original intent was to conceal the 4-inch-diameter exhaust system and give it a means to exit the car through SDS-machined outlets in the rockers rather than under them.
The fabricated front valance extends lower than stock to match the rockers’ new elevation and to support the machined-aluminum splitter. Extending the valance an inch forward at the grille deepens the opening and restores the nose’s profile. The rear bumper and roll pan enjoyed the same slap and tickle for consistency’s sake. Delco and Winkler shot the BASF Glasurit 55 Line urethane base/clear in a color that a cagey Scott calls G90 Metallic Gray.
Flush-mounted glass hardly bears mention anymore. This does. Rather than conceal the gap between the body and production glass with T-molding as others do, Kevin Batey at Auto Glass Past and Present in Vancouver, Washington, worked with the SDS team to close up the gap with custom glass, a fit typically exclusive to modern cars. Partly to honor the aerospace contracts that made this build possible, SDS had Advanced Precision Anodizing in Troutdale, Oregon, finish the aluminum throughout the car.
Prior to delivering the car to Jim Sanders at Jim’s Custom Upholstery in Milwaukie, Oregon, the SDS crew fabricated the interior panels and a steel dash from scratch. It’s a laborious task made even more painstaking by accommodating the 10-point ’cage. The CAN bus architecture ISIS Power uses in its Multiplex system organizes electrical functions by modules installed throughout the car. The company’s Touchmax panel groups all electrical controls conveniently in the upper center console.
Jim Sanders, with help from Stayton Peterson, Scott’s son, finished the fabricated dash and interior panels including the Corbeau LG-1 Wide seats in black leather. The ’cage mounts Schroth three-point harnesses front and rear. SDS machined the dash insert but New Vintage crafted the Red Line series gauges, among them a pressure gauge for the Top Shot nitrous system should Scott wish to inflict another 200 horsepower upon the tires.
Back at SDS, the Camaro got a Vintage Air climate control system and a host of audio components, among them a Kenwood DDX719 head unit, Kenwood amplifiers, two Alpine SWR-T10 subwoofers, and two sets of Hertz ESK 165L component drivers.
Not even the Forgeline ZX3P wheels escaped the SDS touch. The company machined them, submitted the centers to anodizing for consistency’s sake, and laser engraved the center caps with the G90 logo. They measure 19x9 and 20x12 and wear 265/30-19 and 345/30-20 Michelin Pilot Super Sport hides. With the last lug tightened he was done … done for now at least.
But we’re not quite yet done. Scott extends a great deal of gratitude to his wife, Julie, for her patience. “You can imagine this build went over budget and took a lot longer than anticipated,” he says. He also praises the SDS crew, for without its help he admits he never could’ve pulled this off. “A business is only as successful as the people, and we have great, talented, dedicated people,” he says.
Oh yeah, about the car’s name. “People ask what G90 stands for,” Scott admits. “It’s CNC machine code that represents absolute position.” Translation: G90 represents the reference point from which a CNC machine bases all of its measurements and movements. It’s the machine’s homeif you will, the point from which it started its path and it knows exactly where it stands in relation to that point.
As a general rule, old cars take their drivers back in time as they take them to where they’re going. Scott Peterson’s first car takes him more than back in time; it takes him to a special place personally and professionally: G90. You know … home.