Most folks can only imagine being handed the keys to a 1967 Camaro at the tender age of 16. Shawn Gutterson had the good fortune to have bestowed unto him this bastion of the Bow Tie at that tender age.
“The laminate on my learner’s permit was still warm,” said Shawn. “You can imagine my elation when I woke up on my 16th birthday on a cold Colorado morning to find a stock Camaro with wire rims.”
The year was 1983. Venetian-shade sunglasses and Frankie Goes to Hollywood songs were about to burst into the pop culture scene, but it seems that Shawn may have snuck right in under the time/continuum of that plastic nightmare. Muscle cars retained their stature throughout the generations, the Camaro being no exception. If anyone rolls up to high school in a classic muscle car everyone knows you’ve either got clout, or their elders knew that cool Americana would be eternal.
The elder Guttersons obviously knew this. When Shawn’s grandfather died he willed the Camaro to his first grandson. Not because he was the first, but because he’d downed two birds on his first pheasant hunt. Traditions are called so because they stand the test of time. And the use of the Camaro would propagate these.
“Throughout high school, the 327 two-barrel carb-equipped V-8 and Powerglide took me to every high school sporting event and was also the mode of transport for a number of waterskiing trips,” said Shawn of his regal chariot.
He also mentioned that he upgraded the exhaust and stereo system before the real world took over and he almost sold the car. Instead, he took it to the solace of this parent’s garage and laid a canvas blanket over it, effectively putting it to sleep.
Twenty-two years later, with financial and logistical means more firmly in his grasp, Shawn decided it was time to pull the trigger and restore his rolling rite of passage to its former glory … and then some. Enter Rob Green, a renowned builder from Orange County, California. He bored the original 327 0.030-over, added 10:1-compression pistons, Clevite bearings, and a pair of Edelbrock aluminum cylinder heads. A Holley Stealth Ram fuel-injection unit handles the induction chores, while a Crane hydraulic roller opens and closes the valves. A March pulley system keeps the accessories spinning.
With the addition of an estimated 400 horsepower, a new tranny was required. A Chino Hills 700-R4 along with a B&M 2,200-stall torque converter helped transfer the engine’s newly found power to the tarmac. Also assisting with laying down the ponies are a factory 10-bolt rearend with an Eaton Posi unit and Richmond 3.73:1 gears.
Of course, when you start letting all these fine fillies run amuck you’ve got to have something to rein them in. A Chris Alston’s Chassisworks front clip and suspension upgrade things in the front. Green added an ABS power brake system that included a new master cylinder, vacuum booster, and front and rear Wilwood discs.
Erine’s Upholstery, in Orange, California, sorted out the carpet, seats, and headliner in the original hues while also integrating Hanline gauges into the dash. The interior is also kitted out with modern sounds in the form of a Pioneer system with a touch screen integrated into the Camaro’s factory center console. To accommodate any teenybopper’s music needs, the system is iPhone and MP3 compatible. The head unit channels sound through two Kicker amps, which in turn power a 10-inch sub fitted to the Camaro’s trunk.
In a nutshell, Shawn Gutterson has made himself a little slice of azure heaven.