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A Change Of Heart

Scott Whidby’s ’69 Convertible

Bob Mehlhoff May 1, 2001

Step By Step

One of the most fascinating aspects of building a cool car is what the car used to be and the story behind it. Take Scott Whidby’s gorgeous ’69 Camaro convertible. Searching for a good base to build upon, Scott’s journey led him to an almost perfect specimen. The rust- and dent-free F-body had spent the last three decades as an original six- cylinder, three-speed car with few options and only two previous owners. The second owner had bought the car from his lifetime neighbor for just $1. Although Scott’s acquisition of the convertible was not so generous, he still knew he had found a good deal and a car that he could build into something really cool.

Upon returning home with his new prize, Scott wasted no time stripping the convertible body down to a shell. Since Scott is an autobody manager by trade, he knew the best approach to any buildup includes using a rotisserie fixture to revamp the body. Scott’s plans also included custom-painting the bumpers to match the paint. With the bodywork underway, Scott sanded the bumpers and welded up the mounting holes. To give the front clip that performance look, Scott added a Goodmark cowl induction hood to the Camaro. With the body apart and ready for paint, Scott and his crew from Robert Hudson Paint and Body in Moultrie, Georgia, applied a custom red mix to give the F-body that deep show-quality look.

Because at the heart of all cool cars are hot motors, Scott replaced the 250ci six-cylinder with a 454 big-block. To set off the engine compartment, Scott added a polished aluminum intake manifold, polished valve covers, an aluminum radiator, plus a variety of Billet Specialty dress-up components. For custom-engine-compartment treatment, Scott selected the same red show-car finish for the inner fender wells, core support, and firewall. Helping the shiny big-block breathe easier is a set of Hedman headers attached to a free-flowing exhaust system with Flowmaster mufflers.

To handle the shifting chores, Scott installed a 700-R4 automatic transmission connected to the original 10-bolt axle. For suspension upgrades, Scott added 2-inch dropped front spindles and rear lowering blocks. Since cool cars need cool rims and tires, Scott added a full set of American Racing Torque Thrust wheels (17x7 front, and 17x8 rear) wrapped with BFGoodrich T/A radials (P235/45R-17 front, and P275/40R-17 rear). Scott completely renovated the interior, adding tan leather upholstered seats from a Pontiac Fiero and tan wool carpeting. Next, Scott installed a set of Auto Meter Phantom gauges into the dash and a Vintage Air A/C unit.

Scott’s Camaro demonstrates how innovation and creativity can make a personal statement. His show- winning convertible took him just over a year to transform, and he blended together all aspects of what makes a real showstopper. Who said change is bad?

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