The world of high-speed, open road racing is like gambling; the stakes are high, as is the adrenaline rush. In one you lose money. In the other you can lose your car, or your life. John Stout hasn't gone that far participating in the sport, but he's come close enough in other's to want to build one for himself. More about Stout's triple digit adventures later. For now, let's hear about the origins of this LS7-powered '69 Camaro.
Colorado-born Stout first acquired his car in 1978 at the tender age of 16. We didn't ask him, but we're guessing he may have rocked a mullet and listened to Thin Lizzy as he drove the car to and from school through his junior and senior year. "Soon after school I got into drag racing," said Stout, recalling the days of business in front and party out back. "I built a strong 327/four-speed with a 12-bolt rear-end and 5.13 gears. I did that for a while until a guy named Jeff Taylor introduced me to road racing." The open track/corner carving bug bit hard, and the venom traveled deep within Stout's veins. He was hooked. He continued: "I lowered my car, built my own sway bars, put in a Doug Nash five-speed, changed the gears to 3.08s, and proceeded to tear up the canyons. Then, the car got put on hold for awhile while I restored other cars."
Stout is currently a restoration tech at Corvette City and has been for the last 15 years. This Commerce City, Colorado-based-company has been performing award-winning Corvette restorations from mild to wild since 1986. While smelling the perplexing aroma of the local Purina factory, workers at Corvette City specialize in engine building, and have a complete paint shop as well. In fact, Stout did nearly all of the work on this Camaro himself, including the dash (which is a custom modified Detroit Speed unit). Just look at the cabin. You've heard of Chreme de la Chrome? How about a Basquette du Billet
Bad French references aside, other cabin accoutrements include the Corbeau CR1 seats with pump-up bladders, and the floor-mounted transmission/gauge cluster, also made by the owner. John created the custom subframe in the beginning of this whole project. As we said earlier, the Camaro nearly languished into obscurity as Stout went about restoring other cars and co-piloting for open-road races like Big Bend, a 118-mile adventure in Texas with elevation changes and nearly as many turns as miles. Don Herbel drove his C5 Corvette, and invited Stout to navigate their way to first place in the 155mph division in many a race such as this one. Stout recalls the incident with a gleam in his eye.
"One corner's recommended speed was about 140," said Stout. "We were powering through it at about 160 and the rear end started to get a little loose. I mean it really got a squirrelly for a minute." The various experiences, harrowing or not, inspired Stout to build the black beauty you are looking at for the 160mph class. This all occurred around the turn of the century. It took him over nine years to complete the car. After making the subframe, Stout went about attaching the Wayne Due front subframe with custom connectors to the '85 C4 Corvette spindles and A-arms. Springing to action in corners are QA1 12-way adjustable shocks, and 400-pound coilover springs.
If you're gonna drop it you gotta stop it, so to bring the rig down from dangerous triple digit speeds a pair of 14-inch drilled and slotted, zinc-washed Baer brakes with Alcon four-piston calipers do the duty; 13-inch stoppers of the same brand accompany the rear where they are sprung by 175-pound Detroit Speed leaf springs and offset shackles with QA1 shocks. The result of this combo provides a drop of three inches. And with an oil tank mounted in the passenger side fenderwell from Peterson Fluid systems, this pro-touring terror is dumped and sumped!