Keeping The Priorities Straight
Jim Wingo, of Woodbine, Maryland, had every intention of putting his cars on hold a few years ago. His goal was to get some general fix-up work done around the house-tasks his wife, Barbara, was looking forward to seeing done. Jim even went as far as selling his blown '57 Chevy for extra cash to put into the house. That was until he "happened across" a '67 El Camino. After all, there just aren't that many '67 Caminos around (especially on the East Coast) and Jim had just sold the only toy he had. So how could he pass this up?
After purchasing the Camino, Jim found the stock small-block's power to be less than thrilling, so he began planning to install a stroker small-block. But then he "happened across" a Weiand 6-71 blower which, strangely enough, fit the 427 short-block he just "happened" to have. The Rat was specifically built for a blower, with a steel crank and rods, and Ross forged 8:1 pistons. So Jim completed it by bolting on a set of ported Edelbrock aluminum heads and the aforementioned blower, which was topped off with a pair of Edelbrock 750-cfm carburetors and a NOS nitrous system. An MSD 6AL was added to keep the fire burning, while exhaust was handled with Hooker headers and Flowmaster mufflers. Considering the big-block's power, Jim needed to make sure that both hands were on the wheel as much as possible, so he installed a tricked-out Turbo 400 automatic transmission.
Jim didn't want to just drop a new engine into an aging car, so he removed the body to give the frame a "quickie cleanup." But after painting the body Guards Red, the frame cleanup turned into a full repaint (also Guards Red) and rebuild using all-new suspension components (including a 9-inch rearend with 3.89:1 gears). The interior was redone in vintage-style red and white vinyl, and a full complement of Auto Meter gauges was also added. Once reassembled, the Camino was finished off with a set of Weld Pro Stars measuring 15x6- and 15x8-inches.
Since the El Camino has been together, Jim has earned a host of show trophies with it. And at the track, with a set of 9-inch slicks installed, the little red A-body has tripped the lights to the tune of 11.31 at 121 mph on the engine, and 10.78 at 128 mph on the squeeze. Now Jim can finally think about getting back to the housework. But be forewarned-he just "happened" to come across a '57 Chevy. Sorry Barbara, but the house may have to wait another year!