It's no secret that the Peach State (Georgia) has long been a hotbed of automotive entertainment. Favorable weather has something to do with it for sure, but we'd guess the main reason is location, location, location. It's proximity to the Sunshine State of Florida puts Georgia close to a lot of winter racing action, so there're always options for die-hard gearheads. Scott Whidby is no exception. By day, he's an assistant body shop manager in Moultrie, Georgia, but his primary job is being the husband of Saundra and dad to Elyssa, Emily, and Elli. And like all devoted family men, he's quick to thank his wife and kids for exercising patience during the buildup of his fine '69 Camaro.
You may be asking why we feature so many '69 Camaros, but the answer is simple. Besides the Hemi 'Cuda, the '69 Camaro (any '69 Camaro) is arguably the most sought-after production vehicle on the face of the earth. Most of us can only wish that General Motors would reintroduce this creation, just like FoMoCo did with its cloned '67 Mustang. Until that happens, those of us who remain "'69 Camaro-less" can at least hold onto that dream, even if it is a long shot. Cool cars are Scott's hobby, and he likes rebuilding them his way. Whidby commented, "I like building cars the way I want to build them. If this were a business instead of a hobby, I'd have to build them the way the customer wanted, and to me, that takes the enjoyment out of it." He's done several projects over the years and really enjoys showing them against his peers.
This one's been in Scott's possession for about a year now, and the rebuild took about nine months to complete. It began as an Internet surfing expedition that connected Scott to its previous owner in Colorado. Going by phone and photos only, Scott told us it was represented as needing patch panels. Once the transporter dropped it off, reality set in. Actually, the fenders, doors, and frontend were good, but it needed an interior floor pan, quarter panels, and a trunk floor to make it right again. Whidby said, "It was not what I had hoped for." Scott's buddy Nick took care of the sheetmetal work, welding in all the new panels that came from D&D. They started with the floors and quarter panels, finished the disassembly process, bolted the car to a rotisserie, and continued with the sandblasting and prep work. Being in the body shop trade, Scott received help with his paint and materials from C&D Paint Supplies in Albany, Georgia, and finished it off with a base/clear urethane red mixing tint from Utec. However, he did mention something about a lot of block sanding.
During all the prep, it wasn't totally stock replacement work, as the firewall and cowl were smoothed, wipers were removed, bumpers were smoothed, and mini tubs were done in the rear. Besides "Welder Nick," additional help came from Bob Harrell, Doug Corley, Rocky Weldon, John Boring, and Gerald Copeland. All along, the intention was to create a car that would hold its own at Year One events, the Goodguys Nationals in Columbus, and the Power Tour. During the rebuild, the chassis was fitted with 2-inch drop spindles from Superior, QA1 adjustable front shocks, a 9-inch rear from Currie Enterprises, 3-inch rear lowering springs from Detroit Speed & Engineering, and rear shocks from Air Ride Technologies. All four corners feature Wilwood disc brakes, Intro wheels (18x7 and 20x10), and Continental tires, with 225/40R18s up front and 275/35R20s out back.
Now for the power part. Back in this car's heyday, big-block Camaros were not very prevalent. The really serious car guys ordered theirs from Baldwin Motion Supercars, located in Long Island, New York. Those who were less serious (in relation to one's wallet size) had to get creative by swapping in boneyard 427s from wrecked Corvettes. Well, Scott figured this one needed a 427 to give it both attention and grunt. And for those of you who have driven a 427-powered musclecar, you know full well that after the first all-out mashing of the accelerator, there's no other feeling. 'Nuff said. Moultrie, Georgia's Bob Harrell assembled the mighty 427 after a .030-inch overbore and assorted machining prep was performed by Kent Jordan of Knico Engines, which operates in Moultrie, as well. A steel GM crank and rods were used, along with TRW pistons, moly rings, a camshaft from COMP, Edelbrock aluminum heads, Crane roller rockers, a Team G manifold, a Mighty Demon carb from Barry Grant, and an MSD ignition. The block and manifold were smoothed and painted, and a trick air-cleaner housing was fabricated by Neal Lei of Rods & Restos in Centre, Alabama.
Additional bolt-ons include a Spal electric fan, a March serpentine pulley and bracket kit, an Edelbrock aluminum water pump, and valve covers from GM Performance Parts painted to match. In typical musclecar fashion, Scott's big-block Chevy is backed by a Centerforce clutch, a Muncie M21 four-speed, and a Hurst shifter. Flowtech headers are bolted to a 3-inch exhaust system with Flowmaster mufflers.
Next, Scott's Camaro had to have a stunning interior, so it went to "It's Not Paint," located in Huntsville, Alabama. That's where it received a lot of glove-soft black leather covering the Pontiac Fiero bucket seats (minus the headrests), the door panels, and the rear seat. And for a little bit of extra flair, the headliner was crafted with suede. How cool is that? The dash holds a full complement of Auto Meter gauges, while the slick leather-covered center console houses a Lokar emergency brake assembly and the aforementioned Hurst shifter. Whidby decided against installing one of those power-robbing climate control systems since they clutter the engine compartment. However, he may change his mind while cruising this bad Rat on the Power Tour. Instead of cool air, he opted for cool tunes. His thundering sound system includes a Sony head unit, a 700.5 Kicker amp, with JL Audio 5 1/4 tweeters and 6x9s. Let's hope it doesn't completely drown out the sound of that sweet big-block.
Believe it or not, Scott never even fired the car before loading it on a trailer and heading for the Year One Experience this past April. In operation since 2001, this motoring extravaganza is held at both Road Atlanta and Atlanta Dragway, featuring a huge car show, autocross, a 0-60-0 Challenge, Road Atlanta Track Day, and a lot of quarter-mile action at Atlanta Dragway. The car-show portion features the prestigious Year One Cup, which is selected by a group of automotive journalists, industry people, past Cup winners, and select VIPs. Please note: Year One employees and officers are not eligible for Cup voting. Once the panel of judges narrows the field down, its "Top 3" car owners take part in the Finalist Ceremony. Scott Whidby was the last dog standing and received a beautiful Italian lead crystal cup, a $5,000 gift certificate from Year One, and an amenities package that includes travel assistance to several major shows throughout the year.
Looking back on his big day, Scott told us, "I finished it the night before Year One's event and I hadn't even driven the car yet. The guy from Dream Car Garage drove it before I did!" Of course, he's speaking of Tom Gnatiw, the guy who co-hosts the show. Whidby was extremely honored to be selected, and also mentioned how he just finished another one--a black '69 with Air Ride all around that sits 2.5 inches lower than this one. He hopes it will be well received at the Goodguys Nationals in Columbus. And looking back on some of the cars he's sweat over, polished, and sold, Scott said, "My wife isn't always happy with all the time I spend out of the house when I'm putting them together, but she sure likes the end result when I sell"one." Obviously, the '69 Camaro is Whidby's favorite car, and that allows him to rebuild them with the right accessories, the right attitude and a high degree of detail.