While some of us muddle through a project, even with the best-laid plans, it can stop immediately or vector into another realm before you can pull the reins. As a commercial pilot for United Airlines, Matt Gober shepherds several hundred people who depend strictly upon his brains, skill, and awareness to get safely from one place to another 35,000 feet above terra firma. Such responsibility tends to polarize thought, at least for the duration of the trip. Then (sounds of a door being kicked open) his mind goes on vacation.
Matt and his wife Aimee Jo are hard-core ragtop fans, but he knew damn well that he didn't have the time, knowledge, or the equipment to do the job correctly. Originally, the plan was a simple one (aren't they always?): get a good car, give it a double-overdrive transmission, a decent suspension, and drive the hell out of it. Then Matt happened upon the antics and materiel displayed on www.lateral-g.net and www.pro-touring.com. He flipped. He'd already discovered the blissful arrogance that an old car infused with new components can muster. It was a '67 Corvette that touted a Newman Car Creations C4 suspension and a supercharged LS1. "I thought I wasn't going to miss the great handling, braking, and modern drivetrain, but I was sorely mistaken."
He'd found a good ol' 1969 Camaro SS Convertible on www.pro-touring.com then made acquaintance with Jason Huber, proprietor of G-Force Design Concepts in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Huber's talent thoroughly transcends the three-dimensional drawing stage. G-Force can design your road hog and then make the lines come alive in metal and in woofing good power and handling.
"Detroit Speed had just come out with their four-link rear suspension and Jason took me for a ride in his 'Fuel' Camaro ... it rode so well that I had to have it ...
then Jason said it would be cool to mini-tub the car while we were at it, and the simple project soon turned into a full-tilt Pro Touring machine with the best equipment that DSE had to offer," Matt confessed. "Then I went to Mooresville, North Carolina. Kyle Tucker threw me the keys to the DSE '69 test car and told me to have fun. I was sold on it and during the drive I flipped my wig and decided that the engine would be an LS7!"
There was one problem. Matt would not do without cruise control but found out at the time the wiring harness could only be done with a 24X reluctor wheel (58X is now the standard). This meant that the LS7 would have to be custom built. Late Model Engines in Houston, Texas, included all the forged aftermarket goodies, ported cylinder heads, and a Katech torque cam. Then Jeremy Formato ported the intake manifold and the stock drive-by-wire throttle body. LME bored the block to 4.130 inches but left the stroke at 4.00 inches, affording a displacement of 430 ci.
LME put ARP studs where bolts once were, installed 11.5:1 Wiseco pistons on Callies CompStar connecting rods thence to a Callies forged crankshaft. Lubrication comes from a dry sump conversion six-quart oil pan working with a Melling pump. LME increased cam timing with a Katech stick: 220/224 degrees of duration at 0.050-inch, 0.615/0.648-inch lift, and connected to the crank via a Comp Cams double-roller timing gears and chain. Lifters are stock LS7 roller tappets. Fuel delivery is forthright from the Rick's Stainless Steel fuel tank and a Bosch pump. Heat is siphoned from the system by a big aluminum core, puller fans, and a factory water pump. For the accessory drive system, LME chose a Camaro LS1 unit populated by a Vintage Air compressor, alternator, and power steering pump. A custom bracket lowers the compressor to the stock Corvette location (to the right, beneath the headers and the water pump bungs).