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1969 Chevrolet Camaro LS7 - Laterally Motivated
Combine Classic Style With Cutting-Edge Tech And You Get Scott Gulbranson's '69 LS7-Powered Camaro
By Steven Rupp
Photography by Steven Rupp, Robert McGaffin

Click here to see all the build shots of Scott's car

Cool cars aren’t built in a vacuum, they’re crafted from dozens of experiences and are a combination of unique ideas. Scott Gulbranson’s ’69 Camaro is just such a car. His ride is the product of his own experiences and, in turn, his car helped produce a very unique website: Scott informs us, “I started lateral-g as a place to host pictures of my car and a few friends’ rides. I never intended to build a website that’s as big as it is, but it just took off. Over the time that it took to build the latest incarnation of my car, I also focused on making the website the best it could be.

I’ve always enjoyed technology and computers, along with cars and motorsports, so it’s something that brings all my interests into one place.” With Scott’s love of tech it’s no wonder he went the direction he did when building his Camaro. It’s a conglomeration of high-tech wonders and classic muscle car styling. And, like all cool rides, the journey to getting it on the road was almost as fun as the finished product… almost.

Scott picked up his Camaro in the summer of ‘00. It was an older restoration that had gotten fresh NOS quarters and a decent paint job ten years prior. Back then, there was no rust on the car, but there was no performance, either. As Scott mentions, “It was your typical 13-second muscle car that was just plain boring to drive.” Scott has a hard time leaving stuff alone, so it wasn’t long before the M20 was out and a Tremec TKO 5-speed was in. While there, he bolted on a set of Baer brakes and some 17-inch Budniks to replace the 15-inch steel ralleys. Those modifications helped, but by the fall of ’04 Scott was craving more… Much more.

To chronicle the build-up of his ’69, he started a website to post pictures called Over the period of a few years the site became something more than a picture hosting deal for Scott and his buddies. Today it’s a gearhead community nearly 8,000-strong and they all love lateral acceleration as much as the linear type. As he was launching the website his Camaro went from a driver to a pile of parts as he began building his unique vision of Camaro nirvana.

The first think he purchased for the car was wheels. “I mounted up the tires, cut out the inner wheel tubs, and notched the frame to get them to clear. Once the 18x12-inch HRE wheels would fit, I made a fixture to mock up a rear end for the car based on where I wanted the wheels to go. Using those measurements, I had Currie Enterprises build a rearend for me. I closed out the rear tubs with a DSE mini-tub kit,” recalled Scott. Later, he decided to run DSE’s new Quadra-Link rear suspension kit. Unfortunately, the rearend he had built back before the Quadra-Link even existed needed to be modified. “Since I already had the complete rearend built with the axle housing ends welded on, I had to cut all the Quadra-Link brackets in half, position them on the rearend in a fixture I made, then weld it all together,” deadpanned Scott.

The thing about building a car over such a long period of time is how much technology, and companies’ change. The LS7 that now powers Scott’s Camaro was barely on the drawing boards at GM, and the company that built his front subframe, Wayne Due, is no longer in business. Luckily for Scott, all the parts mated to the subframe, like the DSE control arms, AGR rack, Koni coilovers, ATS spindles, and Speedway Engineering splined sway bar are from solvent companies, so replacement parts are readily available.

The chassis was given more rigidity by way of DSE’s in-floor subframe connectors and a six-point cage fabricated by Autokraft Race Cars and Restorations in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. For stopping power, Scott turned to The General for their C6 Z06 brakes consisting of 14-inch rotors and 6-piston binders up front and 13.5-inch rotors and 4-piston units in the rear. Helping mate these new-school stoppers to his rearend is an adapter kit from KORE3 Industries. For extra braking capability, he also grafted in a Hydratech Braking Hydroboost system. After all, what’s the fun of stopping if it doesn’t occasionally detach your retinas?

Originally, Scott’s plan called for a twin-turbo small-block, but fate had something else in store. “When I was at Mark Stielow’s house a while back, we took his ’69, called Camaro X, out for a spin. While he was flogging it, Mark told me that he had two LS7s and one was for sale. So I jumped on it. The motor that’s in my car is the one that Mark used for pictures in his LS7 swap article for Hot Rod magazine,” recalled Scott. The output of the LS7 was ratcheted up with a Katech camshaft and a set of Kook’s 1 7/8-inch stainless headers. To dress out the aluminum mill Scott went with a black-anodized front-drive system from Synister Products. AutoKraft mounts hold it all in place.

Thanks to some fittings from Street and Performance and a Peterson 8-quart oil tank Scott was also able to retain the factory dry sump system. Cooling it all is a Ron Davis radiator fitted with dual Spal fans. Feeding the big-inch small-block is an Aeromotive regulator and a Walboro fuel pump fitted into the Rick’s Hot Rod Shop stainless gas tank. Control of the engine is taken care of by a GM E38 computer and the wiring harness was custom built by Speartech Fuel Injection.

On the chassis dyno it churned out over 500 rear-wheel horsepower and 470-pounds of torque. It’s enough grunt to hold Scott over until he installs the Nitrous Express MAF nitrous system. Good thing he has those brakes!

Rounding out the driveline is a Rockland Standard T56 six-speed with ATS hydraulics and tubular crossmember. The clutch is the same piece found in a C6 Z06, and power spins back to a Currie nine-inch rear via a three-inch aluminum driveshaft from Inland Empire Driveline. But Scott isn’t done messing with the mechanics of the Camaro just yet. “My latest item of interest for the car is incorporating cruise control. With the use of the stock GM E38 ECM, that uses throttle by wire, and the T56 VSS, a lot of it is already in place,” explained Scott.

Once he had finished the driveline and suspension, it was back over to Autocraft Race Cars and Restorations, where Kurt Anderson and Paul Nowak took care of some much needed sheetmetal TLC. Scott recalled, “While the car was solid, it was still in need of some work. So Kurt and Paul gave it a good shot of media blasting, then addressed the minor gap fitment issues. The hood is carbon fiber, and since they have a lot of racecar experience they knew just how to prep it. We couldn’t decide on which shade of red to go with, so Anderson came up with a custom PPG number that I think works great with the white stripes.” The exterior isn’t heavily modified, but Scott did dress it up with a few billet items from Marquez Design.

Scott wanted the interior to stay classic Camaro, only with a modern vibe. A DSE dash filled with Auto Meter gauges helps Scott track the car’s vitals, while a Budnik GT steering wheel enables him to maneuver the ’69 through the curves. The sleek Marquez Design door panels and MODO innovation pedals provide style while comfort comes by way of the Recaro Sport seats. Leather abounds courtesy of TEA’s Designs, and atmospheric comfort is regulated by a Vintage Air system.

But Scott’s Camaro isn’t a wallflower; it’s a driver. “As of right now, I’ve put over 4,000 miles on it in the last 90 days, 2,500 miles of which were from doing the Long Haul on the Power Tour. I’m getting 22mpg on everyday type driving. Not bad for a car making 500 rear wheel hp,” quipped Scott. And he can take pride in the fact that he did 99-percent of the work himself in his two-car garage.

The result is a car that is far more than the sum of its parts, and Scott couldn’t be more thrilled. As he told us, “Now that it’s finished I get questioned a lot about what I would do different if I had to do it all over again. And you know what? I wouldn’t change a thing. The final product is everything I wanted it to be. It drives like a brand-new car; it’s been incredibly reliable, and it’s a hell of a lot of fun.” And with a ride like this, how can a blast down the road, especially when it gets curvy, not be fun?






1970 Buick GSX - A Revolution          Car Craft Magazine Feature
The Sweet Blend Of Technology And '70s Musclecar Image Is What Led Todd Miller On His Buick Quest.
By Jeff Smith
photographer: Wes Allison

Click here to see all the build shots of Todd's GSX

Buick is the brand famous for its portholes that has kept Todd Miller in this obscure corner of the musclecar marketplace. Over all those years, Todd felt like something was missing. He tried a Camaro and even a Mustang along the way, but that same nagging feeling remained.

The salient day occurred after a car show Todd attended with his good friend Kurt Anderson, who owns AutoKraft Race Cars & Restorations. On the way home, Todd got a chance to drive an AutoKraft-built LS1-powered '69 Camaro. Todd couldn't get over the tasty blend of modern technology and the classic lines of that first-generation Camaro. That was when he first considered combining the words handling and Buick in the same sentence.

Since good ideas are often found abandoned in the dust of procrastination, the buildup began immediately. Todd had the common sense to look for a car in the warmer climates away from his Wisconsin home, and the Internet made the search for a low-key Buick easier. Soon, there was a '70 Skylark sitting in AutoKraft's shop, stripped bare, beginning a process that would take only 11 months to complete.

Todd played with the notion of having a '70 GSX 455. But owning one of these rare beasts would preclude the enjoyment of open-road adventures laced with tire-smoking, wide-open-throttle runs. That's not the usual fare for rare 30-plus-year-old musclecar survivors. Todd's plan involved building a Buick that could pass the cursory visual test for a GSX but one he could have fun behind the wheel with. It would perform closer to a Corvette than your grandmother's plastic-wrapped couch.

AutoKraft began with the chassis, blasting and powdercoating the stock frame and tickling the front suspension with virtually the entire Global West catalog, including QA1 coilover shocks that allow the luxury of fine-tuning the front ride height with a few simple twists of the spanner wrench. Wilwood disc brakes on all four corners added to the functionality, but it still wasn't enough. Conceptually, there was still something missing.

The problem with a Buick Pro Touring car is that a true-blue Buick would be powered by a torquey yet bulky big-block. Todd's previous Buick was a '70 GS Stage I car with Stage II pieces that was the classic sleeper running 10.30s at 130. "That was a great car 'cause I could beat other guys with slicks and open headers in a car I drove to the track. It was great because it was so stock looking. But it was only good for one thing: going fast in a straight line." In a move threatened by the spectre of scorn by Buick traditionalists, Todd chose a smaller yet powerful and high-tech 6.0L LS2 with a few improvements. "I'm somewhat of a purist," Todd says. "And I was a little concerned as to what the die-hard Buick guys would think of an LS2 under the hood. But I also figured being a Buick guy shouldn't keep me from the Pro Touring craze. I think they would have frowned on me more if I would have [given] up on the Buicks and built something else."

The promise of Gen IV small-block power netted a desire for great performance with a much more refined engine package. That led to the LS2-based, 366ci, all-aluminum engine. The guys at Wheel to Wheel Powertrain in the Detroit suburb of Madison Heights, Michigan, worked their magic, eventually squeezing more than 500 hp out of this Gen IV motor. That's as close to the actual horsepower number as Todd was willing to admit. "There are a bunch of guys around this area in Wisconsin who stay up at night trying to figure out how much horsepower we make, and I'd just as soon keep them guessing." We'll give you a hint-it's a lot more than 500.

The LS2 swap went even easier when AutoKraft added its custom aluminum oil pan swap that works in conjunction with the billet motor-mount kit for both GM A- and F-body musclecars. With the motor firmly in place, AutoKraft worked with Hooker Headers and got the very first set of LS1 Hooker A-body engine-swap headers that look like they belong on this car. This made the entire LS2 swap almost pain free. Todd then added the 4L60E automatic overdrive with the plan that both the engine and the trans would be controlled by the same Big Stuff 3 computer. This integrates control of the entire powertrain in one box.

In classic car crafter style, Kurt, Todd, and the rest of the AutoKraft gang finished the car just before the Car Craft Summer Nationals in St. Paul. "We didn't even have two miles on it when we showed up at the Nationals," Todd says. Of course, the CC staff (both of us!) jumped on the car immediately, and the rest is photographic history. It's clear that Todd long ago drank freely of the musclecar nectar to become a Buick true believer. So much so that he's turned his fervor into an Internet business, as the owner of, where you can find a plethora of 11/418-scale cars of all descriptions. If you want even more information on his GSX along with a ream of buildup photos, you can find them on the Web site.

If nothing else, Todd's GSX retrofit forward is on the leading edge of a wave of Gen III and Gen IV engine swaps that is about to engulf the performance scene. As the Doobie Brothers once put it, "What were once vices are now habits." What's in your engine compartment?

The Buick GSX tag in 1970 was an appearance package with stripes, a hood tach, bigger tires, and spoilers in either Apollo White or Saturn Yellow.

Tech Notes.
What: '70 Buick GSX
Owner: Todd Miller

Hometown: Eau Claire, Wisconsin, which is French for "clear water." What, you don't remember that from high school French?

Engine: This is the centerpiece of Todd's effort, with a complete yet far from stock LS2 engine. Production LS2s are 6.0L displacing 366 inches. This 402ci all-aluminum version was built by Wheel to Wheel Powertrain in Madison Heights, Michigan, and starts with a Callies forged 4340 steel 4.00-inch-stroke crank along with 6.125-inch-long Callies forged rods connected to a set of Mahle 4-inch-bore forged pistons. Rather than use stock heads, W2W went with a set of ported 225cc Dart heads to increase airflow with the 2.05/1.60-inch valves. Matching the airflow potential is a HiTech Motorsport hydraulic roller camshaft. Controlling the fuel and spark is a Big Stuff 3 EFI computer. Finishing this gem off is a set of Hooker headers leading to a Torque Technologies 3-inch cross-pipe system employing Flowmaster mufflers. Integrating all these high-tech electronics into a solid performing package comes by way of HiTech Motorsport in Anoka, Minnesota.

Transmission: In keeping with the high-tech theme, Todd added an Automatic Transmission Design-built 4L60E four-speed automatic along with a Performance Torque Converters 9.5-inch converter with a 3,600-rpm stall speed to give the launch that extra push. It's all controlled by a stock Buick shifter converted to the four-speed pattern.

Rearend: A new Moser 12-bolt takes the place of the 10-bolt stocker fitted with a set of 3.73 gears, an Auburn limited slip, and Moser axles.

Suspension: This is one area where Todd's Buick really shines. The frame-off resto gave Todd plenty of room to work on adding the complete Global West front-suspension package, including tubular upper and lower control arms and the Global QA1 coilover-shock conversion. Combined with a quick-ratio steering box and a larger 111/48-inch Global West front antiroll bar, everything was powdercoated, including the frame. In the rear, Edelbrock adjustable upper arms complement a pair of SpeedTech lower control arms, QA1 shocks, and Global West springs.

Brakes: Since the brakes are one of the few items that play into both good impressions and solid performance, Todd went with a complete set of Wilwood discs front and rear. Actuating all this is an AutoKraft-installed hydraulic boost kit for power brakes that pulls pressure from the power-steering pump.

Wheels/Tires: Here's where the Buick revels in its dual personality. At first glance, the wheels appear to be a set of stock steel Buick GSX Rally wheels, but upon closer inspection, you discover 17x911/42-inch front and rear Wheel Vintiques Todd obtained as the first set from Newstalgia mounted with 245/45R17 BFGs up front and a sticky pair of 275/40R17 Mickey Thompson ET Drag Radials in back.

Body: The rust-resisted original body went through a complete frame-off blasting and massage on its way to AutoKraft's paint booth where the crew laid down the original tint for the GSX Saturn Yellow and black stripes. Todd nixed any custom body mods in favor of retaining the Buick GSX visual cues.

Interior: Again, Todd wanted the initial impression to be one of a simple, restored musclecar, including a factory GSX steering wheel. But he did make a couple of distinctions, including a Vintage Air heat and A/C system and DynaMat sound deadening. The Buick also features power windows because all Buicks should have them.

Crew: Kurt Anderson and Paul Nowak of AutoKraft Race Cars & Restorations ( can take all the credit for this blend of old Buick and new.