Sometimes you're just in the right place at the right time. Garret Claborn of Norwalk, California, was at the Irwindale drags when we spotted his silver stallion. But he hasn't always been a Camaro driver. When Garret turned 16, he started out wheelin' a Cavalier. It didn't take long before he realized that there's more to life than four cylinders. Luckily, Garret grew up in a Bow Tie family--his mother and father cruise in '57 Bel Airs, his grandfather owns an immaculate '32 Chevy, his older brother owns a killer '69 Camaro, and his younger brother has a '68 Chevelle. When it came time for Garret to step up to the musclecar plate, he decided it had to be a '91 Camaro. The F-car started life as a mild-mannered 305, but it didn't stay that way for long.

Garret drove the Camaro around town for several months until the urge for additional power began haunting him. He wanted to swap in a larger 350ci, but school allowed little time for a lucrative job. Instead of just dreaming big, Garret began working toward his goal. He started by adding a three-chamber Flowmaster muffler connected to 3-inch tubing. The exhaust added a throaty sound and a few horsepower. When Garret's compact car acquaintances heard the sound of 305 ci, they gained a new respect for the power of his Chevrolet. Because Garret wanted to stay ahead of the import crowd, he soon added a K&N air filter and Edelbrock headers.

Just when life was getting good, another car hit Garret's Camaro. At first the devastation appeared to be irreversible, but the accident turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Using the insurance money, Garret had the car fixed and repainted '02 Lexus Silver. When the Camaro returned from the shop, Garret couldn't believe his eyes. He now owned a killer ride with visual appeal and tire-frying power. With the help of his older brother, Garret assembled enough cash to purchase a brand-new GMPP 350 H.O. motor. Despite its entry-level image, this Vortec-headed small-block is capable of pumping out 330 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. Garret and his brother installed the 350, reusing all the factory 305's smog equipment. In order to get the Camaro running, they replaced the stock throttle body with a 670-cfm unit from Holley and swapped the stock 305ci electronic control module (ECM) for one from an '87 C1500 truck using throttle-body injection. When the last bolts were tightened and wires connected, Garret and his brother went for a ride. Garret reports that the jump from four-cylinder Cavalier to a V-8 was impressive, but the change from the 305 to the GMPP 350 H.O. engine was amazing.

Several days after completing the engine swap, Garret debuted his new ride to all his friends. The domestic guys were impressed, and the import crowd was floored trying to catch up. Since the engine swap, Garret has added a killer stereo system with two subwoofers, a huge amplifier, a CD changer, and four speakers. Up front is a DVD player and all the original interior equipment. Garret's future plans include a tachometer and even more horsepower. Garret's now a 20-year-old college student with a class ride. This is a classic story of focusing time and resources toward an education and a hot rod goal and ending up a winner on both ends.