It takes special people to eschew the pack mentality, withstand the smirks and cracking wise behind their backs, especially if the holy grail is sporting rubber bumpers (circa 1978-81). But it's not really about the car. It's about what you do with it, how you expose its finer features, and how you minimize the mundane.
Trent Goodwin knows all about this. He's the Marketing Coordinator for the Comp Performance Group, so you can already see where this is going. He wasn't in any hurry to complete the project, either. This Camaro wasn't some quick sale car, no. It's been part of the Goodwin family since the 26-year-old Trent's formative school days. Indelible, and likely to remain so.
"I was given this car by my father, Clarence. This was my first car ... my high school car," said Trent. "My father and I built this car the first time for my high school ride. It was a wonderful father-and-son project that I will cherish always. Once I started college, I decided to do it all over again, but this time Dad wasn't paying for it. I wanted something that looked fast, sounded mean, and would be an attention getter of the first magnitude.
"Performance was also key to the design. I wanted something that would perform equally well on the track as on the street. This process took six years, but once I was finished and in debt, I can look back and say it was well worth it just due to the fact that not many people build this body style Camaro yet, and I have one of the first ever second-gen Camaros built this way."
Goodwin didn't do everything himself. He conscripted a couple of upper management buds from Comp for helping hands and enlisted the best shops in the Delta for specific contributions. The Mississippi brigade includes Silver Star Customs in Horn Lake (silverstarcustoms.com), BB&T Racing in Southaven, and Ronnie's Hot Rods in Senatobia (ronnieshotrods.com). This cast of soon-to-be-notables built Trent an easy driver that could turn rough in a blink. He likes to take his friends along, too. As such, the rollcage has been modified with a removable rear bar so they can scrunch up uncomfortably in the claustrophobic notch. He shows at Scrapin the Coast and Cruise-in the Coast in Biloxi and Rippin Gears in Tunica.
Trent now has a car that represents the majority of hot rodders. It does everything well. It hasn't got a lot of expensive detail or high-end paint that will inevitably suffer road-rash or worse. Its lines are straight. Its paint is deep. Its mufflers are loud. Sourcing the material to build it was made a little easier by using items from Comp's generous roster: Comp Cams, TCI, and RHS among them. Silver Star gets big props for designing and installing an air-bag suspension system from scratch.
That was the first step in the project script. Once Trent got the car back from Silver Star, he hoisted it on jack stands and dived into the ancient grunge and grease. "I pulled the engine and transmission and turned it into a roller. I removed every part and bolt and either repainted or had them powdercoated." Trent's '79 took Best of Show Motor at Scrapin the Coast '09. Goodwin rocks. Goodwin rolls. Goodwin wins.