We know right off that Gordon McGilton didn’t want a Pro Mod motor under that precious sheetmetal. He was looking for dependability, reliability, repeatability, and something he could restock at any GM dealer. A friend had pulled the LS2 and T56 from a departed ’06 GTO to use in one of his own put-togethers. Gordon talked him out of it, doing absolutely nothing to enhance the 364ci aluminum plant except for the engine controller and the custom-built exhaust system. Tony at Street & Performance jumped on the original equipment ECU and made it fit for power and speed dispersal. The LS2 keeps a cool head via a late-model Camaro radiator swamped by a single electric fan. Gordon added an ’02 Camaro sump. Then he dragged the Bel Air to Randy French at Discount Muffler & Supply in Cullman, Alabama. French built the headers with 1.875-inch primaries and funneled the tubes into 3-inch collectors. The 3-inch system is minimal but hush-quiet. French included stock GM mufflers and an X-pipe accelerator. "I hate to admit it, but when the engine is running, you can barely hear it," French says. "I’m too old to tolerate the sting of loud pipes for more than five minutes." That’s key to pleasant driving times, and Gordon has plenty of them. Trailer, no. Driver, yes. Power output is slightly greater than the stock 400 at 6,000 rpm and 400 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 (flat from 3,000 rpm to 5,200 rpm). The rest of the mechanicals include the Goat’s original hydraulically operated clutch assembly and six-speed manual. Grunt twirls around a custom prop shaft built by Fast Shafts in Huntsville, Alabama. The 9-inch housing holds 3.70:1 gears on a Detroit Truetrac positive traction differential that ratchets 31-spline shafts.
Matte black is the theme in the engine compartment as seen by the custom inner fender panels, semismoothed firewall, and the coil/rocker “covers”. The factory badges were trashed, but otherwise the body is perfectly stock. The bumpers were sucked in a little and part of the Atkins Hot Rods crew, Joe Burgess and Danny Sams, prepped the skin and shot the 15 coats of Sikkens Black.
Since Gordon had no pretensions about making the bubbletop more than a driver, he eschewed wheeltubs, rollcage, and wide web belts. However, his shiny aesthetic side shows through like a blue patch in a dark sky. Atkins and company accommodated his needs with RideTech components throughout (tubular control arms front and rear, antisway bars, electrically controlled air shocks, holding tank, and ancillaries). The Detroit Speed 605 steering box is power-assisted and linked to CPP 2-inch drop spindles.
Before anything, Atkins rewired the car with a Centech system, thus laying down a formal background for the Bel Air’s electronics. There’s a Clarion stereo in there somewhere, along with a Vintage Air Gen IV HVAC system. The leather for the red interior was imported. Interiors by Paul Atkins did the installation. To most of us, these accommodations are elegantly understated and almost too nice to defile, but Gordon simply sees them as a crucial piece of the puzzle. The Lexus seats have custom backs clinging to them and the Dashworks dash holds Classic Instruments. Atkins’ Hot Rods crew made the steering wheel. The theme begins at the dashboard and continues throughout with the door and side panels and onto the rear compartment. Atkins constructed the custom console/armrest to match and caged them in brushed aluminum. Some soul massaged the stock shifter to fit the tableau.
Rollers & Clamps
Gordon forsook shiny for matte finish and minimal, thus exciting the black body and bringing your eye directly to the surface of the wheel. Bravo! Those Billet Specialty Bonneville G alloys are billet construction measuring 18x8 and 20x10. On these hoops are 245/40ZR Kumho and 275/45ZR Goodyear rubber. Gordon got his big brakes, too, but on the cheap. Here’s how he did it. Kore3 Industries supplied the Z06 14-inch, six-pot brakes in front; 13.4-inch and four-pot calipers in the rear. Kore3 managed every part for the swap and kept the price affordable at around $1,500.