Griot’s Garage in Tacoma, Washington, is known for their quality car care products. They are also locally known for the car show they put on the first Saturday of every month: Caffeine & Gasoline. Every month has a different theme. January was Seahawks so every car was blue and green, and February was hot rods and street rods, which is right up our alley.
As you can imagine, the parking lot was filled with high-powered cars of all makes, models, and types, but one particular Camaro stood out among the rest. Inside the garage was Keith Callecod’s orange 1969 Chevrolet Camaro. This street-legal speed machine puts out 700 horsepower, and is described as a “10-second car with street trim.”
Keith is from Kent, Washington, and works for Wicked Fabrications. He has an unsurpassed attention to detail in the custom automotive trade, which shows in his ‘69 Camaro. “I did all of the work on this car myself.” Keith says, “Except for the interior and the bodywork.” The custom fabrication work Keith did on this car includes the addition of a full frame and a custom-built firewall.
The interior features custom racing seats, safety harnesses, and a set of custom gauges. “It doesn’t have power steering, power windows, or power anything,” Keith says. It isn’t really loaded with options, but that is how Keith wanted it.
Keith has owned the car since 1978, but it’s actually been in the family longer than that. “My brother bought it in the early-’70s, and I used to drive it to high school,” Keith says, “It even made several trips to the hospital at 1:00 in the morning while my wife was pregnant.” To Keith, this is more than just a car, it’s really connected to Keith’s family. His brother died in a car wreck many years ago, and he is the reason Keith built this car the way that he did. “This is how he would have wanted it. A no frills, old school, bare bones musclecar.”
Don’t let the car’s stock appearance fool you. “It looks stock, but isn’t.” Keith tells us. “The engine has been pushed back about 4 inches, and the entire floor has been moved up to accommodate the 3 ½ inch exhaust.” The modifications are significant, but the impact on appearance is minimal. Even the big Mickey Thomsons fit snug under the rear fenders and don’t stand out. Every aspect of this car is all about modest looks and high performance.
If you saw Keith driving his car on the highway, you’d never know that it had a 454 cubic-inch engine under the hood that has been bored .030-inch over. Behind that is a Turbo 400 transmission, followed by a rearend filled with 4:10 gears. “It’s got about 100 pounds of exhaust piping under it,” Keith says. “I’ve always wondered how well it would do on the track with open headers.”
Cars like this are what keep us going back to shows and tracks over and over again. Keith built this car with a purpose, and ended up with a car that would have made his brother proud. What do you think of this “10 second car with street trim?” Have you ever thought of putting together something like this? Tell us more about it in the comments section. We want to know how you can relate to this story.