Jim says the Cammer S197 drives great. The carbureted engine has no driveability issues, and even with a soft power curve below 3,400 rpm, there is still plenty of torque for driving with a big-block. The all-aluminum engine is a bit heavier than the Three-Valve it replaced, so the handling is the same, which is a plus. Also, his air conditioning and quiet cockpit are interrupted only by a distant, characteristic Cammer whine from the timing chain. When he opens the hood, the Cammer looks as though it grew there. The installation has a factory patina that makes this May-December swap work.
Another enjoyment Jim has is all the money he saved, if you can wrap your mind in circuitous logic as well as a Cammer timing chain snakes from head to head. In fact, building the Cammer in a late-model chassis is less expensive than resurrecting a 40-year-old Mustang and having to cut out its shock towers and reinforce its unibody-among other things-to end up with a car that's not as fast or refined as the new one.
You'll be happy to know that Jim is using some of the money he saved for a second Cammer project. This one is a full-race, all-aluminum engine being built by Jim Varillaro in Knoxville, Tennessee. It's destined for Jim's Falcon Sprint and ought to be a wild ride. It's a factor in keeping the Mustang off the track and an exciting street driver that looks great and drives hard.
For a guy "who likes stuff different," Jim's Cammer S197 must be a deeply satisfying ride. Even with the problems associated with getting the engine sorted, Jim says this is easily his favorite car in his stable of collectibles.
Just don't fall for his phony window sticker. "I've had more fun with that window sticker than I've had with the car," he says. That's saying something.