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Pro Touring or Old School Muscle: Pick a Side

3/24/2021
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Tags: Street, G-Comp, Street
Chris Holstrom's "Shop Beater" Camaro sits on a full Speedway Motors G-Comp suspension and runs a blown LS engine. It's a great example of a Pro Touring muscle car.

When it comes to modified muscle cars, more than a few trends have come and gone over the years. In the 1970’s, your hopped up Chevelle or ‘Cuda might have worn 15x10 mags, N50’s, and yellow Lakewood slapper bars. The current “Day 2” muscle car trend is an attempt to recapture these good old days. Day 2 because on the first day you had the car, you tore around town, enjoying your new toy. On the second day, you went to the local speed shop and picked up all the bolt-ons to make it the car you’d been sketching on your notebooks in study hall.

We loved this old-school Camaro spotted at the Street Rod Nationals. The nose-up stance, gold E-T mags, N50's, and tunnel ram make it look like it rolled right out of the 70's.

By the middle of the next decade, the pro street bug bit, causing many of these muscle cars to be back-halved and stuffed full of huge Mickey Thompson rubber. Blame Scott Sullivan and his groundbreaking Nova for causing the whole country to turn their muscle cars into street-going pro stockers.

Finished a few years after Scott Sullivan's Nova, but before his wild J2000 turned the Pro Street world on it's ear, Rick Dobbertin's twin-turbo, supercharged (yes you read that right) Nova was one of the first Pro Street superstars.

But by the 90’s and into the 2000’s, things were starting to look different.

Those Camaros, Mustangs, Chevelles, and Super Bees that used to lope around your town looking for a straight line instead grew big tires in the front and went looking for curves. Pro Touring swept across the country like a brush fire, sparked in large part by Hot Rod Magazine’s coverage of GM engineer Mark Stielow’s attack on One Lap of American in his Camaros. Iron headed rat motors and leaky old Holleys gave way to all-aluminum, fuel injected LS engines. Those brakes that were just enough to slow you down before the return road at the dragstrip gave way to big drilled and slotted rotors and multiple piston calipers. Wheels grew from 14- and 15-inch diameters to 17’s, 18’s, or 20’s. Autocrosses and road courses that had once been dominated by Corvettes, Porsches, and late models were now home to big, unruly muscle cars.

Mark Stielow's "Tri-Tip" was displayed at SEMA a few years ago. Most folks will tell you that this is the car that really started the Pro Touring movement.
Restore A Muscle Car is a local Lincoln, NE shop that specializes in Pro Touring muscle. They're especially well know for wicked Bandit-era Firebirds that combine a vintage vibe with modern performance.

And that trend is still going strong. Roll into any local cruise on a Friday night and you’re bound to see plenty of 60’s and 70’s muscle wearing 18-inch wheels and sporting late model power. And for good reason. Hot rodders are all about making their cars do things that they’re not supposed to do. So, bolting some modern suspension components in place of the creaky original hardware and blasting through the twisties or around some cones is a great way to enjoy your car and push the envelope. And Speedway Motors has embraced the trend. Our G-Comp suspension systems have proven that the right engineering placed under vintage sheet metal can make for a very fun and well-rounded sports car. We offer all the high-tech horsepower, adjustable shocks, and big brakes that you need to build a Pro Touring muscle car.

The Team Speedway Camaros are rolling testbeds for our G-Comp suspension systems. They're a bit more race car than touring, but the technology trickles down to both our race and street products.

But all of this is not without its detractors. Some folks are old school and want the muscle car experience to be unadulterated. They want to lash the valves when the solid lifters get noisy. They want to roll up windows using their own arm-power and they don’t mind slowing down for the corners. They want loud and fast, 1970-style. If they do go around corners, they’re going to do it like Mark Donohue, without the aid of any computers or ABS, thank you very much.

Which brings us to our point. We want to know what you think. Let’s say your dream muscle car (or truck) is parked in your driveway. Are you going Pro Touring style with big wheels and high tech? Or are you going in another direction: Day 2 with 15” mags and traction bars? Gasser? Leaving it stock? Share your rides and vote for your side on our Facebook or Instagram page.

Our Project Chevelle strikes a bit of a middle ground. It's lowered with good brakes, bolt on suspension upgrades, and an injected late model engine, but the 15-inch wheels keep it looking traditional.
The Optima Ultimate Street Car competitions have inspired quite a few vintage muscle cars to be converted into serious track cars.

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