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Genesis of Pro-Touring


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Cleaning out a shed this past weekend for a garage sale and I found a box full of old mopar magazine I had forgot was in there. I started looking through them during my spare time. I found this article from about 1995. I think it shows where Pro-touring got its start. I don't believe that this was the first official Pro-touring machine, but it was one of the 'switch over' cars. The stance is not there, but the intent is. I thought is was kind of neat and thought I would share. I have larger high res scans if anybody wants them.

cuda1.jpg

cuda2.jpg

Hey Marc, got any of those MPC 'Cudas left?

As I find more fun stuff I will post it. The magazines are mainly High Performance Mopar and Mopar Muscle. I also have a bunch of old Custom Rodder magazines I will most likely scan. I do have the issue with the Mooneyes Toyopet Crown that caused so much controversy in the custom rod world when unvieled. I will see if I can find the article and scan that one if anyone is interested. If anybody needs some Mopar reference, let me know and I will see if I have some and scan them in.

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If anyone has back issues of Car Craft from the mid 1970's, they did two project cars that in my mind were early precursors of today's pro touring movement. One was a 1967 Camaro and the other a 1970 Cuda. Besides the usual engine upgrades, they did suspension and tire upgrades in the name of handling. Interior upgrades included Corbeau seats, roll bars and back seat delete. The Cuda began as a 340 car that was upgraded to the six pack setup with T/A hood, spoilers and suspension.

This was back in the post Trans Am, pre Cafe Racer era of street cars. If anyone has these magazines in their collection, I would love to see scans of the articles.

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Nice topic... can I explore a little more?

I think most people who love cars can distinguish the segments (or levels of modifications) but not everyone knows deeply what really classifies a modified vehicle in the segment A, B or C, etc...

Some are very characteristic and peculiar, as the Lowriders, Kustoms, Rat Rods and others.

But some segments are very similar. I have some difficulty in differentiating Pro-Touring, Street Machine, Street Rods, G-Machine and Resto-Mod.

I got so deep in both reading and immersing in the subject that now I can (besides the little difficult yet) distinguish between them, but it would be nice and we appreciated if someone more experienced could help us.

I can give a shot:

Pro-touring

Most 50s-70s cars (some 40s or 80s, but these arent the focus) with high-end technology aftermarkets. Made to run fast with up-to-date engineering. No one single part of the car is forgotten.

Street Machine

60s-70s cars, based on pony and muscle cars. Middle investment on aftermarkets. Focuses in the engine and suspension, with regular-to-little modifications in the interior and exterior. Wheels/tires and paint schema are both important things and almost projects has this issue as crucial to final look.

G-Machine

Almost the same of Pro-touring but without turning mindset. Made to go really fast and to stop really fast as well, straight only. (0-200-0 competition).

Street Rod

40s-60s cars. Middle investment. Run fast are not the focus. Get a nice mill (without overkill), a nice interior, a good tire/wheel set with a good paint schema and you are ready to ride smoothie and meet your friends at the events.

Resto-Mod

Any antique car that must be restored and all items that will be used in this restoration are brand new (none recovered) but always following the manufacture specifications (just like the real peace at that time). What you will get is a car exactly as it leaves the production line at the time but with all new pieces (and probably even better today once we have a better technology nowadays)

Guys, I know this is a issue that can give hours of discussion without no one conclusion. Each one of us have a different point of view. I just wrote my 2 cents of it!

It behooves us to discuss this issue in a civilized level, always focusing on sharing information and not the enrichment of the self ego.

And.. I really would love to read from you some words about it.

Edited by Drago
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The first time I remember seeing the term "pro-touring" in print was back when I was in high school in 1993-97. That's about the time that high performance radials in the 17-18" range started becoming attainable, performance EFI manifolds and road racing suspension mods started hitting the aftermarket, and a decent inventory of OEM EFI'd motors and overdrive trannied combos started hitting the wrecking yards. All the major mags had issues upon issues devoted to articles that didn't involve just going fast in a straight line back in the mid-90s.

I do agree that the actual roots of pro-touring go back to the Trans-Am cars, followed by the cafe racers, they fell out of favor when pro-street was in vogue and then they came back into style in the 90s.

Edited by LOBBS
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The only thing I would add..In the'real' automotive world (or '1/1i as we sometimes call it) it's a pretty much hard and fast rule: Street Rod/1948 and older....Street machine/ 1949 and newer. Now,you could have a 'Pro Street' 32 Ford Street Rod, but you could NOT have a Pro Street '55 Chevy 'Street Rod'.... [unless ,of corse,you entered a model in an IPMS contest] (GRIN)........'Z'

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The first time I remember seeing the term "pro-touring" in print was back when I was in high school in 1993-97. That's about the time that high performance radials in the 17-18" range started becoming attainable, performance EFI manifolds and road racing suspension mods started hitting the aftermarket, and a decent inventory of OEM EFI'd motors and overdrive trannied combos started hitting the wrecking yards. All the major mags had issues upon issues devoted to articles that didn't involve just going fast in a straight line back in the mid-90s.

I do agree that the actual roots of pro-touring go back to the Trans-Am cars, followed by the cafe racers, they fell out of favor when pro-street was in vogue and then they came back into style in the 90s.

Actually, Jeff Smith who was the editor of Chevy High Performance magazine, first coined the term in 1998. To learn more about Pro Touring than you ever wanted to know, click here.

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hay i remember that artical ..that was a long time ago i still mite have the mag somewere ...that was one nice ride ....

Cleaning out a shed this past weekend for a garage sale and I found a box full of old mopar magazine I had forgot was in there. I started looking through them during my spare time. I found this article from about 1995. I think it shows where Pro-touring got its start. I don't believe that this was the first official Pro-touring machine, but it was one of the 'switch over' cars. The stance is not there, but the intent is. I thought is was kind of neat and thought I would share. I have larger high res scans if anybody wants them.

cuda1.jpg

cuda2.jpg

Hey Marc, got any of those MPC 'Cudas left?

As I find more fun stuff I will post it. The magazines are mainly High Performance Mopar and Mopar Muscle. I also have a bunch of old Custom Rodder magazines I will most likely scan. I do have the issue with the Mooneyes Toyopet Crown that caused so much controversy in the custom rod world when unvieled. I will see if I can find the article and scan that one if anyone is interested. If anybody needs some Mopar reference, let me know and I will see if I have some and scan them in.

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pro touring has been around for alot longer than most people think. i remember that 'cuda though, i have that same issue somewhere.

for me when i think of "early" pro touring, this comes immediately to mind,

R.J. Gottlieb's Big Red '69 Camaro. not the first, not even close, but i think this car marked the beginning of the pro touring thing.

Dave

Wasn't this car capable of 200+ mph? I think that is the car. It is reminiscent of what comes to my mind when I think about the earlier days of pro touring and what got me interested in it.

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Wasn't this car capable of 200+ mph? I think that is the car. It is reminiscent of what comes to my mind when I think about the earlier days of pro touring and what got me interested in it.

Wouldn't the Monroe Handler Mustang II have predated this car though?

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As a side note, I recently saw an article about the update/resto of Mark Stielow's Red Witch 67 Camaro! That car was built for the one lap of America race.

I believe the magazine was Popular Hot Rodding.

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I think I mis-stated myself. I don't think that this is the first Pro-touring car out there, but shows the evolution of the breed. I too remember the Red Witch as pretty much the first car that made me go WOW! What is that! It is the first car that made me take notice of the Pro-touring movement. Honestly, I don't remember Big Red, but I don't think it would be a strictly Pro-touring machine. Seems more like a G-Machine to me. I see this car as one of the early steps in the Pro-touring movement. Most likely, it was inspired or built about the same time as the Red Witch, but without either party knowing about it. I am guessing that the 'Cuda was built around 93 and took a bit to get into the magazines. I would see this more along the lines of; This car is to the pro-touring movement as Muddy Waters is to the Rolling Stones. Not the beginning, but part of the inspiration and building blocks.

Edited by Ken
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I've always thought of Pro Touring and G-Machines as the same approach...the 'G' is about G-forces, i.e. cornering ability. Updating vintage iron w/ larger, modern wheels & tires and brakes, suspension upgrades, and often modern drivetrains. Not to be confused w/ Pro Street which are made to look like a street version of a Pro Stock drag car..i.e. go fast in a straight line.

One early magazine car of the G-Machine style I remember seeing was in Car & Driver in the early '80s-- a couple B&W photos of a '76 or so Seville with fender flares, huge tires, roll cage, and a twin turbo SBC or other powerful V8...very cool.

Another genre of car modifying that I like is the 'sleeper', whether factory stock that way or modified that way. The ultimate one I'd love to build in 1:1 would be a late model ('03-10) black Town Car (airport sedan style) with a late model supercharged Shelby 5.4 V8 and suspension and brake upgrades, etc. But keep the whitewall tires and tinted windows. I've long been interested in having a 'Hot Rod Lincoln'.

Edited by Rob Hall
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