Classic Muscle Meets Modern Performance: Top 5 From Goodguys Colorado Nationals
The pro-touring scene is out of this world these days, with classic cars so performance-built, they rival even their most modern counterparts. Nowhere is this more apparent than at an event like the Goodguys Colorado Nationals, a show bursting with pro-touring cars from the mild to the wild, some more show-worthy than others, but nonetheless built to take on modern performance challenges no engineer could have imagined them doing some 50 years ago.
While we had plenty to choose from at this year's Colorado show, there were a handful of cars that really topped the charts when it came to the pro-tourers on hand. Below are our five favorites!
1. Ed Swallesh's 1972 Chevelle
If you've ever walked into a car show, you've undoubtedly felt “the pull.” It's the unique sensation of being drawn to one vehicle or another. It's a good indicator of something special. For us, this happened almost immediately with Ed Swallesh's 1972 Chevelle, dubbed Dark Syde.
Built from the ground up, this classic pro-touring has all that and a bag of chips when it comes to performance. Under the hood, you'll find a beefy 468 ci BB Chevy engine complete with a full hydraulic roller valvetrain, Billet Specialties Tru-Trac serpentine system and three-inch ceramic coated Doug's headers. Backing the big block is a TH400 transmission with overdrive.
Other features of the gorgeous Dark Syde include a 12-bolt Posi-traction rearend with 3.73 gears, Baer Brakes, a push-start ignition system, Kindig-It design Bitchin' door handles and an iPad integrated console. Of course, this bad boy sits on Nittos!
One cherry ride, Dark Syde picked up one of two Rodder's Rep Pick awards at the show, so it looks like we weren't the only one's impressed with this sweet Chevy!
2. Tim Molzen's 1963 Dodge Dart
If you want to talk about icons in the automotive industry, the 1969 Charger from the Dukes of Hazzard franchise, known as “The General Lee,” resonates in the minds of many generations of car folk and TV/film fans alike. But there is nothing pro-touring about this brutish Mopar from back in the day.
Enter Tim Molzen's 1963 pro-touring Dart—a unique mix of on-screen nostalgia and modern-day performance.
Painted up just like the iconic General Lee, we found Molzen's Dart on the Goodguys Colorado autocross course as soon as we arrived. Complete with a boisterous 600hp LS7 backed by a Bowler 4L80e transmission, Detroit Speed suspension front and rear, Baer six-piston brakes and 12-inch wide Weld Wheels, among other things, this one-of-a-kind car whipped through the cones with ease like a professional skater on ice.
Though the car didn't quite make the final cut in Saturday's AutoCross Western States Shootout, it certainly proved to be a crowd favorite, as well as the perfect example of just how cool and unique one can go with their pro-touring build.
3. Bruce Philbrook's 1969 Camaro
A car does not have to be in-your-face crazy to be considered a prime example of pro-touring in our books. In fact, sometimes the more subtle and integrated the modifications, the better. Take, for example, Bruce Philbrook's 1969 Camaro.
Skillfully built by Philbrook himself for his daughter Toni, this sleek '69 is the product of intense metalwork combined with substantial performance upgrades and, of course, Viper Red paint. This is combined in such a way that the car remains sleek, smooth and somewhat operating under the radar, until you take a closer look.
Bought as a crushed roll-over victim, the Camaro was pieced together using parts from another unfortunate '69 Camaro (this one having been burnt out) and a '68 “parts car.” The process took about seven years.
Looking at it now, you'd never know what rubble it started out as. With new metalwork from the floors to the roof, the car features molded-in taillights, shaved drip rails and flush-mounted front and rear glass. Inside, the car boasts a narrowed 1959 Impala dashboard, a custom fiberglass center console and John Bezinque upholstered seats.
This Camaro was made for perforamce, with a 5.3L LS1 V8 truck engine topped with an LS1 intake manifold, custom Kevin Kaiser exhaust system, 4L60 overdrive transmission, 10-bolt rearend, power disc brakes, 18-inch Coys wheels wrapped in Nitto NT555 rubber and a lowered stance with added handling capabilities thanks to two-inch front drop spindles and two-inch rear lowering blocks.
It's certainly eye-catching with its Viper Red paint scheme, an addition to the project from Toni's husband Brandon Baker. This awesome little Chevy is certainly worth a second (or maybe even a third) look!
4. Bobby Schumacher/Gary Fish's 1969 Mustang
There's nothing quite like a fully-built classic Mustang. The original pony car, the Mustang makes for a great platform to show off what pro-touring is all about, and this one built by Vintage Fabrications and shown by Bobby Schumacher and Gary Fish is a prime example!
Dripping with classic good looks, the aesthetics of this car are accentuated by custom touches like smoothed (all metal) body lines, a custom grille with the center lights removed, custom front fascia and molded bumper, Eleanor-style hood, flush-mounted glass, narrowed side scoops, flush-fit taillights and bumper. The list goes on and on! Adding even more of an attention-grabbing aspect is the PPG Lamborghini Yellow paint scheme with charcoal full-body stripes.
Inside, the car is just as custom with bolstered custom leather Recaro seats, a custom center console, a black leather-wrapped dash with yellow stitching and a touch-screen head unit.
As far as performance is concerned, the Mustang doesn't disappoint, with a Roadster Shop Elite chassis as the base, a supercharged 5.0L Coyote engine under the hood, Bowler 4L80 gear box, Wilwood disc brakes and 18- and 20-inch B-Forged wheels.
A truly spectacular pro-touring car, it's not surprising that this particular Mustang made its show circuit debut at the 2017 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. It's also not surprising that it took top honors as Goodguys' “Ford in a Ford” pick!
5. Shane and Ericka Estes' 1969 Camaro
Last, but certainly not least, in our list of top pro-touring cars from the 2018 Goodguys Colorado Nationals is Shane and Ericka Estes' 1969 Camaro. This car immediately caught our eye, and not just with the flashy white, red and black color scheme.
Having been owned by Shane Estes for 30 years, the Camaro undoubtedly had a bit of a sentimental value to its owner. We have a feeling that never in Shane's wildest dreams did he think his car could be this incredible when he purchased it decades ago.
Built from the ground up atop a Detroit Speed subframe, Estes' car features a Kenne Bell liquid-cooled, supercharged 454 ci LSX engine backed by a TKO 600 manual transmission. Let that set in for a minute. Pick up your jaw. Wipe the drool off your lip. Catch your breath—we've got more.
Underneath, the car spins Forgeline CV3C wheels, is equipped with all-wheel disc brakes and rides like a champ on a Detroit Speed 4-Link rear suspension setup.
All the custom body work and paint was done by Jim Malone at Wild West Street Rods. The unique white paint scheme, with a bright red stripe trimmed in black, matches perfectly with the loud all-red interior with black and white accents done by Gabe's Custom Interiors. No wonder it won the Meguiar's Magnificent Masterpiece award at the show!
We could ogle this Camaro all day. In fact, we could ogle all of our top picks from the Goodguys Colorado show, but we've got more cars to see, photos to take and awesome events to bring to you, so we'll leave you to ogle some more on your own!