Scott Lear
Scott Lear
11/26/19 12:50 p.m.

 

Story By Scott R. Lear • Photos By Kevin Adolf

Pro Touring is a tricky thing to pin down. It’s not a spec formula like you might find in racing, with designated components and predetermined weights and power figures. Nor is it a catch-all–you can’t just slap a Pro Touring moniker on any old machine and expect the world to agree with you. Ultimately, the Pro Touring community knows Pro Touring when it sees it.

The definition has some fluidity and plenty of exceptions, but in broad strokes it’s a classic cool car–usually from muscle or pony car stock, but anything with visual style can work–that’s been comprehensively refined. That means modern go-fast upgrades to the suspension, mechanicals and aerodynamics to keep the car on pace with more recent performance machines in competition. The cherry on top is streetability, as a Pro Touring car features a full interior, quality stereo, and typical creature comforts like heating and air conditioning.

The community points to the “Tri-Tip” 1969 Camaro that GM development engineer Mark Stielow raced in the One Lap of America in 1993 as one of the brightest sparks that lit the fuse for the Pro Touring movement. Gearheads have been tweaking and upgrading their cars for decades, but Mark’s deliberate choice to remove older hardware and outdated tech in lieu of modern bits while simultaneously preserving the classic Camaro shape with above-factory levels of detailing proved both fast and visually exciting. An article about the car in Chevy High performance cemented the term Pro Touring among enthusiasts.

A number of cars followed this basic formula to form a Pro Touring community, and they found a place to really gel online at pro-touring.com as early as 2004. The scene has since blossomed in the information age. The Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational became the front line for competitive Pro Touring builders. A number of companies have acted to meet the movement’s rising demand for parts, and Detroit Speed, Inc., is one of the biggest. Co-founder Kyle Tucker started the company in 2001. Kyle, a former GM chassis engineer, had actually been Mark Stielow’s roommate for a time; we’re guessing they spent more than a few hours talking cars while they were roomies.

In the years since its inception, Detroit Speed has cranked out a variety of iconic Pro Touring machines, from the scene-centric 1960s Camaros and Mustangs to a 1972 Corvette and sedans like a ’63 Chevy II and ’65 Chevelle. To cast an even broader net, however, they’ve started applying their Pro Touring magic to some newer hardware. They brought this 1987 Camaro “DSE-Z” to our Ultimate Track Car Challenge to show what happens when an iconic ’80s boulevard beast gets hit hard with the upgrade stick.

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infinitenexus
infinitenexus Reader
11/26/19 1:14 p.m.

Yes please.

sjd
sjd New Reader
11/26/19 1:33 p.m.

Probably the most badass 3rd gen F-body ever. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
11/26/19 2:21 p.m.
sjd said:

Probably the most badass 3rd gen F-body ever. 

2000 Honda Civic Si. 2010 Mazda MX-5. 2015 Honda Civic Si

It pushes all of the buttons. 

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_ Dork
11/26/19 2:33 p.m.

Going off to search for a third GEN now.

_
_ Dork
11/26/19 2:55 p.m.
Number1Gaza
Number1Gaza New Reader
11/26/19 5:37 p.m.

I love these F bodies, but to see one with the tech to back up the sexy lines, wow what a car.

dj06482
dj06482 UltraDork
11/30/19 6:27 p.m.

Love this one - it's even my favorite color!

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