Car Spotlight>>the Big Red Camaro

Even if you aren't into muscle cars, chances are you're familiar with the '69 Camaro. It's one of the most popular American cars of all time – right up there with legends the '55 Chevy and the '32 Ford. The machine you are looking at here is the famous "Big Red" Camaro  – a car that many people have called the greatest Camaro ever. Besides being an all around badass car, Big Red also happens to fit right into this month's Speed theme. Unlike a lot of '69 Camaros, Big Red was never designed with quarter mile ET's in mind.

Nope, from the start Big Red was built for high speed dominance in open road races like the Silver State Challenge and the La Carrera Road Race.

These days it's rather common to find '69 Camaros packing wide rubber and high tech suspension set-ups, but Big Red got started in this game way back in 1987. Father and son duo Dan and RJ Gottleib had the idea to build a Camaro that could embarrass big dollar super cars on high speed courses and they got to work on the original Big Red. At that time the term "pro touring" didn't exist and the '69 Camaro wasn't even 20 years old. The first car was sadly destroyed during the 1988 La Carrera Road Race in Mexico, so Dan and RJ got to work on building a bigger and better "Big Red".  The car you see in these photos is the second version of Big Red, which uses a beefy stock car chassis mated with an original steel Camaro body.

The under-hood shot gives a nice view of the heavy duty race chassis underneath the classic body. Big Red is powered by a fully built naturally aspirated big block Chevy displacing 540 cubic inches. No fancy fuel injection or twin turbo setups here. The engine produces a solid 875hp with 655 ft lbs of torque and can be wound to 7000RPM for long periods at a time.

Helping to keep Big Red planted at speeds well past 200mph are 335/30/18 Goodyears on all four corners, wrapped around 18" 3-peice BBS mesh wheels. Baer brakes with six-piston calipers and 14" rotors help slow her down from those ridiculous speeds. Again this stuff is common on modern pro touring cars, but was groundbreaking back in the late '80s.

The cockpit remains surprisingly original for a car of this type. The dash is an original '69 Camaro piece, and the seats are old school leather Recaros. Naturally there's a heavy duty roll cage as crashes above 200mph tend to be rather violent spectacles.

Over the years Big Red won a number of open road race events including the Silver State Challenge – an event the car's builders helped to create. During the inagural Silver State event, Big Red ran the 94-mile course in a record breaking 27:54 with an avergage speed of 198 mph and a top speed of 222 mph. After sitting in a museum for a while, Big Red was brought out of retirement to get back into the habit of outrunning supercars on the open road. Besides it's on-track record, Big Red is also a pioneer when it comes to style and many credit this car as starting the pro touring movement.

With groundbreaking performance and style, it's hard to argue with those who say Big Red is the best Camaro ever.

Check out more on the Big Red story at the official site.

Photos from Hot Rod Magazine.

-Mike Garrett



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love the suspension setup, 655ft lbs of torque, lol...........thats insane....................I love turbos, but sometimes there is no replacement for displacement!!


This will beat all Japs on the Wangan! They got nothing on this car!


uuum...was this car in the movie "fast and furious"


awesome American muscle!

no macho shit, great car


I think the one in the movie might have been orange not sure tho


just.....fucking awesome

America take notes from your past! where did all the style and badass cars go?!?!?!?!


iloveoldskool: yea it was the one in the movie, prob not the original but a replica


@ hotrodsforever: did you intend on sounding racist? Also, there are PLENTY of cars in Japan that would leave this car in the dust! It is a nice car though...


This car is AWESOME. A big block that can hold 700 rpms is N-A-S-T-Y in our book!


it is the same one from the fast and the furious. Truly a bad ass car, went 220 back in the 80s just epic.


Whoa, that is awesome. Late 60, early 70's Camaro's are so tough looking <8


awesome car, where can I find build-up pictures?

There are a lot more road racing muscle cars out there. Look up, trans-am series.


Speaking of silver state challenge.


This car WILL eat all wangan cars :P

407km/t 1400HP pontiac transam

We the readers, demands an speedhunters article on this car. He is going for record at silver state, and probably for fastest street car.

Officially its Europe fastest street car.

playing at rudskogen


now that you guys have dona a feature on a camaro you guys can too a feature on a mustang right? preferably a fox body


how can one break records at an inaugural event?


yea speedhunters, spread the love around................... there are lots of non japanese missles out there


Tube frame chassis & stripped... Are the floor boards even steel? LOL Not a street car IMO... Not hating, but stating this because folks here seem to say this car can beat Wangan cars, which it might, but they aren't comparing apples to apples in a sense.


I think we're going to need a few desktops made...


a lot of the so called "pro touring" cars that people are building these days are grotesquely overdone but big red has always been something of beauty. all the chip foose imitators could really learn something from this car.


The horse power required to rip a hole through the air at 220 mph never ceases to amaze me.


very cool Camaro and i think i saw it in The Fast and Furious 4


@bootie: trans am cars, while very fast, didn't avg. 198mph at Road America (which is a pretty high speed track). Can-Am cars, such as the Mark Donohue Panzer 917K, making 1500hp (forced induction, though) are the fastest road racing cars I've ever hear of, hitting 220 or so on the back straight at Road Atlanta.


Mdeezy > you are little bit wrong, if you have ever seen camaro you would know it has front helping frame mounted to the chassi on the underside on both sides of the tunnel. This frame holds the submember,axle, engine and trans and on the frame are mounted fenders, iner and outer ones also the front wall. So basicaly you can remove the whole front end. Most tuners when they apply cage in the chassis they stiffen the front helping frame with another cage construction that is mounted to the main cage also on the top of the engine wall and holds also shocks and some accesories. Inner fenders are mostly removed, pro touring cars are lowered and use wide tyres newer intended for this cars so removing the inner fenders avoid rubing and adds clearance, For me its the same as caged and tureted normal chassis.


And now for the final category of the 2009 Speedhunters Awards, Speed Demon of the Year. As the name


The standing mile is fast becoming the next to-do thing in the automotive world. Anyone with a car (or