Car Feature>>mary’s Fully Functional Camaro

When the first Pro Touring cars hit the scene in the 1990s, the idea was simple. Take the timeless style of a vintage Muscle Car and make it perform like a modern machine. Not only was a Pro Touring car built to be an all around performer, it was also built to eat up miles without breaking a sweat – whether it was a long interstate run or a backroad romp. At some point though, Pro Touring cars may have jumped the shark.

A walk around the SEMA Show today will turn up countless examples of Pro Touring style builds – each with thousands of man hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in them. They may have enormous brakes, ridiculously wide tires, and the latest in high tech powerplants, but how much of that stuff will be actually be put to use?

It’s hard to imagine many of those high dollar, one-off Muscle Cars will being taken on road trips or punished on the track.

That is why we love Mary Pozzi’s ’73 Camaro.

Before we get to the car though, how about a little on its owner? Mary is quite frankly one badass lady. She graduated with an AA degree in automotive technology and has piloted a number of different of cars to 11 national championships in SCCA Solo competition. The gal can drive, and the only thing she likes more than driving is giving ride-alongs and helping others hone their techniques.

Mary has owned the Camaro since 2002, and with the help of her husband David, she’s transformed it into one of the absolute best second generation F-bodies in the world. The car was built to perform from the get-go, and what you see here is just its latest iteration.

This is what the car looked like back in the spring of 2010 when Mary was running at the Goodguys Autocross event in Costa Mesa. Not long after this, the Camaro went under the knife for a full rebuild.

One of the key goals of the rebuild was to drop some weight, and this was accomplished thanks to the folks at Anvil Auto.

Much of the original OEM steel has been swapped out for Anvil carbon fiber pieces, including the entire RS nose, the hood, and the inner fender panels.

The stock trunk and center portion of the rear spoiler have also been swapped out for carbon fiber components. The carbon parts, along with the new engine setup helped shave over 200 lbs from the car’s weight, which now sits it at about 3,300 lbs.

And speaking of the engine setup – there it is. In its previous form, the Camaro was powered by a 383 small block, but during the rebuild that was replaced with a worked LS2 that produces 620 horsepower at the crank.

The engine actually has a bit of history to it, previously being used under the hood of Steve Rupp’s “Bad Penny” Camaro.

Here’s a better view of the carbon fiber inner fenders.

The LS2 is mated to a T56 Magnum six-speed gearbox. The classic white ball shift knob looks just right coming out of the center console.

With that kind of horsepower on tap and the punishing this car sees, a beefy drivetrain is crucial. The rear end is the tried and true Ford 9-inch, built by Currie and housing a 3:89 gearset.

There’s few that know how to make a Muscle Car handle like the people at
Hotchkis, and Mary worked closely with them on the suspension setup for
this car. Among the Hotchkis parts on the car are a three-link package
in the rear, with upper and lower trailing arms, an adjustable panhard
rod and adjustable coilover shocks. Up front, the car is equipped with Hotchkis TVS coils, sway bar, tie rod sleeves, and subframe connectors.

With Mary’s experience and skill behind the wheel, her feedback has extremely valuable to Hotchkis as they make their parts perform to their fullest potential.

When it comes time for Mary to slow her Camaro down, she relies on a set of Baer brakes at each corner.

Also changed during the rebuild were the wheels. The car now wears a set of 18″ Forgeline GA3Rs in a wicked matte black finish.

All of this work would be a waste without some proper rubber underneath the car. Mary runs a set of Falken Azenis RT615Ks, sized 275/35/18 in the front and 315/30/18 in the rear. The sizes aren’t extreme by Pro Touring standards, but they work perfectly with the rest of the car.

Here’s a peek at the Optima battery mounted in the bare trunk area. Still plenty of room for a couple bags from a supermarket run or weekend getaway.

By now you should be catching a theme with this car. It’s one of quality and function with no funky bits for show. The theme continues to the interior.

The cockpit is largely original, but it’s been upgraded in all the right areas. The backseat has been removed and replaced with a seat delete. There’s a four-point roll bar with proper safety padding and a pair of Corbeau buckets with RCI harnesses.

The factory instruments have also been replaced with a set of Autometer Phantom gauges mounted in a carbon faceplate from Covan Dash. Overall though, the car still very much has the vibe of a street machine and not one of a hardcore race car or fancy show piece.

Setting everything off is the the brilliant orange paintwork done by JCG Restoration and Custom in Oxnard, California.

The car actually sees street use rather often. Mary and David like to take the car out and cruise it around their home base of Salinas. Some fine driving roads in that area!

But somehow, the car looks most at home on the race track or autocross course. Yes that’s a Ferrari 599 that Mary is passing in this photo from Buttonwillow. If only you could hear the gnarly sounds coming from the full three inch exhaust…

The Pozzis have a lot of pride in the Camaro, and with good reason.

This is very much a car that takes Pro Touring back to its roots. It’s been set up to run hard, and more importantly Mary is able to squeeze out every bit of performance built into it.

Power is nothing without control.

No, power is nothing without a crazy woman to jump behind the wheel and handle it.

-Mike Garrett

More Pro Touring Stories on Speedhunters

More Hotchkis Stories on Speedhunters


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11 comments
berdunord
berdunord

Hi !! very nice car is she !! what is the backspacing of your wheels plz, I would like to do like that on mine.

Thx

JoshTomlinson
JoshTomlinson

This is quite literally my dream car. What class is Mary running this car at scca events?

JMoore
JMoore

Throughout the entire write-up, I read this in Mike Musto's voice in my head.

paulvang96
paulvang96

how much did this project or pro touring cost?

paulvang96
paulvang96

My dad has a camaro z28 and is trying to restore it and i would love to make it just like this one a pro touring but i don't have money its just my dreams to restore it.

Mary Pozzi
Mary Pozzi

 @paulvang96 Plan on doing the build in stages as if I gave you a dollar amount, you'd probably choose to spend those dollars elsewhere.  To answer your question, completing a car to the state where my car is at now will cost high five figures with paint and bodywork being the highest ticket items. 

 

If you have a good starter car that looks presentable, begin with suspension, brakes, steering (quicker box and replace all linkage), wheels and tires, and subframe bushings.  Then look at drivetrain.  After that, drive the car for a while and you'll quickly figure out the next steps for improving what you've got underneath.  Save paint and the exterior for the very last.

Mary Pozzi
Mary Pozzi

 @paulvang96 Having that dream is where it all starts, Paul.  Keep that dream alive and one day, you'll have your Camaro just the way you want it to be.

 

Mary Pozzi

johnz28man
johnz28man

@paulvang96 @Mary Pozzi  I had the honor of meeting Mary at SEMA a few years ago. Her car was also on  display. Couldn't  decide which one I wanted more...She gave me some encouraging words on my 73 Z28 project...someday, when I get  back to Salinas I will gladly show her off....Thanks again..


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