SEMA 2013: The Art Of Pro Touring
Bitchin’ Camaros & more

Without a doubt, the greatest thing about the SEMA Show is its variety. The show is as diverse as America itself, and nearly every sector of the automotive hobby is represented in some form in Vegas this week. But even with the SEMA’s wide scope of vehicles, there are still a few things which the event is especially known for. Right at the top of the list would be the Pro Touring car.

Each year, SEMA becomes the epicenter of the Pro Touring scene with America’s biggest builders using the show to debut their latest projects. 2013 as been no different, so for the next dishing of SEMA coverage I thought I’d profile some the show’s coolest Pro Tourer builds.


Let’s begin with the perennial favorite: the Chevy Camaro. Historically, it’s been the first generation cars which are the preferred choice for builders, but the second gen Camaro is reaching new levels of popularity these days.


This is the ’72 Camaro from Steve Strope at Pure Vision Design: one of the world’s most well known Pro Touring shops and the creator of the Martini Mustang that shook up the SEMA Show last year. The concept for this customer-ordered Camaro is perhaps not as wild as the Indy-powered T-5R Mustang, but the quality and attention to detail are top notch.


Its powered by a twin turbocharged 427 from Nelson Racing Engines and makes a stout 1,400 horsepower. The owner lives in Bakersfield and plans to cruise the car to Vegas on weekends, so it should have no issue getting itself across the desert…


But this car is about so much more than horsepower. It’s the little details that truly amaze – the one-off interior and completely custom instrument panel for instance.


Elsewhere, the Camaro has JRI suspension and a set of custom HRE wheels. The inch-perfect body has been coated in Aston Martin’s Tungsten Silver hue. This really is Pro Touring at its best.


Next up, we have another second generation F-body – this time an ’81 Camaro built by Classic Performance. What I like about this build is that it uses the less commonly seen late version of the second gen Camaro. These cars were the big thing in the late ’70s and early ’80s, so it’s nice to see today’s builders showing them some love.


The cockpit has been completely reinvigorated with leather stitching, modern instruments and a pair of leather Recaro seats that fit perfectly with the 1980s styling.


Under the hood sits a supercharged LS9 crate motor straight out of the GM Performance Parts catalog, mounted to the proven T56 six-speed transmission.


The car also features a DSE front subframe and a custom four-link rear suspension with staggered 19 and 20-inch Niche Targa wheels.


I absolutely think that builders should start tackling more American cars from the late ’70s and ’80s era. This Camaro is a perfect example of what can be achieved with a machine from that period.

Mopar madness

Of course, there’s no rule that says Pro Touring machines have to be built out of a pony car – or even a two-door for that matter. Check out this 1966 Chrysler Imperial built by HPI Customs from Canada.


This giant four-door hardtop is the epitome of the 1960s land yacht; and it’s probably the last thing you’d think of when you imagine a Pro Touring car. That’s what makes it so damn cool in my opinion.


You might expect to find one of Chrysler’s new Hemi V8s under the hood, but the builders have done one better and dropped in a Viper V10 fed by a Paxton supercharger. In keeping with the Imperial’s luxury theme, the motor is mated to a TCI six-speed automatic.


The body itself sits on a custom chassis with lots of Corvette bits and a heavy duty Ford 9-inch in the rear. It rolls on Schott wheels with Nitto tires.


Inside, the spacious interior has been completely overhauled with all the touches you’d expect on a high-end Pro Touring build. There’s something awesome about a harness bar in front of a limo-sized back seat!


Let’s stick with the Mopar theme for a moment, but move to car from the opposite end of the Chrysler food chain – this ’69 Plymouth Valiant from Greening Auto Company in Tennessee.  This car caught my eye in Keith’s post a few weeks back, so I was glad to see it had found its way to SEMA.


The little A-Body wears its patina proudly; a style which Bryn touched on during his SEMA trends post last night.


The Valiant is powered by 6.4-liter Hemi with individual throttle bodies. But more than that, the attention to detail and aesthetics in the engine bay is absolutely incredible.


The retro-styled wheels are a one-off design from the car’s builder, and you can see the Baer six-pot brakes peeking out from behind the spokes.


The interior is completely custom with high-end leather upholstery and seats; but I like the way they’ve retained the Valiant’s stock utilitarian dashboard. It’s like a working man’s take on the high-end Pro Touring car.

The Ring Brothers do it again

In the Pro Touring world, few names are bigger than the Ring Brothers, and this year at SEMA the guys had a few different high profile builds they were showing. One of which was this low-slung Mustang fastback.


While the blown motor and completely custom chassis are impressive, the real selling point of this car is its bodywork.


That’s because it’s made completely from carbon fiber, and it’s also been widened to fit the more aggressive tire and suspension setups we see these days.


The details on the body are beautiful, and it made me hope that when the car gets finished the carbon fiber will be left in its raw unpainted state to retain this badass look.


Not only was the Mustang a fantastic piece of engineering, but it’s another sign that today you can build a Pro Touring car from the ground up without actually having to use any parts from the ’60s and ’70s. What a world we live in.


Finally, we have one of the most talked about cars at SEMA 2013 – another creation from the Ring Brothers. This time it’s a 1971 DeTomaso Pantera known as ADRNLN.


Beginning with a Pantera that needed full restoration, the Ring Brothers took the Italian exotic and rebuilt the car from top to bottom – completely customizing the body for a modern look and fitting a high-tech chassis and suspension system beneath it.


While the original Panteras were powered by 351ci Ford V8s, this one is powered by a 600 horsepower LS3 from Wegner Motorsports with a Bowler Performance five-speed ZF transaxle.


The Pantera’s interior has also been completely redone, and the Ring Brothers actually collaborated with Nike on the cockpit design.


Don’t forget other touches like the 19-inch HRE wheels and giant Baer brakes either. It’s hard to think of a better to car to close out this Pro Touring round up than a re-imagined Italian-American hybrid from one of the USA’s most talented builders.

This is what the SEMA Show is all about.



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What exactly is pro touring?


Please do a feature of that Pantera. It is a beautiful piece of equipment.


This post just made me fall in love for pro touring cars.


Ring Brothers ruined that Pantera


Love the Pantera! I'm betting this is the start of a trend and values are about to climb.


Brad_S Pro Touring is taking an older car, usually a muscle car, and modifying the drivetrain and suspension for modern, high performance. I've also heard them called G-Machines, as in they can pull G's on a skidpad or track.


love that pantera.


Wow! I specially like the first Camaro and the CF Mustang.


So much goodness in one post! Loved the little Plymouth Valiant! Much different to the orange one I remember from 'Duel'... I bet Dennis Weaver would have been able to outrun that fearsome truck driver a bit easier if he'd had the same motor in his car.


Impressive selection of cars. For one moment ,I thought the De Tomaso was converted to an EV seeing that plug in the front. :)


Brad_S Awesome. That's what :)


That Pantera....


I love the Pantera. The interior colors: the banana on one side and the dark on the other side isnt my cup of tea, but who cares! That thing is a BEAST!!!!


You know it would be nice if they did. Panteras have always been devalued. Although, you can buy a completely redone one for 38k, so it is an affordable supercar. But as my old racing buddy who was rebuilding one once told me, "they are not great driving cars. They take a lot to get them to drive even 1/2 right." Still, I'd take one in a heart beat. The styling and the looks are still as cool as it was back when it was new.


"...the Ring Brothers actually collaborated with Nike on the cockpit design."
You misspelled "Nerf"
 "...the Ring Brothers actually collaborated with NERF on the cockpit design."


What is up with the ugly steering wheels on all of these?


BlackJacket How?


The Pantera. Feature. Please.


Feature the Pantera PLEASE! I need a desktop of that!!!


Feature the Pantera PLEASE! I need a desktop of that!!!


DJ_Manila firs thing i see every time its like they all go for alien or super ugly wheels. Looks like they picked it up at the local autozone. Really detracts from the interior


kphillips9936 BlackJacket That interior. I physically winced when the pic opened.


kphillips9936 BlackJacket That interior. I physically winced when the pic opened.


@Seriously SO TRUE, why couldn't they just do some clean black leather with yellow baseball stitching or something ANYTHING, what were they thinking.


The Pantera is incredible. For the simple fact that they took the " boat like handling Pantera" and made it into something out of this world. There needs to be a feature on this amazing machine in the future. I would really like to see the chassis they designed for it.


The Pantera is flawless. What an epic modernization! On another note, am I the only one that thinks that all of the other cars (except for the Plymouth) had inappropriately modern-looking wheels on them? The bodies and interiors and engine bays were all flawless and looked great, but the wheels just look completely out of place. You have this flawless, period correct body and then large, contemporary-looking aftermarket wheels with low profile tires. It throws the entire aesthetic of the cars off. Couldn't they seek out at least slightly retro-looking designs that maintain the size/weight/width needed for modern performance without completely killing the car's look?


vector52787 DJ_Manila Where are the Nardis amirite?


Mfabs We will try to get a hold of it for a closer look!


MartinBrandan Yeah the Pantera was def one of my favorites this year.


wheatgod Not soon enough!


kphillips9936 Noted!


Jordan_Burgess Haha, yeah that truck would be left in the dust.


KeithCharvonia Wouldn't be surprised to see values go up starting now.


KeithCharvonia Wouldn't be surprised to see values go up starting now.


Me want that carbon Fastback, those big tires, generous engine, killer look make it special for killing some european exotics


Does anyone knows what about with this vintage - futuristic look they're now pulling out? Specially Ring Brothers, looks way too cool, and l haven't seen that before! reminds me of old movies with that gothic style letters, and spaceship-like interiors and accesories. Those guys are the real deal


Adrian Senna It's called "Pro-Touring"...didn't you read the article? It's been around for at least 10 years that I know of.


MartinBrandan Uh hello, that's whole point of a "pro-touring" car...modern footwork in original body.


wheatgod What about it?


DJ_Manila Not JDM enough for you?


Brad_S You seriously come to SH and don't know what Pro Touring is?


Yeah l know what Pro Touring is haha. What l mean is that l have not had seen SUCH KIND of interiors and details, R.Bros. cars have that futuristic touch that l've seen just once or twice before.


apex_DNA Always thought that it was just a muscle car that's been lowered with huge wheels on it for car shows


apex_DNA Never really paid much attention to American cars


Adrian Senna Looks like I was the one needing to do some reading...didn't mean harm by it.


Brad_S apex_DNA Don't take it the wrong way, but sounds like you haven't paid much attention to cars in general...a true gear head knows no limits. I may not be into muscle cars per say (I was into them briefly in grade school, mostly of factory variety), but there's still stuff your hear about, things that catch the side of your eye...


Dont you worry mate, l think l didn't explain well my point at first... Im really digging RBros builds


Dat Pantera :O


apex_DNA Adrian Senna

Apex: Didn't mean harm by it? You have ~6 other posts on this article and you're a condescending ass in each and every one.


Golightly apex_DNA Adrian Senna I meant his reply, not the article...and how am I condescending again?


Adrian Senna Same here. Good stuff.


apex_DNA MartinBrandan I thought the whole point was modern performance and retro appearance, there's no reason why the wheels have to be modern. If anything, that should be the least important aspect of a pro-touring build, considering it doesn't really matter since Mickey Thompson and Cragar wheels still exist.


The Pantera is really nice, but the interior ruins it for me. In fact, most of the cars in this article were great, except for one part: the steering wheel. If I were to build such a Pro Touring car, I would design a one-off steering wheel for it which really matches the style of the car and is era-correct of some kind. I do think it's a shame such great builder don't see how out of place those steering wheels are, even if covered in the same leather as used in the car. Anyway, great article, and I've always loved these machines!


I wish for a more detailed look on the carbon Mustang. An RTR-X rival in my opinion. So cool!

61 Buick Invicta

Although I like the carbon fiber wanna be mustang...a lot, it doesn't seem fair to call it a Pro-Touring car. Pro-Touring is taking a classic car and making it perform like a modern high performance car. They built a completely custom car from the ground up. That's like taking a formula car, throwing on a custom carbon fiber body that looks retro. Not a true pro touring car. It's a one of a kind bad ass car, but not what a classic rebuild car is.