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.