When it comes to the pro touring scene, few car enthusiasts are on the fence. Critics say that pro touring modifications (like modern drivetrains, suspensions, brakes and conveniences) ruin potentially collectible cars, of which there is a finite and ever-decreasing supply.
Fans, on the other hand, point out that it’s nothing more than tuners have been doing for years, albeit with better parts. Do enough research and spend enough money on a build, and it is indeed possible to construct a vintage muscle car that excels in autocross competition.
We’ll admit to being fans of pro touring cars, as there’s nothing sadder than a fast car collecting dust in the garage since it’s “too valuable to drive.” That said, we’re absolutely smitten with Bob Hall’s pro touring 1968 Camaro convertible, the star of this week's episode of Big Muscle with Mike Musto.
Under the hood, the original 350 cubic inch V-8 was yanked out, replaced by a modern LSA V-8 from a wrecked Cadillac CTS-V. Hall kept the stock internals, but an overdrive pulley for the original supercharger and a custom tune were enough to boost output to 648 horsepower at the wheels. By anyone’s measure, that’s significant.
Under the car, suspension, driveline and brake components were upgraded to more modern specifications, resulting in a car equally adept at dodging cones on an autocross course or rolling to the drive-thru for take out.
The inside is as impressive as the rest of the car, and blends old with new particularly well. Gauges are original, but are now wrapped in a carbon fiber housing. The center console is made of carbon fiber, too, and the billet steering wheel is an interesting mix of vintage and modern. Even the Recaro seats (complete with racing harnesses) don’t seem out of place.
We’d bet that a modern Camaro ZL1, with a mild tune to match the output of Hall’s Camaro, is quicker around a racetrack or down the quarter mile. That’s beside the point, since anyone with the price of admission can snap up a new ZL1. We know which one we’d rather park in our own garage, and it isn’t the 2012 model.