When it comes to hot rods, muscle cars and pro touring cars, superlatives are often handed out as freely as bumper stickers on the campaign trail. Everyone claims to have the best handling, the fastest or the most artfully-built ride, but chances are good you’ve never heard of the car that likely wins in all these categories.
To understand the car, first you need to understand its driver and builder, Mary Pozzi. Mary is an 11-time SCCA Solo champion, auto journalist and test driver, married to David Pozzi, who’s got something like four decades worth of experience in building race cars.
We know Mary from One Lap of America, so we can attest to just how good she is behind the wheel of a car. Not only can she drive, but she can tell you exactly what needs to be changed to make whatever car she’s driving faster, which is a skill few drivers have mastered.
Mary found this particular Camaro some 10 years back, when she was looking for a weekend cruiser and possible track toy. Now, a decade later, her 1971 Camaro is a rolling showcase of the best parts available, from suppliers such as RideTech, Hotchkiss, Currie and Detroit Speed.
Power comes from an LS2 V-8, with the stroke increased to 402 cubic inches. To handle the additional power the engine puts out, Mary opted to go with a Tremec T56 Magnum transmission, which divvies out the torque through a Currie nine-inch rear end.
The suspension incorporates RideTech three-way adjustable shocks and Hotchkiss sway bars, but Mary isn’t overly brand loyal. If another component came along that worked better or weighed less, it would find its way into the car.
Not only is the car a stunner in appearance, but as Big Muscle host Mike Musto explains, “I’ve driven Porsches that don’t handle this good.”
Perhaps the greatest recognition of Mary’s efforts with the car came at last year’s SEMA show, when Kazunori Yamauchi, the father of the Gran Turismo game series, picked the car as Best in Show. As such, Pozzi’s Camaro will be modeled by the team at Polyphony Digital, and will appear as a driveable car in a future Gran Turismo release.