Owner: Charley Lillard
Car: 1969 Camaro
One surefire way to get your Camaro considered for most any top 10 list is to name it "Jackass." Or, drop in an LS9 capable of dishing out 703 hp-Charley Lillard did both. But to his defense, and from the standpoint of how much money he's got in this car, the name is quite fitting. But Charley didn't go it alone. Noted car builder Mark Stielow grabs credit for much of the precision-built '69 that features a carefully orchestrated ensemble of the best suspension and brake components available.
From a distance, the car looks like a relative sleeper, but a close-up look reveals 12-inch wide rear wheels sporting 335/25 rubber-a dead giveaway of what lurks beneath. And when the car is running at partial throttle, only a subtle indication of Jackass' brute strength is revealed. But when Charley lays on the loud pedal, the car instantly comes alive, and its cover is blown. And it's not that Charley has something to hide, we just think he gets a giggle when an unsuspecting gearhead pulls along side his steroid-fed '69 for a little acceleration duel.
This first-gen may be the most brilliantly executed Pro Touring Camaro to ever grace the pages of Camaro Performers magazine, and it's easily a "no-brainer" for our top 10 list. Besides, who are we to tell Charley he can't play in our sandbox?
Owner: Jesse Greening
Car: 1971 Camaro
There's plenty of speculation going on today about why there is a huge resurgence in popularity of the Camaro. And at this point we could give credit to the '10 Camaro hitting the showroom floors in early 2009, but that might not be 100 percent accurate. Sure, the new Camaro has aimed the spotlight back on America's favorite muscle car, but what about the guys who have always dug the styling of the classics?
Jesse Greening and his dad, Jeff, have gained notoriety for the past 11 years building vintage tin for the Street Rod world, so it was no surprise to see them come out of the muscle car gate by building one of the most beautiful second-gens we've ever seen. There's an abundance of subtle nuances on this car that the duo successfully incorporated without losing site of what the Camaro is all about. The plan was to build a '71 Camaro with modern engineering, a good amount of muscle (400 hp), and killer suspension; all without losing the car's spirit and signature race-inspired lines.
But don't let this car's multitude of one-off pieces sway your thoughts that this car doesn't get plenty of drive time. It does. In fact, the first time we saw the car it was ripping around the 2-mile road course at Spring Mountain Motorsports Park in Pahrump, Nevada, during the 2008 Optima Batteries Street Challenge Invitational. Yeah, we couldn't believe it either, and that solidifies the car a spot on our top 10.