Owner: Kyle Tucker
Car: 1970 Camaro
Early second-gen Camaros are the latest to receive kudos from the g-Machine crowd. It's a natural progression in the Camaro world, and Kyle Tucker, co-owner of Detroit Speed, saw the virtual writing on the wall. With the first-gen Camaro market fully saturated with handling components, the second-gen was quietly waiting its turn for a suspension makeover. Kyle bought this '70 with the intention of using it as a test vehicle for developing a host of DSE suspension components. Although the car went through an incarnation that featured just upper and lower control arms, sway bars, front springs, subframe connectors, and rear leaf springs, it's now a calling card for their baddest of the bad: Hydroformed front subframe and Quadra-link rear suspension.
Motivated by an L92 6.2L motor, Kyle estimates horsepower to be around 598, and over the past two years, he's been dishing out relentless abuse on the company's second-gen test Camaro. The car has awarded Kyle a number of autocross victories across the country, and he's also lit up a plethora of road courses along the way.
This is quite possibly the most wicked second-gen g-Machine on the planet, but all you paint guys can just keep your business cards tucked in your wallet. From what Kyle tells us, he has no plans of painting it anytime soon. Still, this car rates high enough to make it as one of the Top 10 Camaros of 2009.
Owner: Mike Yale
Car: 1970 Camaro
Second-gens make a heavy showing in this year's Camaro Performers magazine Top 10 list. And for good reason: Apparently the '70-73 Camaro has become the golden child among Camaro enthusiasts. For one thing, this body style is still relatively affordable in terms of vintage Camaros. It doesn't hold the hierarchy crown like a '69, but it possesses the same aggressive attitude when built with the right stance and riffs. To say Mike Yale "nailed it," is an understatement.
This Tomball, Texas, second-gen has all the makings of a car show winner, yet we've seen Mike beat the crap out of it at a recent Goodguys autocross, much like it belonged to someone else. And he should. With suspension components picked straight out of the Detroit Speed catalog, and Rushforth "Whiplash" rollers, this gorgeous F-body was built to be flogged on the course, and noticed on the street. The LS3 delivers a street-healthy 500 hp, and the T56 transmission helps the Camaro handle the rigors of long drives on the heated Texas highways.
There's no doubt Mike will be hitting the autocross hard in 2010, and with a reliable horse to saddle up, he'll be one to contend with on every orange-coned corner.
Owner: Chad Raynal
Car: 1969 Camaro
It's hard to think of anything cooler than a '69 Z/28 Camaro that's been decked out in Trans-Am trim. Well, there is one thing: an actual SCCA Trans-Am Competition '69 Z/28 race car that's been recognized as a survivor by the Historic Trans-Am Registry. Although the car has been through a number of paint schemes since its introduction to the racing series (it even wore the Sonoco colors in the mid '70s), Chad nurtured it back to its original race paint and graphics.
As the racing series constitutes, the Z/28 relies on a 302ci mill, and at 12:1 compression, it's hard to find an engine that is capable of expressing as much anger through straight pipes as this small-block. The short-stroked package belts out 450 hp and relies on a 12-bolt rearend stuffed with track-witty 4.56:1 cogs.
As one might expect, most dedicated race cars tend to wear a combination of rock chips and a myriad of fluids spewed throughout, but Chad keeps his special "Z" in show car condition between races.
So is this just another vintage-style race car? We think not. But what we do think is that this is an exceptionally well-preserved piece of Camaro history that makes more than worthy of being part of our top 10 list.