Aside from all the action on the track, the LSX Shootout also featured an excellent car show with some very clean late-model rides. Though this two-day event was run side-by-side with the NMCA Auto Show & Shine event (which was open to all cars), the LSX cars numbered at least half the total entries. As if sharing in the experience of badass LS-powered iron all parked in one place weren't enough, all entrants received a NMCA/GMPP goodie bag, and a plethora of awards were handed out. These included Best Late-Model GTO, Best LS-Powered Specialty Vehicle, Best LS-Powered Interior, Top 20 LS Muscle Cars--and of course, the GM High-Tech Performance Magazine Editors' Choice award--to name but a few. All class winners were given a plaque for their efforts, and most received a jacket as well. Winners of the Top 20 LS Muscle Cars received silver desk figurines, and the Best of Show LS-Powered Late Model and Best of Show LS-Powered Hybrid/Engine Swap winners for Sunday each received not only a jacket, but also a six-foot trophy!
In all, 22 cars entered into the LS portion of the car show on Saturday, with 21 entering on Sunday (some of these had been there on Saturday as well). Beyond this, a few other LS-powered rides were on hand that, for whatever reason, had not entered into contention. But a car show is nothing if no one shows up to see it, and happily, an untold number of spectators showed up to drool over the freshly-waxed paint and finely detailed engine compartments of these phenomenal cars.
Some of the finer cars in attendance included Jim Lucas' 2001 WS-6, which had a bevy of tasteful exterior add-ons as well as 440 rwhp under the hood thanks to mods like AFR heads and a Thunder Racing camshaft. Jim and wife Linda made it well worth their trip from Newark, OH, as they competed in True Street on Saturday and took home honors for Best LS-powered Late-Model Firebird in the car show on Sunday. Also clocking in on Sunday was the Trans Am of David Childress, a car/driver combination that had just been crowned LSX King during Saturday's True Street event. Childress went home with awards here, too, including the nod for Fastest Street Car Magazine Editors' Choice. With its stellar metallic paint job and turbocharged LS1 underhood, his 1998 `Bird had looks to kill and the talons to back it up! A few clean daily drivers were in attendance as well, like Christian Randall's 1998 Z28 that he's racked up 160,000 miles on since buying it new (in the process, also adding items like C5 Z06-style wheels and a Borla exhaust). There were also some very unique cars and trucks that entered into contention for the Best of Show LS-Powered Hybrid/Engine Swap award, including Travis Chaney's 1996 Civic (which sat on a modified C5 chassis and won the class on Saturday), a turbo LS-powered 240SX owned by Blake Hughes, and perhaps coolest of all, an LS7-equipped Ultima GTR!
Though each entry was impressive in its own way, we unfortunately only had two GM High-Tech Performance Magazine Editors' Choice awards to hand out (one for each day of the show). The choices were very tough to make, what with the caliber of vehicles that showed up on both days. Nonetheless, we did our best to narrow the field down to cars we thought best typified the GMHTP spirit of well-executed underhood power combined with an enticing exterior, and ended up going with two cars we decided were each unique in their own right. Saturday's award ended up going to Mike Ress' 408-ci 1998 Camaro SS. Hailing from Cincinnati, OH, Mike's ride had a stunning ghost-flamed paint scheme, and the car was arguably a perfect blend of a killer powerplant and awesome good looks. No one in attendance could believe that the car could have been bought totaled and rebuilt to its current condition, but it was! Sunday's award went to Jason Pfitzner's 1998 Trans Am, which the Missouri native has owned since it was new. This car's stock-appearing red paint hinted nothing at the custom-twin-turbocharged LS1 underhood. The engine featured all stock internals and a small cam, yet still churned out 600 rwhp at 8 psi of boost. Not many cars can sport this much power and still deliver an engine bay clean enough to eat off of, but Jason achieved just that.
Simply put, the two days of the LSX Shootout Car Show had something for everyone, and we're sure no spectator went home without seeing at least one car they'd love to own--and with the vast number of awards handed out, virtually no participant went home empty-handed!--Chris Werner