The Pro Touring shtick continues to inflame us like the pages of a pulp novel, and from the reports we have written over the past two years there seems no end to it. Indeed, many cars featured on these pages are formulaic, routinely outfitted with the hottest suspension and powertrain modules. People see what the usual suspects are using to win certain categories at Pro Touring festivals and are preternaturally drawn to assume the same build pattern with their own cars.
Steve Martin subscribes to that Pro Touring vibe, too, but as a workingman, his funds weren’t unlimited. So just like most of us would, he did all the work in his home garage, ably abetted by his wife, Linda, and good friend and metal man, Troy. Steve was prolific. He managed everything, save for the interior construction and actual application of paint, in the solace of his man cave. Relationships with a half-dozen F-bodies had prepared him for the mental and physical hit.
And didn’t he have the schedule right from the very start? He found his bride and bought his house before even thinking about messing with hot rods. And wasn’t the payback beautiful? “I do need to thank my wife, Linda, for the support that she gave,” Steve gushes. “She actually bought a lot of the parts without me knowing. I would just show her things that I wanted to buy but did not really want to spend the money on and she would just surprise me.” (Wow, don’t we love this girl!) Halfway through the project, the Martins discovered they were pregnant. Ever the brilliant husband, Steve elected to stop work on the Camaro for months at a time and to always be available.
As for the Camaro, he didn’t want to inherit someone else’s problem. He wanted a car that he could make his own and it worked out that way. A coworker tipped him to the ’67, which turned out to be a donor car. But the body looked pretty solid. He gave the man a grand and dragged it home. He stripped it down to a roller and found some nasty stuff. There were patches of Bondo and the typical small rust issues at the backlight surround, but on the main it was a solid buy. Steve did the work and got guidance from his bud at Troy’s Body & Paint in Tracy, California. He and Troy proceeded to apply the replacement metal as well, welding up and smoothing every seam in sight.
For the ancillary systems, Steve simply extrapolated vehicle weight and engine output to design suspension and braking that would accommodate his notions and nothing more. For him it was simply a matter of what he needed to get the job done. And more importantly, this Camaro would not be a lounge lizard awakened only in time for the next autocross flog. Nope. Steve would be driving his car on a regular basis.
After a more than four-year gestation, the Camaro was finished in May 2005. And as of Christmas 2011, the silver bullet has received more than 30 awards. The next big appearance will be at Run To The Coast that terminates on thousands of splendid acres of concrete, tarmac, and 10,000-foot runways at the defunct Marine base in El Toro, California.
Alright, time to close the hood on this fantasy. C’mon now, what are those famous last words again Steve? “This car has exceeded all my expectations and is a blast to drive.” Yes!