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Firing Up - September 2013

What’s So Pro About Touring?

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All right, something's been buggin' me for quite a long time now, although not to the point of me jumping online and starting an E-petition or a dedicated Facebook fan page designed to attract all kinds of attention to the cause, but just enough that I finally make mention of it now.

So, here goes. Years ago, when I first heard the term "Pro Touring," I thought it was sort of a cool badge to describe vintage, high-end, handling muscle cars adorned with big-dollar driving utensils. But as time went by, and I became a little closer to the hobby, it got me to thinking, Are there a bunch of guys who are considered pros who get paid to tour in their modernized classic muscle cars? Where does said tour start? Where does it end? And how does one go about becoming a "Pro" of touring? Is there a lower division of guys driving "Amateur Touring" cars? If so, where do they hang out? And on the same note, what about Pro Street? Can those guys drive down any old avenue, or do they cruise only on sacred asphalt paved only for "pros"? Are Amateur-classed cars patiently waiting to be called up to the "big league?"

Pro Stock drag racers get paid to race, so I'm cool with that. In fact, "pro" fits nicely just before the word "stock," so it makes sense (actually there is noting "stock" about those cars, but that's an editorial for another day). And they actually go on the 24-event NHRA "tour," which consists of traveling all over the country to race for money. Now that's hard-core Pro Touring, if you ask me.

Years ago, when Cameron Evans was the editor of Popular Hot Rodding magazine, he used the term "g-Machine" fairly often within the magazine's pages. I can't give exact author credit, but I do know it came from within the walls of the Primedia (now called Source Interlink Media) offices. I thought it was a great name for cars built for handling, acceleration, deceleration, and the ability to log endless miles on the street without issue. The g-Machine moniker caught on for a while but eventually we went back to calling vintage muscle cars with a nice interior, air conditioning, cool tunes, big brakes, and a handling suspension package Pro Touring. Damn it!, I thought. Here is the perfect term for these cars, and it gets shelved.

I say we bring "g-Machine" back! And to be honest, it makes even more sense these days as many of the high-end handling cars are being built sans air conditioning, sound deadening material, big-watt amps, and 10-inch subwoofers in order to save weight. With guys and gals scratching their way around the autocross searching for that ever-elusive tenth of a second per corner, one hundred pounds of luxury can be the difference between First and Second place.

And in the natural progression of competition, if one person's g-Machine (see, I'm already starting it) weighs in at 3,300 pounds and belts out 630 hp, you know the next person is going to do whatever it takes to get their hot rod down to 3,200 pounds while dishing out 650 hp. It's just what car guys/gals do.

Since the whole idea is to have fun weaving, pulling, and pushing the most g's possible with our cars, I say we leave "Pro" out of the equation; at least until we start getting paid to tour the country in our g-Machines.

See, that wasn't so hard, was it? Go ahead and say it a few more times. It'll start to come naturally.

You in?

Nick Licata



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