Hot Rodding has changed so much over the decades. Once upon a time, giant back tires/tiny fronts combo was the only way to go (fender-free, naturally). Then came the Pro Street craze, where this concept was taken to an extreme by those wanting their street machines to imitate their favorite Pro Stock rides.
Over the last decade, the pendulum has swung back towards the middle. Love it or hate it, the Pro Touring looks seems to be here for the duration. Once unthinkable for a muscle car, 18-, 19- and 20-inch wheels are becoming the norm. Lowered suspensions, improved shocks, control arms, etc., are all the rage.
The folks at Heidts Hot Rod and Muscle Car Parts are well aware of this. The company got its start building street rod suspension components, and expanded to the next level when it began making goodies for your favorites from the '60s and early '70s. Heidts was at the forefront of the entire g-machine movement. That segment of the business has exploded, and it can now sell you everything from spindles to a complete independent rear suspension with inboard disc brakes. Technology's a wonderful thing.
In the last couple of years, Heidts has given its customers a place to play—the Autobahn Motorsport Country Club in Joliet, Illinois, a private facility where the well-heel-and-toed enthusiast can live out his automotive fantasies. Two road courses (that can be combined into one big one), excellent dining in the members lounge, garage facilities and more—you've got to experience it to believe it. For the first time, Super Chevy magazine was a presenting sponsor. We were blown away by the sheer volume of stunning show-quality vintage Chevys that were tearing up the road course. In total, 92 cars hit the track in one form or another. There was also a show on Saturday for those not wanting to clean cone rash off their rides.
This year the event was under the direction of the American Street Car Series staff. There was plenty of open track time on Saturday and Sunday, with cars broken up by lap times (this helped group drivers together by skill level, and prevented pros from running novices off the track). There was a Speed Stop Squared challenge, where you ran a slalom and had to stop in coned-off area, lest you earn a time penalty, as well as a very tricky autocross course.
On Sunday, the competition began in earnest. The laps were timed and awards were presented. When the tire smoke cleared, it was Danny Popp in his modified '06 ZO6 Corvette who turned in an insane 1:04.774 lap on the North Course, over six seconds a lap quicker than Kyle Tucker, his next closest competitor, in a fifth-gen Camaro. The quickest vintage Chevy was Tim McGilton's superb '71 Camaro, which ran a 1:12.532—trust us, that's flying on this 1.8-mile track.
(For a complete list of results and lap times, go to www.heidtsperformancecarchallenge.com.)
|Road Course Winners|
|Jeff Van Buren||1:12.70|
|Tim McGilton||Shootout Winner|
|Speed Stop Squared|