It may have been a chance meeting-just another customer and just another salesperson. But when Scott Schweda was picking up the spare key for his new GTO in 2004, Dan Long was delivering a GTO to another customer at a Pontiac dealership in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Scott couldn't help but notice the body kit on it: side exit exhausts, a duckbill spoiler, a lip spoiler on the front fascia, and dual-colored striping along the length of the body. Equally striking was that Dan's GTO was the identical Torrid Red color as Scott's. He asked Dan how he could get the same body kit. Months later, Scott acquired the turnkey package: body kit, painting, and installation.
Still craving knowledge about the full potential of his GTO, Scott kept up his inquiries with Dan; how the car could perform better and what parts were needed to do so. Dan specialized in GTOs and responded to Scott's desire to push his vehicle to the edge of street-legal limits with an introduction to NASA, the National Automotive Sports Association. He suggested Scott get involved since the organization offered high-performance driving education in the form of safety, handling, and speed. A month later he'd joined the NASA Arizona Chapter and showed up at its monthly event at Phoenix International Raceway. After completing his first road course and hitting the triple-digit speed mark with his GTO, he was hooked.
After running their GTOs together on the track for a year through NASA, Dan and Scott decided to combine their experience and passion for GTOs by forming their own racing team, Unrestricted Motorsports.
The pair decided to broaden their horizons by venturing into a business that could accommodate their racing through designing and selling aftermarket body kits for General Motors' Pontiac brand. Unrestricted Motorsports sought to expand knowledge of performance on the track to performance on the street for the average consumer. The idea was simple-obtain a SEMA partner car through GM to showcase the parts to sell. The process wasn't as simple. Combining Dan's automotive industry experience and Scott's design background, Unrestricted Motorsports submitted its first SEMA partner car proposal to GM in 2008. Since the GTO model was phased out by 2006, the duo wanted to work with a car that featured a similar platform. That year the Pontiac G8 was the only car that fit the bill.
Dan and Scott liked the clean body lines on the factory design but Unrestricted's goal was to outwardly reflect the inner power of the G8's available 362 hp through sporty styling. Once they finalized the concept for a new front fascia, side skirts, spoiler, and bumper insert, Unrestricted enlisted Michigan-based Jim Brinkerhoff of Brinkerhoff Design to render their vision and present to GM along with their written proposal.
Though Unrestricted's design wasn't chosen for one of the 2008 SEMA partner cars, the experience of attending SEMA proved invaluable for the partners. When it came to the G8, they noticed that no one was offering full body kits in the G8 line. Dan and Scott wanted to offer customers more than a new paint scheme or rims, and they felt confident that there was a niche for what they wanted to do. Until next year, it was back to the racetrack.
Unrestricted was ready for the 2009 SEMA proposals with more of a race-inspired look to their redesigned G8. The day before the deadline for proposal submissions, they received a call from Bob Kern, SEMA Relations Director for General Motors. Kern had received Unrestricted's proposal, but with the loss of the Pontiac G8 brand earlier in the year, GM was no longer accepting proposals for it. Kern asked Unrestricted if they could submit a new proposal for a different car with just eight days to design, render, write, and submit it. But it wasn't just any car. It was the highly anticipated '10 Chevy Camaro-the same car Dan and Scott purposely avoided due to the intense SEMA competition they knew it would spark. Not to mention Kern already had over 70 proposals for it. Expletives aside from the unexpected change of events, Unrestricted pushed forward and told Kern he'd have their proposal. Dan and Scott were forced to work at manic speed, as was Brinkerhoff, to complete their take on the iconic muscle car.
The countless hours over seven days paid off. Unrestricted Motorsports made the submission deadline and, after months of waiting, the team made the cut for the top 12 designs. Dan and Scott were shocked and awed ... and amazed they made the top 12.
GM awarded eight SEMA partner Camaros in 2009. Though Unrestricted Motorsports didn't get one of them, Dan and Scott felt so passionate about their design that they were determined to build the car.
Drawing inspiration from several decades' worth of automotive design, Unrestricted created the Comp Series Camaro package that took the muscle car to a new level of aggressive styling. Rather than following the aftermarket industry standard of creating fiberglass parts, Unrestricted wanted to provide its customers with a higher level of quality by using urethane. It's more expensive to produce the molds, but the advantage is the product's flexibility in the event of any accident damage. Rather than replacing a fiberglass part, urethane just needs repainting.
Starting with a new front fascia, the team intended to eliminate the mailbox slot in the factory design since it didn't complement the rest of the kit. They wanted more edge in the fascia to highlight the flow of the factory body lines. The cowl area is an inch taller than factory height, providing visual impact without impairing the driver's view. With heat buildup challenging any track driver, they included raised lip heat extractors to provide a racing look with street-performance practicality. After removing some vertical and horizontal lines from the factory grille, Unrestricted simplified it with two vertical lines positioned to match the cowl lines, providing a continuous flow throughout the Camaro's body.
When it came to side skirts, the team opted to follow the front fascia lines with a lip design that flows and flares back into the rear quarter-panels. In a nod to the '69 Camaro, Unrestricted's dovetail spoiler blends retro style with modern sensibility and completes the upward flare line in the side skirts. The Chevy Corvette and Dodge Viper inspired the rear center exit exhaust. Unrestricted's product features a center opening large enough to accommodate two 4-inch tips. The rear insert features larger diffusers that install easily on the factory mounts.
B&R (Henderson, Nevada) applied the Hammerhead Stripe, drawing inspiration from the '63 Grand Sport Corvette. Though today's car enthusiasts have at times cited the paint scheme's emphasis on the headlights, Unrestricted maintains its commitment to the original styling of the limited-production race car.
Pfadt Race Engineering supplied the Comp Series Camaro suspension system while Loud Pedal Motorsports in Chandler, Arizona, handled the installation. Drop springs on the front and rear lowered the car 11/4 inches. Adjustable sway bars provide better handling and responsiveness for the driver. It's all a necessary upgrade to help get the portly SS around the track in quicker fashion.
To complete the '10 Camaro's edgy look, Unrestricted chose Forgeline's ZX3P rims (20x9.5 front, 20x11 rear) while Pirelli P Zero rubber gets the job done on the track and on the street.
We first spotted the aggressive-looking, late-model hot rod while walking the isles at the 2009 SEMA show. With the number of '10 Camaros in attendance, we knew it was going to take something special to garner our attention from all the "samesters" on the floors. Needless to say, Unrestricted's example caught our attention. The car looked fast even while sitting still. Not an easy feat.
At this point the Camaro's engine is basically stock but, with the addition of the Volant air intake and 21/2-inch crossover aluminum exhaust, the car made enough power to run competitive laps at the 2009 Optima Street Car Invitational.
Although Scott and Dan's initial introduction was just a chance meeting between two late-model hot rodders, a passion for speed was the accelerant that started a business relationship and the collaboration of some serious late-model muscle. Unfortunately, but fortunately, the death of the GTO played a major factor in the birth of one serious '10 Camaro.