The Definition Of Pro Touring: Darryl Redd’s 1969 Camaro

Use the term Pro Touring in a room of auto enthusiasts, and everyone will have an opinion about what that means. Some will state the tires need to be sizeable and low profile. The tires must be mounted on wide, aluminum front wheels, and even wider aluminum rear wheels. Others will maintain the car must accelerate quickly. It must have huge disc-brakes to rapidly decelerate from triple-digit speeds. The vehicle must be able to zig-zag through a series of pylons proficiently. Lastly, another group may even consider a Pro Touring car a vehicle for closed-course, top-speed competitions.

Former Chevy High Performance editor, Jeff Smith proclaimed in 1998, “Pro Touring is about killer acceleration, brutal brakes, and corner-bending capability combined with cross-country comfort. Toss in occasional jaunts to the drag strip, a slalom, or a top-speed contest, and you have the makings of a car for all reasons – Pro Touring.”

The Concept One Pulley Systems Pro-Touring 1969 Camaro runs 255/45ZR18 Nitto tires mounted on a pair of Fesler FS 906 8.5 x 18 wheels on the front. At the rear, even larger 12.5 x 18 Fesler wheels wear massive 335/30ZR18 Nitto tires. A complete Heidts front and rear suspension provides a perfect ride height. The Camaro rides about 3- to 4-inches lower than stock. Images by Rick Sosebee

A New Project

The Pro Touring bug bit Darryl Redd, of Cumming, Georgia, and it would not let go. Darryl was not new to the automotive arena. For years, he owned and operated a Goodyear Tire and Service Center. For a stretch, he even operated a classic-car restoration business. Now retired, Darryl is still involved in the automotive business through his sons. Kevin and Randy co-own and co-manage Concept One Pulley Systems, also located in Cumming, Georgia.

When Darryl found this car, he was not actually looking for a new project. Darryl happened to talk with Rick Bennett, a friend and body shop owner of Rick’s Restoration. Rick relayed information about an abandoned 1969 Camaro project that had been sitting in the corner of his shop. The current owner had purchased almost all the parts necessary to complete the car, but lost interest in the project. The owner was willing to part with the Camaro and all the parts. Darryl carefully looked the Camaro over, and realized it was a very sound car. If the price was right, it would be a great project to finish.

 

Darryl had the good fortune to find a nearly completed 1969 Camaro. That did not stop him from tearing the Camaro back down to a shell and restarting the build of the ultimate Pro-Touring vehicle.

After some negotiating, Darryl purchased the Camaro and the vast array of parts. In his smooth laid-back southern drawl, he quipped, “That’s when the fun began.” At the time of the purchase, the abandoned Camaro project had been well along its way to completion. That did not stop Darryl from changing the direction of the restoration. In fact, he fully disassembled the nearly 70-percent-completed Camaro to make it into a Pro Touring show piece with serious attitude.

Camaro Gets Paint

With the Camaro stripped to a bare shell, Rick mounted the body on a rotisserie. Rick then removed the Camaro’s factory rear wheel wells, installed a pair of mini tubs, and massaged the quarter-panel wheel openings by stretching them to accommodate the new wheeltubs. After Rick completed the quarter-panel work, he primed and block sanded the Camaro. He repeated the process until the exterior was perfectly straight. Rick painted the Camaro using a basecoat/clearcoat process with several layers of General Motors Switchblade Silver basecoat (part no. WA636R) and then covered that with additional coats of clear.

Suspension Update

With the paintwork completed, Darryl installed a Heidts Pro-G front suspension package that included coilover shocks, a pair of 13-inch cross-drilled rotors, Wilwood six-piston calipers, and a rack-and-pinion setup. At the rear of the F-body, Darryl mounted a matching Heidts adjustable four-link suspension. The four-link included coilover shocks, a pair of 12-inch rotors, and Wilwood four-piston calipers. Dan Elliott assembled a 3.70-geared Currie 9-inch axle for underneath.

Darryl installed Heidts front and rear suspension packages that include coilover shocks, cross-drilled rotors, Wilwood fixed calipers, a rack-and-pinion setup up front and an adjustable four-link on the rear.

For the front-end rolling stock, Darryl had a pair of Fesler FS 906 8.5 x 18 wheels with 255/45ZR18 Nitto tires installed. He mounted even larger 12.5 x 18 Fesler wheels sporting massive 335/30ZR18 Nitto rubber mounted on the rear. The Heidts front and rear suspension packages dropped the Camaro’s ride height roughly 3 to 4 inches.

LS3 Topped with a Supercharger

When it came time build an engine, Darryl used the 2010 LS3 Camaro engine that came with the purchase. Darryl rebuilt the 6.2-liter engine with ARP rod bolts, main and head studs. The selection of a COMP Cams roller camshaft with a lift of nearly .650-inch actuates the valves. To control the valvetrain action, Darryl uses a set of Pro Maxx Gold dual valve springs. A Magnuson TVS supercharger tops the LS3. John Tucker of Southern Performance handled the assembly of the engine, including the installation of BRP Hot Rod stainless steel headers, which have 1.875-inch primaries feeding into 3-inch collectors.

The LS3 used a Concept One Pulley Systems' small-diameter pulley on the supercharger during dyno testing, and developed 12-psi of boost, which provided the impressive performance. For the street, Darryl switched to a larger supercharger pulley that slowed the supercharger down, thus dropping the boost down to 8-psi.

With the engine bolted together, Darryl had the engine strapped to a dyno at Twister Engines, where Gary Grimes worked the dyno’s throttle handle. Gary made the first few pulls to 5,400 rpm, but on the third pull, he ran the engine to 6,000 rpm. The LS3 laid down 869 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, and the torque was a solid 818 lb-ft, at 4,600 rpm. The horsepower was still climbing at the end of the pull.

Before Darryl slipped the LS3 into the Pro-Touring Camaro, he installed a complete black-anodized 8-rib Concept One Pulley Systems’ pulley assembly onto the LS3, which included pulleys for the water pump, alternator, power steering, air-conditioning compressor, crankshaft, and tensioner. Darryl elected to install a larger diameter supercharger pulley that results in lower supercharger RPM, and reduced the boost from 12-psi to a much less radical 8-psi. To expel the exhaust from the LS3 while on the street, the engine uses a dual, 2.5-inch stainless-steel exhaust with Borla mufflers.

Lipstick Red Interior Expands the Pro-Touring Look

To achieve the stunning interior layout that matches the Camaro’s Pro-Touring concept, Darryl worked with Sanford Fountain at Fountain’s Auto Upholstery. Sanford saw the Camaro’s Switchblade Silver color and said to Darryl, “The interior would look great done in lipstick red.” Darryl responded, “Let’s give it a try.”

Sanford started by fitting the Daytona-weave red carpet onto the floor pan of the Camaro. He then made a custom-fitted rear-seat frame (to clear the wheel tubs) that he wrapped in red leather. To match the back seats, Sanford cloaked a pair of late-model GTO power-assisted front seats in the same red leather.

Fountain’s Auto Upholstery is responsible for the lipstick red interior. The front seats are from a late-model GTO.

Keeping with the theme, Sanford designed the door panels, console, kick panels, and trimmed them in red leather. A leather covered shifter handle plunges through the center console to attach to the Tremec six-speed manual transmission. Sanford tastefully laid out the carbon-fiber instrument cluster with an array of AutoMeter American Muscle Gauges. He then finished the dash pad in black leather. Finally, he added a matching leather-wrapped Billet Specialties steering wheel.

Finishing the Interior

As the interior progressed, Lance Disharoon added his electrical knowledge to the project. Lance mounted the fuse box and routed the wires in the wiring harness to all the electrical accessories. While the wires are usually unseen in the interior of a vehicle, Lance took the time to tuck all the wiring – even those in the engine area. He also added a Custom Autosound stereo with speakers in the front and rear of the Camaro.

After three years of fabrication and conversion, Darryl’s Camaro has a beautiful luxurious red interior, huge tires, massive brakes, gobs of engine torque, and the whine of a high-horsepower supercharger. The Camaro can confidently run on a road course and work through the pylons at an autocross event. It will rank near the top in any speed contest and stop on a dime. The first-gen can handle the quarter mile without embarrassment. With all the performance of this hot rod, it can still attain decent fuel economy and has the drivability manners of a new vehicle. With the air-conditioning operating, the Pro-Touring ride can handle long hauls comfortably without the engine overheating or breaking down.

pro touring camaro

The Camaro Darryl and his sons built is the definition of a Pro Touring vehicle, and the ultimate father and son(s) project car. With the Concept One Pulley Systems Camaro now completed, Darryl was recently asked what his future plans are for the Camaro? With a smile on his face, he simply stated, “Drive it, show it, and enjoy it.”

About the author

Christopher Holley

Chris Holley has been a freelance writer since 2014. Chris has been a college professor since 1998; he currently instructs the second-year automotive electrical/electronics and HVAC classes at Pennsylvania College of Technology. In addition, he also teaches the chassis dyno classes where he and the students perform dozens of modifications and hundreds of runs per semester on various vehicles. Chris’ passions run deep for the Mopar products. When Chris is not working, he has several Dodges that he either races at the drag strip, cruises to car shows, or tests on a chassis dyno. Chris is a multi-time track champion at the local drag strips in the central Pennsylvania area.
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