Street Machines, 20 Years of Pro Street to Pro Touring – Part 6
In celebration of the recent Goodguys 20th PPG Nationals, we are counting down the last twenty recipients of the Goodguys Street Machine of the Year award to show you the cars, but also to chronicle the evolution of the modern day Street Machine. Perhaps no other breed of high-performance car has undergone such radical changes. What we used to do with these cars was all about noise, burnouts, straight line acceleration and posing.
As you have seen in this 10-part series, the Street Machine game changed dramatically beginning in 2000. The name of the game today is a hybrid sports car/muscle car, bred to run hard and fast be it around sharp corners or cracking 170mph on road course straightaways.
These super cars have never been more popular and have spawned an entire cottage industry of performance parts, suspension components, wheels, and tires. Not only do they look incredibly good, they sometimes outrun their looks. You couldn’t always say that!
Come along for the ride as we show you the best Street Machines in the world.
Doug and Flo Hoppe
By 2007, the Pro-Touring craze was ascending rapidly. The Wisconsin based Ringbrothers, aka the “Carbon Fiber Kings” swept the Columbus field with Doug and Flo Hoppe’s “Reactor” Mustang – a dark green metallic 1967 Mustang that put Eleanor types on the trailer. Full of one-off house-machined billet parts along with liberal doses of carbon fiber, Reactor offered a glimpse of Ringbrothers’ future stardom. As you can see from this picture, the Ring’s weren’t afraid to show off Reactor’s 552hp Roush 427IR V8. Machined parts were everywhere including the instrument housings, sail panels, taillight bezels, gas cap, hood scoop, pedals, shifter boot base, and miles more underneath the carbon hood. The Ring’s made the X-port brace and subframe connectors while Total Control Products supplied the tubular front suspension bits. A RideTech Airbar was used in the rear section – all of which was hidden beneath a full belly pan. I-Forged five-spoke 19-inch wheels concealed the Baer Brakes. Scott and BJ Killeen made a Build Book on Reactor which went to incredible depths documenting every step of the build. This was the first of three Ringbrothers SMOY winners. It was also significant in that it was the last car selected before Goodguys mandated all future SMOY contenders run the Columbus AutoCross as a prerequisite.
Prior to building Erv Woller’s ’69 “Razor” Camaro, the Ringbrothers primarily focused on a steady string of Mustangs. Razor gave the Ring’s back to back Street Machine of the Year titles and continued their momentum towards the top of the Pro-Touring scene. Basically, Woller wanted a car built around one of GM’s elusive, all-aluminum Ram Jet ZL1 engines which he had secured through a friend. He chose the Ringbrothers when the original builder he had earmarked never returned his call. And build it they did. Body mods were subtle yet noticeable including the carbon-fiber hood and decklid, drip rail delete, rocker panel extensions, and reinterpreted front end. Coated in various tones of grey and silver with orange accents, Razor retained its classic Camaro lines yet looked ultra-modern but not overdone. When it came to underpinnings, DSE supplied the front subframe, control arms and coilovers while Baer Brakes, 18 and 19-inch Budnik wheels and Goodyear rubber gave Erv all the grip he needed in the now-mandatory AutoCross hot laps. It’s worth noting Erv drove the car himself on track – a chore other winners have “farmed out” over the years.
If you’re wondering why these pictures are mostly indoors, it’s because it was raining cats and dogs Saturday of the 2008 PPG Nationals. The downpours forced us inside the Celeste Center for a backup photo shoot location.