Street Machines, Pro Street to Pro Touring Part 8
In celebration of last month’s Goodguys PPG Nationals 20th anniversary, 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 through 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!
Strike another huge win for Roadster Shop. Alex Covington’s “Innovator” 1967 Nova, a radical, forward-thinking millennial take on an old world classic broke through in 2011 giving the Gerber family their second SMOY victory as builders. What made Innovator so special was the insane attention to detail; the handmade futuristic grille insert, headlight and taillight bezels, hood vents, side view mirrors, along with all of the finite, signature touches one only sees upon a sustained gaze. The top was chopped slightly, the fenders and wheel openings were reshaped while the rocker panels were extended all around. White, a daring color at the time, was pulled off with aplomb. Innovator holds the distinction of being the first white SMOY winner. Those center lock wheels (A Roadster Shop theme) were designed by Eric Brockmeyer while the Roadster Shop Fast Track chassis featured a trick rear suspension with Watts linkage. The hot yellow Baer brakes added a sophisticated, racy Euro feel. As you might imagine, it handled like a sports car. Innovator’s 700hp LS-X engine, handmade engine bay, and the incredibly futuristic interior with LED illumination pushed this one over the top!
When you pump oil for a living, you have wells that produce and some that don’t. When Pennsylvania oil man Gary Bowers tapped into the Ringbrothers to build a bad ass ’65 Mustang – you could say it “produced” and then some. Not only did it deliver big thrills on the road, it produced the third SMOY title in five years for the Ring’s as builders. Of those three winners, “Producer” was the most sinister of ‘em all. It blended agility and brute horsepower wrapped neatly in a widebody, carbon fiber-adorned package. Under the hood was a high compression Keith Craft-built 427c.i. stroker based on the 351 Windsor small block good for 740hp. The carbon roof skin and hood shaved curb weight while the Morrison chassis, Forgeline center lock wheels and Michelin Pilot sports supplied ample AutoCross grip. Mustangs are inherently narrow cars so Producer was literally split down then middle to widen it yet preserve the critical lines. That proved to be a pivotal moment in Ringbrothers lineage. Every other Mustang to roll out of their shop after this one was widened. Bowers sold the car at auction in 2013 for 286,000.