Held on the heels of the annual SEMA show in early November, the Optima Ulitimate Street Car Challenge is making noise and won't be slowing down anytime soon. When you take the upper echelon muscle cars from around the country and have them play on the same grounds, you're sure to have a spectacle on your hands. While it's currently an invitation-only event, we made sure to get you the complete low-down of how the event unfolded.
Forty of the top street-driven cars in the country were invited to duke it out in four categories to illustrate the best-of-the-best at the Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump, Nevada. The categories were developed to highlight and discover the vehicle with the best overall design, build quality, and performance. So what's the point? Bragging rights, of course. Vehicles and drivers let it all hang out on the road course, autocross event, 0-to-60-to-0 trial for acceleration and braking, and finally judged for styling. To find the overall winner, the lowest cumulative time for each vehicle, combined with styling points (1-10 scale-1 being the best and 10 being the worst) would determine the finishing order.
A number of manufacturers were there, including Detroit Speed, RideTech, Spectre, BFGoodrich, and Baer Brakes. While Steven Rupp (owner of "Bad Penny"), associate editor of our sister publication Camaro Performers, almost landed the overall victory, a '66 Shelby Cobra owned by Bruce Cambern took home the '09 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car honor. From all of us at Chevy High Performance, congratulations to each of the participants and see you next year!
What Was It
Forty of the best muscle cars in the country compete in four real-world categories to claim king of all street cars
When Was It
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Where Was It
Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump, Nevada
Before any driving gets done, the traditional drivers' meeting is conducted. Race organizers make sure to review and go over all the rules along with the race schedule. During the meeting, timing was explained as well as scoring. Drivers were also allowed parade laps (no faster than 60 mph) to learn the courses. For the open-track event, drivers would be competing on Spring Mountain's 2.2-mile course. Once the autocross portion was completed, it was then converted and reassembled to run the 0-to-60-to-0 event. The most unbelievable part? All vehicles completed the event in one day.
Mary Pozzi is no stranger...
Mary Pozzi is no stranger when it comes to hashing it out on the asphalt. For this year's competition she ran her '73 Rally Sport Camaro, which features a GMPP ZZ383 and a Richmond five-speed with 3.08:1 gears. Although the exterior is very subtle, the second-gen devotes most of its modifications to the chassis; Pozzi still retains the factory subframe and recently upgraded to a set of Baer brakes and Forgeline wheels.
Dan Long's '10 Camaro from...
Dan Long's '10 Camaro from Unrestricted Motorsports is flat-out awesome. They produce turnkey cars with power levels ranging from 475-800 hp. Long's Camaro includes Pfadts 2-inch coil springs and sway bars. Other modifications include a Valiant cold-air intake kit, DiabloSport flash tuning, a Hurst short-throw shifter, and a competition series center-exit exhaust system.
Popularity in second-gen Camaros...
Popularity in second-gen Camaros is growing. If you've got one in your neighborhood, better jump on it now, just like Mike Yale's Mercedes-Benz silver example. His '70 Camaro features a Detroit Speed front subframe and Quadra-Link system out back. At the heart of the beast is an LS3 mill with an LS7 clutch assembly, while the remainder of the drivetrain consists of a T-56 transmission and a 9-inch rearend with 3.70:1 gears. His choice of rollers is a stunning set of Rushforth Wheels with P275/35R18 and P335/30R18 rubber front/rear.
Got an itch to build a street-legal...
Got an itch to build a street-legal NASCAR-style Cup car? Even though its body is foreign, the engine for competition in this year's event is all GM. Jeff Lymann dropped a ZZ4 350-inch small-block, which makes 355 hp with a four-barrel carb. Power goes through a four-speed transmission with a Hurst shifter. Suspension is built to stock car road race specifications with COT influences. Inside a full 'cage is constructed out of 13/4-inch tubing that's fully welded with gussets. Doors have been reinforced and even the cabin has been extended for rear seating! The suspension includes RideTech front springs with adjusters, rear, steel coil springs with adjusters, and stock car sway bar.
A Pro Touring dream, Corpala...
A Pro Touring dream, Corpala is a mix of Corvette and Impala for a modern blend of muscle car nostalgia and new millennium technology. It's powered by an LS7 with a six-speed transmission, and of course all of its suspension is pure C5-grade. Brakes are Baer 14-inch binders on all four corners. The wheels have a rolled lip and measure 18x9 up front and 20x11 for the rear with tires sizing up at P225/35R18 and P305/30R20.