November '19

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NOVEMBER 2019 THE SHOP 95 He adds another important factor for good clutch results. "Setting up hydraulics is critical for cor- rect clutch function and longevity." Baer's Elam is quick to point out that not all Pro-Touring cars are race cars. "Initially, Pro-Touring was about mod- ernizing and enjoying early cars—to make them handle and act more like a modern car," he says. "By doing this, many started showing off how well they could handle and brake, and by doing that it spiraled into racing and race cars. But, the initial idea of Pro-Touring was enjoying, driving and making your early car fun to drive again. You do not need to have a race car to have a Pro-Touring car." And Drake notes that there are plenty of competitively priced, quality products available. "A misconception is that this market requires customers to spend a ton," he says. "Hooker offers multiple finishes and solu- tions to cover a wide range of customers and budgets." REASONS FOR OPTIMISM When asked about reasons for long-term optimism in the Pro-Touring market, Elam refers to his earlier answer regarding the rising interest in such vehicles. "The values of these old modified cars are increasing, which gives shops more opportunity to build these vehicles for customers," he says. "Also, now that the market is so supported by the aftermarket, there are so many cool parts to choose from. The options are endless on what you can do." Baty agrees and highlights the constantly growing scope of this market. "The next generation of enthusiasts is building Pro-Touring-style projects with a variety of different car platforms. It's not just Camaros and Mustangs anymore— we are seeing Monte Carlos, El Caminos and more," he explains. "I think a lot of enthusiasts want the classic look, but (with) modern components and reliability, which makes the future of the Pro-Touring/resto mod market look strong." And Drake notes that the fun drivers have with these cars is what will keep the market moving forward. "It will continue to grow as time pro- gresses. With the boom in autocross and road racing, you can rest assured that con- sumers will be looking forward to starting their new projects." A Place to Race Drawing more than 100 drivers from around the country each summer to south- west Michigan, the Motor State Challenge has become a must-attend weekend for a number of nationally recognized Pro-Touring drivers looking to put their vehicles and skills to the test. The event has attracted a wide variety of vintage and late-model vehicles, ranging from classic Mustangs, Camaros and Novas to modern muscle and performance cars, and virtually everything in between. In recent years, several modified GM C10 trucks have competed as well. After more than a decade of celebrating the Pro-Touring movement, it's no surprise that the Motor State Challenge continues to evolve. "For 2020, in addition to standard and manufacturers classes for vintage and late-model vehicles, we will be adding a new class that takes the Motor State Challenge back to the roots of Pro-Touring," notes Earl Peters of Motor State Distributing. "With the introduction of the QA1 Go Drive It class, drivers are required to drive their vehicle to the Motor State Challenge, complete the cruise and track events, then drive it home. It's how Pro-Touring originated, and we know there is a strong following of participants who like that aspect of the sport." The new class celebrates the drivability of classic cars outfitted with new technology, stressing the fun owners can have with these vehicles—both on the track and on the street. "Pro-Touring has undergone tremendous growth over the past decade, in part thanks to high-profile, national-level events as well as local and regional competitions," Peters explains. "Like in any motorsport, these events have led to an evolution of the category, with drivers racing purpose-built cars competing at amazing levels." Bring-it-and-drive-it events like the Motor State Challenge continue to grow in popularity around the country and represent an ongoing opportunity for drivers of all levels to test their abilities, regardless of skill level or budget, he continues. "By creating a new class in the Motor State Challenge, we want to encourage new drivers to get involved in the sport, no matter what they drive, if it is track safe. As long as drivers can compete safely, enjoy the camaraderie these events create and have fun, we see a strong future for Pro-Touring." –John Carollo Above: Drawing more than 100 drivers from around the country each summer to southwest Michi- gan, the Motor State Challenge has become a "must-attend" weekend for Pro-Touring drivers.

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