November '20

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68 THE SHOP NOVEMBER 2020 demographic, both males and females," Ortega notes. "A lot of this has to do with online exposure via YouTube and other major social media platforms. Millennials from 10 years ago are now becoming young professionals with greater spending power, enabling them to convert their uncle's abandoned F-body into their very own ultimate dream car." Joseph Mantle, vice president, Wheel-1/The Wheel Group is also noticing younger fans. "Pro-Touring is reaching much younger generations than what we have ever seen before. It is exciting to see people from all walks of life sharing in the passion of the great American muscle car. This undergirds the notion that the cars from yesteryear still reign supreme today." And, as technology progresses, it opens up more opportunities for customization. "The Pro Touring market has evolved in a dramatic way, with people producing 1,000-plus-hp machines that they not only rip around the track with, but they drive every day on the street," says Cameron Foremaster of Speedtech Performance. "Some of these 50-year-old cars have more and better technology than modern machines." Many attribute the staying power of the market to the fact that drivers routinely get them out of the garage and onto the track. "The Pro-Touring market has gained trac- tion over the past five to 10 years because customers building cars in this style are not just driving them on the street—they are taking them to autocross and track day events," says Michael Hamrick, Wilwood events and promotions manager. "The best thing about most of these builds is that you can drive to the track/event with the stereo and air conditioning full-blast, enjoying the creature comforts of a modern street car. But, then at the track, these builds have become just as much about performance as aesthetics." Engine swaps and full chassis upgrades continue to make these vehicles faster and more refined, notes Will Baty, marketing and R&D, Centerforce Clutches. "We've seen the support from aftermarket companies improve as well," he adds. "I think they see the value in this market, and the products are getting better and better." When you think about it, what's not to love? "Pro-Touring has always been centered around huge rubber, trick suspension and big power," says Evan Perkins, digital content manager for Holley Performance Products. "All those aspects continue to trend upward. From our vantage point, the move to late-model, fuel-injected engines has been the biggest evolution. We don't see as many small-block Chevy or Ford engines anymore, whereas LS/LT, Hemi and Coyote swaps seem to dominate the scene." PROPER EDUCATION With vehicles such as those described, it's not surprising that Pro-Touring customers are competitive and want to work with knowledgeable professionals. "There is a lot of science and geometry that goes into proper functioning of a Pro- Touring vehicle," Foremaster says, pointing Promise Pro-Touring of The Many manufacturers see the potential of Pro-Touring and have new products for the market. (Photos courtesy Centerforce Clutches) Knowing the intended use of the vehicle will help the shop provide the correct product. (Photos cour- tesy Centerforce Clutches)

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