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VIDEO: The first Pro-Touring car, from the people who were there when it happened

Published in blog.hemmings.com

So what’s the big deal with 1969 Chevrolet Camaro built by Mark Stielow known as Tri-Tip? It’s widely recognized as the first Pro-Touring car, that’s what. Of course, that just raises more questions, like what makes a Pro-Touring car and why Stielow’s car was different than anything that came before it. For some explanation, we’ve got a trio of videos from the people who where there on the scene.

First, our Terry McGean chats with Cole Quinnell. Cole was a staff editor at Hot Rod back when Stielow started racing the Tri-Tip, and was one of the first people to cover the car. He even liked the car so much that he called Stielow for advice on his own build.

As Quinnell explains in the video below, “Up to that point we had a lot of Pro Street cars…but most of the time a muscle car was for drag racing. You had some people who made them into road racers or things like that, but not a really good combination of a street car that could truly be driven all the time, looked really good, still embodied what a muscle car should be, and turned corners really well, and stopped really well.”

Next up, Jeff Smith of Car Craft. Stielow won the Real Street Eliminator Challenge in 1993, and Smith was there to see it happen. “This was the prototype piece, that got it all started.” Of course, a car like this wasn’t called Pro-Touring. Watch the video to find out where that name came from.

And finally Terry has a chat with Kyle Tucker of Detroit Speed. Today, Detroit Speed is famous for suspension parts that make it easy to turn a muscle car into a corner carver. Back in 1993, however, Tucker was a college student renting a room in Stielow’s basement and working at General Motors on a co-op. Not only did he help Stielow put the car together, he was also the co-driver on the 1993 One Lap of America campaign and was behind the wheel when a high pressure fuel line burst and set the back of the Camaro on fire.

If you’ve been following our coverage of the Tri-Tip, you know that it’s for sale on Hemmings Auctions with no reserve and ending on November 13. Check out the auction listing for more information and to sign up to bid, before someone else takes it home.