It was 1969 all over again on the Streets of Willow
Our latest H-Team Track Day and R&D session at the Streets of Willow in Rosamond, California, in early March could have passed for a Trans Am road race in the late ’60s, if it weren’t for the big-inch wheels and smattering of modern muscle cars screaming around this tight road course. After the recent Run to the Coast event, we didn’t think it was possible to be even more impressed with Pro-touring cars and drivers, but our Tuesday track adventure was one of the coolest groups of car people we’ve ever seen.
We arrived early at the track in order to run some Slalom and Skid pad tests on our new 2011 5.0 Mustang Total Vehicle System. We were assisted by new H-Team member Michael Heintz, who brought out his fully Hotchkis equipped Grabber Blue 2011 5.0 and let John run it through the cones and compare it to Daniel Tello’s stock Black 5.0.
We were very pleased with the test, the TVS equipped Mustang ran the 600′ slalom at 67.3mph, almost 3 mph faster than the stock car’s 64.7mph run. The skid pad was even more dramatic, as the Hotchkis equipped pony pulled a .94g on the 200′ skid pad, compared to the stock Mustang’s .84g. We’re excited to work with more Ford fans this year!
After making repeated slalom runs, John opened up the track for practice. Nearly the entire Hotchkis H-Team was on-hand as well as some very special guests from Mopar Action magazine, Hot Rod, Picture Car Warehouse, Pure Vision Design, Magnusson, Flowmaster, Speedhunters and Jay Leno’s Big Dog Garage.
The photos tell the story. We had ’69 Plymouths chasing down BMWs, Camaros of all generations mixing it up on track and newly finished show cars hauling down the straight-away for the first time ever. Experienced drivers like Mary and David Pozzi, Aaron Ogawa and Mopar Action’s Kevin Wesley not only drove the track themselves, they also rode with other H-Team members, offering feedback and advice to newer participants like Chevelle owners, Doug Marhoffer and Greg Hohman. The new 5.0 Mustang system works extremely well, and Michael’s blue car was absolutely screaming around the road course. Other modern muscle cars included Rob and Trish Byrd in their 2010 Camaro SS with a complete Hotchkis Race Pack, Mopar restoration guru Julius Steuer in a Magnum, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd in his SRT8 Challenger with a complete Hotchkis TVS and a brand new Magnusson supercharger.
On the classic muscle side of things, Shannon Hudson brought out his ’69 Valiant and Dan Weishaar pulled an all-nighter at our shop to get the transmission fixed in his ’68 Road Runner after some clutch problems a few days earlier at Run to the Coast. Elana Scherr also managed to make a few laps in her B7 Blue ’70 Challenger, when she wasn’t running around keeping things organized. The bowtie brigade was well represented, with Deanna Marengo in her stunningly beautiful 2nd Gen Camaro, painted by Best of Show Coachworks and recently upgraded to a full Hotchkis system by Pozzi Racing. David and Mary were also on-hand wringing out the One Lap Camaro, as well as offering pointers and giving technical advice. Doug Marhoffer – our latest H-Team member – and Greg Hohman thrashed their TVS equipped Chevelles on track, and Spectre Performance brought out its new wide body 1970 “Carbon Camaro” with a complete TVS to round out the collection.
There was even a classic Mustang on track, the absolutely incredibly Anvil 1969 Mustang built by Steve Strope at Pure Vision Design. The car is literally rolling art, having won the Ford Design Award at the SEMA Show and a slew of other recognitions. Incredibly, Anvil Mustang had never even moved under its own power until the night before track day, and come Tuesday morning Steve and our chief engineer Aaron Ogawa (who happens to be Steve’s brother-in-law) were driving it on track! Between this car, the Mopars and the Camaros, it could have been a Trans Am reunion. When we first started the H-Team, we wanted to have a way of rewarding and encouraging those Hotchkis customers who really represent the Hotchkis philosophy of building, driving and enjoying their cars. We had no idea that we would end up with such an amazing group of people. At every event, we see folks improving their lap times and growing more confident on the track. At lunch we can hear discussions from every table about plans for vehicle modifications and improvements. This is what we stand for, and it is a wonderful thing to see it in action. Scroll through the photos and see for yourself how much fun it is to get out and drive.