The Second Coming Story & Photos By Toby Brooks
RPM Project aPocalypSe: Part I Pro Street Revolution You might not have realized it just yet, but there’s a revolution brewing. The staccato pops of freshly struck acetylene torches in shops from coast to coast are growing ever more frequent. Tirehood obesity, nearly eradicated by a decade of dub wheels, 40-series tires, and an endless maze of strategically placed traffic cones is thankfully—mercifully— magnificently—again on the rise.
than having them handed down on high by some magazine editor at a keyboard in California has led many, including me (who is ironically sitting at a keyboard at the moment) to believe that the king’s return is near.
Grab your shortened axles and punch them with clenched fist defiantly into the sky, soldiers. Pro Street is cool again.
What the Heck is Pro Street?
Not that it ever wasn’t, mind you. That’s probably just what you were led to believe. The styling trend that dominated the decade of the 80’s and persisted well into the 90’s never really went away—it just got nudged out in print. It remained popular, particularly in the Midwest, but that fact may come as a surprise to most. A quick thumbing through most car magazines printed over the past decade reveals that pro touring, resto-modding, and (gasp!) rat rodding have grabbed the lion’s share of feature coverage. However, the predictable ebb and flow of styling trends, reinforced by an ever-growing crowd of street machiners who would rather define or defy trends themselves rather
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Pro Street 2.0. Pro Street Returns. Pro Street Reloaded. Call it what you will, but you read it here first. It’s back.
Pro Street can trace its roots to the drag strips of the Midwest. Influenced heavily by the look of Pro Stock cars driven by the likes of Bob Glidden, Warren Johnson, and others in the late 70’s, the idea was to build a dual purpose street/strip machine that could go fast in the quarter and look good doing it. The term, originally appearing in Popular Hot Rodding in 1978, was coined to pay homage to the Pro Stock roots of the trend. Depending upon the application, many builds were heavy “pro” and light “street.” Typical styling cues included fat tires in back tucked up under the body on a narrowed rearend, a lowslung stance, varying amounts of drag raceinspired protective equipment, and a potent powerplant. Pro Street cars lurched their way around (and oftentimes overheated at) fair-
ground cruise routes across the nation at all the hottest summer shows and most every drag strip imaginable. At the apex of the trend in the late 80’s, names like Scott Sullivan, Matt & Debbie Hay, Rick Dobbertin, Rich Gebhardt, Rocky Robertson, Mark Grimes, Troy Trepanier, and a host of others had elevated the game to nearly unbelievable heights. Cars with wild paint, exotic multi-stage forced induction systems, and the requisite foot-or-more wide steamroller rear tires filled the pages of magazines month in and month out. It is simply human nature to try to one up the other guy. This spirit of one-upmanship led to the creation of fairgrounds full of incredibly artistic, and sometimes impractical expressions of automotive excess. By the mid to late 90’s, car builders had grown tired of the impracticality of tubbed cars at the time. Low-slung chassis scraped and dragged everywhere. Exotic induction systems often made for hard starting, poor idling, and generally poor street manners. Predictably, the move toward milder cars that were easier to drive and maintain and possessed modern amenities like electronic fuel injection, air conditioning, and power accessories
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Published on Aug 1, 2014
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