1. What was the inspiration for the Street Fighter project?
I had been interested in the Pro Touring-style build for a few years before I started at GMP. The first moment I saw the well-detailed die-cast Trans Am cars that GMP produced, I thought that they would be a great foundation to make a killer custom Pro Touring die-cast Camaro. Like a lot of other car guys, Ive always wondered what it would be like to take a race car and drive it on the street, and thats the basic concept behind the Street Fightera wild competition car built for the street. Cars such as Dan and RJ Gottliebs 1969 Camaro Big Red and Mark Stielows Mule inspired me to push for the Street Fighter, a term I picked up from Steve Chryssos Camaro.
2. How did the connection with Billet Specialties come about?
I was at the Goodguys show in Indianapolis last spring and heard that a Chicayne was at the Billet Specialties setup. So I went over to check it out. Scott Sandoval showed me the car and we got to talking. I told him about my idea for the Street Fighter die cast and how awesome it would be to put a real set of licensed billet wheels on it. Scott was very interested, and the next week I started to put together a Camaro concept proposal with Billet Specialties being a big part of the program. Scott had suggested using a Billet Specialties steering wheel that matched the wheel design to really help set off the model. Scott and the Billet guys have been absolutely great to work with, and GMP will definitely do more with them in the future. We will also be doing a Billet Specialties Wheel Accessories Pack that will include wheels and steering wheel, tires and custom big brakes.
3. Some very detailed specs are provided for the power train. Where did these come from, and what is the scoop on that killer EFI manifold?
I spent a lot of time researching small-block Chevy combinations and looked at a few setups that guys are putting in their Pro Touring Camaros to come up with the specifications. The Chevy 383 stroker has always been a favorite of mine, and thats something you would see in a car like this. The six-speed was just a natural fit since most of these Pro Touring Camaros are upgraded with modern drivetrain components. I knew the Street Fighter had to be fuel-injectedit definitely improves the drivability and allows for better tunability as well. The intake manifold was something I wanted to imaginer from scratch so that it would really make this car unique. The inspiration for the Street Fighter intake came from the 2003 Cadillac Sixteen with its beautifully designed intake manifold and also the custom-fabricated parts on the Mark Stielow-built 1969 Camaro Mule. Pro-touring.com and Lateral-g.net have a plethora of technical info that was helpful too.
4. Are there any things on this car you wished you could have done, or any places you felt that could have been improved?
There are always things you wished you could have added or done differently when you look back. We have to work within parameters on these custom projects to help keep the price affordable for collectors. I think we were able to create something that looks functionally correct and looks great at the same time. I wish I could have put some more detail into the suspension. A custom-built rear end with coil-overs would be cool. I think the suspension is a big part of what makes a Pro Touring car, but it was hoped that since the race-modified suspension was already lowered and had a killer stance, it would be believable. I also thought about doing a rear-exit exhaust, which I thought would look cleaner, but I decided to go with modified exhaust pipes and custom low-profile tips. These are things that could be incorporated into future cars in the series.
5. Can you share any plans for the next in the Street Fighter series?
I think that our Street Fighter Camaro will be well received by collectors. Ive talked with Larry Callahan and a few others at Pro-touring.com, and they all cant wait until they are available. If the Street Fighter proves itself successful, which I think it will, we will definitely do another. As a matter of fact, were already reviewing renderings and possible themes for the next Street Fightertheres a good chance it may be a 69. Its gonna be meaner and leaner than the first and may be a little less streetable. Well get the sneak peeks out as soon as the program is official. Stay tuned!