Big Red History 2022

For the new car, less horsepower simply was not an option. Once you make a decision like that, you have to figure out a way to keep that beast under the hood in between the lines. Father and son were going to have to think long and hard about safety. The lesson from La Carrera Classica was that dropping a race-car engine into a factory Camaro simply wouldn’t work. But part of the magic, RJ insisted, was that he didn’t want to drive a race car that just looked like a ’69 Camaro, but one that actually was a ’69 Camaro. It was a critical directive that added that spark to the new car’s legend. It would be a car that everyone could relate to, like the one they had driven themselves and worked on; something they knew. The car would be christened “Big Red” and it wouldn’t be a glossy, pretentious starlet on the silver screen, it would be the drop-dead-gorgeous girl next door.More than a beauty, the Gottliebs wanted a wolf in sheep’s clothing to put the owners and drivers of the high-end European sports cars at ease when the fire breathing race car lurking under that Camaro skin came storming out of the gate. Underneath that skin, it
truly was going to be something else. Bill Osborne had a hell of a project on his hands. It’s relatively easy to drop the shell of a car onto a racing chassis. What Bill did was actually build the racing chassis into the\ original   GM/ Fisher body of the car. And why not? The ’69 Camaro is an awesome vehicle.

 The ’69 Camaro is an awesome vehicle. The floorpan was altered and trimmed to accommodate the new frame, which, according to All Chevy magazine, had rollbars “the size of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s biceps.” Still, the general design of the cockpit was largely retained, including the original dash assembly that had a working glovebox and gauge cluster. The illusion wasn’t
perfect, of course. The 11-inch setback mounting of that monster engine was pretty obvious, but Dan insisted that they paint that fancy (and expensive) all-aluminum block GM orange so he could point, and say, “look, it’s just a stock 427 iron block.” And then he’d chuckle a little bit Early garage photos of the car show a raw steel cage, stripped of any paint. A massive Modine radiator was installed with racing front sway bushings and a cross brace in front of the engine. As Bill continued to work, the motoring press couldn’t help but take notice. In the September 1987 issue of Hot Rod magazine, the Mexico crash was mentioned in its one-page coverage of the event, which hinted at a “re-birth,” and the Gottliebs possibly building another “audacious” Camaro.
And it was. It was also a work in progress. In photos of Big Red’s maiden drive at Willow Springs racetrack, it was without trim, stripes and some of the soon-to-be familiar hardware — including the extra diagonal braces on the main loop of the cage. Big Red was taking shape into something fans would .recognize, the gold center wheels and a shiny coat of red as bold as the engineering, just waiting for those classic white Z/28 stripes. 

April: Sonoma Speed Tour

The year’s events began with the Sonoma Speed Tour, held at the scenic Sonoma Raceway. This event is part of the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) circuit, known for its competitive races that feature a mix of vintage and modern performance vehicles. Big Red competed against a backdrop of California’s rolling hills, capturing the attention of both new fans and seasoned enthusiasts.

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MEDIA COVERAGE AND EVENT HIGHLIGHTS

The SVRA provided extensive coverage of the event, detailing how competitors like Big Red showcased not only speed but also the rich histories of the cars involved. The Sonoma Speed Tour was more than a race; it was a celebration of automotive heritage, and Big Red was at the heart of it.

MAY: ROAD AMERICA – SVRA VINTAGE FESTIVAL

In May, Big Red took to the iconic Road America track in Wisconsin for the SVRA Vintage Festival. This event was highlighted by local media, including the Sheboygan Sun, which praised the festival as a kick-off to the racing season, celebrating vintage racing culture and the machines that made motorsport history.

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JULY: GOODGUYS SUMMIT RACING NATIONALS

The racing continued in July at the Goodguys Summit Racing Nationals in Ohio. This event is renowned for its display of classic cars and the spirit of American auto culture. Big Red participated in various exhibition runs, showcasing its power and beauty among other historically significant vehicles.

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AUGUST: HOT AUGUST NIGHTS

As summer peaked, Big Red appeared at Hot August Nights in Nevada, a premiere classic car event that transforms Reno-Sparks into a nostalgic hub for automotive enthusiasts. The event featured everything from show-n-shines to competitive racing, with Big Red drawing crowds eager to see the muscle car in action.

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NOVEMBER: BIG BORE BASH

The year concluded with a strong performance at the Big Bore Bash in California, where Big Red competed at Willow Springs International Raceway. This event, covered by MotorsportReg and RaceHero, focused on “big bore” cars, and Big Red was a natural fit, thrilling spectators with its thunderous presence and speed

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