The Pro Street trend was hot all through the 1980s and ’90s, and even continued into the early 2000s. It eventually began to fade away, with some cars going back to racing — you may recall that the Pro Street trend was largely about re-purposing old race cars for street duty — and others fading into the background of the car hobby as other trends emerged. Abel Garza of Overland Park, Kansas, bought his 1970 Camaro in 1990 and had always planned to go the Pro Street route with its appearance.
“I’ve had it for 33 years,” Garza told us. “I bought it in 1990 and it was a basic, primer gray Camaro back then. I daily-drove it for the first five years and raced it every weekend. Eventually, I put a big-block in it and then a blower.”
Garza would own the car for some time before he was able to make the Pro Street conversion happen. In fact, he planned on it being his retirement project, but that changed.
“My dream was always to have a Pro Street car, and when “Street Outlaws” came out and Monza had the black Camaro, I said I’m doing it for sure.”
With newfound motivation, Garza was able to make his dream come true earlier than expected, and had Allegro Racing in Missouri perform the back-half upgrades about six years ago. Part of that conversion included a rearend upgrade to a fabricated 9-inch housing packed with 4.30 gears.
Motivation for the Camaro is a 540 cubic-inch, big-block Chevy engine with an old-school B&M 420 Mega Blower. The combination runs on 93 octane pump gas and at 12 psi of boost pressure, makes 850 horsepower to the tire, through the Pro Outlaw Flowmaster mufflers of course.
“It still has power steering — I love that part,” Garza said. In true Pro Street form, Garza’s Camaro runs a reverse valve-body, transbrake-equipped Turbo 400 using a CW bellhousing and a Hughes Performance 4,500-rpm stall torque converter.
About two years ago, the split-bumper-upgraded Camaro received a new paint scheme by Jones Customs in Excelsior Springs, Missouri.
“I went with the Baldwin Motion paint scheme,” Garza explained. “It’s something a bit rare. They only made 12 real ones and only three exist today.” Completing the Pro Street look is the big-and-little wheel package with pizza cutters up front and 15×15 hoops out back. Garza opted for a slightly different look in going with the dirt track tires, but they do get a lot of attention.
“They are the biggest treaded tires you can buy. They are a true 22-inches wide on my 15×15 wheel, I had to re-cut the fenders to fit the tires before paint. I love them, they hook really well.”
Garza told us that he puts about 1,000 miles a year on the Camaro hitting big cruises and shows all over the United States.
“We have over 100 Pro Street cars headed to the turkey rod run in Daytona for the 50th anniversary,” Garza told us. There does seem to be a resurgence in the Pro Street trend, and the numerous Facebook groups seem to be indicative of that. Garza is a member of the Pro Street Era, Pro Street Mafia, Pro Street Brotherhood, Outlaw Garage, and Fat Tires and Blowers, pages. Garza also has his own, Main Street Muscle Cars, as well.
Now most Pro Street machines seem to live their entire lives at car shows for the most part, but that isn’t the case with Garza’s Camaro. He’s raced it off and on his whole life, and still races it a few times a year at some grudge events. With a 1.31 60-ft time, Garza has driven the Camaro to 9.30s at 145 mph.