DETROIT – Road trip! It’s that time of year again for the annual automotive pilgrimage known as the Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour® and Chevrolet Performance helps get it started on Saturday, June 2, at General Motors’ Milford Proving Ground. The Power Tour winds up in Arlington, Texas, on June 9.
With more than 3,000 hot rods, muscle cars, classic trucks and late-model performance vehicles and approximately 12,000 enthusiasts accompanying them, the Milford kick-off represents the largest-ever group of “civilians” to visit the secure test facility.
“This is a great opportunity for enthusiasts to get a glimpse behind the curtain at GM and for us to get in touch with our performance customers,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president of Chevrolet Performance Vehicles & Motorsports. “It also allows enthusiasts to get a closer look at our product development and the people behind our engines, performance parts and vehicle accessories.”
The Milford Proving Ground is the automotive equivalent of “Area 51,” serving as the primary testing facility for GM’s future products. When it opened in 1924, MPG was the world’s first dedicated automotive manufacturer testing facility. Today, it covers approximately 4,000 acres and contains more than 130 miles of driving surfaces of all types, including a 3.8-mile oval track and a 4.5-mile circle track with steep banking that enables vehicles to be driven around it at up to 120 mph without the need for steering input. The “Black Lake” area is a 67-acre pad of blacktop used for a variety of vehicle dynamics testing. Special certification is required for drivers on some of the tracks.
Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour participants and visitors to the Proving Ground on June 2 will have to follow strict security guidelines – including where they can and cannot take photos – but GM is offering unprecedented access, including tours and ride-and-drives on several of the tracks.
Chevrolet Performance will offer a host of activities and special features, including:
- A heritage engine display
- A collection of heritage vehicles
- Powertrain demonstrations
- A GM Design Center display.
The kick-off event also marks the official public debut of The BLOCK – a unique, online social community for car enthusiasts of all stripes. Participants can register on site and upload a profile of their car, and they’ll also receive a custom “QR” code decal that can be affixed to a window. Fellow enthusiasts who scan the code will be taken directly to The BLOCK’s home page on their smartphone.
Representatives from The BLOCK will be combing through the cars at Milford, looking for interesting rides and individuals for future stories. The BLOCK, powered by Chevrolet Performance, enables consumers to create profiles, post content and drive discussions.
A trio of popular concepts will be on display:
- The Camaro Hot Wheels SEMA show car – inspired by the “Custom Camaro,” the dazzling Spectraflame® 1:64-scale toy that was one of the original 16 Hot Wheels cars released in 1968. This dazzling Camaro was collaboration between GM Design and the Hot Wheels Design studio. It features a brilliant, chrome-green finish.
- The prototype COPO Camaro drag car – What started as a concept is now reality: The 2012 COPO Camaro specialty drag-racing model. Production was recently announced and only 69 will be built to shake up NHRA’s Stock and Super Stock ranks. Chevrolet Performance’s official video of the COPO prototype undergoing testing on the drag strip has been viewed more than 60,000 times.
- The Sonic Boom SEMA show car – introduced at the 2011 SEMA Show, it is a sound system-based concept that delivers high performance of an auditory type. A high-tech head unit controls the system, which features a pair of 15-inch subwoofers and 10 six-inch mid-range speakers. The concept Kicker system delivers 4,000 total Watts of power.
Also at Milford will be a display of Cadillac performance vehicles, including the CTS-V Series.
Representatives from Chevrolet Performance will be preparing a caravan of 14 specialty vehicles that will do the “long haul” – driving the entire distance of the Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour. Highlights include:
- 2012 Camaro ZL1 coupe – a production version of the new, daily-drivable supercar that features a 580-hp supercharged 6.2L engine and technically advanced drivetrain – including third-gen Magnetic Ride Control – to deliver 0-60 performance of four seconds, 11-second quarter-miles and a top speed of 184 mph.
- 2012 Camaro SS “Synergy” convertible – a specially equipped production package with a body-color grille, ground effects, “gill” graphics, hood stripes and flangeless 21-inch wheels. Inside is a gray leather interior accented with a Hurst short-throw shifter.
- 2012 Corvette Grand Sport Convertible Centennial Edition – commemorating Chevrolet’s 100th Anniversary and featuring Carbon Flash Metallic paint, satin-black graphics, satin-black wheels, unique badges depicting Louis Chevrolet and a special-trimmed interior.
- 2013 Corvette ZR1 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car – the car used to pace the 2012 Indianapolis 500 – and driven by celebrity chef Guy Fieri – will run with the Power Tour field.
- 2012 Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle – a specially decked-out demonstrator of Chevy’s new, rear-drive Caprice police car will “monitor” the Power Tour. Powered by a 6.0L V-8 rated at 364 hp, Michigan State Police tested the Caprice PPV and recorded 0-60 performance of less than six seconds with a top speed of 154 mph.
- 2012 Sonic five-door – equipped with a bevy of popular accessories, this eye-catching sport-compact suggests a Power Tour contender for a new generation.
- 1953 Suburban – riding on TrailBlazer SS frame with rear-wheel drive, this orange-and-black supercharged Suburban is powered by a Chevrolet Performance LSX376 crate engine fitted with an LSA supercharger kit that makes 665 horsepower. The cargo area is filled with a full complement of vehicle detailing equipment in custom storage bins.
- 1970 Dale Jr. Chevelle – designed in cooperation with Dale Earnhardt Jr., this modern muscle car debuted at last fall’s SEMA Show, introducing the industry’s first Connect and Cruise Crate Powertrain Systems. It features Chevrolet Performance’s factory-engineered LSA/4L85-E engine and transmission combination, matched with all the electronic control modules, wiring harnesses and other key components.
- 1955 E-Rod Chevy – Chevrolet Performance’s groundbreaking hot rod that introduced the emissions-compliant E-Rod crate engine systems. It features a Corvette-based LS3 engine package, with components including a fuel tank evaporative emissions canister, which helped it earn EO number D-126-30 from California Air Resources Board – the first ever for a performance crate engine.