This is R.J. Gottlieb's truly legendary "Big Red" 1969 Chevy Camaro. Basically a tube frame stock car with the sheet metal of a Camaro hung upon it, Big Red hit the hot-rodding world like a nuclear tsunami when it first appeared way back in 1987.
Its most legendary moment came in 1989 when it rumbled out onto a closed section of Nevada highway and then proceeded to absolutely rip apart all expectations at that year's Silver State Classic open road race. Using its 800-horsepower Chevy big-block V8 to devastating effect, it ripped apart the 94-mile course in just 27 minutes and 54 seconds. That's an average of 197.99 mph with radar guns picking a top speed of 222 mph. A full 20 years later, it's still hard to believe.
Almost single-handedly, that run produced a whole new genre of street machine hot rods: the G-machines or Pro Touring or whatever it is you want to call it. Whatever it is, it's Big Red that's the great icon of that cult. Let there be no doubt, this is one of the greatest and most influential hot rods of all time.
And it's one of picture car coordinator Dennis McCarthy's all-time favorite cars. So he called a friend who kinda/sorta knew how to contact R.J. Gottlieb and convinced him to bring Big Red to a vehicle audition at Universal Studios. Despite McCarthy's pleas to make Big Red one of the heroes of the film, it instead takes up a supporting role in the flick, driven by the character "Dwight."
That's the real deal Big Red in the film. No replicas were made. But unfortunately that means it does very little in the way of stunts or speed in the movie, too. However, the sound department made full use of Big Red's voice — its wicked big-block wail was recorded and used as the voice of many cars in the film.
No one may remember "Dwight." But this car's charisma makes it unforgettable.
As Portrayed Specifications*
Type: 595-cubic-inch Chevrolet big block
Carburetor: Holley 1150
Air filter: K&N
Fuel pumps: Twin Aeromotive
Fuel cell: ATL 55-gallon
Water pump: Edelbrock PW MP
Transmission: Jerico four-speed
Driveshaft: Steel 4-inch
Rear Axle: Ford 9-inch
Headers: Precision Welding
Front: Custom unequal-length A-arms and coil springs
Rear: Three-link with Panhard bar and coil-over shocks
Front: Baer Racing, Six-piston calipers, 14-inch rotors
Rear: Baer Racing, Six-piston calipers, 14-inch rotors
Type: BBS Three-piece
Front size: 18-by-11.0 inches
Rear size: 18-by-13.0 inches
Type: Goodyear Eagle F1 GS-Fiorano
Front size: 335/30ZR18
Rear size: 335/30ZR18
Seats: Z Seats
Cage: Bill Osborne Inland Chassis Design
Door Panels: NASCAR-style
Body: Chevrolet original equipment
Hood: Fiberglass cowl induction
Paint: Mike Face Auto Painting
* "As Portrayed" specifications indicate the state of the car as portrayed in the film. No single car was necessarily built to these specifications by the picture car department. But all the cars built to portray a vehicle in the film were constructed to appear as if so equipped.