The Original Outlaw Racer

The Baddest '69 Camaro on the planet - BIG RED

Originally built for Dan Gottlieb and his son RJ in the fall of 1987 by Bill Osborne of Inland Chassis Design in Rialto, CA. BIG RED was born with its stock Car inspired tube frame neatly tucked under an all steel '69 Camaro body. The power came from a 900 horsepower 540c.i. aluminum big block that was painted "chevy" orange and disguised to look like a somewhat standard 427. RJ unleashed the newly completed car at the 1988 La Carrera Classica, in Mexico where it won, handily defeating all of the Porsche Turbos and Ferraris. Due to growing safety concerns regarding the race in Mexico, Dan with some help created the first open road race in the states and the Silver State Classic was born in 1988, a 90 mile open road race just outside of Ely, NV on State Route 318. After the 1989 La Carrera Classica the promoter did not ask BIG RED to return to the event because of its race car pedigree and earned the name "Outlaw Racer". Later that year at the 1989 Silver State Classic BIG RED, piloted by 19 year-old RJ Gottlieb, showed up and destroyed the 90-mile course in 27 minutes, 54 seconds, for an average speed of 197.99mph and a radar-recorded 222-mph top-end velocity, a record that would stand until 2000. From the beginning Dan, RJ and team have sought to push BIG RED to the very limit of what is possible with a 1969 Camaro platform. In the past 30 years BIG RED has collected an assortment of records and achievements over a broad spectrum of motorsport disciplines, and every year, RJ and the team look to take on new and extraordinary challenges.

The History of BIG RED

BIG RED credited as being THE car that started the pro-turing era of muscle cars. In the past 34 years BIG RED has raced in dozens of events racing from open road races, to hill climbs and many top speed challenges. Below is a diverse list of all the events BIG RED has participated in:

La Carrera Classica – 1987, 1988 (Winner Record Holder) 1989

Silver State Classic Challenge – 1989 (Winner Record Holder*), 1990, 2011

Nevada Open Road Challenge – 1991, 2005 (Baer Brakes Z2Z Challenge)

The Texas Mile – 2009, 2011 (Class Record 217.1 mph)

V.A.R.A. Big Bore Bash Willow Springs Intl Raceway – 2005, 2011, 2012

Spectre Performance’s Virginia City “341” Hillclimb – 2011 (5th Overall – 3:29.99/Top Speed 138 mph)

Mojave Magnum – 2012 (Naturally Aspirated Record 234.4 mph)

Mojave Mile – 2010 – 2015 (Record Holder 232.4 mph)

SCTA El Mirage LSR – 2013, 2014 (Top Speed 208 mph)

Bonneville Speed Week – 2013 Participant (Top Speed 238 mph)

Mike Cook’s Bonneville Shootout – 2014 (Top Speed 228 mph)

Mojave Magnum – 2015 (Record Holder 238.1 mph)

Runway Racing Mojave Invitational – 2017 (Top Speed 253.6 mph)

Pikes Peak International Hillclimb – 2017 (4th in class, 11:08.857)

The Texas Mile – October 27-29, 2017 – Top speed 251.9 MPH

Mojave Magnum, Mojave CA – 2018 (New Record – Top Speed 266.2 MPH)

Bonneville Speed Week 2018 NEW AA/CBFALT Class Record – 258.60MPH

ECTA-LSR Mile Event Blytheville, AR – 2019 (Class Record 246 MPH)

Loring 1.5 Mile Harvest Event Limestone, ME – 2019 NEW AA/CBFALT Class Records (1 Mile – 238 MPH / 1.5 Mile – 256 MPH)

BIG RED today

To this day the car is still owned by Dan and raced by RJ. The car has been maintained by the same crew for over 30 years, and every engine that has ever run in BIG RED has been built by the same engine builder. Many people that are not familiar with BIG RED often ask how many cars the team actually race, there is only ONE BIG RED and there will always be one. People also ask about all the parts needed for the car to compete in all these different events. The simple answer is it takes a huge amount of parts and extras to keep BIG RED competing in each event 3, different engine combinations raging from a naturally aspirated big block with 900hp all the way to a blown big block producing 1900hp; 3 different rear ends, light duty, medium duty and heavy duty; 2 transmissions one 4-speed NASCAR style and a 3-speed automatic; 2 fuel cells, 3 different hoods, 2 trunk lids, all sorts of wheels and tires and a new big ass wing. The engineering and ingenuity that is found in BIG RED is absolutely amazing all done with a goal to go faster at each event.

My story

My love of BIG RED started when RJ and his dad pulled the car out of retirement in late 2003 and it was on the cover of HOTROD magazine soon after, I had heard rumors about the car earlier but seeing that magazine cover got it all started. I had been trying to see the car in person for years but I moved to CO and most of BIG RED's events were back in CA. I thought 2016 was going to be my year, Big red was scheduled to run the PPIHC. However, two weeks before the race the car caught fire at a practice run at Willow Springs Raceway and was nearly destroyed. I was devastated by the thought that I would never get that chance to see BIG RED. Luckily, the damage was not as bad as originally thought and the team was able to save the car and rebuild it, the chassis and almost all of the body panels on the car were saved. My next chance to see BIG RED in person was 2017 when the team returned for redemption in the PPIHC, but my daughter decided she wanted to join the world early so I missed the event. In mid 2019 started to build myself a 1/64 replica of BIG RED in Land Speed trim, one thing led to another and I ended up building Team BIG RED one that they can display at their headquarters/museum. Here is a link to a previous post of my custom

All of my BIG RED's, GMP 1/18, Greenlight 1/43, M2 Machines 1/64, my custom Hot Wheels 1/64

All of my BIG RED's, GMP 1/18, Greenlight 1/43, M2 Machines 1/64, my custom Hot Wheels 1/64

My time has finally arrived!!!!!!!

I was finally able to see BIG RED in person on a recent trip to Southern California. My family and I were granted full access to their shop, where all the work is done on BIG RED and their headquarters/museum. While at the shop we were given a private tour and shown all the cool inter-workings by BIG RED's Head Mechanic Mark. I have read just about all available information about this car but speaking with Mark and hearing his stories was priceless. At their headquarters I met and spoke with RJ swapping stories about the car and all the memorabilia on display, including my custom that was proudly mounted on the wall. RJ even gave me a chance to drive BIG RED... on their state of the art simulator. Everyone on Team BIG RED are class act, they are true car guys and enjoy all forms of motorsport. This was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity and am very grateful that I was given the chance.

Thank you for reading this long expose' about the Baddest '69 Camaro on the planet, BIG RED.

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Comments (2)

  • YYYYEEEESSSS I’ve been waiting for one of these Big Red’s to show up here

      1 month ago
    • Thanks Scott!! I’m happy I was finally able to take proper pictures of it.

        1 month ago