During the height of the muscle car era, the Detroit automakers knew that having credibility among street racers was helpful in selling performance cars, but they couldn’t officially acknowledge that fact. After all, there were times when they weren’t officially involved in legitimate track racing, so any hint of factory street racing had to be kept from company brass. Still, the engineers liked having parts from their performance catalogs being put to real world tests. So the factories had proxies street racing what were essentially factory sponsored street racers. In the case of Pontiac the proxy was the Royal Pontiac dealership in Royal Oak, Michigan, not far from fabled Woodward Avenue. Mopar’s proxy was a gas station mechanic named Jimmy Addison. Addison was that rare combination of someone who was good at wrenching and tuning cars but also a competent wheelman. Chrysler engineers made sure that Addison got trick parts out the back door of the engineering shop and Addison made sure that they got severe testing racing on Woodward, rarely, if ever, losing a challenge and becoming a street racing legend in the process. Addison’s abilities as a mechanic made his feedback valuable. The car that was the recipient of all that speed largesse was a Plymouth GTX, nicknamed the Silver Bullet, a nod to the Lone Ranger radio show which originated on Detroit’s WXYZ. Today the Silver Bullet doesn’t get nearly the severe duty it got on Woodward, but it’s still a popular draw at car shows, like the Packard Proving Grounds’ Cars R Stars show, where these photos were taken.
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