Monday, December 31, 2007

Restoration of a 1985 Pontiac Trans Am

A friend from back where I grew up recently started a restoration on a 1985 Pontiac Trans Am. The car recently was subjected to hail damage, and the insurance company ponied up a nice chunk of change for the damage. He then tossed some more money along with the pay out and the car will be seeing about $6,000 in body work and paint. Here are a few pictures he sent me the other day, displaying the car stripped down to bare metal. The finished product should be show quality, and I'll try to pass along any updated photos he sends me.

A look ahead to 2008

Time and time again I've tried to build my automotive blog, yet each and every time I've failed. Just as my car projects sit, so has this blog. For 2008 I am going to attempt to follow through with my promise. First thing was first, it was time to kill off my other blog. It was hard to hit that "delete blog" button, but I knew as long as it existed, I would continue to ignore this blog.

Anyways, what better time to rejuvenate this blog than when the North American International Auto Show is about to kick off? Once again, you will see me focus primarily on what the Big 3 has to offer, with only the occasional import making these pages. To each their own, but the import companies still fail to catch my attention, with few exceptions. Perhaps the most noteworthy, and surprising, is the Mini Cooper. While compact and much smaller than my usual taste, I can't help but see it as a go-cart for grown-ups, as well as how fun it would be to throw through the turns. The Mini has caught my attention ever since I first spotted it at the show a few years back.

A few months after the NAIAS, the Detroit Autorama will take place, in which I will also cover heavily. While I find both shows interesting, the Autorama often proves to be my favorite. Anybody can buy a factory hotrod, it takes creativity (and lots of cash!) to create what is on display at Autorama. The quality of the cars presented has increased exponentially over the past 5 years. It's a rarity to find a car with a Maaco paint job these days. I will also try and remember my camera during my next trip to Henry Ford Museum, as they have several noteworthy cars on display.

As far as the projects go, don't expect much on the Camaro until probably next winter, and nothing more than regular maintenance on the Formula. I'm currently awaiting a turn signal switch that is on backorder from Year One, which will require tearing down the steering column. Nothing too exciting, but I'll document it none the less. Probably fix my headlight that is stuck popped up here soon as well, just been reluctant to drop the required $140-$240 to fix it.

One project I do hope starts to take shape this year is my dad's 1970 Challenger R/T he bought from me. I picked him up a few Mopar books for Christmas, as well as a subscription to Mopar Muscle. I'm hoping it's enough incentive to get him buying parts and get the project underway, perhaps hitting the road in 2009. I have the project almost totally planned out for him, though there are a few question marks that remain. The drivetrain for one, as while I think I have him talked into a 6 speed transmission, I'm not sure what the engine itself will entail. With an aftermarket company just releasing an EFI 6 pack compatible with the 383, it would sure give a unique underhood appearance if he went that route.

So here is to a new year, and new focus upon what is no longer a career, but now just a hobby. Should be a fun next few years for gearheads, with the new Challenger launching in a few months, and the Camaro following next year.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Showing her age

Just yesterday old blue turned over 130,000. While not bad for a 19 year old car, she's starting to show her age. While the manual likely states a tune-up ever 36,000 miles, I only waited 10,000-15,000 this time around. As the engine is going through about 1+ quart every 1,000 miles, so the spark plugs start getting fouled out, and the engine starts idling a bit rough. While it wasn't bad, I figured I'd change the plugs when I hit 130,000 miles. The plugs weren't as bad as I expected, and I'm skeptical that the oil consumption is more valve guide related than piston ring/cylinder wear. Makes me ponder whether or not I should purchase a set of AFR heads to see whether it fixes the problem...and pick up a good 80 hp in the process.