Friday, May 30, 2008

426 DOHC Hemi

Without a doubt one of the coolest engines to ever come from Detroit was the Ford 427 SOHC. Man would I love to have one of those engines!! I love reading about crazy prototype V8’s that Detroit experimented around with. I ran across this interesting article on a DOHC 426 HEMI. I had no idea such an engine even existed!!! How cool would it have been had they actually mass produced this engine on a limited basis like the 427 SOHC??!!

DOHC 426 Hemi

(You might have to scroll down a bit to see the digitized pages)

Romans 8:28

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Underbody Assessment

The other day I changed the oil in my Formula, at a healthy 133,000 miles. While doing so, I decided to put the car up on 4 jacks so that I could fully assess the underbody. I was glad to find that there are no major concerns to be found. The factory paint has nearly all pealed away, surface rust is in it's early stages. Only a few more Michigan winters and a serious concern would likely arise. In an effort to prevent such problems, I hope to use Por-15 or some other rust prohibitor prior to next winter.

A quick inspection also revealed that my emergency cable is in need of adjustment, explaining the play in the handle when activating it. Also, my muffler is on it's last leg, with serious rust holes forming around the seams. All in all, that was about it from the underside.

Once lowered, I studied the smashed up fender I displayed on here a few months back. Courtesy of a trifecta of high speed wind propelled shopping carts, I couldn't take looking at it any longer. I unbolted the charcoal emissions canister and popped out as much of the fender dent as I could. It looks better, but still far from perfect.

I have increased my research of available aftermarket parts in recent weeks, and was happy to find that it seems even more new parts are coming out for these old TPI powered cars. Perhaps the most interesting though was the tubular front K-member from BMR Fabrication. Not only does it strengthen the front end structure, it allows installation of a rack and pinion. If I went with tubular a-arms and a manual rack and pinion (which I'm not sure I'd do with fat tires up front) I could lose around 86 lbs off the front end! I recently ran across the curb weight for my car I weighed some years back, it was 3,440 lbs. This was less than I thought, and figure I could easily drop a few hundred lbs off, perhaps even 300 lbs, getting it into the same weight category as the featherweight ZO6 Vette.

My car is nearly 20 years old now, and with that age comes very cumbersome emissions packaging, all of which I hope to omit when I start putting the car on a diet. Ideally, I'd love to go with an all aluminum LS1, and the aftermarket k-member would make installation a snap. This would help drop additional weight. I also found, to my surprise, that the T56 transmission is on par, and even maybe a little lighter, than my current 700R4. I already have a battery relocation kit for my Camaro that I may use in my Formula instead, which will help transfer weight to the rear of the car and closer to a more ideal 50-50 weight distribution.

Last but not least, I spoke with my friend who painted my Camaro just the other day. I got the low down on what I would need to attempt to repaint my Formula myself. My intention was to repaint my Challenger, and now that my dad owns the car, perhaps I should use my Formula to learn body work/painting. The body itself is still solid, but as mentioned, the rust has made itself at home, and started to show it's ugly face in the wheel well area, rockers, and a few other salt collecting/stone chipped regions. It is getting to be in serious need of TLC, and I wanted to discuss with my friend the possibility of using an epoxy primer so I could do a panel at a time, repainting the car when all finished. Since I plan to continue to use the car as my daily driver, this seems to be the best means of attacking it.

Stay tuned....

Friday, May 09, 2008

Flashlight Drags

Flashlight drags were covered some months back by Hot Rod Magazine. Basically a throwback to when drag racing was much simpler, minus the Christmas tree, where an individual signaled the start of a race by means of a flashlight. Most seem to be held at local airports out in Pennsylvania. If I can find the time, sounds like a fun weekend trip to me!

Flashlight Drags

Monday, May 05, 2008

All Things Buick

While surfing the net I just came upon a very interesting Buick site. It seems to tell all there is to know about Buick, as well as the effect it has had on the city of Flint, Michigan.

All Things Buick

Beginning of the end?

Times are good for factory hot rods, and only getting better, but for how long? It's been many years since one had so many rear wheel drive (rwd) cars to choose from, and arguably packing some of the best engines ever.

Mustang Shelby Cobra

Ford has their restyled Mustang due out in 2010, and everything points to a design highlighting the 1970 Mustang, which in my opinion looked much more muscular than the first run Mustangs. As with the current model, I think they did a great job. It captures the magic that made the Mustang a hot seller when it hit the market back in 1964. Yet for me, it didn't really begin to flex it's muscle until 1969, and then, only lasted a few years before the hideous Mustang II arrived. I'm anxious to see if Ford once again builds upon a good thing, and gives the current Mustang a bit more bite.

Hot on the heels of the Mustang is the new Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger. Just like back when they first entered the ring, both were a bit late to the party, but both left their mark in history. Latest reports have the Challenger joining the Mustang and Camaro as convertibles.

Cadillac is nearly all rear wheel drive, aside from their DTS, which last I heard would be rwd once redesigned. Though only the V-series gets the powerful V8's, as long as crafty hot rodders can start with a vehicle that could be ordered from factory with a V8, a transplant is no big deal. Hell, how many hot rodders have stuffed V8's in cars originally equipped with 4 bangers?

2009 Dodge Challenger

In addition to the Challenger, the Chrysler camp has the Charger, 300, and Magnum (though apparently going away soon), and let's not forget the Viper. Yeah, I know, most of them have 2 too many doors. Yet there is no denying that in the day and age of 4 door cars, these will soon be among those desired by collectors and gearheads.

Pontiac has an interesting line up as well. Recently announced, they will be resurrecting a car that can only be recognized by one name, El Camino. While Pontiac held an online poll to name the vehicle, which was temporarily known as the G8 ST (sport truck), I can only hope they do the right thing and give it the name it deserves.

Pontiac El Camino...or G8 ST is you prefer

While on Pontiac, I'd like to make note of another notable, though no longer with us, model. The GTO was GM's attempt at bringing back a known name plate and pumping up Pontiac's division. Perhaps it's the reason Pontiac did away with real names, to be replaced with G5, G6, G8, etc. While the GTO didn't live up to what GM had hoped, I think it will be a highly collectible car. One, they only built about 40,000 over a three year span. After year one, changes were made. GTO was added on the rear fascia, dual exhaust, and hood snorkels was much improved over the first offering. The bump in power, from 350 to 400 hp with the new, bigger LS2 6.0 engine was nice as well. Backed by a 6 speed, it seemed to be the perfect mix. While the first offering was a bit bland, the 2nd year revamp looked damn good in my opinion. I expect this to be one of those cars that'll have a cult like following, with prices always remaining strong.

2006 Pontiac GTO

What did GM do when it came time to build a new GTO, this time with 4 doors? Well, they instead called it the G8, likely preventing them from being burned at the stake by the nostalgic GTO crowd. As for the G8, everything I've read has given high praise to the car. Sporty, fast, sharp, and great handling. Now, change up the body, removing 2 doors, and give at least a little design from the nostalgic GTO and bamn!, you got a winner.

Back to the El Camino. I'll be curious as to how this car will do. With gas prices out of control, the truck market is going to continue to take a serious hit. With an option as the El Camino, will it's much greater fuel efficiency and truck bed be enough to win over those leaving the truck market? The downside, the El Camino is a two seater, which essentially places it in the sports car market, which is a limited crowd to begin with.

2009 Chevy Camaro

At GM, rwd was said to be dead in the water a few years back. Yet here comes the G8, the El Camino, the Camaro coming soon, Cadillac mostly all rwd, and other models still up in the air for Buick. The reasoning was that front wheel drive (fwd) packaging allows some weight savings, which in turn makes it easier to obtain the tightening mpg standards that will take place in coming years. Yet it now appears that all bets are off. Chrysler has their rwd platform in place, one would expect that they would continue this route considering they've had great success compared to years past. The 300 and Charger made quite the splash when they hit the market. In recent weeks, Ford announced that they too will be joining this rwd trend. They too went to their Australian division, as GM did with Holden, likely to utilize a global platform.

Times are great, there is no denying that. Yet how long with this last? Gas is quickly approaching the $4 a gallon mark, when it seems we just got beyond the $3 a gallon barrier. When compared to the truck market, the V8 rwd car segment proves much better in terms of mpg. Many of these products have been knocking on the 30 mpg door for years, though they have never been marketed this way. What if did? What if the first thing you heard in an advertisement for the new Camaro was that it's 400 hp V8 got 32 mpg? Would it be enough? Or would people look the other way, looking to the vehicles getting 40-50 mpg? It wouldn't be a realistic comparison to me, as those cars getting that kind of mileage are in a different category, be it compact or even sub-compact.

Lastly, I have to wonder how E-85 will play a roll. The U.S. has seriously ramped up production, especially in the mid-west. Will this alternative fuel be short lived, or will it be the stepping stone between gas and alternative fuels such as hydrogen fuel cells and electric powered cars? I try not to put too much thought into it for now, as all I know, and all I personally car about, is the fact that the Detroit 3 are building cars that I'll pick up for cheap later on down the road that possess all the characteristics I desire for building the fun, exciting, exhilarating car I want to be driving. Plus, it'll be nice to read head to head comparisons in Motor Trend, Road and Track, and Car and Driver pitting a Mustang, Camaro, and Challenger against one another, maybe these are the good ol days!