Tuesday, August 25, 2009

2009 Woodward Dream Cruise

Another Woodward Dream Cruise has come and gone. Sorry for the delay in regards to posting the pictures and a quick review, but life has been busy with an upcoming wedding in addition to a never ending list of house projects.

This year's cruise was a change for the better in my opinion. Year after year, corporate involvement seemed to grow, and with that growth came more spots consumed by the corporations. Displays, stages, and vip area's for those with connections. Prime spots at the cruise have cost $100 or more for many years, but the spots available have also been slowly disappearing by corporations and others who wanna cash in on the cruise. This year, with the dismal economy and dying automotive corporations, it was a bit more back to the roots. There was more of a concentration on the car, and the corporations were nearly transparent.

Unfortunately, I didn't have the cruise date off this year, but that didn't stop me from getting up and hitting Woodward for a solid 5 hours during the morning/early afternoon before I had to head in for work. Every year I've been, not once has the Dream Cruise disappointed. It is an automotive animal that has outgrown even the biggest gearhead's expectations. It's Disneyland for the car guys/gals. Enough on my thoughts though, I'll let the pictures do the talking this year.

These airbrushed flame jobs still blow my mind!

Sweet Anglia.

Rear window of a Pontiac GTO....RIP Pontiac.

Even the exotics make it out.

Yes, those are steel tracks. This guy was breaking who knows how many laws. I'm sure there is an ordinance against steel tracks on a vehicle somewhere.

This guy whittled his car outta wood.

These cars always remind me of the scene in Top Gun when the crazy/obsessive chic is stalking Maverick.

Yes, those are electronic boards. Yes, the owner is a dork.

This was like $3,000. I'd TOTALLY drive one of these, thought the 318 would have to make way for a Hemi.

Click below for more pictures!

2009 Woodward Dream Cruise

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Stahl's Automotive Foundation

While surfing the net, looking at Tucker Torpedo sites, I stumbled upon a museum in metro Detroit that I never even knew existed. I've added a link under "Car Museums" to the right.

Stahl's Automotive Foundation

The Art of Bench Racing

Bench Racing: The imaginative means of racing through communication.

Bench racing has likely been around as long as racing itself. Whether it be theoretical cars, or simply engine combinations, or anything else automotive related. I often find myself doing it more and more often, though almost always lack a competitor in the other lane.

Most recently, the focus has been on my daily driven 1989 Pontiac Formula. This may seem a little odd, as my 1969 Camaro will in all actuality be the primary focus as time and money permits. Like any gearhead though, the gears are always turning, and I can't help but start formulating a plan for what I want to do with this car.

If I were to use a single word to describe my frame of mind, it would be OVERKILL! I find myself thumbing through my magazines each and every month, formulating a plan. When the throught of building a healthy LSX engine with 400-500 hp, the next thing that crosses my mind is the lack of structural integrity with a 3rd generation F-Body. So, how does one fix this?

I learned my lesson with my 1969 Camaro the hard way. Within months of a ground up restoration, and fresh new paint job, the body developed stress cracks on all 4 pillars. This with frame connectors already in place, and a 400 hp small block in the engine bay. Now, take my Pontiac, with it's open air t-tops, and it is about as solid as a wet noodle. A trip through the parking garage at the local mall exposes just how flexible the body is. You can hear the t-tops repositioning, you can feel the gaps with your hand opening and closing when going up each ramp to the next level.

How does one fix this problem? Well, with my Camaro it was to the tune of a 12 point roll cage. So naturally, it should come as no surprise that a full roll cage seems like the only possible solution to me. Whether or not I will bring myself to go to that extreme won't be known for years down the road. Yet when 250 hp and 340+ ft/lbs of torque is flexing the body, I know what to expect when the power is nearly doubled.

As for a powerplant, there are so many options these days, and it seems those options keep growing with each passing month. There are plenty of choices if I were to keep the factory block as a foundation. There are more induction options that my mind can handle, and vortec style heads are also an option with most inductions. Yet I can't help but look at the LS series and start to drool. An all aluminum engine would drop the weight of my Formula significantly, and by today's standards, it's 3,400 lbs is amongst the lightest players on the block. With little effort, I could get my car into the power/weight ratio of a Z06 Corvette, and still be sporting a full cage!

Then there is the possibility of boost. Turbos and Superchargers raise the power level to the point of insanity. 1,000 hp isn't all that radical any longer, or even that hard to achieve. There is a part of me that is still old school, the part of me building a 650-700 hp naturally aspirated big block chevy, only to be topped off with a 250 hp shot of nitrous. That part of me would be somewhat jealous of a boosted small block Chevy exceeding those numbers. I guess it's because no matter what cars I build in my lifetime, my 69 Camaro is to me what the Corvette is to Chevy. A car that sits on the throne, one in which the power levels are not to be infringed upon. Perhaps it's nothing more than an unwritten law, but at the same time, the idea of dethroning the king is something that simply shouldn't be spoken aloud.

Such a moral delimna only has one solution, my Camaro would simply need to become a full blown race car, sporting a 14-71 blower with power levels out of reach of anything else that would share a bay with it. Ah yes, the art of bench racing. :)