Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Year in Review

Well, here we are, 2010 has almost come to an end. To say it has been an eventful year for my wife and myself would be an understatement. I suppose you could say that the year kicked off with our 2010 tax return, as I had big plans for this years return.

Fall 2001, that was the last my 69 Camaro had been on the road. My plans for my Camaro were simple, though as any car hobbyist will tell you, no project is simple. I had completed a ground up restoration on my Camaro during the summer of 1998, and just a few years later I found myself stripping the car right back down to the shell. Why? I wanted to go faster, and I needed a roll cage.

While installing a cage, I decided to once again go through the big block that now resided between the fenders, and push the envelope a litter further than before. Of course, I had a backup plan for while my Camaro was off the road. I picked up a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T for a song and a dance. Sadly, I dug into that car too much, and both cars would be un-roadworthy until this year. The Challenger, still sits, though is now in my dad's possesion.

So with the start of the year, I started to execute "Project Killer Camaro." I had the parts picked out, as well as the shop, and it was just a matter of making it happen. A few months after the engine and parts were dropped off at the shop, wonderful news would come to me and my wife, we had a baby on the way!

Having the loving wife that I do, we forged ahead with plans to get the Camaro back on the road. By late August 2010, just in time for Woodward (by 1 day!), the Camaro was back on the road. I still have plenty of finishing touches to the car, as well as upgrades before taking it to the track, but after 9 years, at least it's back on the road. It was a wonderful feeling, though the best was yet to come.

November 29th, 2010, a date that changed my life forever. That is the day that our beautiful Emma Sue came into our lives, and became my new passion. Holding her was like nothing I've ever felt before. When your child looks into your eyes for the first time, there is a bond that I can't even begin to experience. She is the greatest thing ever...and she will be into cars just like her daddy. :)

Life has changed, but some things will remain the same. We won't be selling the Camaro, and I won't be trading in my Formula for a mini-van. Neither myself, nor my wife, have any desire to ever own a mini-van. Now, perhaps it will convince me that I need an SUV as opposed to a shiny new Camaro, but that is something I can come to accept.

2011 will a year of minor improvements to the Camaro, and hitting up more cruises/car shows. I can't say when I'll be able to upgrade the rear and go racing, as the $3,000 upgrade isn't exactly a drop in the bucket. I can't decide if I'd rather have a car hoist in the near future, as opposed to being able to go racing, time will tell. Some more immediate improvements are for baby girl. I need to make sure the baby seat fits, and if not, modify things so it will. Secondly, I need to quiet things down with some sound deadener and tail pipes out the back. That should make things livable for baby girl.

So that's it, 2010 is a wrap! Stay tuned for full blown North American Auto Show coverage in the coming weeks, and Autorama a few months after that. Before we know it, spring will be upon us, and the Camaro will be coming back home...this time, for the first time, under her own power!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011 North American International Auto Show

The 2011 Noth American International Auto Show is just around the corner. Below is the schedule of events for this year's show. I plan to attend, at least once, and will get as many pictures as possible.

Press Preview: January 10-11

Industry Preview: January 12-13

Charity Event: January 14

Public Show: January 15-23

The North American International Auto Show

R.E. Olds Museum

Here is an article on the R.E. Olds Museum in Lansing. While the article lists some interesting information on the early history of Olds, it lacks any information past 1937. Oldsmobile had a good run during the muscle car era, then became a watered down version of what it was, becoming "Your fathers Oldsmobile," regardless of their marketing attempts to say otherwise. Hopefully I'll be able to visit this museum at some point, and give my firsthand perspective of the museum and it's collection.

Lansing Museum offers look at R.E. Olds' auto roots

R.E. Olds Museum

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Man reunited with Camaro stolen 27 years ago!

This story is simply amazing! 27 years had passed, and finally, the owner was reunited with his lon, lost Camaro. The fact it was in a backyard parked for 15 years makes me wonder what kind of shape the car is in though.

Man reunited with Camaro stolen 27 year ago

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Daddy's little princess

It would be an injustice not to mention our newborn baby. On 11/29/2010 our baby girl was brought into this world, weighing in at 7 lbs 10 oz, measuring 20.5 inches long. I suppose you can now place me among the proud parents who will talk on and on about their child, often boring those who don't have kids yet.

I had heard about the bond, but it truly is undescribable. The first time you hold your baby in your arms, it's instantaneous! They look into your eyes, you look into theirs, and there is a connection that is more powerful than anything in the world.

So, I have a baby girl...and I couldn't be happier! She'll be with me in the garage just as much as a little boy would, she'll know just as much about cars as a little boy would. And someday, she will likely help get her future little brother up to speed on how to restore a car, how to stage a Jr Dragster, and how to tell the difference between a small block and a big block, regardless of make. Not to mention, a Panther Pink Hemi Cuda is bad to the bone, but would also be quite fitting for a girlie girl in my opinion. :)

2013 Dodge Viper looks to strike again

This comes as somewhat of a surprise to me. I honestly figured when the Viper was killed, that was it, the Challenger would become the new halo vehicle for Chrysler with a limited/special edition model putting it on the same level as the Viper vacated.

Thankfully, the Viper will be resurrected in 2012 as a 2013 model. The car is said to be completely new, and that may even include a new engine. I've heard that for the first time, the Viper may be powered by a 6.4 liter V8, though have also heard that the V10 is still being considered. Personally, I never really liked the sound of the V10. In my opinion, it lacked the deep throaty power of a V8, sounding more along the lines of perhaps an Indy car. Regardless of which engine Dodge puts between the fenders, there is little doubt that it will be a car that once again will be neck and neck with not only the Chevy Corvette, but also among the best cars in the world.

Chrysler to resurrect Viper

2012 Camaro Z28 gets green light

The much anticipated, hardly secret, 2012 Camaro Z28 has unofficially been officially announce that it will go into production in 2011. Why Chevrolet has kept the lid on this one, and continues to do so, is beyond me. What's the big secret? It will be interesting to see just how far Chevy boosts the power of this one, as the lighter, more nimble Mustang already has the edge with their Shelby version. I'm guessing it'll be close to 600 hp, and likely the quickest factory Camaro to ever come off the line. Long live the muscle car!

2012 Camaro Z28 gets big push from Chevrolet

Vinsetta Garage closes up shop

Sadly, one of the coolest vintage automotive shops I know of is closing up shop. While I'll admit, I never stopped into Vinsetta Garage, nor did I know much about it's history until reading about it's closing in the paper, I had a pretty good understanding of what type of place it was.

Driving by while cruising up Woodward, this shop stood out amongst all other businesses. This shop transported one to an era long before I was ever born. Little did I realize, that history dates back to 1919! Not once did I pass by and not see numerous vintage steel parked out front and in their storage lot, awaiting repair, tune-up, and even complete restoration.

Perhaps partially victim of the economy, the owner stated they have recently been doing more work on new cars than old. The loss of the owner's wife also seems to have played a major part in his decision to change his path in life.

Decorated with neon signs, vintage (likely original) gas pumps, and old world charm, cruising Woodward will lose a little bit of it's charm without the Vinsetta Garage. R.I.P. Vinsetta.

Historic Vinsetta Garage Closes

Vinsetta Garage

Monday, November 29, 2010

Little Gearhead

Today, I sit in the hospital awaiting the arrival of my first born child. It all started last night as I arrived home from work. Shortly after, my wife comes into the kitchen to announce "My pants are all wet," which was a sure tell sign that her water broke. Like a racer in the staging lanes, we both put on our game faces and got down to business. We packed our "to go" bag in record time, then proceeded to leave the pillows and pair of slippers behind. Hey, considering everything we remembered, I don't think we did too bad.

We arrived at the hospital around 00:30 hrs, and here it is 12 hrs later, still waiting. As a first time father, I can't even begin to describe the anticipation. While I publicly declare I want a boy, truth be told, I'd be just as estatic to discover it's a girl.

So what does this have to do with automotive enthusiasm? It's a passing of the torch, or perhaps sharing of the torch, or even the thought of teaching a little person how to build the torch, fuel the torch, ignite the torch, and how that torch can fullfill that burning desire, that need for speed.

Car restoration, automotive racing, and car shows are all something in which one can share with a child at any age. I have a deep desire to not only race my Camaro, but continue my quest to save other cars, and preserve America's automotive history. I am blessed with the skills and passion to pass along to my child and future children. I often think back to the picture my dad took of me on his 1973 Dodge Charger SE, I wonder if it was that car that instilled the passion in me to this day...long after dad let that one get away. Hopefully, any car I take a picture of with my little tikes on, I won't let get away.

Until next time, when we'll be ridin' 3 deep!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Classic Car Club of America Museum

Located on the same ground as the Gilmore Museum, I just discovered another car museum in Michigan, The Classic Car Club of America Museum. I'm thinking in the coming years, a few road trips with our soon to be born child are in order to some car museums in the great state of Michigan.

The Classic Car Club of America Museum

Ford Model A Museum Planned

The Free Press ran an article a few days ago announcing that the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan will be expanding it's museum to include a portion designated to the Ford Model A.

Ford Model A Museum Planned

The Gilmore Car Museum

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

1987 Chevy Caprice with 6.0 from an Escalade

Now these guys got it right! Sounds mean, runs fast, and is about what I'd build.

1980's Chevy Caprice

My infatuation with the 1980's Chevy Caprice continues. I can't really put a finger upon what it is, but I can tell you what it isn't. It isn't the ugly ass, butchered up Caprices I see rolling through the hood. With their Lambo doors, bright colors, and stupid ass 24" rims and 4x4 stance. They really aren't that great of a looking car, but there is just something about them that grows on me. I like the menacing wide 80's style grill, and the tail lights just seemed right during an era when so many were wrong. The interiors were you typical 80's flare, nothing to right home about. Nor were the engines under the hood, which were usually underpowered 305's.

With all that is wrong, I still envision the potential they have everytime I see one. While I don't have a concrete game plan in my head, the jist of it would be:

Lowered, though not dragging in the weeds.
Nice set of rims and tires, in the 17-18" ballpark.
Removal of most of the chrome/stainless crap, aside from the bumpers.
Lastly, a solid powertrain consisting of either a big block chevy, or possibly of the LS series of engines. Maybe even a 6 speed tossed in for good measure.

I just feel that so many of these cars get the hack job treatment, and you seldom see one "done right" in my opinion. How about even a Pro Street or Pro Touring example? Recently I saw such an example, but it was the first one to date in my memory.

Here is a shining example, though I don't dig the 50's theme and pinstrips, the flat black I could live with...though the hood scoop ruins it for me. Still, this one is a lot closer to what I'm thinking than most examples on the road.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392

Photo courtesy of Chrysler

Dodge just announced plans to build a limited edition, 1,492 to be exact, Dodge Challenger SRT8 sporting a 392 Hemi. The new power plant will bump horsepower up to 470 horse and 470 ft/lbs of torque. What is interesting is that while this is higher than both the base V8 Camaro, with 426 hp, and the Mustang's new 5.0 with 412 hp, it is still less than Ford and Chevy's Premium models, with the Ford boosting 550 hp, and the upcoming Z28, which will be in the 550+ hp range as well.

While Chevy's Z28 appears to be in the works, it has yet to materialize, while Ford has been cleaning house with it's king stallion. Considering the new 392 is only 45 hp more than the current SRT8, I'm sure the straight line performance increases will be minimal. I expect that once the Z28 comes to light, Mopar will have it's own answer in the form of either a bigger hemi, or in the form of a V10. Personally, I never much cared for the sound of the V10, and would prefer either a larger hemi, or perhaps a forced induction variation to join the likes of the force fed Camaro and Mustang. Either way, increased performance from ANY of the Big 3 is welcomed with open arms.

2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392

Monday, October 25, 2010

Camaro goes into hibernation

This passed Thursday I took the Camaro down to my parents to store for the winter. I'd be lying if I said I was confident that the trip would be trouble free. I kept my fingers crossed the whole way with a watchful eye on my gauges as well. I'm happy to say that the trip went smooth as could be. The night before I had decided it would be a good idea to top off the tank, since my odometer read 20 miles, I figured it was probably down a good 4-5 gallons. I was a bit shocked when it took 8.5 gallons to fill the tank. That worked out to a little less than 2.5 mpg! This trip could be more expensive than planned. I kept telling myself that was CITY driving, and more than a few stomps of the pedal mixed in there, so I anticipated a few extra mpg on the highway.

To play it safe, I stopped a little passed the halfway point of the trip, and was happy to see the car getting 6 mpg on the highway. Hardly something to write home about, but a lot more in the ballpark of what I expected this build would be. I have plenty in store for next year, as the list of things to do is plenty long, though I'm guessing it's pretty likely the Camaro progress may take a back seat to our 1st child, and rightfully so.

That said, I do need to shore up a few priority items before kiddo can go cruising with us. First and foremost, I need to quiet the ride down inside the car. This will be accomplished by running tailpipes passed the axle, as opposed to turn downs in front of the axle like I have. Next, some high quality sound deadener and carpet should make the ride much more enjoyable. After that, I need to up my charging system, as I'm pretty sure I have around a 60 amp alternator, of which my 4 electric fans take every bit of when they kick on. Seems my voltmeter was probably reading correctly all along. There are other items on my list, of which I may or may not get to next season, so let's move on to yesterday's cruising.

We had our second (and final) baby shower for our baby on the way. This shower was down in my hometown where I grew up, and the same place I was storing my Camaro. Naturally, after opening all of the baby gifts, Camaro rides were lined up. My brother-in-law had yet to see or ride in the car, so after warming the car up, we hit the country roads. Since I was about to put the car away for the winter, and any breakdowns are much easier to deal with in a country environment, I stretched her legs out more than I had before. After a few launches along with a country cruise, I strategically possitioned the car on the road in front of my parents' house. While holding the brakes, I punched the throttle, then let off the brakes and accomplished a good 100 yd burnout that didn't stop until I said so! This car is such a beast it's simply undescribably.

Later that night, after most had left for home, I took the car out for one last drive...just to see what she could do. Man, does she not only pin you back in the seat, that speedometer climbs like crazy. As I approached my parents, I wanted to try out one more thing. I ratcheted down to low two while going about 55-60 mph, let the car adjust, then punched the throttle. As I expected, she roasted the tires with ease! As I pulled into the drive, the engine started sputtering, stalled, then refused to start. Along my wide open test through three gears I had experienced the same delimna a few mintutes prior. Seems that it's more rich that need be, and under hard acceleration, she floods out. Prior to leaving, I fired the engine back up and it idled/ran fine, so it seems that some more tuning will be needed come next season. Ideally, I'll put a new intake and new Demon carb on which allows for greater tunability.

Though I have a ways to go before the car will be track ready, it really was nice to finally be able to enjoy the car. I also think it will eventually prove to be the motivation my dad needs to get back started on the Challenger I sold him. My game plan for him has changed slightly, mostly powertrain-wise. I'll cut and paste my tentative plan for that car as well as my thoughts/reasons in the near future. Till then, take care,


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Final Tune

The last few days I gave the car a final tune, in preparation of the trip down to Adrian for winter storage at the parents. I had talked to my machine shop shortly after the engine was done, as I had misplaced my cam card and wanted to know the valve lash. I was told it was around .028-.030. Soon after, I found the cam card, which called for valve lash of .016 on the intake and .018 on the exhaust, a huge difference! I was sure that the loose lash was what was causing not only my valvetrain noise, but also my idle problems. The car has been occasionally backfiring at idle. I'd tried everything, yet just couldn't seem to tune it out through the carb.

After going through and resetting the lash to the proper spec, I found the valvetrain to be significantly quieter and my idle issues were resolved. I also took the opportunity to go up a couple of jet sizes both front and rear. After reading an article that was in Popular Hotrodding I am convinced that my engine problem would like more fuel. I was right, as the extra fuel seemed to also fix the occasional hesitation mashing the throttle.

I took the car for a spin after that tune the other day. First thing I noticed was the car started much easier. After the car started though, things still seemed to be kinda rough. With my recent hard starts I thought that perhaps I fouled the plugs a bit and maybe they just needed burned off a bit. After getting the engine up to temp I took a blast down the Lodge, and things seemed to be cleared up.

Today I swapped on a new powersteering hose, complete with two clamps on each end, which seems to have stopped my leak. I am concerned about the life span of my powersteering box, as one of the header tubes basically sits on the box, which can't be good for it. I thought about a cooler the other day, but I don't even think that would be sufficient. I'm gonna have to come up with a fix in the future. I also added a few extra grounds to the body, which seems to have fix my slow cranking problem. My fuel and voltmeter still seem to be having major issues, which I believe is due to a poor ground for the gauges. Is what it is, I'll have to fix that some other time.

I plan on driving the car to Adrian next week, and think it should take the trip just fine. The cooling seems sufficient, the carb is damn close, and valvetrain is much tighter now. The thing runs like an animal! Part of me will be sad to park it for the year, and the other part of me will be glad to be able to park my Formula back in the garage again. There are some things I'd like to fix on it before winter rolls around, and measures that should be taken to hault this expanding body rust, as well as salvage the floor pans before their any further deteriorated.

I still hope to get some more pictures uploaded soon, as well as a video or two. Then, come winter, so comes baby! I can't say enough how excited I am to have a little person coming into this world. Boy or girl, I can't wait to have that little buddy, nor can't I wait for the day we can due a father/son or father/daughter car, and have that car ready for when they get their license. While many look at having kids as a time when hot rodders have to give up their toys, stop future projects, etc, I see just the opposite. I see opportunity to raise a child enjoying trips to car shows, cruises, and nights at the track. I also see opportunity for future car projects, out of necessity. :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Car Jumpin'

I ran across these videos on youtube the other day. While I made more than a few "jumps" with friends and their cars back in the day, and even a few minor jumps in my car where all four wheels barely left the ground, nothing we did even came close to these videos. These are amazing!

1990 Buick Centrury High Speed Jump (no embedded code for this video)

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

1970 Challenger (with mods) versus 2010 Challenger SRT8

I'm gonna have to agree with this guy, I gotta go with the 1970 Challenger. Now that my Camaro is back on the road, my desire, or should I say "gotta have it" attitude towards the new 2010 Camaro is starting to fade. Sure, it's a completely refined car all around with all the latest creature comforts. Yet ya know what? I like it crude and rude.

Today, I had a few minutes to take my ol' girl for a drive. Dad was up helping on the house and I wanted to take him for a short spin up to the gas station and around town. She was stubburn, backfired through the carb, even caught fire under the hood a few times, and was very reluctant to fire up. Even when she did, the tune seems to be off, as she had hesitations and grumbles while on our ride. I gave the manual brakes their first real test today, and was surprised how little pressure it takes to lock up the brakes.

Yeah, she's loud, irritable, and waaaay over powered. The car even still has a power steering leak, and yet through it all, I can keep on smiling with every head she turns. As cool as the new Camaros are, they can't hold a candle to the real deal. I may still get a new Camaro a few years down the road, as a daily driver. While it would be enjoyable I'm sure, the thrill factor would be uncomparable to sliding behind the wheel of the lighter/faster classic Detroit Iron. I'll take mine medium rare, thank you very much.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Just In Time For Storage

Hard to believe fall is already upon us. Even harder to believe that our first born will be here in about 2 months! Though my Camaro has been back on the road for about a month and a half, I really haven't had a chance to enjoy it the way I expected. With baby on the way, house work took presidence once the car was on the road. Though I have enjoyed more than a few 30-45 minute cruises around downtown Detroit, I have yet to hit a cruise night or car show, other than the Woodward Dream Cruise.

That's fine though, as I'm simply happy to have the car back on the road. There is still plenty to do, and only time will tell whether me and new baby will find time and ability to finish up the Car come next summer. Ideally, I'd really love to finish up what needs to be done, and be able to at least make it to the track a few times next season. The biggest thing I need is either a reinforced rear end or a Ford 9 inch. I've gone back and forth as many times as I did over the last decade trying to decide what engine to build. From an economical stand point, as well as efficiency, the Chevy 12 bolt gets the nod. A recent drag racer I met is running low 9's/high 8's on a slightly beefed up 12 bolt, has been for years, and never had a problem. The 9 on the other hand is a nearly industructable design, and also offers the opportunity to quickly swap out high revvin' 4.10's to a better highway gear.

Aside from the rear, some interior finishing touches are needed such as dash, sound deadener, carpet, headliner, etc. A stereo of some sort would be nice as well, as the engine note sounds nice, but it inevitably gives you a headache after a short while.

I'll try and at least get a few more videos, as well as some nice pictures of my completed (CLOSE to completed) project in the near future. I hope to drive the car back down to my parents' house 1.5 hours away over the next week or two. Last week a 45 minute cruise rewarded me them engine temps deadlocked at 190 degrees, and that was with a 195 degree thermost, so I think I have both the carb tuned, and the question answered, "Will this engine still be streetable?"

On that note, I'll leave you with a Big Block Shoot Out I found in Popular Hot Rodding on a very similiar Big Block Chevy. Their final numbers were 657 hp, and my engine pushed the envelope a bit further with bigger cam and better heads.

Big Block Shoot Out

Friday, September 17, 2010

Powervalves and PCV Valves

My car was running pretty decent after bumping the timing back, rebuilding the carb, and swapping jets. Yet it still seemed to be running rich, burning the hell outta my eyes and leaving me smelling like I'd been pumping gas all day after just a short ride. Obviously, something wasn't quite right, and I had a couple of thoughts.

First off, to try and combat some of the fumes, I finally installed a PCV valve. I've seen more people out there running a breather in each valve cover than I have somebody running a PCV valve. Honestly, I think we all assumed the same thing, that the PCV was some sort of emissions equipment that had no place on a street/strip car. Well, come to find out, that's not the purpose of a PCV valve. I knew what a PCV was, it was Positive Crankcase Ventilation valve. I also knew that it operated off of the engine vacuum. What I didn't realize was that running two breathers simply allowed the crankcase pressure to vent, and no matter how good the valve cover baffle, that venting including an oil mist that covered the valve covers, which then ran down to the headers, and added to my engine bay fumes that make cruising somewhat unenjoyable. I went with a PCV valve for a 1970 Chevelle 454, since I figure the pentical of horsepower would be my best bet for my engine.

Next up was why my car was running so damn rich that it burned my eyes. I wasn't exactly sure how a powervalve worked, other than it added fuel during wide open throttle. After checking around online, then taking a vacuum measurement, I had my rich idle condition figured out. My carb was equipped with 6.5 powervalves, and my vacuum was 5 inches, which meant from idle through my powerband my powervalves were dumping fuel in the engine.

A call to Barry Grant's Tech line helped me get in the ballpark regarding which powervalve I needed. They recommended either a 2.5 or 3.5, and stated really it's a trial an error science. After checking my engine vacuum again at idle, this time with the car in drive as suggested by the Tech guy, I rolled the dice and went with the 2.5. My idle vacuum is about 5 inches, and most people seem to suggest dividing your vacuum number in half to determine your powervalve you need. Perhaps this is because there are two powervalves in the carb and the vacuum is divided between them, I'm not sure.

I fired up the engine after swapping in the new powervalves and was rewarded with popping through the carb, which was a sign of a lean condition. After some adjustments, now the engine was backfiring through the exhaust, signaling a lean condition. I need to use the vacuum gauge and an extra set of eyes/hands to get it fine tuned, but it's tons better than before! I took a ride for a bit and was rewarded with a much more pleasant ride. The fumes seemed to be non-existant, acceleration was even better, and throttle response was much more instantaneous! Who says a cam this big of a cam feel "bulky" on the street? This damn thing is a rocket ship with a quick blip of the throttle. Bulky ain't even in my vocabulary.

The car still isn't tuned in perfect, but are they ever? It's tuned in better than it's ever been, and now that I know a thing or two about tuning it, idle and streetability will only get better. Sadly, the car will likely return to my parents' for winter storage in a month or so, but I'll be ready to kick off the cruisin'/car show season as soon as spring is sprung!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dave seems like one cool dude.

I was scanning through youtube videos and ran across this guy named Dave, who happens to own a 930 hp 69 Camaro. Dave and I would get along just fine I think. This is just one of many videos he has on youtube.

Dave's massive burnout

Thursday, September 09, 2010

New Plugs, Wires, and a Carb Rebuild.

I replaced the plugs and wires a few days ago, which work out much better than my previous wires, though still not perfect. While my clearance issue between the plug/wire and the primary header tube on the passenger side, the 90 degree wires aren't the best fit for the other 7 plugs. They'll work, though I hope the header flange doesn't cook any of the wires. I suppose ideally I need a 90 degree boot for my trouble plug, and the 135 degree wires for the other 7. The Accel plugs didn't appear as short as I had expected, though once installed, gained much more clearance than I anticipated. That being said, I still can't remove or install the plug without removing the passenger side header.

Yesterday I tackled the carb rebuild, which was actually MUCH easier than the intimidating bag of parts and gaskets had initially posed. As for the instructions Barry Grant sent with the rebuild kit, it sort of sucked in my opinion. Now I realize that kits are fairly universal and all, but a nice diagram, or even a list of parts that WILL be used for each individual carb would be nice. Some parts I didn't use because they obviously were for another model. Others I didn't use because there were only enough to do half of the carb, such as the accelerator pump spring and the brass needle atop the carb for the squirter/nozzles. I got the mission accomplished, I just felt a little more effort could have been made with the instructions.

I slapped the carb on and attempted to fire the engine up just prior to going to work yesterday. The engine fire, then stalled, never to fire up again. I pulled the air cleaner and discovered fuel being pumped out the vent tubes when I turned it over and gas leaking all over the intake. I was left wondering if I forgot a gasket, assembled something wrong, or perhaps installed the brass needle mentioned above upside down. With no time to trouble shoot the issue, I got ready for work and did a quick google. It seemed as though it was a float issue.

Today, I ventured out to the garage and immediately adjusted both floats lower. I was rewarded with an instant fire up, sputter, and stall. The stall was due to the idle screw being adjusted way to low. I gave the screw a couple of turns, fired it up, and she purred like a kitten....hmmm...or perhaps "roared like a lion" would be a better description. I checked for leaks, all looked well, and prepared for a drive.

The road test went well, as the car seems much better with a fresh tune. I still need to double check the timing, as I think it may be a tad bit high still, perhaps in the 36 degree range, when I'd like it in the 32-33 degree range. My last issue I believe is still a ground issue. A few days ago I attempted the start the car and it seemed dead. Then, after throwing some jumper cables on and turning the car over, the voltage seemed fine. Now I KNOW you can't charge a battery showing 5 volts up to 12 volts with a 20 second jump start. I'm thinking a ground wire running all the way from the battery in the trunk to the engine block will solve all my issues. I may add a couple more ground straps, as extras, between body, frame, and engine just for good measure. My voltmeter jumps all over the place from time to time, leading me to believe there is definately a ground issue going on somewhere.

I was really hoping to hit some cruise nights his season, yet they seem to be winding to a close. I checked on Baker's of Milford only to discover that their end of the year cruise happened last weekend. I know there has to be a good number that will be going through October, and I hope to hit one or two. That being said, simply having the car back on the road would have been plenty of reward for this season. Next year, after getting a 5 point baby racing seat, the Chesher family will be riding 3 deep! :)

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Craig's List Deals of the Day

Reading the Craigs List cars for sale, I came across a few killer deals.

First, a 1969 Firebird for $1,200. Yeah, it's just a shell, but since you can buy pretty much every part for these cars, it would give somebody looking to do a full frame up restoration a good starting point.

1969 Firebird 400

The next deal doesn't have a listed price, so how can it be a deal? Well, let's just say I have a soft spot for these old, square, big bodied Caprices. I have no desire to paint it loud colors and go ridin' on 24's either. Lowered, some nice 17-18 in rims, suspension upgrade, and updated motor and I think you'd have one sweet ride. Whatever the cost, a senior citizen car that is unmolested with just 12,000 miles is every gearheads dream car.

1989 Chevrolet Caprice

Here is a car that needs an engine, but if the car is solid and interior is decent, for $1,150 it would be a great car to transplant an LS engine into. Your money would basically be all tied up in the new powertrain, as you'd have a car for a song and dance, and have the luxury of paying V6 insurance.

1996 Camaro RS

Monday, August 30, 2010

Onondaga Dragway to Reopen

I called a friend whom I hadn't talked to for a few years while walking around Woodward's Cruise this year. During our conversation I was informed of a long closed dragstrip that was going to reopen. Located near Jackson, MI, the track closed about 25 years ago. In the dragracing hobby, it is almost unheard for tracks to REopen. All too often the story is of dragstrips closing, and the reason often being that urban sprawl creeped into the once desolate areas where these races took places.

Onondaga will continue to be an 1/8 mile track, and looking at the progress, seems that it will be ready for the 2011 season. I will try my best to make it to the track next season, and if not ready to race yet, then to at least take some pictures and take in a rare piece of history.

Dragzine: The New Onondaga Dragway Begins Construction

Current Progress at the Track

Water Winter Wonderland Coverage

Local Racing/Race Tracks

Ran across a website that allows you to search out local tracks and racing, check it out.

Racing In

Sunday, August 29, 2010

NMCA - Milan, Michigan

Just got back from the NMCA racing series at Milan, MI. I'll admit, I really enjoyed this racing series back in the day. When I say back in the day, I'm referring to a period when the cars still looked like cars. When Tony Christian, Spiro Pappas, and Pat Musi (spelling probably off on all) were the big racers. A time when the cars ran mostly in the 8's, perhaps even touching the 7's, and yanked the wheels like nobody's business.

Fast forward to NMCA 2010: It ain't like it use to be. The fast cars were fast, no doubt about it! We saw the record broke today with a 232 mph pass. I'll give them mad props for the times/mph they are laying down, but a lot was lost along the way. Majority of the cars are of the NHRA prostock bland flavor. One was a Chevy Cobalt, another a Dodge Stratus, they simply lost their character along the way, and while their horsepower is higher than ever, I was looking forward to the other classes of racing that took place.

I'm not up to speed on the class make up of NMCA, other than it all appeared to be heads up, with your normal weekend Milan bracket racing thrown in the mix. For me, the most exciting racing we watched were the heads up cars running mid 9's to mid 10's. Most of these cars lacked wheelie bars, and most of these cars were yanking the front ends off the ground upon launch. I'm not the type of fan that needs to see a bumper dragging launch to garner my attention, though two wheels a foot or two off the ground along with a hard launch will catch my attention. These cars also resembled street cars, and had the look and feel of my Camaro.

I built my Camaro to run mid to low 10's on the engine, and after talking with a few racers, I should be a solid mid 10's car. On the NOS, one racer informed me that I'll likely get into the low 9 second, possibly high 8 second range. Watching the races for several hours today, I am pretty sure that I'm going to be very happy with this build. I'm also quite sure that I'll be satisfied with my 1/4 mile pass, and finally admit to myself, enough is enough. 9 and 10 second 1/4 mile times are damn fast, and from what I saw today, in order to go faster than that is to venture into a territory I don't care to go. One, because I have no desire to spend the type of money needed to be competitive in that category. Secondly, I feel that what the crowds wanted to see most were the 9-10 second cars that looked like cars. The fastest cars of the day didn't garner much interest, nor did the 7 and 8 second rail dragsters. The 9-10 second cars are the cream of the crop, and that's exactly where I wanna be. I can't wait to go racing!

Here are some of the pictures from today's races, along with a link to more.

2010 NMCA Racing at Milan Dragway

Thursday, August 26, 2010

NMCA Drag Racing at Milan Dragway

While at the Woodward Dream Cruise last weekend, promoters were handing out free tickets to Milan Dragway for this weekend. I didn't think much of it until I was in the garage today listening to the radio. That's when I realized that this weekend the NMCA (National Muscle Car Association) come to Milan Dragway. We're talking 6 second/200+ mph street cars! We have a wedding to attend on Saturday in Adrian, MI, but will be back and heading to Milan on Sunday. They are even offering free spectator tickets online. I have a neighbor who said just the other day "I guess I'll have to go watch a drag race some day, as I really don't understand what the appeal is." Well, I offered up two of the tickets I had to him and his wife, and perhaps I'll give him a ride around the block in the Camaro, to lay the ground work. This will be some good racing, check it out!

NMCA Drag Racing

Milan Dragway

Saturday, August 21, 2010

2010 Woodward Dream Cruise - Day 2 Finale

What can I say, Woodward's Dream Cruise never disappoints! For 15 of the 16 years it's existed, I've been there. Though the rules have changed a bit, along with venue and enforcement of the law, it's still a thriving event in which weather can't even keep people away from. For about half the day we battled drizzle and occasional light rain, though the lots were still filled and the cars were still rolling. By mid day, the rain had ceased and the sun came out, and before you knew it Woodward was bumper to bumper with congestion.

I've been into cars now over half of my life, so there isn't much out there anymore that really blows my mind. Nowadays, I just sit back and enjoy what's in front of me...and take tons of pictures! While there was a time when powertrain and presentation caught my eye, now it's simply how nice the car is. I like a loud race car thumpin' muscle car just as much as the next gearhead, but a nice paint job and set of wheels really set a car apart from the pack. For me, the craziest thing I saw this year was the guy cruising around on his bike with 2-3 Chiuauahas in a handle bar basket....all wearing a set of strap on racing goggles. I cracked up both times, though was unable to get my camera ready in time.

By Woodward 2011 I'll have the car tightened up a bit, have the tuning down, insulation in, carpet, some tunes, and a baby in tow as well. I'm sure come next year I'll venture out of my parking spot and into the madness. I just wasn't ready to roll the dice with my current setup and hope some catastrophic failure didn't occur. So, until next year, enjoy the pictures below, and don't forget to click the link to enjoy Woodward in all of her Fury!

Finally, back on the road.

2010 Woodward Dream Cruise: Final Day

Friday, August 20, 2010

2010 Woodward Dream Cruise

Just got back from my first night at the 2010 Woodward Dream Cruise. All I can say is "Damn, does it feel good to be part of the scene again."

2010 Woodward Dream Cruise - Day 1

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

On the Road Again

Just a quick update, as little gremlins have been battling me left and right since my last update. My biggest headache has been the power steering hose (pressure side) which set me back. After that problem was solved, by me bending up my own hard line, then I lost power. The car had cranked over just fine, and as all the electrical was getting finished up, all of the sudden I lost everything. Come to find out, all it was was a ground issue. I was skeptical that was what it was, picked up 4 ground cables today, and ended up using three of them. The problem was solved until the last cable, ground the frame/body, were in place. Then she fired right up.

The car is actually much more complete than I anticipated, with major thanks to my dad! He has been a trooper, coming up every day for the past 4 or 5 days, and helping with the finishing touches. Aside from carpet and a gauge cluster, my interior is complete! Ok, so I lack a headliner and radio too, but like I said, it's way better than planned.

Today, shortly after dad left, I finished up the last of the wiring. I crossed my fingers, had the wife, aka "tow vehicle" follow, and headed to the gas station. After topping her off, I headed around the block a bit. I came upon a nice 4 lane stretch with nothing around, so I jumped on it a bit. Holy shit does this car get it! I won't be able to make it to the track until time/money allow for a beefed up rear end, and a baby on the way will negate those funds. That being said, I'll totally enjoy FINALLY having my ride back on Woodward this year. It's been way too long, and a part of me has been tucked away on the shelf collecting dust for what seems like an eternity. Stay tuned of pictures, video, and full coverage from Woodward.

Friday, August 13, 2010

She's Alive!

Yesterday, after dropping the distributor in on the COMPRESSION stroke (after dropping it in on the exhaust stroke the day before), she fired right up. Here is a recording of the first start up. Now, for the easy stuff, and preparation for Woodward.

Monday, August 09, 2010

She's got a pulse

Finished up a little more electrical tonight. Now have the front and rear harnesses all done, though need to reroute the wires going to the starter away from the headers. I bumped the engine over once just to make sure all things were a go. I checked out the front and rear lights, which also worked fine. Well, the headlights don't work yet, as I need a couple new lights because the terminals came off with the harness. It was nice to here the engine at least turn over. The ignition is also all wired up. I just need to install the gauges, prime the engine, poor in the coolant, drop in the distributor, and pour some gas in and it should fire up. Probably another day or two. I do have some wires inside the car that broke off at the terminals and need repaired, but nothing some crimp on connectors couldn't fix for the time being.

Stopping Power

With the help from my friend Rod, we got the brakes finished yesterday. One thing I did however, that I'm kicking myself over, was throw out my brake booster a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, it still had the clevis on it that attaches my new master cylinder to my brake pedal. Luckily, a place nearby, in Shelby Twp, stocks the part along with new pin and cotter pin for $10 or so. I went ahead and ordered it online this morning, paying the $7 shipping, figuring that the drive would probably cost about that much any way. This way, I can head back out to the garage today and work on the car instead of chasing parts.

Yesterday I also installed my new composite gear on my distributor, put the trunk latch catch back in place, and got a good portion of the wiring back in place and soldered what needed to be soldered.

I have in service training all week, on days, which worked out great today. During our lunch break I headed to the Autozone around the corner and picked up fluids and electrical connectors needed to finish up some remaining projects.

Rod's Truck.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

2010 Woodward Dream Cruise

The 2010 Woodward Dream Cruise is just around the corner! My car is in the final stages, and I still need a lot of luck and things to go as planned in order for that to happen. Today we'll hopefully finish the brakes, accelerator, and electrical which will mean that theoretically, the car should be running and driving. We'll see how that plan goes. As for Woodward, here is the link to their main site below. My next days off aren't until 19, 20 and 21...which are days intended to actually be cruising Woodward.

2010 Woodward Dream Cruise

Friday, August 06, 2010

Glass installed.

Today I had my dad come up and give a helping hand with the car. I worked on the B&M shifter cable while dad cleaned up the front/rear glass channels. Once cleaned up, I helped install the rope seal, then we set the glass in place. I had to head to court (while dad gratefully polished the stainless trim), and upon my return we installed the front/rear trim. Dad polished up the bumpers, and then headed home.

I worked on the car for a few more hours after dad left. I got the four electric fans installed on the radiator, after sanding the shroud slightly on one fan. I also got the rear seat back installed, after recently removing it to install the seatbelts. Not that there is enough room for an actual person to comfortably fit back there, as they'd have to climb over all the monkey bars to get back there. Still, for display purposes, I thought I'd give the illusion of a functional backseat.

A few days prior I also finished installing the power steering pump brackets and belt as well as running my fuel lines. Fuel system is ready to go! I'm getting down to just the electrical in order to fire this baby up! Sunday, I could very well accomplish that. I suppose I should pick up some anti-freeze, power steering fluid, and brake fluid eh?