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