Saturday, December 31, 2011
For 2012, I hope to resolve a few nagging car issues before the season kicks off. I look forward to a cruise season even better than the last. I hope to have a new intake and carb in place within a few months, and hopefully custom headers and rebuilt transmission as well. If I can mark those items off the list, I think I can start to concentrate on a few of the more minor, creature comforts.
2011 also proved to be my most productive year for blogging. I also added my first personal videos to my blog, and look ahead to many more in 2012. In addition to my own personal projects, perhaps the greatest news is the re-start of my dad's 1970 Challenger. After an initial purchase of a couple thousand in parts, another last minute purchase got all the emblems and a new deck lid, seemingly the only body part that needs replaced. I look forward to watching the Challenger come together, and will be sure to document as much of the project as I can to share. While it's highly doubtful that it will come alive in 2012, we hope to be on the road by 2013 by the start of the cruise season...perhaps even shooting for the 2013 Detroit Autorama!
Stay tuned, as 2012 should prove to be an exciting year!
Monday, December 26, 2011
Let me start by wishing everybody a Merry Christmas and hope all my readers have a safe and happy holiday season. This Christmas I supplied the wife with a handful of options on my wish list, all of which were tools of course.
What Santa delivered was at the top of my wish list, a Craftsman Professional 1/2" composite impact wrench. This baby packs 725 ft/lbs of torque, and should be able to bust loose even the most stubborn of nuts and bolts. I had been leaning towards an Ingersoll Rand impact for years, though couldn't beat the price and torque rating of the Craftsman. While I own almost exclusively all Craftsman hand tools, I haven't been a big fan of their power tools in the past, but have had good experiences as of recent, and hope the trend continues. That said, my Milwaukee circular saw I got from my in-laws is the Cadillac of saws, no question about it!
In addition, the wife picked up an LED trouble light, which I was greatly in need of. I can't believe how long I've been getting by without one after my last trouble light took a shit. I'm anxious to get out to the garage and try both out, but instead am taking care of my sick baby girl and wife who managed to pick up a case of the stomach flu. Holiday season wouldn't be complete without a little virus to go around eh?
Friday, December 16, 2011
1986 Chevy Scottsdale Show Truck - $10000 (Ypsilanti)
I won this truck in a raffle, which means I don't know much about it! Appraised @ $29,500. It has a 350 w/Aluminum Holly Heads, Edelbrok Highrise Intake w/Holly 4 barrel. Asking $10,000 because of appraisal, price is negotiable! Please only call if interested will try to answer any questions you may have. Thanks for looking call Scott @ (734)929-8672 please do not reply with e-mail unless your sending a phone #. I listed this as a favor, the owner of the truck does not reply to e-mails! Thanks again! This is a SHOW TRUCK not a drive around town truck!!
- Location: Ypsilanti
- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Monday, December 12, 2011
We started with the obvious, removing all the accessories, hoses, and anything else that needed disconnected. We discovered the usual multiple washers used as spacers here and there, though have to say that I was somewhat surprised to find pieces of copper pipe used where a larger spacer was needed. Copper being the soft metal that it is probably isn't the best choice for a spacer.
Those are actually charger seats, came in the car. I think we'll likely go with a more modern/more comfortable style seat for the fronts.
My dad's tool collection, as it stands, leaves a lot to be desired. I bought him a Craftsman set of metric wrenches for Christmas or birthday a few years ago, but it's down hill from there, and metric wrenches would be of little use on this project. The standard wrenches he had weren't shorty wrenches, but they were far short of full size, and gave up much in terms of leverage. Hey, I didn't build my collection of tools over night, and I also learned the hard way that cheap/Chinese made ratchets and sockets aren't going to last more than a few uses. That said, we made due with what we had, and improvised when needed.
My biggest concern was removing the exhaust from the manifolds. My dad just purchased a quality Craftsman Professional 60 gallon air compressor, though hadn't removed it from the crate, installed the cord, and bought a hose. Not to mention, he lacked air tools and I didn't bother bringing mine. That's ok, as I quickly concluded a Milwaukee Sawzall would prove quicker and easier any way, and since we weren't reusing the exhaust, the smarter play. One other small obstacle was the mounting pad for the shifter mechanism on the side of the transmission. The attaching bolts were larger than your typical allen head, and my suspicions were correct, a few sizes bigger than what our tool box had. As an alternative, I simply removed the transmission crossmember, which will be replaced by a new one for the 5 speed any way.
With the accessories, driveshaft, exhaust, and lines/hoses removed, we were ready to remove the engine. I must admit, this engine slid out WAY easier than my Camaro engine, which fights us every step of the way, and makes for a very difficult 1 man job lining up the bolt holes. By comparison, I'm predicting we'll be able to drop a new engine into place upon first attempt.
Dad is sold on going the crate engine route, and upsizing from 383 cubic inches. After some searching, I found a place in Lansing, MI specializing in just what we were looking for, Mopar stroker motors! I'm thinking a stroked low deck, which to the eye will look like the 383 we pulled, all while sporting an extra 120 or so extra cubes. Backed up by a 5 speed and either the 3.23 gear in it, or something slightly better, like a 3.55 or 3.73, this car will have gobs of power, and be fun to drive down the highway.
Friday, December 09, 2011
All too often car makers seem to bring back names, hoping to build upon a known tradition, when a car shares little with it's heritage. Just to name a few, Ford's 500, Chevy's Monte Carlo, Chevy's Impala (not the 1991-1996, which lived up to the reputation in my opinion), and a few others that slip my mind. While the Dodge Charger has a couple extra doors, I think it has represented the Charger lineage well, especially in a market that overwhelmingly prefers 4 doors, to my dismay. I think automakers just need to put a little more thought into naming a vehicle before slapping them on undeserving cars. Remember the Charger of the 1980's? Enough said.
Motor Authority: 2013 Dodge Dar to Return 40 mpg, offer 9 speed auto
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Press Preview - January 9-10, 2012
Industry Preview - January 11-12, 2012
Charity Preview - January 13, 2012
Public Show - January 14-22, 2012
2012 North American International Auto Show (Official Web Site)
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Overall, for a car with 150,000 miles and 23 years aged, she looks pretty good. Even better from 10 feet away. Being from Michigan however, and seeing year round driving over the nearly 8 years I've owned it, the salt has left it's mark. I took some time to give the interior a good vacuum and wipe down after taking it through a car wash. I even took some wheel cleaner to the wheels and tire foam to blacken the wheels. It's the best she's looked in a very long time, but the rust and the puddle on my seat from when it rains reminds me, the end is near, and a new beginning is well deserved. Below are some pictures I took, detailing the numerous areas of concern.
The infamous paint peel, thanks to 1980's quality combined with EPA requirements that changed paint standards often.
The worst of the worst. The bottom of the driver side door is getting bad, perhaps to the point where I'll look for a replacement instead of fixing what's left. You can see the rust on the front wheel well, as well as the belt line of the door from slight rubbing.
The tail ain't too bad, as I've polished the lenses once or twice. The front and rear black bumpers are in good condition as well. While many detest the bumpers, I've always kinda liked them.
The rust you see here is only the beginning. The tops of the rear inner wheel wells are gone. When I say gone, I mean the metal has actually rusted away from the should belt anchors, leaving them unattached. It also allows water to obviously enter the car, under the interior panels. I almost removed the panels to assess the damage, but decided at this time I'd rather not know.
The rear spoiler has been trashed since I got the car, and has only got worse. Thankfully, they make a fiberglass replacement for the rubber wing.
As you can see, the passenger side door isn't anywhere near as bad as the other side. The rusted dent you may recall is from battle with a shopping cart. The damage to the fender below was much worse.
The inner wheel well on this side is gone as well. I have figured that it'll simply give me a reason to either stretch the wheel wells, or go with a mini-tub to fit some 315 or 325's on the back. While I'm sure my Pontiac will some day find it's way to the drag strip, I'm much more anxious to take it around some cones, a road course, or even more so, the salt flats, pony express, and top speed challenges.
The interior, I have to say, still looks pretty damn good! The front seats have a few minor tears, as does the top of the rear seat. But considering the number of years and wear and tear the car has been through, she's held up well over the years.
Both door panels even still look like new. I can't say the same for the weather stripping, which has been letting an increasing amount of water in.
Visible V8 @ 7,000 RPM's
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Could this be the last hoorah? With higher mpg requirements in coming years, such cars may only live on in a low production basis, making them hot commodities amongst enthusiasts. Hopefully Chevy is paying attention, and their new Camaro in a few years will go on a strict diet making it more competitive. Also, let's not forget Fiat owns Chrysler, as well as Ferrari, and I'm a bit surprised they've sat back this long without making a serious attempt at bumping up power to run with the big dogs. Their 470 hp SRT8 is enough to compete with the base model Mustang and Camaro, but still not enough to run with the best Chevrolet and Ford have to offer. I would be shocked if they don't have a few cards up their sleeve.
Here is the official press release from Ford:
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 15, 2011 - The ultimate Ford Mustang - Shelby GT500 - raises the bar high on performance with the introduction of the new 2013 model that goes on sale next year delivering 650 horsepower and a top speed of more than 200 mph.
"SVT keeps the Shelby GT500 on the cutting edge of technology and takes muscle car performance to new heights," said Jost Capito, director of Global Performance Vehicles and Motorsport Business Development. "We encapsulated every aspect of performance in this car - whether it's 0-60, top speed, racetrack or quarter-mile times. Beyond that, the daily driver also will find this car perfectly fits his or her needs."
The 5.8-liter V8 aluminum-block engine produces 650 horsepower and 600 lb.-ft. of torque, making it the most powerful production V8 in the world. The 3,850-pound car also stays exempt from the gas-guzzler tax.
Nearly every part of the powertrain has been optimized for producing the additional horsepower, including a new supercharger, new cross-drilled block and heads, updated camshaft profiles, a new carbon fiber driveshaft and upgraded clutch, transmission and axle.
A larger, more-efficient supercharger flowing more air through the engine is key to helping produce the massive 650 horsepower. The new TVS series 2300 creates 2.3 liters of displacement and is a unique design to the 5.8-liter engine.
The entire cooling system has been significantly updated on the new 5.8-liter engine. It now includes a larger cooling fan, fan shroud with high-speed pressure-relief doors, a more efficient charge air cooler, a higher-flow intercooler pump and an intercooler heat exchanger with volume increased 36 percent.
Nearly every gear on the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 was revised to manage the torque and use more of the power in a way that makes it more driver-friendly. Engineers considered more than 35 gearing combinations, finally deciding on one that delivers less torque all the way through the wheels to the ground and still enables the car to achieve fuel economy targets.
A key piece of the driveline, the six-speed manual transmission, offers upgraded gears, bearings and housing so it can properly manage the torque. The final drive ratio is now 3.31:1 for optimized overall vehicle gearing to complement the massive torque. Every gear besides fourth was optimized for competing performance metrics. The clutch has increased torque and rpm capacity and uses a dual-disc design.
"It might just seem like we're putting a bigger engine into the car. But it's been a balanced approach through and through," said Jamal Hameedi, SVT chief engineer. "We've completely redone the car to be even more sophisticated in terms of handling and control than the prior model."
Other keys for improved traction management include:
Torsen limited-slip differential:When customers order the optional Performance Package, they will get a Torsen limited-slip differential that helps the rear suspension deliver maximum torque and traction better and longer under track conditions
Launch control: A new launch control system lets drivers set the desired launch rpm depending on tire temperature, street surface or other conditions. Unique to SVT's launch control is that it is integrated with both the engine control and traction control
Brembo braking system: A new Brembo brake system offers drivers enhanced stopping power to help keep their car under control, both on the road and the track. New six-piston calipers in front along with larger front and rear rotors help improve brake fade. New brake pads that are more aggressive also help the car achieve high deceleration and further robustness for more driver confidence
Significant aerodynamic work was done on the new Shelby GT500 to ensure the car has proper downforce for optimum performance at all speeds. Engineers were able to determine how to harness the air that was moving around and through the car to improve the cooling system, maximize downforce and minimize drag.
The front fascia and splitters were modified to handle the extreme loads at 200 mph, resulting in a car that tracks more securely and feels more planted to the road at higher speeds. It offers 33 percent more effective aero loading at 160 mph compared to the 2011 model.
The new Shelby GT500's driving dynamics have been improved, now working in concert with all the new content on the car.
Handling, all AdvanceTrac settings and steering assist levels within selectable steering have been tuned to account for the updated content. The previously available unique traction control system and electronic stability control settings help drivers achieve maximum performance on both the street and the track.
Both systems can be completely disabled in controlled track situations where maximum driver skill is utilized, or fully engaged for maximum safety during normal driving or in less-than-ideal traction conditions. Intermediate sport mode allows drivers to push their cars hard at the track without completely disabling the safety systems, permitting more aggressive driving before the traction control and electronic stability control intervene.
"We took a completely different approach with this car so drivers can choose their settings instead of a computer making the selection," Hameedi said. "Nearly every system the driver interacts with can be tailored to his or her situation including the Bilstein electronic adjustable suspension, launch control, AdvanceTrac and steering assist levels."
The 2013 Shelby GT500 offers two new sets of forged-aluminum wheels including a unique wheel for cars with the optional packages. The 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels are coupled with Goodyear Eagle® F1 SuperCar G: 2 tires on all vehicle configurations.
Taking it one step further
Sometimes Ford Shelby GT500 customers want to enjoy their car on surface streets. Other times they just want to let loose on the track. Two new optional packages on the 2013 model give them the choice.
Available as part of the optional Performance Package, SVT-designed Bilstein electronic adjustable dampers are accessed on the dash with a simple push of a button. Normal mode gives customers a more comfortable ride over road irregularities. Sport mode is all about performance, delivering improved response time on the track and less body roll while cornering and pitch under braking. The Torsen limited-slip differential also comes with the Performance Package.
"The adjustable shocks let us develop our car on the track without any compromise," said Kerry Baldori, Ford SVT Global Performance Vehicles chief engineer. "Before, we had to tune the car with street implications in mind. Now we can go as extreme as we want on the track setting and still offer the customer a comfortable ride on the road."
Enthusiasts can upgrade their Performance Package with an additional Track Package for all-out performance. The option comes with an external engine oil cooler, rear differential cooler and transmission cooler for further durability. The coolers play an essential role in preventing crucial components from overheating under high-speed conditions.
The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 will be built at AutoAlliance International Plant in Flat Rock, Mich.
Motor Trend - 2013 Ford Mustang GT500 and 2013 Mustang lineup
Friday, November 11, 2011
MSD 6AL, Pro Billet Distributor, and Blaster 2 Coil.
Here is my new EZ Wiring kit, ready for installation. I start my vacation in about a week or so, and I figure I may as well use that time to knock out a large part of the rewiring. If I don't start now, spring will be upon us before I know it, and once again it'll be a mad rush to finish it up. I wanna be ready for the Hot Rod Power Tour, even if it only means the first leg out to Muskegon.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
I honestly expected to find a few parts, or perhaps the battery, missing as I opened the hood. I was pleasantly surprised to find nothing appeared to be missing. I quickly checked the inside, not realizing that the door was unlocked already as I opened it. I keep the inside cleaned out, and aside from some extra coolant and some cassette tapes from the 80's and 90's, there is nothing to take. Nothing inside was tampered with either. As I closed the door, I discovered the only damage, as they had attempted to punch the lock and punched a hole in the metal just below the lock. I also found I was unable to lock my door, with the rods inside the door seemingly tweaked.
I pulled the car around to the garage, took a closer look at the damage, got a screw driver, and effectively turned the lock cylinder into place, and my lock now worked perfectly! I can only assume that they have seen my car around, and likely figured I had some "go fast" parts under the hood, or maybe assumed it was carburated and were in the market for a free carb. Or maybe they needed a battery, though if that were they case, why wasn't it gone? Maybe, just maybe, they were caught in the act and didn't get what they came for.
I was upset, but not as pissed off as I thought I would be upon discovering somebody had tampered with my car. That said, just let me catch them mother fuckers if they come back for a second attempt! This reinforces my plan I had already had, a car lift with this year's tax return so my car, be it my current Formula, or likely by next summer,something newer, can once again reside in the garage.
I've lived in Detroit for about a decade, over 7 years as a home owner. I've parked my car on the street the better part of 3 years since I've had my house, and not once have I had a problem. While I still view my car as simply a daily driver, it's age (23 yrs) has been on my mind. Parts are getting harder to come by, people are starting to restore them, and just like a new car, perhaps there is slowly becoming a market for the parts once again. Whatever their reason, I hope they didn't find what they were looking for and are on their way to somebody else's ride and leave mine alone.
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Monday, November 07, 2011
Saturday, October 29, 2011
The writer declares they are not anti-American, or even anti-Muscle Car. I will not challenge their patriotism, yet how could one not be anti-Muscle Car? Perhaps The Camaro boasts 580 supercharged hp, is rear wheel drive, and appears to handle great. Those traits right there, with the handling included, tends to be above and beyond what most view as a muscle car.
Fit and finish? Plastic interior? To me, those are mute points. Built in navigation? Really? I mean REALLY? What is with the built in navigation obsession? Any smart phone today can offer as much or more than any built in navigation...and it's mobile. I expressed my disagreement under the comments for the article, comments in which apparently did not pass the sniff test for the admin of the site. I assume it was likely my criticism of Matt's comments regarding $10,000 Dodge Viper ACR's sitting on lots, or his equally ignorant statements regarding the new Caprice as a front wheel drive/V6 Chevy based upon a Poniac G6. Such a comment shows his total lack of knowledge of what a great car the Pontiac G8 was, and is actually he foundation of the Caprice, not the G6.
My idea of a muscle car doesn't include built in navigation, 6 way power seats, voice activation, or any other high tech gizmos I can live without. I will even let fit/finish of the body and a plastic interior slide, as while luxurious interior is nice, it's not what I look for or even expect from a musce car. I also hear the constant criticisms from automotive journalists regarding the sight lines/view from inside the Camaro. While I've never sat in a Ferrari or Lamborghini, I would venture to guess that its a bit hard to see out of them, and multiple blind spots likely exist. Do you think their owners car?
I find it amazing how many hosts of car shows seem to slip through the cracks, making it into the spotlight, without really having a clue what car culture is all about. In closing, I can't help but vomit when I see the bland station wagon looking thing the writer would rather spend their money on. Looks like a rebadged Suburu...minus the somewhat cool/out of place hood scoop....but that's just my opinion.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Here is a second video, getting the engine warmed up, with the idle turned up a bit.
Here is another video with the idle turned back down, between 900-1,000 rpm's. On the street, she normally idles anywhere from 800-1,000 rpm's.
Here is one last walk around, and quick summary of this winter's planned modifications.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
I will likely remove the full ignition system from the car over the next few weeks, though with the holidays coming up, I'll likely wait until after the new year to send it out for bench testing. I also began shopping for transmission rebuild kits for my TH400, as I suspect something is going bad, and it wouldn't hurt to freshen it up any way. From what I've learned, there really are no special tricks other than a rebuild in order to insure that the trans will handle the added horsepower thrown at it.
After the re-wiring, the next move will be the full fuel system, from gas tank to carb, it will be a total revamp of the system. A tight game plan should have the Camaro on the road by early spring, ready for the earliest shows of the season.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
First on the list, the electronics. I'm going to start from square one, ordering up a new EZ Wiring kit to completely re-wire the car from the ground up. I will also be sending out my complete MSD ignition to MSD to have them bench test it. I also need to tie up the troubles my fans have been causing, by installing a few relays, and perhaps a second thermostat so each set of fans turns on at separate temps. Though I have a remote cooler for the trans, I think a fan for the cooler may be in order as well.
With the electronics out of the way, I will focus on the fuel system. A new gas tank with sump, new lines, high performance mechanical pump, intake, and new carb will complete the package. With the fuel and spark completely revamped, I also plan on a new exhaust system. My headers fit horribly, and nothing short of a set of custom built headers specifically for my car will solve my clearance issues.
Another area of concern is my transmission. I bought this trans in a pinch, after I thought my Th350 I had rebuilt had blown at the strip. Later, I discovered it was actually my torque converter that grenaded, and the trans was likely fine. While the TH350 still sits on the shelf, I'm thinking going with the TH400 was a wise insurance move, considering they are known as one of the most durable designs built to date. I know little about this trans, as I bought it through a newly acquired friend while at CMU up in Mount Pleasant, MI.
This newly acquired friend was nothing more than a random stop along the roadway after spotting an early 1970's Camaro in front of his house. We spoke a few times, and one of his friends set me up with a rebuilt TH400 for something around $450...with stock converter. Even at late 1990's prices, that was a steal! The trans served me well for many blasts down the track, as well as 5 seasons of cruising. Now however, something funky is going on with 2nd gear. While I haven't checked whether or not it's a shifter cable issue yet, I'm thinking that a refresh of the trans, and finding out exactly what I got inside, wouldn't be a bad idea before I start hitting the drag strip hard within the next few years.
There are a few other "tuning" items on the list, such as a fuel pressure gauge and air/fuel ratio, but for the most part, the items above will cover this winter's projects. While I've been hesitant to disable my Camaro, I realize that nothing I plan on tackling this winter couldn't be put back in place in a matter of days. So, while I may fire the big dog up one last time, the work should start to get under way in the next few weeks. Stay tuned....
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Monday, October 10, 2011
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
During their 0-60 portion of the show, the 4 cast members discuss current automotive news. In one particular episode, they talked about the Dodge Viper coming back. Not only did they really dog on the Viper, Matt Farah of Smokingtire.com went so far as to say there were ACR Vipers sitting on lots for $10,000, not selling. $10,000? Did he really just say that?
The episode I watched today however takes the cake. Again, during the 0-60 portion of the show, they were discussing the new Chevrolet Caprice. The car will be based on the late Pontiac G8, and only be available to law enforcement agencies. It's rear wheel drive and powered by the 6.0 V8. These morons wrote it off as a front wheel drive/V6 car, apparently mistaking it for the G5/G6. Somebody even attempted to pile on Pontiac, stating "Oprah couldn't even give these cars away!" Now, I could be mistaken, as I'm not a big Oprah fan, but I am pretty sure it was the G5 that she gave away, or possibly the G6. It most certainly was NOT the G8.
The G8 was perhaps one of the hottest cars Pontiac had built with 4 doors in 4 decades. Yeah, I know, it had 4 doors. That said, the styling was above and beyond the GTO that the G8 replaced. The car was much more muscular looking, REAR WHEEL DRIVE, and while a V6 was available, the 6.0 and optional 6.2 v8's, producing a very respectable 361hp/415hp were what made this ride such a top performer. These supposed "car guys" all wrote it off as a front wheel drive/V6 Pontiac? That was just too much to take.
Lastly, perhaps nail in the coffin for me, is their constant ripping on the current Corvette. I'm sure the car has it's shortcomings when compared to exotic Italian counterparts, costing 2-3x as much. The king of the hill, ZR1 spanks about any car out there, and warrants respect, not the"old guy who just got divorced and is looking for a 24 yr old" tag these "car guys" put on it. Is it really any different than the guy driving the other options out here? In the same breath they gave praise to the Audi R8. Is it just me, or does every Audi made look the same? I couldn't tell the R8 from their entry level model, and I personally feel the vast majority feel the same. Now, EVERYBODY can recognize a Vette.
This show just isn't what I expected, and will promptly be deleted, offering more space for Top Gear instead, which I consider a far superior/more well rounded show.
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Most significantly, we have decided to go with the Hotchkis front suspension system. More than a few Mopar faithful chimed in, criticizing the independent front suspension I had planned on installing in the car. Though initially skeptical, a few others shared their concerns, and I am now convinced, and am going the route of a modified factory designed front suspension. I am going to add 2 inch drop spindles however, in order to get the ride height we need.
While still a few months out, by the first of the year, parts should be arriving with regularity to my dad's house. While somewhat difficult considering my work schedule, I will attempt to make it down to their house as often as possible, in an effort to keep this project rolling once it's started. Stay tuned, as I'll be following this restoration closely, and will have my dad email me updates when I'm unable to follow them first hand.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Recently, it came to time to do some much needed maintenance on my wife's 2007 Dodge Dakota. I was very disappointed that the shocks seemed to start going in the mid 20,000 mile range. The ride quality was diminishing, and front end "clunking" was getting louder. The truck also was due for brakes and tires, both of which had served admirably for 59,000 miles. I had already received a set of 4 Rancho shocks from Summit Racing Equipment, and they sat on my work bench, awaiting installation. Having already dropped $300 for the shocks, and looking at probably another $800 minimum for brakes and tires, I decided to weigh our options.
My wife was never a fan of the white her Dakota was. At the time, it was what was on the lot, and the best deal her dad could find at the time. When our lease was up, there really were not affordable options, so we took on the note to buy the Dakota. While our Dakota served us well, I had much higher expectations for a truck, and the Dakota armed with a V6 would not have been up to the task.
I called my friend, a salesman at a local Dodge dealership, and wanted to look at our options. At one point, we even considered buying used, if it would save us money and get into what we wanted. As luck would have it, we found the perfect match in a 2011 Ram SLT Hemi, most importantly, in red...my wife's first choice. It also came with the mandatory to me, hemi,pumping out 390 hp and 407 ft/lbs of torque. Also, nearly as important, we got the towing package. I have got to a point where from time to time, my Camaro needs trailered. In the future, I'd like to get back into drag racing somewhat regularly, and I want to be prepared when something inevitably breaks.
So, our stable of cars is now exclusively V8 powered. Somewhat sadly, my daily driven 1989 Pontiac Formula, with it's 350 TPI putting out 245+ hp and 345 ft/lbs of torque is the weakest of the herd. Oddly enough, I'm good with that.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
After a wedding yesterday I had some time to kill before the reception, so I figured I'd catch a movie. After a quick check on my smart phone, I chose a movie called Drive. I recall seeing the previews once or twice, and the reviews were in the 90%+ range. This movie blew me away, way better than I could have ever expected!
I love car movies as much as the next gearhead, but let's face it, they are often mediocre movies at best which only shine thanks to the cars. This movie was different. From the start, this movie had that 1980's feel, thanks to the neon pink opening credits, followed up by, and continued throughout the movie, music that could easily have been made in the early to mid 1980's. Whatever film technique they used, it also felt like a dated style, similar to movies from the 1970's and 1980's.
This was film noir at it's finest. The blood and gore was reminiscent of a Quentin Tarantino film, not for the weak stomach crowd. The car chase scenes spectacular, if not a bit too short. Had they extended the Mustang/300 chase scene it easily could have been elevated to the level of Steve McQueen/Bullitt, as one couldn't help but watch, and even envision the 300 as a new Charger.
This particular chase scene got me thinking. There are so many modern V8 rear wheel drive cars to choose from, there really isn't a reason to trash any more classic cars in movies. While I would be hesitant to say trashing the more limited/out of production cars such as GTO's, G8's, Magnums, etc, we have plenty current stock to choose from. Vettes, Vipers (soon), Camaros, Mustangs, Challengers, CTS-V's, Chargers, and 300's. That is a healthy stock of iron in my opinion, and most are instant classics that will garner nearly as much excitement on the big screen as their classic counter parts.
So needless to say, I would highly recommend checking out Drive, and maybe if we're lucky, be treated to a modern rendition of Bullitt some time in the future, complete with new Charger/Mustang tearing up the streets.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
It wasn't until I bought my Camaro back in 1996 and really got into car shows that I first heard the term "trailer queen." It was, and still is, a term that I reserve for those cars that never see the road, trailered to car shows for one purpose, to clean house winning trophies. Having been into building plastic models as a kid, I viewed them as 1:1 scale models for grownups. I failed to understand the purpose, as in my mind, a car is built to drive.
Years have passed, and I now find myself questioning whether to trailer, or not to trailer. My car however doesn't fall under the "trailer queen" category in my mind. I got chips, stress cracks, and a few dings. While it's still a damn nice car, it has it's blemishes, none of which annoy me like they once would have 10 years ago. Today, I ponder trailering my car for one reason, practicality.
My car has achieved the 700 hp club in perhaps the most raw way one can, naturally aspirated, all brute force. With high horsepower comes the risk of breaking something. Without question, I would drive my car to any show within an hour or two away. Where the trailer comes into the picture is for shows further, such as Goodguys Columbus, where I may wanna autocross. Or, perhaps hit the drag strip at another out of town show. In addition, I don't feel it's worth the risk to drive to the drag strip as I have in the past. The reason being, as stated above, I'm now in a place where things are going to break, it's inevitable, and the nature of the beast.
So, having talked myself into it, I still can't help but wonder...will I be viewed as a trailer queen?
Tuesday, September 06, 2011
Friday, September 02, 2011
I happened to spot the owner while typing up this blog, and being unsure as to how long they would be visiting at what I assumed was a couch surfing stop at our neighbors, I stepped outside to introduce myself. Most of my suspicions were confirmed after talking with the owner, Jon.
Jon, along with his wife or girlfriend, started out of Fresno, California. I soon realized, Jon and I shared the same line of thought. I have mentioned on my blog before how I would love to see the country by road, but wish to do so in the appropriate car. A few years ago, A Buick Roadmaster Wagon would have never crossed my mind, but as I looked the car over, sitting on it's American Racing wheels, this ride has grown (if that is possible) into it's Americana shoes, and a worthy car in my opinion.
John is a handy man/guy who buys and sells old cars. Because of John's self employment, he is able to plan out long trips, such as their current trip which is 5 weeks in. John stated that they actually had to find the right car for the trip. It had to be something big enough, comfortable enough, and get good mileage. The Buick fit the bill, and the search was on, for a woody version. As luck would have it, a worthy candidate would turn up in California, and $4,000 would be what it took to aquire. While John would prefer the stock wheels that came on the car, to be "less flashy," I found the American Racings to be a perfect match.
John's first modification, remove all the rear seats, build a plywood platform to store belongings below and offer sleep quarters on top. With the Big Bufford ready to go, they headed north to Vancouver, Canada, and then traveled all over the U.S., stopping to see friends along the way. Ironically, this is their fist couch surfing stop, and as luck would have it, the car woud be parked in front of this fellow gearhead's house.
John stated that he is a self proclaimed Mopar fan, and has a 1970 Roadrunner with air grabber hood as proof, I believe along with a few other Mopars. They have got plenty of compliments along the way on their car, which aside from the wheels, is all stock. It is another one of those cars that when built, missed it, and now that nearly two decades have passed, has found it. I know what "it" is, as do most of you. I promised to showed John my Camaro before they leave in a few days, and filled him in on the Walter P. Chrysler Museum which he was unaware of.
I won't lie, I am extremely jealous, and also inspired from what I saw. It was a reminder, that thinking a little outside the box, and a few decades later than I normally would, could be very rewarding. If the day ever comes when I search for that perfect piece of 4-wheel Americana to take the family on a road trip in, I think I'll broaden my search pattern.
Ironically, this is the second time I have come in touch with some stranger road-tripping across the country. The prior incident was a Highway Patrol Officer from California, again, road-tripping across the country t D.C. The only reason I came in touch with him was because of a call to our precinct, in which I answered, stating he was trying to track down somebody to exchange police patches with. Collecting patches is a hobby amongst many officers while on vacation. Having heard stories from both John, and the officer last summer, it seems like somebody is really pushing this idea of driving across the country. Though the officer did so in a Toyota Prius, nothing Ameicana about that, as they say though, it's the thought that counts!
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
I am reposting an old entry, this time with the latest changes and direction we are heading. Stay tuned, as I'm told after the start of the year, this project will find it's feet. While my Camaro has plenty of finishing touches, many of which will take a good two years to finish, I already view it as a done project, with little more than upkeep and upgrads down the road. I'm anxious for a new project, though with what's left with my Camaro, a new project is a ways off for me. My dad's Challenger will fill that need, and the finished product will be one of the most badass Challenger R/T's on the road!
Below is the initial entry, this time with updates.
As some of you know, I owned a 1970 Challenger R/T a few years back. I picked it up for $6,000, running/driving with a solid body out of Arizona. I put about another $6,000 into the car, and then life changed. With the auto industry in a downward spiral back in 2006, I lost my job. Fortunately, after several attempts, I convinced my dad to buy my Challenger, as opposed to selling it outright. Every project car needs a solid game plan, and those plans get modified as time passes, and plenty of time has passed since I bought the car back in 2001, and it sat parked ever since fall of that same year. I'm lucky in respect that I'll still get to do a large portion of the work on my dad's Challenger, as well as almost all of the planning. The following is what has come from 10 years of planning.
Engine: My plans for the engine have varied greatly, and while most recently I had been leaning towards simply rebuilding the stock 383, I just wasn't satisfied with that. Honestly, I think my dad would appreciate something with a bit more punch as well. While the question remains as to whether we'll reuse the 383 block, we will go with either a stroker kit or crate engine from Muscle Motors Racing out of Lansing, Michigan. The end result will be a 500 cubic inch low deck that will pass as the original 383, a sleeper engine if you will. The engine will make in the ballpark of 550 hp and 600 ft/lbs of torque, all while keeping it's street manners.
Transmision: The 4 speed will be pulled out, and a complete 5 speed kit from an aftermarket company, bolt in ready, with everything we need will go in it's place. This follows the plan for best streetability possible, and allows for a little deeper rear gear, without sacrificing gas mileage. While gas mileage isn't the ultimate goal, I'd like the car to get 13-14 mpg highway.
Exhaust: A set of full length headers, flowmaster mufflers, and either factory dual exhaust tips, or a similiar aftermarket design.
Fuel: We were going to transplant my 750 Race Demon onto the Challenger, but the "GO BIGGER" approach with the engine will leave the 750 insufficient, so probably an 850 Holley will find it's way on top. A mechanical pump, new lines, regulator, and filter will round out the package.
Rear End: The car has an 8 3/4 rear, which should be plenty stout for our build. A gear swap, from the somewhat lethargic 3.23's to maybe a 3.55 or 3.73, new axles/bearings, and either a posi rebuild or new posi and we should be good to go.
Suspension/Steering: The rear suspension was completed while I still owned the car. I started out with custom leaf springs built by Eaton Spring in Detroit. They based the springs on a 440 spring, de-arched them, and I believe removed a leaf or two. This accomplishes about a 2 inch drop, which turned out perfect. I also installed poly bushings and Koni Shocks to complete the rear.
The front suspension is another story. I had pondered several different options and have finally concluded, there is really only one choice. Reilly Motorsports makes a complete bolt in front clip that includes tubular k-member, tubular a-arms, spindles, coil over shocks, sway bar, engine mounts, and rack and pinion steering. After much research, and talk with a few companies, I have concluded that sticking with the torsion bars would make it difficult to lower the front to the proper height to match the rear without sacrificing ride quality, and would require costly drop spindles. Also, header clearance is always a concern, and factor in the torsion bars, running exhaust would be a nightmare. Lastly, perhaps most importantly, your steering options are very limited for Mopars if you wish to stick with a steering box, so this upgrade to rack and pinion solves that concern. Lastly, this should drop a good 100-150 lbs off the front end, and when combined with the aluminum heads, should make the car much more nimble, and a great handling ride.
The package sells for $4,000, which isn't really that bad when you consider the alternative. Add up the price of tubular control arms, sway bar, torsion bars, new steering box, drop spindles, and you are probably going to be in the $2,500-$3,000 range, and be no where near the handling.
Brakes: 4 wheel disc brakes by Wilwood will be responsible for bringing the Mopar to a stop. I happen to like the feel of my Wilwood manual master cylinder, with stock front discs and rear drums. So, I would think a new set of biggers discs combined with larger clamping calipers would be plenty of stopping power, and not "junk up" the engine bay with a huge brake booster, or some other hydraulic assist setup.
Interior: The interior will remain mostly stock. The only exception will likely be the stereo, shifter, and front seats/seat belts.
Body/Paint: The body/paint is hard to plan out until we dig into it and see just how solid, or full of bondo it is. I will say I haven't seen anything to lead me to believe there is a lot of bondo in the car. The body will remain mostly stock, with perhaps a few exceptions such as welding up and smoothing some seams, getting rid of the wheel well trim, and maybe the emblems on the side of the car. I tend to like the clean/smooth look of not having a bunch of trim/emblems breaking up the body. One other addition may be a rear spoiler that came on the TA's, as I think it finishes off the rear of the car.
Electrical: The wiring kit is installed, and most things are wired up. It makes sense to move the battery to the trunk, to lighten the front and help traction. The interior gauges may need sent out, and a few repaired, as they weren't funcioning the last time the car ran. A new alternator, and mini-starter should be in the plans. An MSD box and MSD distributor will provide the spark.
Cooling: An auminum radiator, electric fans, and aluminum pump will round out the cooling.
Wheels/tires: To compliment the killer suspension, we need something better than the 14 inch factory magnum wheels fitted with dry rot tires. I'm not a big fan of these over the top rims/tires. In fact, I think they look downright stupid in most cases. I've kept an eye on what people are using, what I like, and what I cringe at. I have concluded that either 17-18 inches all the way around would look nice, with perhaps a 17 front/18 rear stagger, squeezing the biggest rim and tire that will fit.
First step, I hope to convince my dad to order up the whole front suspension clip,complete with brakes. This would allow us to knock out all of the front end work, leaving just the powertrain to deal with for the mechanics, and then the body/interior.
I'd really love to have this car completed for my parents by the time my mom retires, as dad is already there. I think they would really enjoy being able to take the Challenger on vacations, car shows around the country, and even just a long road trip. Stay tuned, as I'll be sure to report back on any progress once it starts.
Milan Mopar Day - September 3, 2011
All years, all Mopar makes of cas and trucks. Swap meet, car show, and drag racing. Gates open at 10 am, time trials at 11 am, with eliminations starting at 2 pm.
Frankenmuth Auto Fest - September 9, 10, 11, 2011
This is an awesome show! Though I haven't attended since my college days, over a decade ago, this is a top notch car show year after year. The setting couldn't be any more perfect, located in the downtown park, you drive across a wooden bridge to enter the show area. Parking is all on the grass throughout the park.
Greenfield Village Old Car Festival - September 10 & 11, 2011 (Open until 9 pm Saturday)
America's Longest Running Antique Car Show
This Old Car Festival weekend, take in the spectacle as the streets and grounds of Greenfield Village are filled with the sights, sounds, and smells of hundreds of authentic vehicles from the 1890s through 1932. Enjoy a self-guided tour through this fabulous expositions and talk to proud owners about their treasured vehicles. Watch drivers engage in games of skill, see a Model T assembled in just minutes, attend fascinating presentations, and sit back and enjoy our experts sharing "car talks" while vintage vehicles pass by.
In this 61st year of the Old Car Festival, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first running of the Indianapolis 500 race.The history of American automobile racing is completely intertwined with the history of the American automobile industry. This will be an opportunity to see, and hear examples of early race cars.
Old Car Festival is free to members and free with Greenfield Village admission.
Downtown Tecumseh Classic Car and Bike Show - September 15, 2011
This car show takes place in the parking lot of United Bank and Trust, located at 205 E. Chicago Blvd. The show goes from 6pm-8pm, admission is free, and the first 200 registered get dash plaques.
NSRA Street Rod Nationals - September 16, 17, and 18, 2011
I've never made it to this event, though I have attended NSRA shows down south, and was very impressed. Back in the day, the shows I attended were only open to street rods believe. Now, the show is open to all vehicles from 1981 and older. These are the types of shows I'd like to attend more of in the future with my Camaro. Car shows at sprawling fairgrounds where you can set a canopy with chairs, bring a cooler, and have a semi-comfortable place to chill when you get tired of walking. This year, we have a wedding to attend, so we won't be making this show for sure.
Westland All American Cruise - September 24, 2011
With no additional information at this time, I'd be skeptical about this show. That said, it is being promoted by the same company who put on this year's Hines Drive cruise, which I heard from a friend was among his favorite shows he's attended. So if interested,I'd recommend contacting Don Nicholson either via email or at 734-658-5296.
Monday, August 29, 2011
This is one cruise that has completely slipped under my radar. It has apparently been going on now for 17 years. Breaking with tradition of weekend cruises, the Harper Ave cruise is always on a Wednesday from 5pm-9pm. The cruise travels Harper Ave from Old 8 mile to Bayside St. While I'm off this Wednesday, I'm not sure if I'll make it to the cruise, and I'm sticking to my guns with the Camaro remaining parked. I would like to go and check it out, and take some pictures. We'll see if that happens, as I wouldn't mind one last hurrah at a car show/cruise.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
The storm was unlike anything I had experienced first hand while stuck outdoors. Listening to the advice of my mom and wife, my wife and I took our 9 month old daughter to my Camaro, parked within the show area. The only thing is, we didn't make it to the car before the storm hit hard.
I had been watching the radar on my phone, and for the most part, the storm was dying down as it approached, and seemed to be approaching at a snail's pace. By the time that last bit of red on the radar was about to hit, we headed to my car, even though things seemed calm aside from a light rain. As we were about half way to my Camaro, Mother Nature unleashed her full fury upon us, and the three of us took shelter in the men's restroom near the ballpark. My parents, along with my neighbors, had remained with the chairs, still watching the cruise, expecting little more than a light rain. What actually hit was a torrential downpour, lightning, and winds that were likely 60-70 mph.
After the worst had passed, my concerned mom called, crying. Seems that multiple 40-50 foot trees had fallen throughout the park, one of which was lying across the path we walked. Somebody up above was looking out for us today, as this monster of a tree would have taken us out had we been just a few seconds later. I've included a few post-storm pictures at the end.
As for the show, as I said, it was the best show in years, and my internal clock is already counting down until next year. As for how my Camaro did, that's for another entry, as I have plenty of concerns to sort out in the off season, and I have decided that for me, the off season started with the conclusion of Woodward. Now, enjoy the pictures, and stay tuned for more wrenching and modifications over the coming months.
A 1948 Desoto. I had a nice chat with the old guy who owned it, and also mentioned the 1951 that sits nearby me.