Tuesday, November 29, 2011

1989 Pontiac Formula: Rough around the edges

A few days ago I gave old girl a much needed detailing session in the garage. Having been displaced from the garage, parked curbside, the elements have taken their toll on her. As I've said many times, I plan on keeping this car, and doing either a resto-mod, or perhaps even another caged car for street/strip/road course duties.

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.

Not bad 10 feet away.

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.

This was the other damage from the shopping cart battle one wintry day a few years ago.

The most recent damage, from some asshole who apparently wanted to try and steal my battery. While nothing was taken, it showed me the obvious weakness of this type of lock cylinder. I'm thinking of maybe shaving the locks/handles and smoothing the sides in the future.

Top view of fender damage.

Under hood still is fairly clean, aside from some rust around the shock towers.

Vice grips, necessary for my blown out hood shocks. Same was needed to support the glass hatch.

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.

Rear hatch area, with the seat folded down. Again, not to shabby for it's age.

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.

Still looks fairly good, and aside from a starter that's going bad, is mechanically running like a champ. Still, the day is coming when I should park her, and give the car the attention she deserves, and a power train up to today's standards, with the ability to run with the big dogs.

Plastic Model Visible V8 at 7,000 RPM's!

Ran across this on youtube. I've always found these plastic kits intriguing, and am surprised I've never bought one for myself. The thought of whether it would be possible to add spark and fire one up even crossed my mind once or twice. Well, while this demo doesn't fire the engine up, he does manage to spin the engine above 7,000 rpm's! This thing actually sounds pretty badass. Check out the video via the link below.

Visible V8 @ 7,000 RPM's

Thursday, November 17, 2011

2013 Ford Mustang GT500 - 650 hp

The horsepower wars are ongoing, that much is obvious. However, Ford just committed what is the automotive equivalent of a running start/swift kick to the nuts on Chevy. The 2013 Mustang GT500 will get a 100 hp boost,up to 650 hp. This really rains on Chevy's parade,considering their 580 hp ZL1 is just coming to market, and weighs about 400 lbs more than the Mustang, there is no doubt this new Ford will beat the Camaro in every performance category. Not only is that embarrassing for the Camaro, it's a slap in the face to the ZR1 Corvette, which comes up 12 hp shy of this mighty stallion. While the ZR1 will undoubtedly out perform the GT500, given it's 600 lb or so diet compared to the Mustang, there is a lot to be said about the top Corvette being out horse powered by a Mustang.

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.

Revised gearing
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
Aero advancements
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.

Superior ride
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

Super Chevy clock turns into a Made in China ratchet kit

This is what arrived in the mail the other day. I had subscribed to Super Chevy magazine recently, after years of picking up enough issues per year to justify the subscription. With my subscription, I was to receive a Super Chevy wall clock. Since I don't have a wall clock in the garage, I figured it to be a good deal. I'm sure the clock would have been cheap, as well as Made in China, but such is the case for most any clock these days I'm sure.

Instead of my clock, to my disappointment, this ratchet set arrived. A Made in China clock is one thing, but tools? Any self proclaimed gearhead buys tools Made in the USA. This is the type of junk I would see for sale at Big Lots, or Harbor Freight, and the type of tools I would steer clear of. It should also be noted, there is just something that feels VERY un-American about subscribing to a Chevy magazine, then receiving tools Made in China to show their appreciation. I'd rather they just gave me an extra issue or two and kept their junk.

Friday, November 11, 2011

You can't start a fire without a spark.

I made it out to the garage today and finally removed my full MSD ignition from my Camaro. It was quicker than I thought, as for whatever reason, I thought I had used the starter terminal as my power source for my MSD 6AL. I had forgot that this past summer I moved the power source to the back of my alternator. Now all that is left is to write a quick letter, box it up, and ship it out to MSD for bench testing. In the mean time, I may very well start removing the wiring harness, in preparation of installing my new harness.

Untouched engine bay.

MSD 6AL, Pro Billet Distributor, and Blaster 2 Coil.

Air cleaner removed.

MSD 6AL, Blaster 2 Coil, and Distributor removed.

Ready to ship out!

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

First time victim of a car break-in.

It's ironic that just yesterday I posted a video in which I expressed my passion for cars. This morning, I get a call from a neighbor "Hey Ed, I think the hood of your car is slightly open, you may wanna go check it out." A quick peek outside proved that it did in fact appear my car had been tampered with. I headed outside to assess the damages.

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

Chevy True Stories - "My Dad's Car"

If you don't get a bit teary eyed at the end of this video, then you don't share the same passion for cars that I do. Almost makes me wanna track down my Dad's old Charger.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Guns and Roses - You Could Be Mine

For those of us into cars, we all like to see a good movie chase scene. Today while out shopping for Christmas lights, Guns and Roses - You Could Be Mine came on the radio. Arguably one of their best songs, I can't help but visualize T-1000 in a big rig chasing after Arnold and John Connor on his motorcycle. Surprisingly, other than a few short clips during the movie, it was only used during the ending credits...yet to this day, likely thanks to the video, I think of T2 every time I hear it. Awesome movie, great chase scene, and totally kick ass song!