Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Smoking Tire: Anti-Muscle Cars

You may recall The Car Show rant I had a few weeks back. One of the hosts, who showed the most lack of automotive knowledge, Matt Farah, also runs the site The Smoking Tire. I still stop in there from time to time, though the place had been growing increasingly tiresome. Today, I ran across the site's review of the Chevrolet ZL1 titled Camaro ZL1 'Ring Time Induces National Orgasm.

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

My 1969 Camaro Video

It's taken me about a year since I first bought our video camera, but I finally went out to the garage, did a walk around, fired up the engine, and made a video to upload to youtube. I've got a few others I'll add later, as she was a bit finicky, so it took a couple of takes before she would idle on her own.

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

EZ Wiring

I just finised making my first off-season purchase, a birthday present to myself. In light of the damage I believe my 4 electric fans caused, I decided the $185 for a new EZ Wiring harness would be money well spent. I used their harness the last time I rewired my Camaro, and have also helped more than a few friends install the same harness in their rides. Aside from affordable, the EZ Wiring kit has each and every wire labeled every few inches, making rewiring your project a breeze. In the past, all the wires were black. They now offer they option for color coded and labeled wires. While I found labeled black wires more than sufficient, I figured it wouldn't hurt to also have them color coded, thus allowing cross reference to factory wiring schematics, if ever needed down the road.

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

Hot Rod Golf Cart

When the day comes when we retire, hopefully spending our winters in Florida, I may be in need of a golf cart. If that is the case, I'm thinking something along these lines would do me well...perhaps with a little more power.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Winter Plans

Our monstrosity of a deck is now stained/sealed, and this year's last minute project is now out of the way. While I'd like to get our lean-to greenhouse up before snow, it's not as big of a priority. Now, I'm getting closer to concentrating on my Camaro. While my wish list is long, this winter's portion consist of the necessities for which will make my car more dependable and run better.

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

Honda Pilot - Crazy Train

Not that I condone, or support the purchase of import vehicles...but, some of their commercials are just too good not to share!

Monday, October 10, 2011

2012 Chrysler 300

Continuing their trend of slam dunk commercials, the 300 commercial has the 1970's vibe, while expressing sophistication and style. Chillin', Stylin', Flauntin'...this commercial has it all.

Cadillac vs Ferrari - That's F-U Fast!

The Cadillac CTS-V series has proven that they can now run with, and even out run, the big dogs of the world.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The Car Show

I started recording The Car Show a few months back, as it seemed like a show I would enjoy. Recently, I started watching the backlogged episodes I had recorded. The show seemed to have a strong cast, with Adam Corolla, John Salley, Matt Farah, and Dan Neil. Right from the start, I began to hear discrepencies coming out of their mouths. Some, I could let slide, but then they started getting to be a bit too tough to swallow.

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 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

Hot Rod Magazine: General Lee vs The Bandit

From the November 2011 issue of Hot Rod Magazine, The General Lee vs The Bandit. Perhaps the two most recognizable and iconic cars from my childhood. About the ONLY car in which I would add,having reached the same level of popularity amongst my fellow mid 30's peers, would be Kitt from Knight Rider. While the Charger has the obvious advantage, having been a regular show on tv vs the big screen Bandit, the General Lee is the hands down winner in my mind, crowned the most recognizable car Hollywood has produced in my lifetime.