Tuesday, June 18, 2013

More important things in life.

This past Saturday was the Gratiot cruise in Roseville. Normally, my family, my in-laws, and my parents would be there in full force checking out the cars. This is the first Gratiot cruise I've missed in probably 6 years, and the first my in-laws have missed in probably a decade or more.

Instead, we were at home bbqing for all those folks, celebrating father's day a day early.  You see, my wife was literally days away from her scheduled c-section, and our daughter was already trying to claw her way out.

I write this as I sit here in pre-op, watching my wife preparing to deliver us another beautiful girl into this world. There will be plenty more cruises, plenty more car shows, and days at the track. There is nothing more precious than having family to share those experiences with. Instilling cars, racing, and road trips into their lives at an early age, and providing my wife and I with memories to last our lifetime.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Moser M9 - Installed

Finished up installing my Moser M9 today.  Hopefully over the next day or two I can finish up installing the rear disc brake kit.  I will say this, a nodular center section weighs a ton!  Next go round, I'm getting the adapter for my jack so I can simply raise it into place.



Here is the rear end installed.


South Side Machine lift bars all tightened up.


Old faithful.  This drive shaft survived many hard launches with some pretty sticky tires.  That said, it was no longer up to the task at hand.


Ribs for strength.


I never realized how much these things weigh.  Still a bit surprised I lifted it into place while lying on my back with minimal space to move.



Center section, complete with Detroit Locker, Motive Gear 4.10's, and Moser nodular center.


You can clearly see the Locker and splines in this axle tube shot.

Axles in and ready to go.


Sadly, my fuel pump plate will nearly completely cover the M9 rear.  No biggie though, I know it's under there.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Onondaga Dragway Set To Open - Summer 2013

Photo courtesy of Mike Snow: Dragzine.com

Today, while visiting friends down in Adrian, MI, I inquired about what was up with Onondaga Dragway.  I was happy to hear that for all those involved, their efforts have proven successful.  I first spoke of the dragway back in August 2010, Onondaga Dragway to reopen. In all honesty, until today, I hadn't really given the track much thought.  I am happy to report that the track is weeks away from opening for the 2013 season, and 1/8th mile racing will return to the Jackson area!  I will try my hardest to make it to the track this year, as I've never watched 1/8th mile racing, nor been to this former track. This is one of the FEW success stories when it comes to old dragstrips.  Considering it's closure took place in 1978, to say this has been a long time coming would be an understatement.  It's almost unimaginable for me, as I was 2 years old when this track would have ran it's last cars. Some day, I will race down this storied track.

35 Years Later, The Onondaga Dragway Is Coming Back To Life

Waterwinterwonderland: Onondaga Dragway

Onondaga Dragway

Ford 9" center section assembled and ready to go

I picked up my assembled Ford 9" center section today, and my rear end is now read to be cleaned up and installed.  Once in, I will install the center section and take a measurement for the driveshaft.  I plan on waiting a few weeks, but will be ordering the driveshaft shortly.  With baby #2 coming in about a week, progress will be haulted shortly.  I still plan to hit a handful of cruises and cruise nights this year, as well as a trip or two to the race track.  I'll be sure to update my work on the Camaro shortly.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Corporate Faces

The other day, I ran across an article in the Detroit News regarding the 2014 Malibu, GM freshens up 2014 Chevrolet Malibu in effort to push sales. One article I read quoted a GM employee as being concerned that people will not be able to distinguish between the Malibu and Impala, after stating a paragraph or two above, that the Malibu's face lift was inspired by the new Impala.  So, if you "inspire" a car's changes with another car in mind, how do they expect it to be viewed by the public?

This brought up an interesting topic. When does a corporate face work?  After I thought about it, it does work in certain branding.  BMW and Mercedes used a corporate face for decades, as did Jaguar.  More recently, Cadillac adopted the same mentality, and it seemingly works.  I would argue however, that the luxury car segment isn't like your other brands.  People look to Cadillac, BMW, Mercedes, etc looking for a certain style.  Then, they select the size car they want.  They don't car whether a smaller segment car shares the same face, they all represent the brand well.

With a brand like Chevrolet however, it simply doesn't work.  In fact, such corporate facing does the opposite in my opinion.  It waters down the brand, creating a fleet of mediocre cars that all look the same.  I personally feel that Ford's own Lincoln brand suffers the same fate, though not due to styling.  On the contrary, they suffer from years of rebadging Fords, and at times, sharing way too much styling to separate their "luxury" brand, from an entry level car.  In addition, Lincoln suffers from remaining front wheel drive, while all of it's competitors when the rear wheel drive route.  Some, never even dabbled with front wheel drive in their luxury cars.

My dad owns a 2013 Malibu, and loves it.  It's not so much the styling that was the issue in my opinion, as GM admits, it has done a horrible job pushing the car in regards to advertising and getting word out.  The styling, in my opinion, is actually very nice.  It's different enough that you don't confuse it with other Chevrolets.  With the new Chevy SS about to hit the market, you will have at a minimum 3 cars with VERY similar faces, which will hurt all models in my opinion.  It just completely baffles me how so many folks in the auto industry have their heads so far up their asses that they just don't get it, after all these years.  That was yet another reason I got the hell out of that industry.

Monday, June 03, 2013

1968 Firebird Update - 5/31/2013

This past Friday was likely my last chance working on the Firebird for a few months.  Our daughter #2 is due within a few weeks, so the project will be put on hold for a bit.  That said, we accomplished MUCH more than I anticipated.  I figured I would work on getting the dash cluster and other accessories removed from the interior, and that would be about it.  Everything came out much easier than I expected, and Scott was already at work under the hood, preparing the engine for removal.  While I was occupied inside the car, I was unaware of how much Scott had accomplished.

Scott had some errands to run, and while gone, I had finished up all I could inside the car.  I saw that the engine really wasn't far from being ready to pull, so figured I may as well finish it up.  I removed the power steering lines, the starter, and engine/trans mount bolts.  Inevitably, I missed a few ground straps and the throttle cable, which were apparent once the engine was on it's way out.

All said and done, we accomplished a ton more than I expected.  When we do get started back on it, we will be neck deep in it.  The rear end will come out, along with the front subframe.  The frame will be blasted, painted, and reassembled.  New body bushing will go in prior to the body being bolted into place, and frame connectors will also be welded into place.





Dash cluster and gauges removed.





Heat and A/C controls removed.







Starter removed.



Last time with an engine for awhile.

Out goes the Pontiac 350/TH350.



The body had a few spots that needed some attention.

My first attempt at body work.  Duct tape works as a solid base, right?  Either way, it seems appropriate at this stage in the game.



This is the spare hood that came with the car.  It's the same stock hood that was on it, but has hood pin holes cut out, for that all out race look.  LOL  We may go with it, or it may give way to a fiberglass hood.  Time and money will dictate that.


 Well, there ya have it.  As I said, we got a lot more done than I had expected.  It will be nice working on a project car with an extra set of hands (and wallet).  It will without a doubt make it a much easier project.  Until next time!

1969 Camaro Update - 6/3/2013

I received my Jeg's order a few days ago, and finally got in touch with my friend building my 9" center section.  He has started on it, and expects to have it finished up by today.  If all goes as planned, I will finish securing my fuel lines to the frame and install the rear housing this week.  Upon getting the center section the following week, I should be able to get it installed, take a measurement, and order a drive shaft.  It's highly doubtful that the car will be on the road before our next daughter arrives, but it's still possible.  If nothing else, shortly after our daughter arrives, it WILL be on the road.  I don't foresee making too many cruise nights or car shows this year, but as long as I make Woodward, Hines, a couple cruise nights, and to Milan Drag Strip, I will be one happy camper.

Sunday, June 02, 2013