Thursday, December 17, 2015

Major Auto Industry Vehicles and Their Competitors – Can You Tell The Difference?



Mustang vs. Camaro – GM trucks vs. Ford trucks vs. Dodge trucks – Corvette vs. Viper – you can
even throw a Ferrari in the mix, everyone is going to have their own opinions on which ones are better crafted, more stylish – can beat who where and why. But are vehicles made by different companies but in the same class even that much different from each other to even make a solid argument of which one is better?


Growing up in a family where General Motor checks mostly paid the bills, to me GM vehicles ran the earth, and Ford stood for (Find On Road Dead), you could say I had my share of argImage result for 2017 yellow viperuments with kids my age about how Camaros stomped on Mustangs. But in the end, we were really just a bunch of juveniles arguing about things just for the sake of argument.

If someone said that Camaros look like crap, I had to fire back on how the look of a Mustang made me want to puke. But were talking about back when Mustangs and Camaros actually looked different. This was back in the day when Corvettes were boring and the only people who really drove them were older guys with a lot of money, and as far as foreign sports cars were concerned, they weren't really in no ones budget.

Times have changed since then, exotic sports cars are much more affordable, Corvettes are made to kill the road course, not to mention the drag strip, even Mustangs and Camaros are made to pump out a lot of power while turning in road course numbers that are nothing less than awesome.

But with all this technology, what about the exterior styling of these vehicles. A lot of these vehicles share so much of the same characteristics, dimensions, and colors schemes, it seems hardly worth an argument about which one is the best looking. At a quick glance, there is not much that really sets these vehicles apart. Sure there are some attributes that are different, but it's almost like trying to compare one ditsy, blonde haired, blue eyed cheerleader with the other twelve cheerleaders on the squad.


  

As I have grown older, I have come to appreciate all vehicles. Ford vs. Chevy vs. Mopar is nothing more than needing something to stand for – almost like why most people vote for the home team in professional sports. You don't really know anybody on that team, but you feel obliged to root for them and wear their logos.

But to me, if you look at these pictures, it seems like if you closed your eyes you could mistake one for the other pretty easily. Even on the inside – General Motors has the Mylink technology displayed on a touchscreen in the center of the dash, Ford has the SYNC technology located in the same place, and image this, Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge uses what they call the Uconnect that is also placed in the same place. But you can call it what you want to call it, all three of those systems basically work off a platform that is extremely similar. They all share the same connectivity availability, social medias, etc. Even safety features take on names or phases that are different from each other, but do the same thing.  

It's awesome that the power and efficiency of these vehicles are outstanding, but I'd like to see some major changes and attempts to look different in the styling department.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

'86-'87 Buick Grand National: Today's Best Technology Started in Yesterday's Grocery Getters

Poorly Performing Sports Cars

In the mid to late '70s and all of the '80s, auto companies were forced to come up with fuel-efficient economy-friendly cars. This meant the Muscle Car era was over. Even cars like the high profile Corvette were suffering. For the most part sport car styling was still very appealing, but its lack of performance issues were still very real.



Buick: Ready to Bring Something to the Table That Will Change the Future of the Automobile 

The Buick Grand National was produced between '84-'87  and had the same body type as the Regal, but possessed a sportier interior, a high performance turbo V-6, suspension upgrades and exterior styling upgrades. The '84 and '85 Buick Grand National was not quite the performer that the '86-'87 Grand National was, but they still came with a V-6 3.8 liter with a turbo that produced 200 horses, which was more horsepower than the Camaro was producing at the time.


'86-'87 Grand National: The Real Performer

The '84-'85 Grand National was the launch pad that got the Grand National's name out there and paved the way for the '86 and '87 Grand National. Buick added an inter-cooler upgrade to the already stout turbo set-up, making it capable of producing 235 horses and 355 lbs-ft torque. This was impressive for a V-6 full body car from the '80s, and even more impressive was the gains it was able to produce after a few minor affordable bolt-ons. A mid 14 to high 13 second 1/4 mile time was very common for these V-6 legends. This may not seem very fast by today's standards, but in the '80s, Camaros and Mustangs were lucky to break into the 14-second range unless you were willing to dump a boatload of money into it. From 1986 through the early to mid 1990s, the Grand National took no shame in leaving Corvettes, Camaros, Firebirds and Mustangs in their dust. GM's TPI and Ford 5.0 motors just did not hold a candle to what the Grand National brought to the table.




In the 1980s, the Grand National was just what the auto industry needed: a car that could promote high horsepower with reasonable gas mileage, style and comfort. Not only did it bring those great things to the industry, it also brought hope back to car enthusiasts. It brought the hope that soon the beloved Corvettes, Camaros, and Mustangs would be bringing back the power that they were once known for, but in a more efficient technology driven way.

My Personal Experience

Before my senior year of High School, before my dad and I built my first muscle car ('71 Buick Skylark 455) for my senior year, my dad owned a '87 Grand National. I got the joy of taking it to school a few times. With its grocery getter body style it was not too hard to lure the Camaros and Mustangs to the local drag race spot. The Grand National was running in the low 13's and the guys who drove the TPI's and 5.0's of our school had never even seen a 1/4 time-slip. But most of them guaranteed me that their cars were 12 and 11 second rides. Needless to say, that day they all got a rude awakening when a proven 13 second quarter mile car left them literally many car lengths behind in the dust. This left most of my friends dumb-founded. A quiet V-6 with interior room to fit five passengers comfortably -- beating up on their cool looking V-8 sports car. That day a lot of people found out what the meaning of a sleeper was.   

Monday, November 23, 2015

2017 Corvette Zora C8 Mid-Engine Possibilities

If you are that person who has been hoping and waiting for a mid-engine Corvette, your Corvette may be on its way sooner than you think. Many sources like Car and Driver and GM Authority claim Mark Reuss, head of GM's Global Product Development confirms that the company is already working on the next generation Corvette.

As of now, the C8 Zora-ZR1 mid-engine supercar is being pushed to make a 2017 debut. Estimates of  about $150,000 average price tag could be what Chevy will be looking for, and about only 1500 units will be built, much like ZR1 C4's and C6's.



Why the Push for a Mid-Engine Vette
GM claims there is two reasons for the push of the mid-engine Vette. One of those reasons are after tweaking all of the power that they did out of the ZO6, they realized that they would not be able to put any more usable power into the front-engine Vette because the tires simply just will not handle it.

GM also believes that a mid-engine Corvette could bring in a newer, possibly younger customer base. Instead of a big shot corporate man in America showing his success and his taste for the finer things in life with Porches or Ferraris, maybe a mid-engine Corvette could serve the same purpose.

Performance 
Well, nothing is set in stone, but there should be no reason to worry that you might see a 2017 V-6 Corvette anytime soon. Sounds like a single cam V-8 with direct injection and shut down cylinder displacement will still be what's on the horizon. As for a power rating and or what kind of aspiration will be used is yet to be known.

There has been rumors that as government fuel consumption clamp downs become more and more an issue to car designers, we might see a 2020 mid-engine Vette that could host a V-6 that would leave room for an electric motor that would run the front wheels making it a four-wheel drive hybrid Vette.   



Cockpit and Cargo Space

A mid-engine Corvette will give the luxury of giving the driver and passenger better forward sight lines since there won't be no reason for having an elevated hood. But that also means your view looking backwards will obviously be hampered.

There is also a lot of questions about luggage space. Where will the gas tank go? If it gets located in the front, will there be space for golf clubs, luggage, etc.?

I guess time will tell, I'm sure GM does not even have a clear answer to how and where the transmission, trans-axle, radiator, and exhaust will fit. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The 1957 Chevy - Chevy's Most Iconic Looking Car



How Did the 1957 Chevy Come About?
It starts with Chevy's need for change. For the first time since 1918, the car company was willing to offer a V-8 in its 1955 version, and with that V-8 they thought it would be a good time to get rid of the shoe-box look that they were recently using and try something different. Chevy Chief Designer, Ed Cole wanted to get rid of the shoe-box look by 1956 and have a whole new look for 1957. Unfortunately things did not go as planned; the new look never launched and they would have to make due with the shoe-box style for one more year.

To help differentiate the '57 from its predecessors, Chevy decided to make some changes, changes that would prove to be what some people at the time would call a mistake or bad marketing, but in actuality would end up being called some of the best craftsmanship a GM vehicle ever received.

Change is a Good Thing
Some of the changes were: A new dashboard, a reshaped windshield, sealed cowl and 15-inch rims to replace the 16-inch rims. Also Chevy designers relocated the air-ducks to the headlights which gave the car the distinctive big bold chrome look in the front. And then they added the iconic quarter-panel fins to the rear to help make the Chevy six-inches longer, ultimately giving the Chevy the lowered look that everyone recognizes today.

Other intriguing things that were new with the '57 were a lighter front-end, a bigger engine bay and new drivetrain options that included a fuel-injection system and a three-speed hydramatic transmission. A duel exhaust was offered with all of the V-8 options for a little more horsepower but more so for the cool sound that it would give the Chevy. In commercials, magazine ads and on billboards – Chevy's motto was always the same: "Chevy's Put the Purr Back into Performance".

A 1957 Chevy for Everyone
Different trim options helped make the car more affordable for the average family and classy enough for those who wanted the feel of something a little more luxurious.

Trim Models Were as Followed:

Base: 150 Series
Base: 210 Series
Del Ray: 210 Series
Base: Bel Air
Convertible: Bel Air
Nomad: Bel Air (station wagon)
El Morocco: custom hand-built to mimic a Cadillac

Each version was available in a two-door or four-door frame. The base "150" series with an in-line six was not only priced very well for consumers on a budget, but also did very well when it came to gas mileage compared to the V-8s. As you went up in models you went up in comfort and class, but you also went up in price. The Bel Air and Bel Air convertible was the most popular and expensive models, and in today's market it is the most wanted by all collectors and car enthusiast.

Option Up
Each version had options that could be ordered up to make the car more comfortable and luxurious. Air-condition, power brakes, power steering, a padded dashboard, power windows and power seats were all available and offered as options. Also, a signal-seeking radio with a power antenna could be purchased along with a separate speaker that could be placed in the back, and at the time was called surround sound. The "automatic-eye" was another new option. This device would be attached to your dashboard and could detect on-coming traffic and dim your headlights automatically.

One of the things that may have made the '57 Chevy so desirable was the bigger engine bay it came with. This was important because it made room for the big-block engines that Chevy was making for racing at the time. As drag racing became more popular and going fast was the thing to do, having a '57 Chevy that could accept Chevy's big-block engines with virtually no fabrication required was a huge plus to the go-fast racing enthusiast.

Even without the big-blocks, you could still make plenty of power by opting for what Chevy called the Power-Pack (283 cubic inch engine with solid lifters, a 4 barrel carb and dual exhaust) which would make 275 hp right off the showroom floor. Even though the 283 cubic inch motor would make 283-hp with fuel-injection, that option was often over-looked by consumers at the time because very few people knew how to work on fuel-injection setups, even mechanics were having problems working on the new fuel-injection system. So, if you were buying the car to modify it and or race it, the Power-Pack option was a much smarter way to go.

The odd thing about these desirable collector cars is in 1957 the sales of Ford's '57 model ended up out-selling the Chevy. Maybe it was the 1957 Chevy's bold chrome front-end or the rear-fins that threw consumers off. Maybe it was the introduction of the fuel-injection and the 3 speed hydramatic transmission; both of which consumers were skeptical about. Whatever the case was, by time the '80s rolled around these were considered one of the most, if not the most, collectible cars around.

Worth Every Penny
Nowadays a meticulously restored '57 Bel-Air can go for around $100,000.00 or more, and a seller could catch even more for a convertible in the same condition. But if you are thinking about buying one, you will want to be careful and maybe even seek some professional help before doing so. There are a lot of replicas out there and it can be very easy to be fooled.





Wednesday, April 15, 2015

2015 COPO Camaro #001 to be Auctioned off at Barrett-Jackson

 


Lately, Chevrolet has been dominating the Barrett Jackson Auctions when it comes to selling for big prices. That's mostly because they have been putting #001 versions of Cars like their Z28 or ZO6 on the Auction block -- mostly with proceeds going to charity.

This weekend on April 18th at the Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach Auction, Chevrolet will be doing it again. The 2015 COPO Camaro #001 will be rolling across the action block to bring in more money for charity. With only 69 COPO Camaros being put into production, this will surely be a big bread winner at the auction this weekend.

The COPO has made a big hit in the past few years, they are strictly race cars and don't even come with a VIN#, but that doesn't stop people from buying them. Coming stock with a 550 horsepower 350-cu.-in. LSX V-8 with a Whipple supercharger, the car is set-up and has been known to run somewhere in the 8's in the 1/4 mile when finely tuned.

So what will it fetch. My guess is somewhere around $300,000.00.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Indianapolis 500 -- 2016 Camaro for Pace Car?


















By now we should all know that the unveiling of the 2016 Camaro will come in the month of April at Belle Isle, but will the Camaro see a little more action than what Chevrolet is leading on to. Chevrolet's Camaro has never been a stranger to being a pace car at the Indianapolis 500 and this year probably won't be no different.


The Camaro started as a pace car in 1967 and than added to their resume in 1969 with a Camaro SS; 1982 Indy used the Z/28 as a pace car and also in 1993. Camaro continued the tradition in 2009 and 2010 with a Camaro SS, and than followed up in 2011 and 2014 with some more Camaro Z/28 action.

With all of this media hype that is surrounding the new Camaro, I don't see why they would stop the trend now. This would be a perfect way to keep the Camaro topic hot in May after their unveiling in April. Lots of speculation has been talked about in the last few weeks, some of it is just -- would, coulds and maybes, but one thing is for sure the Camaro will come with a powerful enough V-8 to be respected as an Indianapolis 500 Pace Car.

So where is this speculation coming from, according to Camaro.com, an insider close to the GM Lansing Grand River Assembly plant’s operations, where the Camaro will be built, dropped a few hints to auto evolution, and according to Camaro.com if you read between the lines, an Indianapolis 500 -- 2016 Camaro Pace Car sounds like something that could definitely happen.

“Teen Driver” Safety System Installed on 2016 Chevy Malibu




“Teen Driver” is a technologysystem that helps parents regulate and monitor how their teenagers are driving. This technology has been around for a while, but for the first time GM will be installing them on the 2016 Chevy Malibu. It's a simple case of making sure your teen's driving habits stay safe. The unfortunate thing is nowadays driving like a NASCAR driver with the radio blasting is not as much of a problem with teens as keeping their mobile devices out of their hands when they're in the driver seat. The technology to turn off mobile devices is in the working, but not yet quite ready for the public – let's cross our fingers for speedy solution.

Until than, the “Teen Driver” system does help parents get a little piece of mind when their kids have the vehicle. With a pin number keyed to the key fob your kids use, you can control many different aspects of the car and also request a report card of their driving when they get home.

Features the “Teen Driver” Lets You Control
  • You can set the radio to stay mute until safety belts are fastened.
  • You can lower the max. radio volume.
  • You can adjust max speed anywhere from 40-75-mph. Now this doesn't work like a governor where the engine won't go any faster. But if the speed is exceeded, an audible warning and visual warnings will go off until the vehicle is brought back to speed.
  • You can make sure that all smart car and safety features are implicated and can not be turned off. These features that will be permanently functional will be determined on what features you have on your vehicle – traction control, forward collision alert, front and rear park assist, side blind zone alert, rear cross-traffic alert, front pedestrian braking, automatic light control, daytime running lights, parking sensors, automatic braking and more.


As mentioned above, parents can request a report card of their teenager's driving, this will include things like their top speed, distance driven, how many times the driver violated the pre-set speed limit, and how often the vehicle's safety features were activated. So not only will you know how far your teenage went and how fast they went to get their, but the “Teen Driver” system will also let you know how many times the stability-control, anti-lock brake system, forward-collision alerts and auto-braking events are activated.

Your teen may think of it like an invasion of privacy, but as adults we know it's all about keeping our teens safe. The fatal crash rate per mile driven is the highest in drivers 16-19 years old. So your kid may hate the idea of the “Teen Driver” system and believe it's part of a government conspiracy, we know it's just about them coming back home in one piece. Now if we can just get that technology that shuts off mobile devices for the driver, not just for teens but for everyone, maybe the roads will be a little safer.








Saturday, March 21, 2015

Restored 1968 Corvette Roadster SCCA Race Car



It's rare to see these cars restored to look and drive more like a street car. Most of the SCCA race cars are either restored right back to spec with decals and everything or they simply don't exists no more for obvious reasons (crashed). This 1968 Corvette Roadster was restored to adhere some of its stock originality, but to also look car show pretty and promote street driving convenience with the possibility of still performing on the race track.


1968 Chevy Corvette for Sale in San FranciscoFor starters, the 1968 Corvette Roadster has the correct 460-cu.-in. MK IV engine that was up-graded to ZL1 specs for better efficiency. The engine has 9.2:1 compression, which makes it very easy to run on 91 octane pumped gas. A close ratio four-speed Muncie transmission is mated up to the iconic engine to makes for fun driving. Adding to that fun driving is an adjustable suspension that includes heavy-duty springs, shocks, telescoping halfshafts and upgraded bushings.

The interior features the stock full roll-cage that includes door bars, Kirkey lightweight seats with harnesses, Stewart Warner instrumentation and upgraded tilt/telescope steering wheel with power steering to help make street driving more convenient. Also to add to the racing yet street legal feel is a matching hard-top with full headliner.


Other features this 1968 Corvette Roadster has is an oversized aluminum radiator for touring and long trips, four-wheel disc brakes that are period correct and underside aluminum panels that promote better aerodynamics both for the road and the track. The VIN# does match up as an ex-SCCA race car back when it was in its prime, but now it's in a different prime of its life. Sports cars like this make for great conversational pieces at car shows and at the race track – street legal, track approved with a lot of history.