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.