Sunday, December 11, 2016

1966 Big Block Corvette: The First of Its Kind

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Back in 1966, Chevrolet decided to get innovated and give the public something they have been craving – a small sports car with a huge motor. The Corvette was elected to take the upgrade that started a revolution of cars that would be labeled "Muscle Cars". Chevrolet created a feasible 427 cubic-inch motor for the Vette by taking the already powerful 396 cubic-inch motor that the Corvette was already using and machining the bore and stretching the stroke of the engine to a much larger 427 cubic-inches.

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Big Block Hood

These 427 Corvette motors were available in two versions: the 390-hp L36 and 425-hp L72. Both engines were available choices given to consumers when ordering a Vette, and both engines performed sensationally depending on what kind of fun you were looking for. The lower output L36 motor would cost you about an extra $185.00, where the higher output L72 motor would set you back about $350.00.

The extra cost for the L72 would get you a better-structured motor that included four bolt mains, impact extruded aluminum pistons, a very aggressive camshaft, a Holly 780 CFM carburetor attached to an aluminum intake and a free-flowing exhaust. With the purchase of the L72, you would also get a K66 transistorized ignition to help complement the other higher output parts. Although the L72 was rated at a massive 425-hp, it was a well-known fact the actual horsepower output was well above that publicized rating. The reason for Chevrolet's deception on horsepower numbers was to avoid unwanted backlash from the safety legislation.

The big-block Chevrolet motors were a tight fit for the Corvette, and the power-to-weight ratio was very pleasing for speed freaks. Chevrolet would spend about six more years using a big-block powerplant with balls before going with low-output engines altogether. After 1972, the change to bring about more fuel-efficient cars would change what kind of powerplants all muscle cars would receive and would eventually spawn the end of an era, the "Muscle Car Era."

Small-block 350's de-tuned and ready to do poor performance was what the American car enthusiast would have to put up with for power through the 70's and 80's. In the early 90's, change for more power started up again and, since then, there hasn't been much reason to complain. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

How Much Horsepower is Too Much Horsepower?

Anyone who has ever had an infatuation with power created by combustion engines will tell you, “you can never make enough horsepower”. But in this day-and-age where smaller engines and better technology takes us to astronomical performance levels, it seems like that thought process may not be so true anymore.

Normal-sized LS motors that already take in mass amounts of air and fuel by design leaves the car enthusiast with all kinds of options to upgrade other non-horsepower performance parts on their vehicle to perform better. A tubbed-out, roll cage-fitted vehicle with a massive supercharger sticking out of the hood may look fierce, but you might be surprised to watch a vehicle appearing to be mostly stock smoke the crap out of the wannabe race car.

When building a badass vehicle it should be more about taking the horsepower you plan on creating and making sure you can successfully get it to the wheels and then to the payment.

500 Horsepower Before 1990

Sure, 500-hp has been possible since guys started taking apart engines and putting them back together with the whole intent to go faster. But before the '90s, 500-hp in a daily cruiser in a 1980s Corvette, Camaro, Mustang, etc. just wasn't realistic. 

Not to say that 500-hp in a daily driver before 1990 has never happened, but for the most part, that kind of horsepower was reserved for track use, short drives to the car show, or for trailer queens. Driving back-and-forth to work every day or taking long drives would have been pretty unusual for 500+ horsepower vehicles in the late '80s, '70s, '60s, etc.

The New Age: Right Off The Showroom Floor Vehicles Are Plenty Fast With Plenty Of Horsepower 

Finding a sports car from this generation with over 300-hp is as easy as going to your local dealership. No upgrades needed, today's sports cars and muscle cars will leave any stock or upgraded '80s sports car trailing far behind. 

The new Corvettes, Camaros, Hellcats, Chargers, and Mustangs that we see today can easily make big horsepower and awesome 1/4-mile times. Even Cadillac and many other unexpected auto divisions have poured more horsepower into their vehicles than one could have ever imaged in the mid-'80s and early '90s. 

If you would have told me back in the '90s that there would be a six-cylinder Camaro in the 21 first century that would keep up with a '90s LT-1 Camaro and leave an '80s Z28 in its dust, I would have told you that you were crazy.

Well maybe not. 

My Dad was a Pro-Buick guy, so I attended many Buick events watching my Dad race as I was growing up. The early '90s is when we started to notice V6 Buick turbos pulling the wheels off the ground and turning in 10-second timeslips - that's when we knew technology was going to start to change. But we never even bother to argue the point with the Ford Mustang Fox-Body lovers, they wanted to hear nothing of the sort. Ha. Ha.

How Much Horsepower Is Too Much

It really all depends on what your ambitions are. Let's face it, if you want to go fast on a race track, you can make more power than a top fuel dragster, but that does not mean you're going to dominate anything. 

If you're doing it just for show, I think that's kind of silly, but to each his own. Sure, it's great to sit at the car show or the drag strip and say “yep, my baby puts out 1,200 ponies”. 

But when a brand new sports car pulls up next to you at the light –quiet and stock looking – and he takes off on you like a rocketship, and your loud, monster setup is gasping for mass amounts of air while standing still trying to find just a little bit of traction just seems kind of embarrassing.

How Much Horsepower Is Just Enough

It all depends on what you are planning on doing with your vehicle. The perfect amount of horsepower to me would be being able to use and have fun with every bit of horsepower that I paid for. Sure, have there been times where I have wanted more horsepower for some of my vehicles? Absolutely, but I also like to eat as well. 

Having an extra boatload of horsepower under my hood that I'll never use doesn't really seem worth it if my bank account is at zero. And on top of everything else, at one point or another, you're going to get curious and try to find out what your vehicle can do. If you find out that the car, you or both can't handle it, you might find yourself with a vehicle that is wrapped around a tree. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

General Motors' Company Store Opened in GM Renaissance Center

The Renaissance Center 

Downtown Detroit on the river front of the Detroit River sets the skyline icon of the GM Renaissance Center. Headquarters to the General Motor Corporation, the 5.5 million square foot facility will play host to a new official General Motors Company store. 

Located on Level 1 in the GM Wintergarden, the GM store is part of an ongoing renovation to the tower to make public spaces more visitor friendly. The store will bring an exciting atmosphere that will use interactive exhibits to display some of GM's newest innovations, technology, and designs. The GM global brand will be promoted with novelties for purchase like branded coffee mugs, golf balls, hats, sweaters, polo shirts, model cars and much more. For more merchandise details head to
The new General Motors store first opened its doors on Nov. 7, 2016 with hours between 9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. during the week and will be open on some weekends as its popularity progresses. All GM employs will enjoy a 10 percent discount with proper GM ID. 

The seven tower Renaissance Center sees an estimated 17,000 people per day and is home to great eateries like Joe Muer Seafood and Granite City Food & Brewery. Among the restaurants, the Renaissance Center also offers meeting and conference rooms, shopping experiences, other than the GM store, and even lodging, which includes a 70-story Detroit Marriott Hotel.  

Monday, November 14, 2016

1967 Camaro Commercial: First Time The Public Gets To See The Icon

Back in 1966, the American people were introduced to a sports car that would see five decades of success. That sports car was the Camaro, and to this day has just as much power and influence in the high performance auto motor industry as the day it first went on sale on Sept. 29, 1966.

After the Mustang was introduced in 1964, Chevrolet had to come up with a sportier, tougher two-door sports car than its current two-door sports car at the time, the Corvair. So under the code name XP-836 and than soon after named the Panther for temporary identification, Chevy went to work.

For the year 1967, Chevy decided to name the soon to be iconic sports car, the "Camaro". This obscure word comes from the French-English dictionary meaning "friend". They added eight different engine setups including a SS 350 option and a stout 427 option. Even though the Z/28 did not come along till the next year, on this day of September 29th, 1966, the Camaro hit the road for the first time. Five decades later, this sports car is still a noticeable piece of automobile history no matter what year or model you are driving. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

6.6-Liter Durmax Diesel Torque Monster

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Like the horsepower wars that "The Big Three" are involved in with their cars, the war to build a heavy-duty truck that can push the limits and take the crown for the biggest and best torque ratings are very much alive as well. 

For 2017, GM decides it's time to refresh and toughen up their 6.6-liter Durmax diesel engines for their Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra HD trucks. The extra boost in power will provide the already stout HD trucks with 455-hp, up from last year's 397-hp. And the new torque ratings for the Durmax will be boosted up to 910-lb.-ft. of torque, a bump from the 765-lb.-ft. of torque from the previous year.

90% of this new found torque can be available at a very low 1,550-rpm, helping you take off from a dead stop very effortlessly even when towing an extraordinary amount of weight.  

  • The refreshed Durmax gets its power from a mound of new and beefed up engine components:
  • Turbocharger 
  • Cylinder Heads
  • Pistons
  • Connecting Rods
  • Crankshaft
  • Venturi Jet Drain Oil Separator

The Venturi Jet Drain Oil Separator uses boost from the turbocharger to suck more oil back into the sump, ensuring the oil doesn’t get in places it’s not supposed to go. GM also strengthens up their notorious Allison six-speed transmission to help deal with the new torque numbers, making the Durmax HD trucks more powerful and durable than ever. 

Along with all of the beefed up new components, the Durmax will also be able to run on B20 fuel, which is a mix of 20% Biodiesel and 80% conventional diesel fuel. 

So how does the 2017 Durmax setup match-up with the other competitors? The Ford Super Duty 6.7-liter Powerstroke diesel puts out 440-hp, but the Ford still takes the torque crown for 2017 with 925-lb.-ft. of torque. The Ram HD sports an inline six-cylinder diesel that puts out 385-hp with a very stout 900-lb.-ft. of torque, not bad for a six-cylinder. 

Since it doesn't seem like the competitiveness for big torque numbers is going to go away anytime soon, one would have to suspect that the possibility of seeing these HD trucks coming in at 1,000-lb.-ft. of torque+ very soon, is very real.    

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Top Ten Oddest General Motors Cars Put Into Production

Over the years, the General Motors Corporation has come out with some pretty off-beat vehicles, vehicles that shock the public and leave us scratching our heads.

Whenever a company introduces a new vehicle to the public that doesn't quite fit the mold of the companies profile, they are rolling the dice.

Will the new concept appeal to consumers or will it be a production flop?

Here is a list of 10 off-beat vehicles GM put into production, some of which went on to be a staple in the automobile industry, and some that just never had a chance.

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'69-'71 COPO Camaro, Nova and Chevelle
General Motors' COPO (Central Office Production Order) division was designed for specialized vehicles. Heavy duty fleet work trucks, taxi cabs, police cars and other fleet type vehicles were all part of this division. But what no one could of imagined was that this division would also be responsible for producing some of the most rarest and bad-ass race cars of all time.

Although still considered production cars, if you wanted a COPO car they had to be ordered from the front office, and they came strictly for drag racing purposes only. The main reason for GM's decision to build and promote these cars was because of their poor competitiveness against their rivals, Ford and Chrysler, at national drag race events. GM looked at this as a huge missed opportunity for advertisement. Drag racing at the time was extremely popular among car guys and not being able to compete did not look good for the company.

Along with the more popular 1969 COPO Camaro, these COPO cars all came equipped with a much more powerful 427 cu. in. motor that would help drive GM back to the top of the drag racing circuits. Today not only are they the rarest of GM's muscle cars, but they are also the most sought-after cars, bringing in huge amounts of money at specialized car auction.

Although GM canceled the program after just a couple of short years, in 2013 they brought it back. GM was set to build 138 brand new COPO Camaros, and just like their predecessors they are all business. These Camaros come from the production line with no title, no Vin#, and can not be registered for public roads. These cars are made for drag racing only and are still being built today. 

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'66 Oldsmobile Toronado
This interesting looking car was fitted with technology that would eventually become the norm, not just for GM but for all of the American car companies, the front-wheel drive technology. By the mid-80s almost all cars outside of trucks and sports cars were fitted with front-wheel drive. They were said to be easier to drive in bad weather and easier for mechanics to work on.

In 1966 the odd but successful Toronado won the Motor Trend Car of the Year. And in its seven-year production process it became responsible for these other technology innovations:
  • (THM425) 400 3-speed automatic heavy-duty Turbo-Hydramatic transmission
  • 4-barrel Quadrajet carburetor produced by Rochester – which was used on many muscle cars in the future
  • Exhaust manifold flange gaskets that were spherically shaped which provided freedom of movement in the exhaust system and prevented leaks
  • A ventilation system that was draft free, this reduced wind noise considerably by eliminating the conventional front-door vent windows
Although it was not the first mass production front-wheel drive car, the 1937 Cord 810 took those honors, it was the first successful mass production front-wheel drive car. Oldsmobile kept the Toronado in production up until May 28, 1992, when the last car rolled off the assembly line in Hamtramck Mi.  

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The El Camino
It was an odd looking truck slash car with a Spanish name. This particular vehicle was not predicted to do very well. A lot of people probably recognize the El Camino as being part of Chevrolet's division, which is true, but it was actually introduced at the 1954 GM Motorama as a Cadillac. The ideal spent a year with Cadillac as a concept car before being dumped and picked up by Chevrolet in '59. Chevy spent about two years with the odd car and then they discontinued it only to pick it back up again in 1964.

The truck/car actually became a big seller for Chevy, spending the next 13 years in production with great success. So if you look back at its life span, including the year with Cadillac, the Spanish named truck/car ended up being produced for about a total of 15 years.

Even though it's no longer in production, the El Camino is far from a junkyard car. Car enthusiast love these cars for their uniqueness and racers love to soup them up due to the weight factor. Since there are only two front seats and a light rear-end because of the truck like bed in the back, they can be very fun to drive.  

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'96-'99 General Motors EV-1
Sufficient electric cars have always been a focus for automakers, especially since the California Air Resource Board (CARB) was stiffening their laws. In the mid-90s, if you wanted to market your cars in California you had to have at least one zero-emissions car in your product line-up.

So to qualify, General Motors came out with the EV-1 which was the first mass production electric car produced by any automotive company of the era. It really was nothing more than a test vehicle for GM. They only leased the car out and never gave it a designated division making it the only vehicle GM every made not identified by a division.

Through the years (CARB) loosened their laws and made it okay for companies to market in California if they had a super-low emission car in their product-line such as a hybrid. This gave GM what they wanted, a reason to discontinue the program and get rid of the all too expensive cars.

Since the cars were only available for lease the general public did not own any. So GM crushed all of the remaining cars except for about 21, with one going to the Smithsonian Museum and the other 20 going overseas. GM's cleaning up of these cars makes them the most rarest GM cars to existence these days. But if you do own one, don't expect it to be worth very much, it's not a car that enthusiast want.

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'86-'87 Buick Grand National
Buick is often thought of as a grocery-getter, a grandmother's car – dull and boring in style while packing on a lot of extra weight without a lot of power to push them down the road. But in 1984, Buick gave their Regal, their sportiest of cars, a V-6 turbocharged engine and called it a Grand National. It was not the most impressive thing that was being produced at the time and was still overlooked by car enthusiast. Then, in 1986 and '87, Buick gave the Grand National an engine setup that would make it one of the fastest performing American production cars of the decade.

The V-6 turbo intercooled engine setup produced enough power to leave Camaros, Trans Ams and Mustangs way behind in the performance department, and much to everyone's surprise, even the king of all American sports cars, the Corvette, was left behind as well.

What made this so unusually, is the above-mentioned sports cars used the bigger V-8 engine setups, whereas the Buick used a smaller technology-driven V-6. Even odder, you think of fast cars from that era with small cramped cockpits and light frames, but the Buick, on the other hand, was a full-bodied car with plenty of room on the inside to fit five people comfortably. This is why, till this day, most people still call this car the last true muscle car.

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1989 20th Anniversary Pontiac Turbo Trans Am
Pontiac decided to do something different for their 20th Anniversary of the Trans Am, something so different that the unveiling of it would leave the public a little dazed and confused.

Pontiac decided to use the Buick Grand National drivetrain to make their special 20th Anniversary Trans Am even more special. It's unconventional but it works, a sports car known for heavy breathing V-8's gets a fuel efficient turbocharged V-6 and turns the Trans Am into one of the most sought-after F-Body cars from the 1980s.

The reasoning behind putting a Buick drive-train in a Pontiac, especially an anniversary edition celebrating the Pontiac Trans Am, has yet to be understood. But one can only expect that Buick did such a good job with the Grand National drivetrain, Pontiac decided to borrow it.

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'91-'93 GMC: Syclone and Typhoon
GMC decided it liked Buick's progress so much with the turbo drivetrains they would get in on the action as well. The GMC Sylcone was a truck based off the GMC Sonoma and the Typhoon was based off the GMC Jimmy. GMC hired in a corporation called (PAS) Production Automotive Systems. This company was known for their aftermarket success and went to work to turn the Sonoma and Jimmy into some of the most iconic trucks in GM's history.

What really put these trucks in a class of their own was the rare all-wheel-drive system. Although the all-wheel drive was not a new form of technology at the time, it was considered new to find it on a vehicle that was built for performance. That technology is what made these trucks the fastest production trucks on the planet, and at the time the fastest all-around American made vehicles.

Unfortunately for the PAS company, GM discontinued the program to look into the future of electric cars and focus more on making their sports cars the fastest cars of their fleet. That took most of the business away from the PAS company and they had to close their doors shortly afterwards.  

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2001-2005 Pontiac Aztek
The Aztek cross-over may be one of GM's worst styling blunders of all-time. Although the Aztek was quite a functional, well-rounded vehicle, the outside looks of it were something that just seemed to plague it from the day GM unveiled it at the North American Auto Show.

The Aztek was designed to target consumers who did not want to drive a mini-van, but still needed the luxury of one. It was also designed to offer people who needed mini-van capabilities, but also some off-road capabilities as well. The only problem was the Aztek did not offer much of any off-road capabilities making it hard to compete with some of Ford and Chrysler cross-overs. The reason why GM allowed this vehicle in production for so long is still a mystery.   

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'03-'06 Chevrolet SSR
Starting out as a concept and eventually making its way into Chevrolet's product line-up, the SSR was a mix of an old school look with a futuristic twist to it. It was a two-seater truck that looked more like a roadster, and even though it was technically a truck, it was never meant for hauling, it was meant to be fancy.

Unfortunately the price tag and the poor performance of the SSR when it first came out never really gave this cool looking vehicle the success GM thought it deserved. Even though in 2005, GM beefed up the performance with a Corvette drivetrain, experts believe that the vehicle was already doomed from its poor start from the earlier years.

GM claimed the SSR was going to be such a big hit that people would have to spend time on a waiting list just to get one. But that was just not the way things went, some dealerships had a hard time even selling one. After 2006, the SSR was dropped out of production.  

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2004-Present Day: The Cadillac CTS-V
Outside of a few exterior hop-ups, just by looking at a CTS-V you would not see much to tell you that it was anything other than just an average Cadillac. But, what makes this CTS-V so much more special than any other Cadillac, was Cadillac's decision to put a sports car drivetrain in a luxury car, a first for GM.

A Corvette drivetrain is placed in these Cadillacs in what turned out to be a huge hit for GM. GM originally unveiled it as a special edition car in 2004, but it had such positive potential it's now a regular in the Cadillac product-line. With this particular car, Cadillac proves something that Italian car makers have known for a while, luxury with awesome horsepower is a great combination. In fact, Cadillac made such a big hit with the CTS-V, they now host a whole line of performing Cadillacs called the V-Series.

Every car company has taken its risks, some risks turn out to be gold mines and some end up being nothing more than a money pit. My assumptions for the future: The biggest risks we will end up seeing auto companies making will be the push for the fastest and the most efficient all electric vehicles with self-driving abilities.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Rarest Corvettes In The World For A Fraction Of The Price

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Some of the rarest sports cars of all time are a group of five Corvette Grand Sports from the early 1960s built with the sole purpose of running in the GT Class of the 24-Hour LaMans Race. The Godfather of Corvette, Zora Arkus Duntov, led the crusade of light-weight race ready cars that were designed to compete with the dominant Ford GTs and the rest of the field's competitors.

Duntov had plans on building 1,000 of these Corvettes, but only five Corvette Grand Sports were originally built. Two of the Corvettes [#001 and #002] were put to the side and three others were sent to John Mecom of Houston, TX., who eventually sent them off to three other individuals in the racing industry.

Purchasing One Of These Rare Beauties
So let's say you were not lucky enough to be one of those people who received one of those five Corvettes, but now you would like to see if you can purchase one today. Well, even know these Corvettes are not relevant in the 24-hour LaMans and other races anymore, fat chance of getting your hands on one for under five million dollars. A few years back the #002 Corvette Grand Sport found its way to an auction block, and even know the high-bid was $4.9 million, it was still not enough to take the blue beautiful race car home.

If you're like most car guys, you probably don't have $4.9 million sitting around for a sports car that you wouldn't even want drive anyway. But getting something similar and in many cases, much more modern and driveable with an affordable price tag is definitely not a dream. Thanks to a company located in Southern California, Superformance, a company that pushed to get granted the licensing to build replicas of Zora Duntov’s famed Corvette Grand Sport, now you might be able to own one.

Superformance was even granted original build sheets for the #002 Grand Sport Corvette. Superformance claims that if you wanted a replica almost identical to the original, they could build you one that only experts could tell the difference between the two. But if you are like a lot of people, you may be just looking for the look of the legendary Corvette and the performance and comforts of a newer vehicle, and that's fine too.

Customize Your Own Corvette Grand Sport
Image result for The Rarest CorvetteSuperformance will work you up a vintage Corvette Grand Sport of your liking. Features like power steering, four-wheel disc brakes, power windows, A/C and fully independent front and rear suspension with Bilstein suspension components can be optioned up for the coupe. There are roadster versions available but they will be left to look and drive more like the race Corvettes of the past, and many features and options of the coupe will be limited. But as far as power plants go, Superformance offers a verity of engines including an LS9 supercharged monster that can really make the coupe and the roadsters fun to drive.

There is actually seven engines in all to choose from. All engines come with a 2/year 50-mile warranty that can be serviced at your local authorized dealer. The greatest thing about the Superformance Corvette Grand Sport replica is the price tag. Depending on your options and how customized you want it, your price tag will still be just a fraction of the price you would have to pay for the real thing. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

2017 Chevrolet SS: Lack of Advertising Lack of Sales?

In my opinion, one of the coolest four-door sedans that Chevrolet has produced since the Chevy Impalas of the mid-'90s is the 2014-'15-'16 Chevrolet SS sedan. Unfortunately, from what it sounds like, Chevrolet is going to make 2017 the last year for the four-door sedan that packs a punch of 415 horsepower courtesy of an LS3 motor.

The cool thing is that for, what sounds like will be the last year, there could be a supercharged LSA engine shoved in the engine bay that will put out 500+ horsepower. For a four-door sedan that can put down a 13 second flat quarter-mile time before the supercharged upgrade, if the rumors are true, the sports sedan will truly be a fun vehicle to drive. And with even more rumors of the sedan possibly getting a 1LE Camaro suspension, competing with cars like BMW and other European sports sedans will surely be no problem.

But why the reason for discontinuing a good thing [Chevrolet SS]?

No one knows for sure why Chevrolet is planning on discontinuing the SS yet [if they do] but for anyone hoping they don't the news sounds very grim. Sales for the SS is down and GM already makes pretty good sales with another four-door sedan that emulates the same type of power and performance with a higher profile name, the Cadillac CTS-V.

Some people may wonder why sales are down on the powerful, good-looking, well-priced sedan. I think one of the reasons could be the lack of advertising of the vehicle.

No one can really know if that is the way Chevrolet wanted it, or if they only planned to make the car for X amount of years. Let's face it, even the slick looking mid-'90s Chevy Impala that everyone loved only stuck around for 3 years. 

If this was an attempt to make the SS sedan a rare car somewhere down the line, in say maybe a decade or two because of a limited number of sales, then Chevy has done a good job of doing that. In fact, for most people, if they see a new SS on the road it would probably roll right past them without them even knowing what it really is. Hell, if I wasn't a car guy, and even for the car enthusiast who may not have much interest in GM vehicles, the Chevrolet SS could easily be mistaken for just another average grocery getting sedan. 

For whatever the reason, the SS truly hides in plain sight and advertising and promotions of the very cool car is literally just about non-existent. And that could very well be the reason for the low sales of the Chevy SS sedan. Not only that, but if the rumors are true and Chevy decides to put the LSA supercharged engine in the SS but makes no changes in their promotional strategy, chances are the 2017 Chevrolet SS will not be a big seller either, and that will probably force GM to abandon production of the car.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The New Chevy Silverado HD Hood Scoop - Cool And Functional

For many years now, ram air hood scoops were put in place to shovel in more air into the intake system causing an increase of performance by horsepower. This new Chevy Silverado HD hood scoop is also designed to create better performance, but not by forcing more air into the intake system, instead, the hood scoop will help create a cooler engine compartment for the engine which can also help create better performance.

These trucks are designed for towing/hauling, four-wheel driving activities, long drives, withstanding major mileage while still performing well. Whenever an engine can run cooler it will always perform better. So when an engine is under constant stress, like these Chevy Silverado HD trucks spend a lot of their time under, it makes sense to want to keep that engine as cool as possible for all of the time that it is performing any type of activities.

So just how much does this ram air hood scoop actually help? 

The ram air scoop will take in 60 percent of all of the cool air that will enter the engine compartment. The other 40 percent of air will come through the space behind the front bumper which is designed to take on the engine compartment air funneling responsibilities even if the ram air scoop gets blocked up.

The ram air design features a 90-degree angle which is capable of catching large droplets of water (rain) and small debris keeping out as much moisture and crap as it can to ensure that as much clean and cool air gets into the engine compartment as possible.

All and all, the scoop not only looks pretty cool, but it is more functional than a lot of ram air hoods we have seen in the past. Let's face it, some ram air hoods we have seen though the years hardly created noticeable extra horsepower and some of which we've seen weren't even functional.

I have yet to hear any official statement if GMC will have the same ram air scoop on their HD trucks, but one would imagine they will follow suit.

Friday, July 1, 2016

2017 Bumblebee Transformer Camaro

After many stories about the 2017 Bumblebee Transformer Camaro, here comes the real news. My friend from GM says that all Camaros in the movie will be an assortments of different trims. Whatever GM will sell them and let them destroy will be the Camaro you see.

Still going to be cool.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Chevrolet Grand Prix - Belle Isle, Detroit

What a great way to shine a bright light on Detroit and General Motors than having the Belle Isle Chevrolet Grand Prix play out on the backdrop of the cities GM Renaissance Center building in the city where GM headquarters resides.

With many great race events creating plenty of competition all weekend long, there won't be a dull moment for any race fans that come to the festivities. But if you do find yourself in the stands needing a break from the fast cars zooming by, there are plenty of infield events to keep adults and youngsters alike loving every minute of their stay at the Belle Isle Grand Prix. Between the autograph signing sessions, extreme sports demonstrations, live music, monster truck rides for kids, car shows and of course great food, there will be entertainment for everyone around every corner.

As always Penske Racing has put a huge helping-hand into making all of this work and without a doubt there will be plenty of Penske Racing Teams involved in these great events. But there not to overshadow some of the other great sponsors like Quick and Loans, Meijer who brings the Fan Zone, Motor City Hotel brings the live entertainment and of course Chevrolet and many other sponsors.

All of this great sponsorship just proves how much everyone believes in a city that has made some major changes in the past few years and are still working on making it just an all around great place to come and visit. Whether it is for a sporting event or just to paint the town red while hitting the Casinos, the great eating destinations, clubbing or pub and bar prowling - whatever suits your fantasy - you'll find it here in Detroit.

So I hope that everyone goes and does what I plan on doing - take some great pictures, but enjoy as much of the Belle Isle Chevrolet Grand Prix without an electronic device occupying your eyes and your every movement throughout the day.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Mid-Engine Corvette Going To Happen - Update

Updated Again: 10/8/2018

So a quick update on what could be one of the most exciting automotive days in my life. Living in the Motor City there has been a lot more talk that seems to be more fact than fluff about the new Mid-Engine Corvette.

Car and Driver, The GM Authority, Auto Week,, etc. has all been posting on what might be - but I like facts. From sources I can't mention, the word is there should be renderings from Corvette designers (renderings that matter) out as soon as later this year and prototypes at the North American Auto Show in January of next year. And if anyone knows how Corvette does business, when they put something in the North American Auto Show, even if it is a prototype, that means unless something goes drastically wrong, it's going to make it into production.

My hope is Corvette (GM) takes a page out of the Ford Motor Company's play book and does something similar to what they are doing when it comes to purchasing-eligibility for the 2017 Ford GT supercar. Clients who want a chance to get put on the waiting list for the limited-edition Ford GT supercar have to fill out an application. The idea behind the application is to make sure that people who purchase one of Ford's limited-edition supercars will drive it, take it to car cruises and car shows and not stick them into their personal museums to be dusted off 20 years later and sold at an auction for profit. 

Along with the above-mentioned reason, most auto companies that create such wonderful works of art usually store a few of those priceless cars in their own museums anyway. Ford Motor Company, as like most auto companies want to see their vehicles driven, they want to see their beautiful designs being used for what they were designed for, having fun in them.  

But time will tell what happens, the closer Ford comes to getting their supercar out, Corvette will push harder to get their mid-engine Vette rolling and hopefully the competition will roll on harder than ever. 

I have talked about the mid-engine Corvette in the past, its possibilities of finding its way into the Corvette lineup and what it would mean for GM, Chevrolet and Corvette. After many exciting years of maybes, it's possible, it's just a cool thought and nothing more – the Godfather of the Corvette, Zora Arkus-Duntov, has made it pretty clear that the public will see a Mid-Engine Corvette revealed possibly as soon as the L.A. Auto Show late this year.

Although this would be new to the public eye, it is a well-known fact that Corvette has been working on and has come up with a pretty permanent version of a Mid-Engine Corvette. The drivetrain solutions are said to include a seven-speed manual transmission and an LT1/LT4 700-hp twin-turbocharged engine.

Unfortunately, the many renderings I have seen, which is not much to my surprise, looks almost just like a Ferrari with Corvette badges. And I say not much to my surprise because if you look at a 2016 Corvette Z06 and compare it to a 2016 Ferrari F12, put them in the same color, you can very easily mistake them for one another from a distance (my opinion).  

When this does happen, the word out is that most of the front-engine Corvettes will still be very much a part of the Corvette lineup and most likely none will be bumped out as a result of an extra Corvette coming in. The front-engine Corvette is part of the iconic brand as we know it. If anything, the Mid-Engine Corvette will be more for just breaking track records, giving the Ford GT and other Mid-Engine competitors a run for their money, and or to sit in a rich person's car collection.

When the Mid-Engine Corvette does become an available vehicle for the public to purchase, you won't be able to just go to any dealership and buy one or have one serviced by any dealership under warranty. Selected dealerships with a great reputation for sales and customer service will be high on the list of places that will have the honor of selling and promoting the Mid-Engine Corvette, and of course, three other things will help decide where they will be available at – location, location, location.

The price tag for one of these Corvettes is going to most likely be out outrageously high. That is why location will be a huge part of deciding where they will be sold. If Corvette is thinking about competing with the Ford GT, and when has Chevy ever not tried to compete with Ford, the price tag will likely find its way up into the $350,000 to $400,000 range. That is a supercar status price tag, but Chevrolet has yet to fail on any attempt to make a sports car or supercar worth every penny in the past 10+ years.


Friday, May 27, 2016

Need Hennessy Power For Your Camaro SS


As promised, Hennessy has been hard at work taking not just the Camaro SS and making it unstoppable, but they have also added Hennessy Camaro ZL1 versions, four-cylinder turbocharged versions, LE versions (including the V-6), and they have their own recipes for new Corvettes and Cadillac CTS-Vs. 

So if you are someone that is lucky enough to have some money left over after you buy one of these sweet rides and needs something a little extra, let Hennessy Performance hook you up with something just a little more awesome. 


Like most of us excepted, Hennessy Performance Engineering got their hands on some 2016 Camaro SS sports cars and came up with a few different Hennessy versions, and anybody who has been around the aftermarket auto industry for a while definitely knows that Hennessy only puts their badges on vehicles that represent what they stand for – badass performance.

Although the Camaro SS already comes with 455-hp and 455-lb.-ft. of torque, for some people that just isn't enough. So Hennessy did what they do best and outlined eight different high-performance Camaro SS versions for customers to opt for if they so choose, including a 1,000-hp supercharged version that puts out 887-lb.-ft. of torque at 4,200-rpm. Other versions include the naturally aspired HPE500, 600, and 650, and the supercharged HPE650, 700, 750 and 800.

The 1,000-hp 2016 Hennessy Camaro SS will get a total reconstructed engine that will be stroked out from the original 6.2-liter engine to a 6.8-liter engine. Making sure that the engine can handle the massive 1,000-hp, Hennessy adds forged aluminum pistons, billet connecting rods, ported cylinder heads and hollow-stem valves to the engine rebuild. Of course, that horsepower would not be obtainable if it weren't for the massive supercharger, the heavy-duty intercooler, and a brand new engine management system.

Even if you don't opt for the 1,000-hp version, but something a little more realistically streetable, all Hennessy Camaro SS versions get a few visual bonuses that include incognito badges placed around the outside of the vehicle, Hennessy specific floormats and a numbered plaque on the dashboard to distinguish its authenticity and rareness. Needless to say, with the tame visual effects, you might be sitting right next to an HPE Camaro SS without even recognizing it.

If a 1,000-hp Camaro sounds like something you are willing to spring for, know that after you buy your 2016 Camaro SS, you have to have an extra $65,000 lying around, because that's how much you will have to send to Hennessy to have your Camaro spruced up to a HPE1000. Prices for the less upgraded versions of the HPE Camaros can be obtained by a quick call to Hennessy and a little chat with their tech guys.

All Camaro upgrades come with a 36,000 mile/one-year drivetrain warranty to give you a little time to tear up the road and break the drivetrain before you're responsible. They are also compatible with the manual transmission and the automatic transmission, even if you upgrade to the supercharged Hennessy versions, both transmissions are said to perform flawlessly.

Although these upgrades are specifically for the Camaro SS, I'm sure if you talked to the guys at Hennessy about your Camaro LE (V-6, V-8), you would be able to talk them into hooking you up with a pretty sweet little performance package.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Taking A Look Back At The IROC-Z Camaro

Camaro IROC-Z History 
Back in 1984, Chevrolet wanted to produce a Camaro that would closely mimic the Camaros that were being used to race in the IROC (International Racing of Championship) series. So to help promote their new business idea, Chevrolet signed on to be the official sponsor of the IROC racing series. This move gave them permission to use the name IROC, which in turn spawned the birth of the road course king "IROC-Z Camaro".

Starting in 1985, the new IROC-Z became available to the public and would be produced as a Camaro performance option until 1990. The turn of the decade brought up the end of the licensing agreement with the IROC Racing Series. Chevrolet had other plans for the future of the Camaro and decided not to renew the sponsorship of the race series and dropped the IROC-Z from production.

For those years that the IROC-Z was in production, they became such a staple in the Camaro lineup that Camaro would drop the Z-28 from production for the years of '88, '89 and '90 and made the IROC-Z your primary high-performance option. Eventually, the Z-28 would come back into play in 1991 when Chevrolet halted the IROC-Z's production because without the licensing agreement they were no longer aloud to use the IROC name.

The IROC-Z: A Better Camaro
What mostly stood out about the IROC-Z is its 5.7-liter (350-cu.-in.) Tune-Port Injection (TPI) engine which was bigger than its sister motor, the 5.0-liter.

The 350 TPI came with a four-speed 700R4 automatic transmission and a special suspension package better known as the 1LE package that included: 4 wheel disk brakes, a 3.42 posi-traction rear-end, an aluminum drive shaft, large 12" front rotors, aluminum calipers, engine oil cooler, larger anti-roll bars, gas tank baffles and more aggressive springs that lowed the Camaro by .05 inches.

The special Camaro would also get 16-inch rims, an upgrade from the smaller 15-inch rims, more aggressive side-skirts on the body-kit, large IROC-Z decals on the doors and special trim.

Although throughout the years the IROC-Z was released from the factory with a few different trim options and setups like t-tops, controvertible, and even a 5-speed transmission, the most common options are mentioned above. It also should be noted that even though the 5.7-liter IROC Camaro was the most common and sought-after Camaro of the IROCs, if you are looking to buy an '85, you should know that you can find them with the bigger 5.7-liter engines, but they will not be original because in '85 they only came available with the smaller 5.0-liter TPI engine.

Unfortunately for the IROC-Z, it was produced in a time when power was not a priority and the horsepower and torque numbers it boasted back in the mid-to-late '80s, in a nut shell, sucked in comparison to today's sports cars. But the reason why the IROC-Z is a collector car and will stay a collector car is not because of its power outputs, but because of its limited production and its ties to the IROC racing series - plus the fact that when it was produced their competition had about the same lack of performance problems.

If you're searching for an IROC-Z, you must be careful for there are a lot of impostors out there. A lot of the exterior IROC-Z options such as the vented hood, front spoiler and ground effect options were available for order on regular Camaros and Z28s as well. So check the VIN numbers and do some research via. some reputable sources so you don't get screwed.

If you already own one, I would suggest saving it and passing it on to someone in your family, because in time they will be just as valuable as a Camaro from the Muscle Car era.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

GMC Syclone and Typhoon: '90s Collector Vehicles

Back in 1991, the dogs days of the sad, slow, so-called economy efficient sports cars were starting to come to an end. The days of the poorly performing 350-cu.-in. Tuned-Port Injection (TPI) engine setups that General Motors was using for their unimpressive performing sports cars were about to be replaced by a much more stout performing LT1 350-cu.-in. engine.

But before the switch would be made, the GMC truck division of General Motors made an interesting move to get involved in some of the performance making hype that GM was encouraging at the time. GMC made a move and signed a contract with a company called Production Automotive Systems (PAS) which in-turn would create the fastest production trucks of its time: the '91 GMC Syclone pickup truck and '92-'93 GMC Typhoon SUV.

The Pass Company was no stranger to this type of work as Pontiac called upon them to help them build the very famous 1989 Turbo Trans Am 20th Anniversary Edition.

PAS engineered a 4.3-liter Vortec engine that came equipped with a turbocharger and an intercooler to fit in both the Syclone and the Typhoon. To efficiently transfer engine power, both models would receive the four-speed 700R4 automatic transmission, the same trans that the Corvette was using at the time.

What made the Syclone and the Typhoon so unique to other trucks is that they used a very performance efficient all-wheel drive system. That technology helped these trucks that had an underrated, unofficial horsepower rating of 280 get down the quarter-mile with times that could stop the clocks somewhere in the high-13-second range. And since these trucks were so well-liked, there were a lot of upgrades promoting even faster quarter-mile times, in fact, some that were darn right amazing (10 and 9 second passes).

With great gas mileage, great performance and the fact that they were limited production, the GMC Syclone and Typhoon were and are still great car collector items for all car enthusiast alike. With a limited production of only 2,998 '91 Syclone's, 2,500 '92 Typhoons and 2,200 '93 Typhoons built, the price tags on these rare trucks still stay up in the $15,000 to $25,000 range for the ones that are still in good condition.

Unfortunately, the PAS company based in Troy, Mi., that was responsible for the GMC Syclone and Typhoons engineering and design would go out of business after GM decided not to go forward with any more specialized GMC vehicles at the time. This decision was mostly due to the progression of the Corvettes, Camaros, Trans Ams and the need to focus on the new technology of eclectic vehicles.

Type:             V6
Disp.:            262 C.I. (4.3L)
Horsepower:       280 BHP @ 4400 (Syclone) 285 BHP @4400 (Typhoon)
Torque:           350 lb-ft @ 3600 (Syclone) 350 lb-ft @ 3600 (Typhoon)
RPO:              LB4
Bore:             4.00
Stroke:           3.48
Comp. Ratio:      8.35:1
Firing Order:     1-6-5-4-3-2
Oil Pres. (Min)   6 psi@ 1000 RPM, 18 psi@ 2000 RPM, 24 psi@ 4000 RPM

Diameter:         3.9995-40025
Out of
Round:            .001 (production) .002 (service)
Taper:            .001

Clearance: .0015-.0030
PISTON RING: Compression: Groove Clearance: .0012-.0032 Gap: .010-.020 (top) .010-.025 (2nd) Oil: GC: .002-.007 Gap: .015-.055 PISTON PIN: Diam: .9270-.9273 Piston Clearance: .0002-.0007 Rod Fit: .0008-.0016 Interference

MAIN JOURNAL: Diam: #1 2.4484-2.4493
#2 #3 2.4481-2.4490
#4 2.4479-2.4488
Taper: .001 max
Out of Round: .001 max
MAIN BRG. CLEARANCE: #1 .0010-.0015 #2#3 .0010-.0025 #4 .0025-.0035
CRANK END PLAY: .002-.006
CRANKPIN: Diam: 2.2487-2.2497
Taper: .001 max
OOR: .001 max
ROD CLEARANCE: .0013-0030

LIFT +- .002 Intake .357 Exhaust .390 Journal Diam: 1.8682-1.8692 End Play .004 -.012

Lifter Hydraulic Rocker ratio 1.5:1
Lash Adj. One turn down from zero Face Angle 45 deg.
Seat Angle 46 deg.
Runout .002 max
Seat Width 1/16 to 1/32 Stem clearance .0010-.0028 Spring length 2.03 Valve Spring Pres. 76-84 lbs @ 1.70 in Closed 194-206 lbs @ 1.25 in
Open Installed height 1 23/32"
Valve Spring Damper: Free Length 1.86 # coils 4