Friday, December 16, 2016

1989 Trans Am 20th Anniversary V-6 turbo





Back in 1989, production sports cars were considerably slower compared to the fast, technology potent sports cars that are being produced today. Thanks to the shortage of fuel and the bad economy, the '80s were a breeding ground for poorly performing Mustangs, Camaros, Trans Ams and Corvettes. 

But in the late '80s, Buick brought some relief to the unimpressed gear heads with their 1986-'87 Grand National and Regal T-Type. The two very similar models where technically two-door sedans that came with a six-cylinder engine that used a turbocharger and an intercooler to produce 235-hp and some very impressive quarter-mile time slips. In fact, for those two years, the sluggish looking grocery-getters were the fastest American made production vehicles at the time.



Pontiac Looks to Buick for a Bad Ass 20th Anniversary Edition Trans Am
In 1989, Pontiac would prepare to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the beloved Trans Am. For the anniversary addition, Pontiac would go outside of the box and for the first time would produce a Trans Am with a V-6 motor, the same V-6 motor that Buick used for the dominating Grand National and Regal T-Type. For this special anniversary edition, Pontiac would produce 1,550 Turbo Trans Ams in different combinations of hard tops and t-tops, along with a leather or cloth interior option.

Pontiac did not offer a factory convertible Turbo Trans Am, but one was created for Jeff Beitzel the President of PAS, a custom car production company. The car is unique in that its origins were shared with other custom-made vehicles that PAS were involved with building such as the Syclone, the Typhoon, and the ASC-built GNX. The world's only rag-top Turbo Trans Am has changed hands several times and is presently owned by a wealthy Mexican oil baron who loves Pontiacs.

With Pontiac's 20 great years of Trans Am success, the Turbo Trans Am would be rewarded by being named the official pace car of the Indianapolis 500. 

So just what kind of performance stats can this Turbo Trans Am produce? You can expect 0-60 times of 4.6 seconds while stopping the ¼ mile clocks at an average of 13.4 seconds, and if you keep going with your foot on the gas, you will reach a top speed of 162 mph. But just like the Buicks, the possibilities of much faster times and better performance is completely feasible with affordable upgrades and the correct tuning.


Completing the 20th Anniversary Turbo Trans Am Package

To complete the package, the Turbo Trans Am would come with a 200-4R 4-speed transmission with a lock-up converter. Four-wheel disc brakes and dual piston aluminum calipers with vented rotors were also installed. The Trans Am suspension includes front MacPherson struts and a limited slip rear live axle with front and rear torque sway bars – meaning not only does it go fast in a straight line, but it also hugs the corners as good as any other American sports car.

The sticker price for this Turbo Trans Am was around $32,000. Nowadays, depending on condition and how many miles are racked up on one, you can find them for sale anywhere from $12,000-$45,000 give or take. This car is definitely an American classic and if you're lucky enough to own one, it would definitely be in your best interest to take care of it.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

1966 Big Block Corvette: The First of Its Kind

Image result for 1966 big block corvette

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.


Related image
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 a day-and-age where technology takes us to astronomical power levels, it seems like that thought process may not be so true anymore. With big cubic-inch LS motors that already can take in mass amounts of air before slapping on twin-turbo or supercharged systems, the amount of power that is popping up on all kinds of average daily cruisers, begs the questions, is there really a need for all that horsepower?

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 90's, 500-hp in a daily cruiser – in a 1985 Corvette, Camaro, Mustang – please. Not to say that it 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 – not for vehicles that could go back-and-forth to work every day and then hop on the expressway and drive across country at will.

In Today's Time – 500 Horsepower – Just A Drop In The Bucket
Not to mention that finding a sports car right off the showroom floor with over 500-hp is as easy as going to your local dealership, but purchasing one under 500-hp and having a performance shop do some add-ons correctly with a correct tune to get 500-hp is just another day at the shop.

Some of the Corvettes and Camaros, Hellcats from the Plymouth/Mopar divisions and of course the many forms of Mustang that we see today can easily make 500-hp. Even Cadillac and many other unexpected auto divisions have poured more horsepower into their vehicles than one could have ever imaged in the mid-80's – early 90's. If you would have told me back then that there would be a four-cylinder twin-turbo Camaro that would keep up with a 90's LT-1 Camaro, and a six-cylinder Camaro that would leave a LT-1 in its dust, I would have laughed.

Well maybe not. My Dad was a Buick guy and I attended many Buick events in the early 90's where V-6 turbo Buicks were pulling the wheels off the ground and turning in 10-sec time-slips. But try explaining that to a Fox-Body Mustang lover back in those days. A 5.0 Ford Mustang was the fastest vehicle to every grace the pavement – back then – according to them.

How Much Horsepower Is Too Much
Realistically, when you are trying to find out how much an engine or a certain engine setup can put out, then there is never too much. But when you are making a decision of what kind of money you have to spend, what kind of power you are realistically going to need or use, and how complicated you want it to be to tune, drive comfortably and for that matter of fact, understand it, there may be a level of too much.

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 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 – that's just embarrassing.

How Much Horsepower Is Just Enough
Just like most things in life – to each is own. 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 foot that I'll never use while telling my girlfriend that we can't go and grab something to eat because my bank account is empty, doesn't' sound so cool.

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 www.gmcompanystore.com.
 
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.  



Sunday, November 20, 2016

Rarest Camaro in the World: COPO 1968 Camaro Z/28 Convertible



1968 Camaro Z28 convertible. by motoryeti


1968 Camaro Z/28 convertible


This was originally a signal ordered (1 of 1) COPO Camaro built specially for Chevrolet general manager Elliott "Pete" Estes. The first year that Camaros were built, back in 1967, the Z/28 was only built for the SCCA racing circuit and was not a car you would find at your local dealership. But Chevrolet was ready to change that for '68 and the only way to do that was to get Estes to go along with the project.


The Chevrolet Special Project Division wanted to make the Z/28 open to the public and ready for showrooms and public roads. But they knew the only way to get that project to go forward was to get Estes's Okay. So Chevrolet's plan was to give Estes a Z/28 to drive and make him fall in love with it. The only problem was Estes only drove convertibles and if they gave him a hard-top it would only get parked in the company garage and never move. So Chevrolet decided to build him a convertible Z/28, and they made the right move. Estes drove the Camaro as a daily driver, loved it and gave the go-ahead on the project for a full line of Z/28's for '68.


Where is the 1969 Z/28 Convertible?

After Estes sold the Camaro in December of '67, this beautiful rare Camaro was not really known to the public as it spent more than 20 years being sold back-and-forth to front office GM employees. But in 1991, the Camaro made it to a public auction and at that time became the highest selling muscle car of all-time at the price of $172,000.


Unfortunately for the buyer, Al Maynard, when the purchase was made, all of the special parts had been removed and the Camaro was put back to stock. But Maynard had a plan for that, he bought another Camaro equipped with everything that originally came with the Z/28 back in '68 and put the car back to its original state.

Maynard said, "This is the Pete Estes car! It has all the original sheet metal with absolutely nothing changed. Everything is date coded correctly, and every piece is absolutely correct. It is the only one in the world." This Camaro is truly a gem and in today's standard, if a Camaro like this rolled across the Barrett-Jackson Auction block it could possibly fetch about a million maybe more.

Special Parts:
  • Folding Rear Seat
  • Auxiliary Console-Mounted Instruments
  • Auxiliary Lighting 
  • Power Windows
  • Remote Outside Mirrors 
  • Custom Seat Belts 
  • Positraction
  •  1969 Prototype Fiber Glass Hood 
  • Cross Ram Air Hood 
  • Coated Factory Headers 
  • Performance Suspension Package
  • Four-Wheel Disc Brakes
  • Blue Light Stereo Radio 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

1951 Buick LaSabre (XP-8) Concept

 

Back in 1951, this convertible Buick LaSabre was not just extreme looking, it was way ahead of its time. It had technology advancements that were not thought of yet and would give us a sneak peak into the future of the automotive industry. 

Harley Earl was the lead designer of this beautiful piece of machinery. From 1927 to 1958 he was General Motors' Head-of-Styling and had his hands in the cookie jar of many breakthrough designs and technology projects throughout his career. 

One of the first things that really set this car apart is the fact that it could function on gasoline and methyl alcohol. There were separate fuel cells for both sources and an easy way to switch between the two at the convenience of the driver seat. It also had one of the first smaller engines that could produce high horsepower, much like what we see today. This beauty used a 215 cubic-inch V-8 Hemi aluminum block that was topped off with dual carbs, aluminum heads and a supercharger that produced 29.5 PSI. All this was good for 335-hp @5,500-RPM. 

In 1951 that was an outstanding number for such a small engine.


The styling was nothing short of artwork for this Buick LaSabre. Earl designed the first wrap around windshield that was said to give the driver a panoramic view. It also saw the likes of GM's first rear brake coolers by the means of functioning rear scoops on the back quarter-panel. They were designed not only to cool the brakes but also the battery that was positioned in the back.

One of the very noticeable features that people hadn't seen too much of was the hidden futuristic headlights that would pop out from behind the grille with a flip of a switch. Also, the Buick LaSabre had a feature on it that to this day is only really used on Indy and Formula-1 cars. The automatic jack system was the first of its kind and allowed you to work under your car without a floor jack or jack stands. Maybe today that doesn't sound like much, but think back to 1951 and the stock emergency jack that would be provided for you if you had the unfortunate flat tire. Oh yea, remember, there were no cell phones to call TripleA or a friend, and no OnStar type systems.

Another feature that may really stun you is the automatic sensors that could recognize rain, in-turn, putting your rag-top and windows up without you being around to control them. The Buick even had a backup source of power so if your battery were to die you cold still at least control features like the radio, windows and the rag-top. 


This car was designed from Earl's imagination and his love for jet-airplane designs. The sleek styling-lines and the flamboyant curves is what really sets this car apart. The interior even leaked a little bit of aeronautical passion in it with a dashboard that implicated a altimeter, tachometer and a compass. Earl adopted this 1951 Buick LaSabre as his own and drove it till he had about 50,000 miles on it before handing it over to the GM museum in the 1960's.

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

Image result for 2017 GM heavy duty dually trucks

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.


Image result for 1969 copo camaro

'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. 


Image result for '66 Oldsmobile Toronado

'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.  


Image result for El Camino

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.  


Image result for 96 General Motors EV-1

'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.


Image result for 87 buick grand national

'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.


Image result for 1989 20th Anniversary Pontiac Turbo Trans Am

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.


Image result for GMC: Syclone and Typhoon

'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.  


Image result for 2003 Pontiac Aztek

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.   


Image result for '04 Chevrolet SSR

'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.  


Image result for 04 cadillac cts v

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

Image result for The Rarest Corvette

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




Update
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, Jalopink.com, 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. 
6/1/2016


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.

3/16/2016

Friday, May 27, 2016

Need Hennessy Power For Your Camaro SS



Update

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. 

5/27/2016

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.

2/28/16


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Detroit Dragway (Gone But Not Forgotten)

Flashback Friday: Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! At <b>Detroit Dragway</b>!




Detroit Dragway was located in the then not so populated Brownstown Township of Michigan just outside of Detroit. It opened in 1959 and closed its gates in 1998.
The shutdown was mainly due to two reasons. The first reason was Detroit Dragway needed a renovation, but the proposal to do so was turned down by Township residents in 1994. The extra traffic congestion and noise pollution were not what the now populated upscale Brownstown Township wanted. The other reason for closing down was a lack of business due to a much nicer updated track [Milan Dragway] only about an hour away.


Although Milan Dragway did not in no way have the history that Detroit Dragway had, it did, however, have much-needed safety regulations and creature comforts to attract more racers and spectators on a weekly basis.



Sunday, Sunday, Sunday


"Sunday, Sunday, Sunday at Detroit Dragway", that used to be the catchphrase broadcasted across the radio waves when main events were being promoted. Although by the time I was old enough to go racing with my Dad the real history of the track had already passed on, the tracks legendary stories, records and photos prove that there's no doubt the big time drag racers would always show.



In 1959 and 1960, Detroit Dragway hosted the U.S. Nationals for the first time putting them on the map and paving the way to host many more great racing events. Big names like "Big Daddy" Don Garlits, Connie Kalitta (a hometown hero), Shirley Muldowney, the Sox & Martin car, the Ramchargers car and much more would come to compete.


<b>Detroit Dragway</b>


Detroit Dragway: A Dragstrip With a Purpose


One great thing that Detroit Dragway did for the surrounding cities was it gave illegal street racers a place to race legally. Growing up in Michigan I witnessed and joined in on the street racing fun. Telegraph Rd. among many other Detroit highway roads were a hot spot for street racers, and Detroit Dragway was a place to go close by and legally race
.


Also, another service Detroit Dragway provided – a great place for The Big Three to promote their products. What better place to put their new performance vehicles on display than a racetrack that is right next to the then biggest automobile manufacturing city in the world (The Motor City).



The Changing of Detroit
Things have changed through the years. Detroit may still be nicknamed The Motor City, but it definitely is not the biggest automobile manufacturing city in the world anymore, and by most accounts, it is still broke and struggling.



Street cruising/racing on Telegraph, Outer Dr., and Grand River disappeared in the late 70’s and 80’s, but made a comeback in a huge way in the '90s and early 2000s, but recently disappeared again for good reason. The last of those good times came to an end somewhere around 2003. My pals and I were the last generation before a police taskforce was finally formed putting an end to the dangerous past time. Definitely a good thing. Although there may be some strays out looking for that kind of trouble still, there's not even enough of them for the police department to have a taskforce for illegal drag racing anymore.


<b>Detroit Dragway</b>


White Knuckle Racing
I did get to race at Detroit Dragway a few times before it was shut down. I was always hearing these stories about a big dip at the end of the track after the finish line, and I'm here to tell you it was there. I don't know if I would say it was dangerous, but it was an eye-opener when you crossed the finish line (hence the need for renovation).



Racing at Detroit Dragway was fun. There was a slight feel of danger and fear when racing at that track, almost like you were crossing your fingers in hopes that you made it down the track and back to the pits safely. Milan Dragway doesn't really give you that feeling, but that's because the track is up to code and the safety is at 100 percent.



Nowadays, Milan is where racers from the southeast side of Michigan and beyond go to do there drag racing. I recommend it to anyone, it's a nice facility and a nice place to race. And I can tell you from experience that the price of emissions is a small price to pay opposed to being caught in an underground drag racing sting.



Gone But Not Forgotten
The once famous Detroit Dragway located at Sibley and Dix in Brownstown Charter Township is now a warehouse facility. Most who live with-in the surrounding high-class bossie neighborhoods don't even know what kind of history was bulldozed down to keep their neighborhoods quiet.



But for those of us who do remember "Sunday, Sunday, Sunday" being shouted out on the oldies rock station, we knew what it meant. It was time to get the old clothes out, help Dad chain up the race car, and go and have some fun while dreaming and counting down the years to when we would one day get to do the same thing.


DETROIT DRAGWAY – Just another part of drag racing history gone but not forgotten.


first trip to <b>detroit dragway</b> was in 1961 when my cousin took me i ...