Showing posts with label General Motors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label General Motors. Show all posts

Saturday, March 4, 2023

1951 Buick LeSabre Concept | Harley J. Earl Advanced Technology The World Wasn't Ready For

1951 Buick LeSabre Concept

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

Harley J. 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 that would change the auto industry for years to come. 

One of the first things that really set this car apart was 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 from 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 in today's vehicles. This Buick used a 215 cubic-inch V8 HEMI aluminum block topped off with dual carbs, aluminum heads, and a supercharger that produced 29.5 PSI. All these goodies made the engine 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 concept Buick. Earl designed the first wraparound windshield that gave the driver a panoramic view of the road and surrounding areas. It also saw the likes of GM's first rear brake coolers that used functioning rear scoops on the back quarter panel. The scoops were designed and positioned to cool the brakes and the battery located 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 LeSabre 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, the feature doesn't sound like much but think back to 1951 and the stock emergency jack that would be provided for you if you had an unfortunate flat tire. Remember, in '51, there were no cell phones to call AAA or a friend and no OnStar-type systems.

Another feature that would really stun you back in 1951 was the automatic sensors that could recognize rain and put 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 died, you could still at least control features like the radio, windows, and the rag-top.

This concept was designed from Earl's imagination and his love for jet airplane designs. The sleek styling lines and the flamboyant curves are what really sets this Buick apart. The interior even showed a little bit of aeronautical passion, with a dashboard that included an altimeter, tachometer, and a compass.

Earl adopted this 1951 Buick LeSabre 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 1960s. Earl was a well-respected engineer who became a legend along with his creations like this one.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

'57 Chevy: One Of The Most Influential And Iconic Cars Of All Time!


'57 Chevy Bel Air

How Did The 1957 Chevy Come About?

It starts with Chevy's need for change. For the first time since 1918, Chevrolet was willing to offer a V8 in its 1955 Chevy sedan, and with that V8, Chevy thought it would be a good time to get rid of the shoe-box look that they were recently using and try something different. 

Chevrolet Chief Designer, Ed Cole, wanted to get rid of the shoe-box look by 1956 and have a whole new look for 1957. Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned and the new look never launched forcing Cole and the design team to make do with the shoe-box style for one more year, but there were going to be big changes.

To help differentiate the '57 from '55 and '56 Chevy, Cole brought in Harley J. Earl, a famous automotive designer. Earl had already had huge styling successes under his belt that not only worked out for General Motors, but also influenced the automotive world as a whole. 

The changes Earl was making to the '57 Chevy would be widely ridiculed by Earl's co-workers, automotive experts, and anyone and everyone who just couldn't see his vision the way he did. 

'57 Chevy Dramatic Transformation

'57 Chevrolet

Some of the changes were: A new dashboard, a reshaped windshield, sealed cowl, and 15-inch rims to replace the 16-inch rims. Also, Earl decided to relocate the air-ducts to the headlights, which gave the car the big distinctive chrome look in the front. Then he added the iconic quarter-panel fins to the rear to help make the Chevy six inches longer, ultimately giving the Chevy the lowered look that everyone recognizes today.

1957 Chevy Fuel Injection

Other intriguing things that were new with the '57 were a lighter front-end, a bigger engine bay, and new drivetrain options that included a fuel-injection system and a three-speed Hydra-Matic transmission. A dual exhaust was offered with all V8 options for a little more horsepower but more so for the cool sound that it would give the Chevy. 

In commercials, magazine ads, and on billboards, the Chevy motto was always the same: "Chevy Puts The Purr Back Into Performance."

1957 Chevy; New York Times

A 1957 Chevrolet Coupe And Convertible For Everyone

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

Trim Models Were As Followed:

Base: 150 Series
'1957 Base 150 Series

Base: 210 Series
'57 Chevy Based 210 Series

Del Ray: 210 Series
'57 Chevy Del Ray 210 Series

Base: Bel Air
'57 Chevy Bel Air

Convertible: Bel Air
1957 Chevy Convertible Bel Air

Nomad: Bel Air (station wagon)
1957 Chevy Nomad Bel Air

El Morocco: custom hand-built to mimic a Cadillac
1957 El Morocco

Each version was available in a two-door or four-door body style. The base "150" series with an in-line six was not only priced very well for consumers on a budget but also did very well when it came to gas mileage compared to the V8s. 

As you went up in models, you went up in comfort and class and, of course, in price. The Bel Air and Bel Air convertible was the most popular and expensive models, and in today's market, it is the most wanted by all collectors and car enthusiast alike, even if you're not a Chevy fan, you've probably wished you had a '57 Chevy at one point or another.

Choose Your '57 Chevy Options

Each version had options that could be ordered up to make the car more comfortable and luxurious. Some of those options were air-conditioning, power brakes, power steering, a padded dashboard, power windows, and power seats. Color schemes and chrome trim options were another way to show your impeccable taste in automobile selection.    

Also, a signal-seeking radio with a power antenna could be purchased along with a separate speaker that could be placed in the back, and at that time, that's what automotive companies called surround sound. The "Automatic-Eye" was another new option. The Automatic-Eye was attached to your dashboard and could detect on-coming traffic and dim your headlights automatically - high-tech for 1957.

'57 Chevy Engine Bay

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

Even without the big blocks, you could still make plenty of power by opting for what Chevy called the Power-Pack (283 cubic-inch engine with solid lifters, a 4 barrel carb, and dual exhaust), which would make 275 horsepower right off the showroom floor. 

Fuel-Injection '57 Chevy

Although the 283 cubic-inch motors would make 283-hp with fuel injection, that option was often overlooked by consumers at the time because very few people knew how to work on fuel injection setups. Even mechanics were having problems working on the new fuel-injection system. So, if you were buying the car to modify it and or race it, going with the carburated setup you already knew how to work on was a much smarter way to go.

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

'57 Chevy Custom

Worth Every Penny

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

Monday, May 24, 2021

Corvette ZR-2 "Big Doggie" 455: The C4 That Could Have Been

1989 Corvette ZR-2 with 455

Corvette ZR-2 "Big Doggie" 455

How do you beat a slew of Fox-Body 5.0 Mustangs that were seemingly dominated the roads in the late '80s? 

You take a 454 cu.-in. big-block engine and stuff into a C4 Corvette and call it "Big Doggie"

"Big Doggie" ZR-2 Big-Block Corvette

I think everyone knew, by the time the C4 made its appearance in 1983 as a 1984 model, big-block enthusiast and all Corvette and sports car lovers alike knew big engines were officially going to be axed from GM's muscle/sports car line-up for a long time.

Not that there weren't plenty of signs through the 1970s that this was going to happen, but the '84 C4 clearly solidified that fact. With the absence of the Corvette in 1983 (in between the C3 and C4) some people might have been still holding out hope that there would be at least one powerful option for '84, but that was a no-go. 

The first C4 Corvette came out with a 5.7-liter Cross-Fire Injection TBI engine followed by a 5.7 Tune-Port Injection (TPI) engine later in the generation. Although Chevy called them legendary at the time, they weren't. Most people knew this, including some engineers at Corvette who wanted to build something people wanted.

Three Different Prototype C4 Corvettes with 454 cu.-in. (7.4-liter) Engines Were Built 

The project started at the GM Proving Grounds in Arizona, where Scott Leon and his crew decided to see if they could stuff a 454 cu.-in. engine in between the fenders of a C4 Corvette.   

They first started with a 1984 Corvette, and with just a few slight modifications, the big-block bolted onto the frame and in between the fenders. It was a tight fit, but one that fit nonetheless. 

Since the Corvettes by then were all using electronic fuel injection, Leon and the crew decided to go with a Tune-Port Injection setup bolted to a custom tunnel-ram manifold. Buick Grand National Injectors were used to keep fuel-flow efficient, and that was that, the first big-block was slammed into a C4 Corvette and ran super strong. 

Management Agrees to Go with a ZR-2 Prototype C4

With the success of the first built big-block C4, management started to see some promise in the idea and gave Leon and his crew a go-ahead to build a true prototype. So a 1986 Corvette 454 was born. This Corvette was built the same way as the '84 with an automatic transmission. 

After the second 454 C4 Corvette, Chevrolet got really serious about the idea, and a 1989 Roadster was grabbed for the final version, dub "Big Doggie". This Corvette had the Z51 performance suspension and a six-speed manual transmission. The convertible mechanism was taken out and a hard-top was bolted on to save weight, and then an orange paint job was applied. 

1989 Corvette Roadster ZR-2 455 "Big Doggie"

Although this ZR-2 could offer ZR-1 performance at about half the price, GM management was not looking to market the big-block Corvette. There were several reasons for not wanting to put the big-block Corvette into production, and one of those reasons included how much money had already been spent on marketing the ZR-1/LT5 campaign that included buying out The Lotus Group for their engineering and development satellite. 

The other reason why the ZR-2 had no chance for production is it had no chance of passing emission and fuel mileage requirements. 

Engine Specs: What is Known

This "Big Doggie" Corvette used Chevy's marine 454 short-block engine with a set of L88 aluminum heads, and although never dynoed, experts estimated horsepower at about 385, right around where the ZR-1 was at. But there was a huge difference, the big-block brought plenty more torque to the table, which also brought gas-guzzling numbers and safety worries. An all fiberglass frame with a big-block engine sent chills down the back of some uptight party-poopers.     

A New Idea for the Corvette 454 

Since GM had decided that there was no room for a big-block engine in the Corvette lineup, the next idea they came with was to make sure that all parts that were used for the ZR-2 were bolt-on parts that could be bought through the Chevrolet Performance Parts Catalog as a 454 ZR-2 swap kit. Unforantley, the idea never made it into the catalog. 

In the end, a very lucky few automotive journalists and development engineers got to drive "the C4 that could have been". And for those who did, they left no understated performance reviews. From all reports, the "Big Doggie" was super fast and super fun to drive.

1971 Corvette ZR2 

1971 ZR-2 455 Corvette

In 1971, Chevrolet offered a Corvette ZR-2 package (RPO) that offered a 454 cu.-in. LS6 engine. They also offered a ZR-1 packaged with a 350 cu.-in. engine. The way Chevrolet sold the Corvette Z-series was all power and little options. This made the cars less disable, and that caused Chevrolet to only have 8 ZR-1s and 12 ZR-2 Corvettes ordered and sold. 

This obviously means if you own one of these rare Corvettes, you might be sitting on a gold mine.  

What is the 1989 Corvette ZR-2 "Big Doggie" Worth

In June 2009, this "Big Doggie" Corvette drove across the Barrent-Jackson Auction Block - sold by General Motors - price $71,500. 

You might think that something this rare would go for more, but prototypes and concepts cars usually don't have a huge market for them. Like this 1989 Corvette ZR-2, most prototypes are sold with a No Manufacturer Statement Of Origin (MSO), no title, and only a partial VIN#, meaning you can't legally drive the "Big Doggie" on the road. 

But it would still be nice to own this 1989 beast of a Corvette ZR-2 with a big-block 454.   



Tuesday, May 18, 2021

2022 GMC Hummer EV Zero Emissions Truck and SUV

2022 GMC Hummer EV at Auto Show

Zero Emissions 2022 GMC Hummer EV

Let's go back and visit a little history from the Hummer. Most people know about the Hummer because of its odd shape and style making it hard to blend in with other Trucks and SUVs on the market. 

In 1998, General Motors bought the Humvee brand from AM General, who started marketing the Humvee in 1992. Unfortunately, the Humvee wasn't very marketable and that's what GM was going to do with it - change its name, change its style, and make it a marketable automobile. 

General Motors came out with a Hummer H1, H2, and an H3 and seen some sufficient success in certain areas of the US. A lot of that success came from its pop-culture status. The Hummer's name was used in many hip-hop and rap songs as well as made appearances in many of those hip-hop and rap videos. 

Through General Motors' rough patch of bankruptcy and bailouts, the Hummer nameplate took some right turns, left turns, and eventually ended up with GMC where the idea for the "GMC Hummer EV" was born back in 2020 to be revealed as a 2022 Hummer. 

2022 GMC HUMMER EV Truck

Hummer Trim Levels

  • Hummer EV2

  • Hummer EV2X

  • Hemmer EV3X

  • Edition 1  

The marketing plan GMC has for the Hummer is a little unorthodox. In 2022, they will release the most expensive version of the Hummer, the Edition 1. This trim level has all the bells and whistles and will cost you about $112,595. 

The rest of the Hummers will come out in 2023-24 ranging in price from $80,000 - $100,000. 

2022 GMC Hummer Performance

We'll stick to the Edition 1 since that is the first one that will be hitting the market. 

The Horsepower rating for the Hummer truck is 1,000 
The Horsepower rating for the Hummer SUV is 830
The Torque for both the truck and the SUV is an estimated 11,500 ft.-lb. 

Are you wondering how fast these 4.5-ton trucks and SUVs can get from 0-60 mph, well wonder no more. The Hummer EV truck will get you to 60 in about 3-seconds flat and the EV SUV can do it in about 3.5-seconds.

Hummer Features You Won't Find on Other Trucks and SUVs

Hummer Crabwalk 

This function can help you get around obstacles, make parking a little easier, and pop a few bystander's eyeballs out of their sockets. Like with most functions in the highly optioned Hummer, with a push of a button, you can activate this clever option. 

Hummer Extract Mode 

This mode is also unique to any other truck or SUV on the market. The Hummer can use its air-ride suspension to lift the Hummer up six inches in an attempt to clear dangerous obstacles or to get you out of obstacles you have come to get stuck in. 

These are amazing features for someone who likes to take on off-road challenges that are out of this world fun, complicated, and dangerous. 

Full Underbody Armor

Fully Underbody Armor "2020 GMC Hummer"

Skid Plates and Rock Slides are put in place to help the Hummer's vital parts under the vehicle stay safe when you are traveling over the rough terrain and in the watery and muddy pathways. In fact, you can submerge your Hummer in as much as 32" of water without having one performance or flooding problem. 

Inside the Hummer EV

13.4-Inch Touchscreen

Outboard Cameras for Interior Awareness 
The Hummer truck has 18 outboard cameras and the SUV has 17. Both Hummers have two water-proof underbody front and rear-facing cameras with self-washing systems with replaceable lens protectors. 

Hummer's 35-inch Tires
The 35-inch stock Goodyear Wrangler Territory tires are quite big, but there is an ability to upgrade from there and go up to a 37-inch tire with no aftermarket upgrades needed. 

2022 Hummer Suspension

Adaptive Ride Suspension 
The 2022 Hummer EV Adaptive Ride Control Damping suspension adjust seamlessly off-road based on shock-travel. The ride height can be adjusted 2 inches lower for better aerodynamics and 2 inches higher for better ride height.  

There is not much this suspension can't handle - it can put you in the comfort zone when driving around the city and can put you in a position to take on some of the most toughest terrains the off-road can throw at you. 

Changing Lanes with No Hands
That's right, the time has come. When we say this Hummer can do it all, we mean it. There are over 200,000 miles of compatible roads that will work with your Hummer and can do lane changing for you.

I've always believed if you can't change lanes on your own or don't want to put your hands on the steering wheel, you really shouldn't be in the driver's seat, but to each his own. 

Other Cool 2022 Hummer EV Features

The SUV will receive a power swing gate in the rear, fold-down flat rear seats for plenty of cargo room, plus cargo room under the floor in the rear cargo space. The multi-pro tailgate will come with the truck version for easy in and out access to the truck bed. 

2022 GMC Hummer EV Interrior Cargo Space

2022 Hummer Multi Pro Tailgate

The SUV will come with removable transparent sky panels, which can be easily and safely stored in the front storage space of the Hummer. 

The 800V DC fast charging Ultium batteries can charge up to 100 miles in 10 minutes. Real-world MPG is probably somewhere around 75 miles per gallon. That is actually an outstanding number when you consider the weight and the performance this Hummer has.

Unfortunately, if you don't have a DC charging station nearby, you can charge your Hummer at home with an adaptor, but charging times are considerably slower.

The Best EV Truck and SUV Ever

2022 Hummer EV interrior

If you have a need for being the King of the Road and King of the off-road, then these GMC Hummer EV trucks and SUVs are right up your alley. They have everything and more that other trucks and SUVs on the market just can't compete with. 

The Hummers are pretty expensive, but think of how much gas money you will be saving as opposed to if you were driving a gas-guzzling Hummer. 


Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Largest Tire In The World: Uniroyal Tire Of Detroit

Largest Tire In The World


Largest Uniroyal Tire in the World - Detroit

In a place like the "Motor City", it stands to reason it would have a landmark that proves its dedication to the auto industry. Weighing in at 12-tons and as tall as 80-feet, this real rubber tire is designed to withstand hurricane-force winds. 

You can see this amazing piece of rubber by taking I-94 in or out of Detroit. Just off to the side of the expressway, not far from the metropolitan airport, if you miss the largest tire in the world, you must have been sleeping. 

When and Why it was Built

The Uniroyal tire was built in 1964-65 by the architectural firm of Shreve, Lamb, and Harmon, the same company that designed the Empire State Building. It was used at the New York State Fair as a Ferris Wheel to help promote the Uniroyal product. 

Shipping the Big Uniroyal Tire to Michigan

In 1965, the huge Uniroyal tire was shipped from New York to Michigan in 188 pieces by rail. It was then put together and anchored into concrete in Allen Park off of Interstate 94 in a four-month period. 

Changing the Look of the Uniroyal Tire

The huge Uniroyal tire received a makeover three different times throughout the years, once in 1994, again in 1998, and once more in 2003. All three times the makeover included either new hub caps or new lettering on the sidewalls of the tire. 

Another Largest in the World

In 1998, Uniroyal had the largest nail in the world punctured into the tire. It was an advertising campaign for Uniroyal's new run-flat tires. The nail was eventually pulled out and sold on eBay for $3,000 to a businessman to raise money for the Historical Society. Ralph Roberts was the buyer and loaned out the nail to be put on display at local events. Allen Park originally received the nail when it was first pulled out and they were hoping to get about $100,000 for it, but it wasn't something too many people had too many uses for.    

Why the Uniroyal Tire was Placed Where it's At

Although just a myth, a lot of people believe it was placed on the side of I-94 heading into Detroit to let everyone know they were entering the "Motor City". Of course, now there's really no car factory action down in Detroit, but Detroit still holds the Autorama, the North American International Auto Show, and Indy Car Race Weekend at Belle Isle. 

Renaissance Center

On top of everything else, you can't miss General Motors headquarters down in the heart of Detroit. The Renaissance Center scrapes the sky with the GM logo on it for everyone to see. 


Thursday, December 31, 2020

Difference Between the Yenko Camaro and COPO Camaro


Difference Between the Yenko and COPO 

Most people probably know about how badass the Yenko and the COPO Camaros are, but how many people know where the names come from and what’s the difference between the two. Of course, if you are a diehard Camaro fan with a lot of knowledge of the first generation Camaros, you probably know some or all of the facts, but just in case you don’t, here is a little bit of education.

The Yenko

In 1967, Don Yenko, owner of Don Yenko Chevrolet, contacted General Motors and ordered 54 Camaros straight from the factory with a special mission in mind. That special mission was to convert those Camaros into Yenko drag strip-ready IHRA/NHRA Stock and Super Stock Camaro competitors.

(How many Yenko Camaros were built and sold from 67 through 69 is really unknown. The same goes with COPO Camaros; ask ten different experts and you're likely to get ten different answers).

When these Camaros first showed up at the Yenko Dealership, the first order of business was to take out the existing 396-cu.-in. engines and replace them with 427 big-blocks. Although a lot of numbers swirled around about how much horsepower they produced, it was estimated around 425-450-hp (depending on who you asked). Along the way, Yenko also had all Yenko labeled Camaros beefed up with other goodies like traction-bars and 3:73-positraction rear-ends. 

There was only one problem with Team Yenko’s plan to turn the Camaros into drag strip-ready Camaros, they were not allowed to race in the IHRA/NHRA Stock or Super Stock classes. These classes were strictly for cars that had no engine changes or any other big mechanical changes after they left the factory. They were not banned from all drag racing, just the Stock and Super Stock classes that the Yenko Team was aiming for, so eventually the Yenko program was canned. 

A lot of people think that the reason Yenko stopped the program was because of the inability to race in their intended classes. That was part of the reason, but most of the reasons were because Yenko was losing money on the pulled 396 motors and rear-ends they could not seem to get rid of and the program was losing even more money since GM would no longer warranty the Camaros if they were modified after they left the factory. That either fell in the hands of the owner or Yenko himself.


69 COPO Camaro   

It’s true, the name strikes fear in the hearts of racers who dare to pull up next to one in the staging lanes. They dominated the Stock and Super Stock classes for a long time.

COPO stands for (Central Office Production Order) and this program was invented specifically to put competitive Camaros in those Stock and Super Stock classes. If you ordered a Camaro from the central office, the build sheet would go to the factory, and when the Camaro rolled off the factory line complete, whatever you asked to be installed would be installed and considered stock. With that being said, there was nothing IHRA or NHRA could do about excluding the cars from racing in stock classes.

Ultimately, it was Fred Gibb and Don Yenko that pushed Chevrolet into making this program happen. Chevy saw the need for competitive Camaros in these classes for the use of sponsorship and of course bragging rights. They were Camaros, they were stock, and they were Mustang and Mopar eaters for a long time at the track. The 427 big-blocks made 425-hp and 460-lb.-ft. of torque, they took home a lot of trophies.  

Last Note 

A lot of people believe the COPO division was designed for the 69 ZL1-Camaro and then squashed, and then brought back in 2013 for the Camaro again. But the General Motors COPO Division has been around since GM made fleet vehicles e.i. cop cars, taxis, tow trucks, etc. All vehicles that are ordered specially from a corporation, charity, a government, or something like that are considered specialty-made vehicles or COPO vehicles. (It wasn’t just a program made up for one of the baddest Camaros ever produced, the Camaros just stole the spotlight).