Thursday, April 25, 2013

Legend of the Chevelle

 Image result for 1964 chevelle ss


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Buick's Legendary Stage 1 GSX

For a lot of years, like most Buicks, the 1970-1972 Buick GS has been passed-over as a legitimate powerhouse, being mistakenly overshadowed by other GM cars sharing the same counterparts, like the GTO, Chevelle and 4-4-2. Buick always had that stereo type of the car your Grandmother takes back and forth to the grocery store.

However, in 1970, Buick wanted to put an end to that stereo type and in February, introduced the GSX, which put the Buick on par with Chevrolet's LS-6, Pontiac's Judge, and Oldsmobile's W-30. 

Dressed in yellow or white, with spoilers fore and aft and special emblems, much like the GTO Judge the year before, the Buick fit right in with the psychedelic look so popular at the time. However, what nestled beneath that sinister hood was an engine with the highest torque rating of any American car, until the Dodge Viper eclipsed it in 2003. In 1970, the Buick 455 produced 510-lb.ft. of torque at 2,800 rpm and 350hp at 4,600 rpm. The more powerful Stage 1 produced the same torque rating, but had 10 more horsepower in 1970. At least that's what the advertisements claimed. More realistic numbers place the GSX Stage 1's horsepower at somewhere between 390 and 395hp. One Buick expert said the number is more likely 400 or better, but no one would admit to it so as to keep Ralph Nader off their backs.

There were 678 GSX cars built in 1970 and available in only Saturn Yellow and Apollo White. Of this number, 491 were yellow and 187 were white, according to the GSX Registry. Of the 678 cars, 199 had four-speed manual transmissions and 479 were optional automatics. And 278 had standard 455 engines, while the other 400 were Stage 1 powered. In 1970, the GSX package cost $1,195 and included much more than the special stripes. The Stage 1 engine was an extra $115. Also in the package were: A hood tach; stiffer shocks and suspension pieces; heavy-duty cooling; power front disc brakes; and G60x15 tires on Buick Rallye chrome-plated wheels. Other GSX specific standard equipment included: Power front disc brakes; 3.42:1 ratio positive-traction rear end; special front stabilizer bar; heavy-duty front and rear shocks; and heavy-duty rear anti-roll bar.

Information is lacking on 1971 and 1972 models, which are more rare than the 1970 car, but ironically less valuable in the collector market. During these years, the cars were built the entire model year and the GSX option could come on any GS from a 350-powered version to a Stage 1 and could be ordered in five colors and various trim options. Having said this, these cars can be difficult to document. In 1971, Buick built 124 GSXs and in 1972, only 44 were built. The VIN will be the same as a GS of each year respectively. The 1971 GSX included: body side stripes, hood paint and GSX emblems, rear spoiler only, painted headlamp bezels, black rocker molding stripe, and six exterior colors were available. Despite the GSX's performance DNA, most luxury options, including air conditioning were available, even with the Stage 1 engine. Buyers could order a four-way tilt power bucket seat, carpet savers and handy mats, power windows, power door locks, cruise control, tilt wheel, AM radio with 8-track mounted under the dash, custom shoulder belts, heavy-duty air cleaner, tinted glass and even speed alert so you wouldn't try to outrun the man in blue.     

The engine is the heart and soul of any car and the GSX is no exception. The Buick 455 held the crown for the most torque of any American mass-produced muscle car at the time (only Cadillac's 501 eventually out-twisted the 455, and that was only available in a three-ton land barge), and even though this engine had fewer horsepower than its other GM siblings, the Buick delivered amazing punch. 

In 1970, 60 mph came in the GSX in just 5.8 seconds, not bad for a car weighing 3,874 pounds, wearing bias-ply rubber. The GSX could cover the quarter-mile in 13.38 seconds at 105.5 mph, according to a 1970 Motor Trend report. If the car had an automatic transmission, it weighed 3,919.7 pounds and, if Stage 1-equipped, add another 2.4 pounds. At the time, the car was called "the quickest American production car." 

The Stage 1 option cost $199 and came with a higher-lift camshaft and slightly richer jets in the 750-cfm Quadra-Jet, even if the primaries and secondaries were the same for both engines: 1.375 inches and 2.250 inches. The bore and stroke of the 455 was 4.3125     inches by 3.90 inches and the Stage 1 had slightly higher compression of 10.5:1 in contrast to the 10.0:1 of the standard 455. The base engine produced 350hp and the Stage 1 had 360hp. 

Valve size was 2.120 inches on the intake side and 1.745 inches for exhaust for the Stage 1. Base 455 valves were 2.005 and 1.630 inches respectively. Probably the biggest internal difference is the hydraulic camshaft and its specifications. The standard 455 had a lift of 0.3891 inches intake and 0.4602 exhaust vs. 0.490 inches both intake and exhaust for the Stage 1. The duration for the standard engine was 290 degrees intake and 322 degrees exhaust. The Stage 1 had 316 degrees intake and 340 degrees exhaust. The overlap was 67 degrees for the base engine and 90 degrees for the Stage 1. In 1971 and 1972, a engine was standard in the GSX, with the two 455s optional. 


Wheelbase, inches: 112.0
Weight, lbs: 4,000
Number built: 687
Base price: $4,880

Top Available Engine
Type: ohv V-8
Displacement, cid: 455
Fuel system: 1 x 4bbl.
Compression ratio: 10.5:1
Horsepower @ rpm: 360 @ 4600
Torque @ rpm: 510 @ 2800

Representative Performance
0-60 mph, sec: 6.5
1/4 mile, sec. @ mph: 13.8 @ 101
Muscle Car enthusiast's dream.  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

2014 Z/28: Q&A With Chief Engineer


Al Oppenheiser,  Vehicle Chief Engineer for the Chevrolet Camaro has took a few minutes to answer some question with LSXTV  and Chevy Hardcore, about the thought process behind the all new road race ready 2014 Z/28? There is a lot of questions that have been asked in the past few years about the Camaro like: why a ZL-1 or a 1LE instead of the Z/28. Why the choice of the 426 naturally aspired engine instead of the supercharged LS7, 7.0 liter for the Z/28. Well here is Oppenheiser on some of those question and others like aerodynamics, weight reducing, and g-forces. 


Chevy Hardcore: Tell us about the significance of the new Z/28 to Chevrolet performance
Al Oppenheiser: “The most asked questions since we launched the new car in 2009 were: Where is the Z/28?  When are you coming out with a Z/28? Why didn’t you call the ZL-1 the Z/28? Why didn’t you call the 1-LE the Z/28? As I have said before, we are never done with performance. Have faith. We are never done making the car better, and this was the car that we knew was coming. The car itself had to be deserving of the historic Z/28 name. This one definitely is deserving. I’m telling you, this will be a car like no other that you have ever driven.”

CHC: What are some of the performance highlights, especially aerodynamics, of the new car that sets the Z/28 apart from all other Camaros?

AO: “If you start with an SS, which is our 426 V-8, we have gone after the things that make the car go around the track faster – Go, Stop and Turn are our three mottos.  The Go is the naturally aspirated LS-7 plucked right out of the Corvette.  These are hand-built at the Wixom Performance Build Center and have no shortage of power.

“We also set the team on a mission to put the car on a diet, and have set a goal to take at least 100 pounds out of the standard SS, which is more than 300 pounds lighter than a ZL-1. We are not done yet, but we have already met our goal of removing at least 100 pounds from the car. We have also done things like added carbon ceramic brakes on 19-inch 305-series tires, front and rear.  The overall unsprung mass at each corner is lighter. We have also down-gauged the thickness of the back windshield; and we redesigned the rear seat, using lighter weight materials, instead of removing it.

Al Openheiser
We have also done some things that you should do with a Z/28 track car. We have taken the air conditioning out of it.  You have to order that special. It does not come with air conditioning standard and it does not come with an audio system standard.

We’ve got one speaker in the car and the only reason that we have one speaker in the car is because you need a speaker to have the seat belt chime audible to the driver. You can option up, if you desire, the air conditioning and a base radio system.  We have been very strategic in where we have taken mass out of the car.

You mentioned aerodynamics. The car has a unique front splitter, different from the ZL-1. We have lowered the ride height, so that specific rocker panels, rear fascia, and rear spoiler in the car – at some point when we tell you how much, it will knock your socks off how much down force this car makes.”

CHC: Obviously with the LSA making 580 horsepower, was there a strategy behind picking the normally aspirated LS-7 for the Z/28 versus the already 580 horsepower available in the ZL-1?

AO: “Absolutely, that goes back to the question, ‘Why didn’t you call the ZL-1 a Z/28′? As you know the ZL-1 harkened back to the ‘69 aluminum block ZL-1 that we did. It had the highest horsepower that was in a Chevrolet at the time. We thought that a supercharged aluminum-block, high-horsepower engine was more deserving of a ZL-1 name, not a historical Z/28 name.  So, naturally aspirated and the 427, it just equates back to what a road racing car should be, and not to take anything away from the ZL-1, but if it were to stand true to the Z/28 name, a supercharged engine didn’t belong under the hood.”

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28CHC: Speaking again of power-to-weight ratio as sort of that all-mighty watermark of performance, are there any other ways that Chevrolet could see shaving weight from the Z/28 in the future models?

AO: “Absolutely, as I mentioned, our goal was 100 pounds and have already exceeded that. We’re approximately a year away from bringing it into production, so we’re not done yet. We are always looking for lightweight materials. To give you reference in terms of lap time, you would have to remove 250 pounds to get another second on the track and have to weigh that against another tenth of a G in lateral acceleration. I can get that same second on the track.

So you have to weigh where you are going to get your lap time down and these P-ZERO Trafeo R tires are capable of a 1.05 g-max sustained lateral acceleration and we’ve already seen decel’s of 1.5 g, so we’re getting better lap times in other ways. But the 100 pounds definitely helps the lap time. We took significant chunks out as opposed to an ounce here and there, helping us on the track.”

CHC: One last question. We thought it was interesting that instead of going with the magnetic ride such as on, say the ZL-1, you went with not only a dual adjustable shock but a true racing style four-way adjustable shock.  Is this technology you chose again specifically for the Z/28 or was it that you really wanted to differentiate the two cars?

AO: “We definitely picked this specifically for this application. Multimatic is the company we’re working with. They are well known for their ability to set up dampers for racing vehicles and we felt that the limitations of the mono-tubes that we’ve got in our 1-LE and, of course, the MR, while it’s awesome on the ZL-1, we didn’t feel it belonged in a Z/28 so we did go with the adjustable dampers that are in the Z-28. They’re truly, again, trying to stay with the heritage of the car. They are track designed specifically for the Z-28.”

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
CHC: Do you think that soon after the production launch of the new Z-28 we will see parts and pieces of this car making its way onto scratch built cars, or in some way a program that might mimic in some way the COPO program?

AO: “That’s a great question. We’ve had that debate all the way up through GM President Mark Reuss on whether or not we want to see clones driving around on the streets, and we’ve made the decision that since offering performance parts helps sell Camaros, we’ve got a great performance parts team now under Vice President, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports Jim Campbell, who is growing that very dynamic industry.

“You will see Z/28 performance parts available for other Camaros and you know specifically as far as suspension, drift, and so on, you’re going to see those parts. Some of the parts are kind of integrated into the body but we definitely plan on allowing customers to have the opportunity to get a hold of some Z/28 parts for their car.”

There has been a lot of talk through the last couple of years of when, if, what, Chevrolet's intentions were going to be when it comes to producing a Camaro with Z/28 badges on it. Now the time has come. The Z/28 will make a statement in 2014, hopefully living up to it's legend.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Attitude of a Stingray: Corvettes Ready for 2014

General Motors has been the maker of the most iconic sports/muscle car in America's automobile history. Even for non-car enthusiastic, the Corvettes unique style is recognized by just about every American and non-American around the world. As I attended the 2013 North American Auto show, General Motors introduced their brand new 2014 Corvette Stingray. With more aggressive looking exterior body-lines, many interior styling upgrades and of course more technology for the engine and the drive train, GM made the huge impact on the public that they were ultimately expecting.

The question is was it a negative impact or a positive impact? The public, like always, was very pleased with the power upgrades, but when it came to the styling the public’s response was torn. A lot of people think that it is a great change and it’s just the aggressive look that the Corvette needs, but some responded in a different way even going as far as referring to it as the same styling blunder as GM made with the Pontiac Aztek a few years back.

Regardless of what the public thinks of the unveiling of the Stingray, the technology that GM brings to the table is nothing but the best technology known to the automotive world. GM starts out with a 6.2 liter small block V-8 that is capable of pushing out 450 horsepower and 450 Ib-ft of torque that gives the power that it needs to clock 0-60 second time in under four seconds. But the 6.2 liter engine is not just made for power it also comes with a standard cylinder deactivation system that helps it get 26 miles per gallon on the highway. Consumers have the choice of slapping a six-speed automatic transmission or a Tremec seven-speed manual transmission on the back of the 6.2 liter with an upgraded torque converted nestled in-between for smoother shifting.

One new and exciting option that the Stingray has to offer is the optional dual-mode exhaust system. The system allows the user to choose between a quiet comfortable sounding exhaust system and a dual system that puts out an America muscle rumble sound at the push of a button. The Stingray also comes with bigger rims and tires, sporting 19 inches in the front and 20 inches in the back. Behind those massive rims and tires sit a set of Brembo brakes with four-piston calipers and 12.6-inch front rotors and 13.3-inch rear rotors.

When it comes to the interior, there have been many upgrades as well. There will be no plastic inside the cockpit this time around, there will only be leather, vinyl and carbon fiber. There will be a driver seat option where consumers can choose between standard long range seats or competition seats, which one is best for the consumer, will probably depend on their height and weight.

These are just some of the upgrades and when you include the returning up-grades from 2013, one must wonder what the price tag will be on this new piece of American engineering. GM assures that the price range will fall into about the same price range as the 2013 Corvette, keeping it the great affordable sports car it's always been. 


Model: 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
Body styles / driveline: 2-door hatchback coupe with removable roof panel; rear-wheel drive
Construction: composite and carbon-fiber body panels, hydroformed aluminum frame with aluminum and magnesium structural and chassis components
Manufacturing location: Bowling Green, Ky.


LT1 6.2L V-8
Displacement (cu in / cc): 376 / 6162
Bore & stroke (in / mm): 4.06 x 3.62 / 103.25 x 92
Block material: cast aluminum
Cylinder head material: cast aluminum
Valvetrain: overhead valve, two valves per cylinder
Fuel delivery: direct injection
Compression ratio: 11.5:1
Horsepower / kW: 450 / 335 (est.)
Torque (lb-ft / Nm): 450 / 610 (est.)


Type: seven-speed manual with Active Rev Match six-speed paddle-shift automatic


Front: short/long arm ( SLA) double wishbone, cast aluminum upper and lower control arms, transverse-mounted composite spring, monotube shock absorber
Rear: short/long arm ( SLA) double wishbone, cast aluminum upper and lower control arms, transverse-mounted composite spring, monotube shock absorber
Active handling: Magnetic Selective Ride Control (avail. with Z51)
Traction control: StabiliTrak, electronic stability control


Type: front and rear power-assisted discs with four-piston fixed front and rear calipers (slotted rotors with Z51)
Rotor diameter (in / mm): front: 12.6 / 320 (13.6 / 345 with Z51)
rear: 13.3 / 338


Wheel size: front: 18-inch x 8.5-inch (Stingray)
front: 19-inch x 8.5-inch (with Z51)
rear: 19-inch x 10-inch (Stingray)
rear: 20-inch x 10-inch (with Z51)
Tires: Michelin Pilot Super Sport run-flat
front: P245/40R18 (Stingray)
front: P245/35R19(with Z51)
rear: P285/35R19 (Stingray)
rear: P285/30R20(with Z51)



Wheelbase (in / mm): 106.7 / 2710
Overall length (in / mm): 177 / 4495
Overall width (in / mm): 73.9 / 1877
Overall height (in / mm): 48.6 / 1235
Weight distribution
(% front / rear):
50 / 50

Monday, April 8, 2013

Camaro Holds the Honor For the INDY 500 Festival Car

chevy-camaro-convertible-hot-wheels-editionThe 2013 Hot Wheels Limited Edition Convertible Camaro 2SS will be the INDY 500 Festival Car for the 97th Indianapolis 500. As tradition, there will be 33 given to Indianapolis official, personnel, media etc. to drive around for the week to help promote the INDY 500 and also promote the Camaro.

The Hot Wheels Convertible Camaro will be a one time only production run. Coming this spring, you will only have to shell out a little over six thousand dollars more to get the Hot Wheels package and due to it's limited edition status it should be a true collectors edition.

The Hot Wheels Edition will be available in both 2LT and 2SS trims and will feature the Hot Wheels grille and deck lid logos, sill plates, bright blue metallic paint job, red accents and special rims and red line tires.

So if you do get a chance to purchase one, holding on to it would be a smart thing to do for it will probably double, triple and quadruple in wroth.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Monster Sounding Supercharged Corvette

It takes a lot of chemistry to get the perfect back pressure 
from you 800hp Supercharged Corvette.