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.