Automotive Misfortunes, Let’s Review.

My cat Malibu and I were recently reading an issue of HRM while it was too cold outside to actually do something productive. One of the editors was describing some of the unlucky automotive related events that have happened to him over the years.  Some were admittedly his fault, and others were beyond his control.  So I began to reminisce myself on some of my own “misfortunes”.

Let’s take a look back, shall we?

- I once hung a car from the shop ceiling….. by it’s hood.  Hood hinges are much stronger than you would think, so is the chainfall for pulling engines out.

- While still not fully awake yet, I opened the garage door and took a very complete step into a drain bucket full of waste oil.  That was a bad way to start the morning.

- After not being able to loosen a bumper bolt on one of my trucks, I got out my big 1/2 inch drive breaker bar.  I applied all the pulling force that my body could possibly make, when the breaker bar suddenly snapped and I punched myself in the face. It was definitely the hardest punch I have ever thrown or received.

- I learned that throwing a brake-less 1964 Thunderbird into park when it is rolling will not even begin to slow it down. Then in a panic, if you push the Thunderbird’s “emergency” brake pedal to the floor, the cables WILL snap.  This chain of events will guarantee a firm crash into a beautiful 1976 Corvette.

- Late at night, when cruising home from a friends house, I missed the end of the street, drove across a busy road, got a little bit of air-time, and landed my truck in someones beautifully groomed front lawn.  That sure was awkward.

- It turns out that a clogged catalytic converter can cause a 1988 Camaro automatic transmission to not shift properly.  So spending 11 hours replacing a working transmission with another working transmission is not going to unclog the catalytic converter and fix the real problem.  Mental Note: Only buy cars older than 1973!

- You will never see as much traffic on your road as when you lose your driveshaft during the maiden voyage of your project car.  I guess I should have tightened those u-joint caps down.

- I think we have all forgotten to install an oil drain plug before. The difference is, the Cadillac that I forgot it on held 8 quarts of oil (with the drain plug in) .  8 quarts makes one heck of an oil slick.  Luckily, I noticed before I started the engine.

- Just because the neighbor is rumored to be in jail, doesn’t mean you can take his 83 Riviera through the woods.  However, it did prove that a V8, front wheel drive car is not a good off-roading vehicle.

- I got pulled over by a police officer that was on a bicycle.  It was kind of a humorous situation, and I deserved the ticket.

- Contrary to popular belief, Olds Cutlass Ciera’s aren’t good at hill climbing in the sand pits.  My friend rolled his onto it’s roof, and I got to help him flip it back over.  As far as his parents knew, a tree fell on it.  I hope they don’t read this.

- An easy way to test the strength of a wooden 4×4 is to place a 60 Pontiac body on it. If it breaks, and dumps the body on the ground, then it is not a very strong piece wood.

- It turns out that the automatic transmissions in rear wheel drive cars are very close to the floor pans. So if you aren’t paying attention when installing a B&M shifter, you can easily drill through the floor pan and into the top of the transmission.

I will finish it off with an explanation of the fine moment in history pictured above.  Yeap, it’s me many years ago….. borrowing a pair of women’s sunglasses to protect my eyes from the burning magma 2 feet from my face.  There is so much wrong with this picture that I cannot even begin to explain.  What the heck was I thinking?

AUTO NEWS: Toyota Gas Pedal Fix!

The Toyota Press room is reporting that they now have a fix for the gas pedal sticking problem.  They will be adding a “precision-cut steel reinforcement bar” to the gas pedals to reduce friction within the pedal that on rare occasions, could cause the pedal to stick.

Drive-by-wire failure was inevitably going to happen at some point, it was just just a question of  which manufacturer it would be.  Toyota was the unfortunate winner of this fail-contest, but their immediate reaction (from what I saw) is commendable in my opinion.  They not only halted the sales of the effected models (huge money lost), but they even stopped production on new vehicles until the solution was in place (massively huge money lost).  So although this issue was clearly a serious one that affected a lot of people, Toyota deserves a pat on the back for locking down the problem and correcting it in timely fashion.  Maybe I would have a different opinion if I owned a new Toyota with a sticky gas pedal. Though, I think would probably just push in my clutch pedal, instead of crashing ;) Call the “precision-cut steel reinforcement bar” a shim if you want, but hey, if it works, it works.

Image from the Toyota Press Room.

1967 Chevy Chevelle Bored to Death.

While on one of my weekend junkyard journeys, I came across possibly the saddest looking 1967 Chevy Chevelle in the history of mankind.  It was in tough shape as you can tell, and basic in every possible aspect of the word.  It had some of a small block still hiding under the hood, and a terribly boring automatic transmission to match its painfully bland paint.  I have to assume that this car put the previous owner to sleep every time they looked at it, which ultimately drove the most boring Chevelle ever to its final resting place.

Got pics of rotting cars?  I want to see them!  Send them to jnutt@1aauto.com

625 HP LS7 Powered Pontiac Solstice.

You may not think anything could be more thrilling than the “Pants on the Ground” singing sensation General Larry Platt from American Idol last night, but there is in fact something far greater.  A simple internet link from a friend yesterday took me to some fresh pictures of an absolutely unreal Pontiac Solstice built by Stenod Performance.  One quick peek, and I was desperately clawing at my mouse craving more.  I mean who doesn’t need one of these? It could be the most perfect daily driver for any gearhead out there.  An LS7 with 625 horsepower and a dry sump setup, 6-piston Brembos, and coilover’s for that absolutely perfect stance.  Wrap all that up with a new tiny convertible Pontiac Solstice body, and you have an ultimate win.  It doesn’t even scream “arrest me”, so staying under the radar is even doable.  Stenod definitely built this car just right in my opinion.  I have to guess that when this car is in motion, the driver is laughing hysterically at how absolutely absurd it is. Well done.

I will shut up now, enjoy the eye candy, I know I did.

Beautifully Rotting Chevy Nova Convertible

While cruising the junkyards a few years ago, I came across a Chevy Nova Convertible that was 98% parted out and left for dead.  This made me sad because:

A) I get emotionally attatched to cars in junkyards

B) Chevy only made these in 1962 and 1963, for a total production of about 50,000 units.

That seems like a lot at first glance, but they made over 300,000 Nova 4 door sedans in the same time frame, in addition to thousands more 2 door sedans and hardtop models.   The unfortunate reality, is that this car has most likely long been crushed, which is really too bad because the body itself didn’t look all that bad.  Here in New England, we rebuild far worse.

2011 CTS-V Coupe. Now Featuring More Awesome Than Ever Before!

2011 CTS-V Coupe

There has been talk about Cadillac CTS Coupes for quite some time now, and also chatter about just how spectacular the CTS-V Coupe will be when it eventually arrives.  Well, the time is now upon us.  Cadillac is saying that the the CTS-V Coupe is really available for the 2011 year, and from the looks of the pictures, it is as beautiful as ever.  Lucky for us, it still has the magnificent work of art under the hood, and it is just as beautifully supercharged and powerful as ever.  The magnetic ride control, 14.7 inch rotors, and 6 piston Brembos matched with 19 inch wheels wrapped in Michelins, is truly the exact package that every vehicle needs.   This car appears to be what happens when the GM engineers get together and say, “Let’s just put the best of everything we have on a car and see what happens”.  If Cadillac wants to donate one of these to a good home for some real world testing, I will be willing to donate my time, gas, and opinions to their cause.  :)

Autoguide.com provided the beautiful picture and specs.

Old Hemi’s in the woods. Now that’s unique.

Instead of a complete rotting car today, we have a couple Hemi engines in the woods.  One still sits between some frame rails and the other was found hiding under an old hood.  I am not sure if they are 331′s or 392′s, but it’s obvious that they are the “old” style Hemis.  I looked around the area and sadly there were not any 426 blocks hanging out nearby.

Can anybody provide some stats of these?  Size? Horsepower? Torque? There must be some old school Mopar guys out there that know this kind of stuff.  Enjoy the rotting muscle !

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