As a car-guy, I frequently find myself staring at project cars on eBay. Typing certain words into the search box like “barn find” or “convertible parts car” is a great way to look at interesting vehicles that you wish you could hide in your yard. Another favorite eBay search method is to hop in the cars & trucks area, hit the “buy it now only” tab, and then sort by price – lowest to highest. This is where the heavy hitters are. The cars that nobody wants. The real dumpiest of dumps. The cars that are barely recognizable as cars. The ones that appear to have been submerged in the ocean, and squished through a meat grinder. Yeah, the cars that I really like looking at.
Amazingly, this little gem of a vehicle popped up the other day. It’s a ’74 Vega for 325 bucks (OMG ! BUY IT NOW!) And it looks quite decent! I don’t even think it has been under water yet! Now, maybe it is the super vibrant photography clouding my judgement, but this thing looks like an absolute steal. Here is what the seller has to say:
“We are selling this Vega for our client. The car has been in their family and in New Mexico for at least 20 years. It has not been driven for quite some time as the father died and at the time non of the kids wanted to drive a Vega, really?”
I know right? What is wrong with the youth of today anyway? Honestly, why haven’t you bought this Vega yet!?
You may remember my 1964 Chevy Impala project from a while ago. Unfortunately, it hasn’t changed a whole lot in the past several months because of “life” combined with horrible New England winter. Luckily, now that it is above freezing outside sometimes, I’m starting to mess around with it again. Sweet right? Yea I think so too. Most recently, I decided to tackle a small project that has been bothering me for about 10 years. I call it “The stupid exploded muffler.”
This muffler story begins about 13-14 years ago when I reinstalled the straight 6 back into the rolling 64 Impala convertible chassis that I had just rebuilt. As you can imagine, I needed a new exhaust system to attach to my fancy painted engine (it was fancy at the time – now it looks terrible again). So, I went to my local auto part store and spent about $120 on a whole new exhaust system, including the muffler. Since then, the car has probably traveled … oh… maybe 3 total miles under its own power. Every inch of that was with a crappy carburetor, idling around my driveway. AKA – worst idea ever. Letting a car sit is the meanest thing that you can do to it, and this car really did some serious sit time. It’s just not good for the car, or any part attached to a car, especially the carburetor.
As you can tell from the pictures, at some point raw fuel built up in the muffler, and it ignited with the force of one thousand squirrels. The muffler ballooned enough to rattle on the floor pan with every rotation of the six’s crankshaft. That noise will drive a person crazy. The muffler explosion also tore the muffler open slightly in 1 area, but I welded it back up years ago just to keep it sealed. Now, many years later, I have rebuilt the carburetor, and it was finally time to replace the stupid exploded muffler.
Notice the wrinkles, the thickness difference, and awesomeness that is my stupid exploded muffler.
While out doing a little cross country skiing, a friend of mine came across a Mazda Protege that appeared to be “hittin’ switches” with one wheel in the air. Amazingly, it did not have hydraulics, 13″ Daytons, or a gangsta rapper in the front seat. It was just flat out parked in a snowy, yet precarious position. I guess it’s a good thing that this car is front wheel drive, otherwise the driver may be in a bit of a predicament. Zoom Zoom Ziiiiiing!
There is never a dull moment on Craiglist. Today, we have a 1997 Suzuki X90 with a small block 355, aluminum intake manifold, Edelbrock 650 cfm carburetor, roller rockers, headers, flowmasters, and a 700R4 transmission with a shift kit. Yes, you read that right. If there was ever a time in your life when you needed to gather up $6500 to purchase a vehicle to scare yourself in, this is it. Let’s be honest, this little red devil would be a handful with your grandma behind the wheel. Burnouts would be had, and maybe even wheelies. Before long grandma would be crashing through the front of a pharmacy. Honestly, I’m left nearly speechless.
Whoa! This week, the 1A Blog landed at #6 on CouponAudit’s “Top 100 Auto Blogs to Follow in 2013″! A few of our friends made the list as well. We’re humbled and honored to be among some of the other great websites on this list. We will make 2013 bigger and better than 2012 for sure.
In the interest of shining a light on the OEM vs aftermarket truth, I wanted to show off a little something I noticed during my travels. Not too long ago, I replaced my timing belt, pulleys, hydraulic tensioner, and water pump on my 2005 Subaru Impreza RS 2.5 SOHC (booo no turbo, I know, I know, it was a good deal). As you can imagine, I got part number GAEEK00038 from 1A Auto (Hey, I can throw a subtle ad in here if I want, amirite?) Anyway, the timing belt kit that I purchased was made by Gates, who is a very well known, and reputable brand in the auto part world. When I opened the box, it was a bit of an “Ah Ha!” moment. Mixed in with the Gates brand water pump and belt, were OEM pulleys! They had all the same markings as the OEM ones that I pulled off of my Subaru. Yes, 100% totally identical in every way. Cool right? (New ones on the left, old ones on the right)
Much like I had seen in the past, even though it is considered an “aftermarket” part, it may actually be OEM. Now, obviously this is not the case every time. In fact, I would say that it is the minority. But, hey, it happens more than you might think. Beautiful “aftermarket” …ehem… OEM… parts at a bargain price!