Widebody Wednesday: 2010 Camaro Edition

I am declaring today as Widebody Wednesday because I was hit in the face with some sweet looking 2010 Camaro widebody pictures and figured that the 1A Auto Blog readers would enjoy them as well.  This car is a work in progress being built by Extreme Dimensions in conjunction with Real Auto Works, and it looks like something I would thoroughly enjoy cruising around in.  The laid out air ride suspension compliments the custom widebody kit perfectly in my opinion, and makes it look different from every other Camaro on the street. Although I may change a little thing here or there, I’m going to have to give this one two high 5′s.  As Facebook might say: “Jeremy Like This!”

Pictures borrowed from:

http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?5012975-2010-Camaro-widebody

We’re All In The Same Club!

At The 1AAuto Car Show!

Ok ladies and gents, this topic has been on my mind for a while now and today I’m going to let it out as eloquently as possible.  The bottom line is:  There is some kind of unnecessary harsh feelings between the older generations and the younger generations in the automotive world.  It doesn’t seem to be one sided, and I’m beginning to think that it is the fear of the unknown.  Why should a young guy like a 1954 Chevy? and What is so great about being hella-flush? The answers aren’t important, but how you go about learning them is.

Appreciation

First and foremost, I believe that a car enthusiast should be a car enthusiast.  If it has wheels and an engine, a true car enthusiast should be able to appreciate it on some level.  When a person has poured their heart and soul into their car, a true enthusiast should be able to look at it and say “wow, I may not personally like the x, y, and z, but I can most definitely appreciate the amount of blood, sweat and tears that went into this car”.  Unfortunately that is not reality.  More often than I want to admit, people consider certain cars to be “junk” purely based on the year or the make of the vehicle.   This is the root of the problem in my opinion.

Foreign vs. American Cars

People often base their approval of a vehicle solely on whether it is American or Foreign.  In 2010, American car companies assemble their cars from parts made all over the world, and foreign car makers do the same thing.  Some “foreign” cars are built in America and some “American” cars are built in foreign countries.  In fact, Honda just announced that they built more cars in America last quarter (April-June 2010) than it did in Japan!  The obvious question then arises: If an American car is built in Japan, does that make it an American car or foreign?  Is it right to like the car more or less based on the location where was assembled?  Basing your automotive choices on a vehicle’s features, looks, and options seems far more logical to me.  Am I wrong?  Just imagine for a moment that you are a proud owner of the new Ford Fiesta, and a guy that drives a big-rig truck pulls up next to you and starts informing you of how worthless your Fiesta is because it can’t even haul a 50 foot trailer full of goods.  That would be ridiculous right?  Just because the Fiesta doesn’t haul a trailer full of goods doesn’t mean it is an inferior car, it just means that it does not fit that truck driver’s needs.   Each driver has different needs and each vehicle has a different purpose.  In my mind, you don’t have to like all cars that exist, but you shouldn’t go out of your way to hate a car because it doesn’t suit your specific needs.  This brings me to my next point ….

Car Shows & Cruise Nights

Who is welcome at these events?  Are they intended for “classic cars”?  What is a classic anyway?   The Classic Car Club of America defines a classic car as a vehicle that is 20 to 45 years old. Over 45 years old falls into the Antique category. Ok cool, so I’ll bring a stock 1987 VW Rabbit and my friend will arrive in a 1989 Mitsubishi pickup.  No? They aren’t classic’s? Why not? This is a common issue in the small town automotive world.  How about “newer” cars?  Should a new Ford GT be allowed at a car show or cruise night?  I think so. It’s appreciated by fellow enthusiasts, just like a VW R32, or a 2010 Camaro.  Just because a car isn’t of your particular interest doesn’t mean that it should not be welcomed at a car show / cruise night.  People like different cars for different reasons, and you don’t have to like every car you see.  Just walk by it, it’s that easy!  Do you get offended when a different model car parks next to you at a mall?  Why would an automotive event be any different?  As long as the owner of the vehicle is respectful to you and your car, all should be well in my mind.

Young vs. ……well….”Old..errr”

People drive what they can afford.  If I had unlimited funds, I would have way cooler cars, and I would suspect that you would too if you have made it this far down the page.  A struggling college kid just isn’t able to drop the $10K+ on the muscle car of their dreams, so they drive what they can afford.  Typically that is a newer car that needs some work, but it’s also something that they can drive daily as they learn to spin wrenches.  It doesn’t mean that they don’t dream of big blocks, flat head V8’s, and tunnel rams all night though.  On the other hand, they may have never had the opportunity to pedal a big V8 to regain traction, cruise with a silky smooth straight 6, or hear the amazing popcorn sound from a high compression small block running on race gas.  It isn’t “the norm”, so how can they be faulted for it?

The older generations are typically a bit more established in life, with a little more money, experience, and time to work with.  Thus, they are finally able to have the dream cars of their youth.  Maybe that dream car is a brand new Corvette, or maybe it’s a late 1940’s lead sled. Either way they often go back to the epitome of “cool” when they were younger and follow it all the way to the driver’s seat.  Should the younger generations dislike them for having more expensive cars? Of course not!  That is just as crazy as disliking the younger generations for not having expensive cars.

We’re all in the same club!

What’s cool to today’s youth and cool to older generations may or may not be the same, but in my opinion, appreciation for cars is universal in all car enthusiasts.  If somebody has put their heart and soul into a car, and wants share it with the world, embrace it!  Introduce yourself and talk to the owners of vehicles outside your “norm”.  There are so many amazing features of old cars that can bring smiles to younger generations, and vice versa.  Whether young or old, you don’t have to like every car that you see, but as an enthusiast you should embrace the other enthusiasts around you. After all, they are part of the automotive world just like you are.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on all of this in the comment box below. I would love to read them!

NOTE: All of the above is the opinion of Jeremy Nutt.

How Many Cars / Trucks / Motorcycles Have You Owned?

My friend and co-worker Scott Young and I have had a competition going on for about 12 years now.  Every once in a while it comes up in conversation and puts the look of shock on people’s faces.  Our competition is “who has owned the most vehicles”.  We have defined “ownership” as having the vehicle’s title officially in that person’s name.  In Massachusetts, getting a title can be a huge hassle, so we agreed this would be a great way to prove ownership.   Now, we have been legally driving for about 12 years now, and the amount (and kind) of vehicles that we have owned could really make you question what is wrong with us.  Some of these vehicles were great deals, and some were huge mistakes, but they were all great learning experiences.

Jeremy’s list:

1) 1964 Chevy Impala Convertible straight 6, 3 speed on the column:

I bought this car when I was 15, and started a body-off restoration to it.  I have driven it 10 miles in 12 years.  I still have it, because it is a lifelong project. Someday I might drive it a few more miles.

2) 1987 Dodge Ram 50 Truck:

I spent about 1 million hours making this truck look discretely custom, super clean, and straight.  Regretfully, I got bored with it and sold it for a mere $800.  It is now in a junkard, completely destroyed.  I visited her often to make sure she was ok, then one day she was gone.

3) 1995 Chevy S10 Truck:

It was ok for basic transportation, but terribly slow with it’s 2.2L & automatic transmission.  I bet I drove it for a solid 4 months before selling it.

4) 1994 Chevy S10 Extended Cab Truck:

I liked this truck a lot. I lowered it, put a big stereo in it and tried to make it loud enough to set off car alarms.  Gosh, I was a real jerk back then, I’m sorry about that.

5) 1994 Dodge Intrepid:

Awesomely big and comfortable car, but it ate up timing belts, water pumps and transmissions like nobody’s business.  If it was a rear wheel drive car with a manual transmission, I would probably still have it.  Unfortunately, it was just way too stressful to own.  It was the only car I purposely did damage to.  I still have nightmares about the timing belt I broke in a snowstorm, that was the absolute worst.

6) 1996 Saab 900 SE:

A fairly fun car to drive with the turbocharged engine, but replacing the clutch cables on a regular basis was getting annoying.  It was also not a cheap car to fix when it needed parts.

7) 1990 Mitsubishi Mightymax:

This was my first truck that I did the turbocharged eclipse 4G63 engine swap to.  I finished the engine swap and thought about driving it on the road legally.  However, after realizing that it was going to take 10 years of bodywork to get the panels straight, I stripped it to a shell, and junked it.  No regrets.

8 ) 1990 Plymouth Laser Fwd turbo:

For $300, I pulled this out of a back yard and drove it home with a bad turbo, running on 3 cylinders.  I cleaned it up, replaced the turbo and the burned valve, and drove it for several thousand miles.  Sold it to another 1A Auto employee that continued to drive it for many thousands of miles. It is rumored to be a full time drag car these days.

9) 1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse AWD turbo:

This car was abandoned in a parking lot, and I had watched it sit there for about 2 years untouched. I hunted down the former owner, and bought it for $500.  I threw a different ECU in it and planned on keeping it for many wonderful years.  Unfortunately, I got pulled over a lot, and decided that it needed to go.  It was also bought by the same 1A Employee that bought my Plymouth Laser.  It was then sold to another friend of mine that is currently swapping a stroker motor into it.

10) 2000 Mitsubishi Galant:

This was the slower, 4 door, replacement car for the Eclipse.  I bought it with an automatic transmission, and swapped it to a 5 speed manual transmission because automatics are awful.  It starts everyday and always gets me where I’m going.  I like it.

11) 1996 Chevy S10 Truck:

I got an absolutely spectacular deal on this and I knew the entire history of it. I drove it about 500 miles and sold it for a nice profit.

12) 1991 Chevy Camaro RS 305:

This car was received in trade for some work on our very own Rob Conlon’s 1975 Corvette.  It really is a clean car, but the clearcoat just doesn’t want to stay on the roof for any period of time.  I recently sold this one to a good home.  It is in good hands.

13) 1989 Dodge Ram 50 Macro Cab Turbo:

This is my current truck that I put a turbocharged Eclipse 4G63 engine into.  It is the cleanest truck that I have ever owned and the free price tag was just right.  I thoroughly enjoy this truck and I hope I  don’t come up with any reason to get rid of it.  It is really quite fun to drive, and it doesn’t scream out “arrest me” while I drive through town.

14) 1988 Honda Hawk GT 650:

This is my motorcycle that I completely customized and ride in the summertime. It has 1964 impala tail lights, viper yellow paint, and a huge list of modifications. I like working on it more than I like riding it.  I’m a car guy at heart.

15) 1998 BMW Z3 1.9L:

This was a good deal like many of the vehicles that I have owned.  Its fun in the sun, and makes me feel more important than everybody else on the road.  I’m going to sell it soon because I don’t belong in this car, and I could use the driveway space.

Scott’s List:

1) 1980 Toyota Celica:

This car was the best off-roading vehicle that either of us have owned.  It was rear wheel drive, had a manual transmission, and the reliability of a Toyota.  If he didn’t total it, I have no doubt that it would be a full time race car right now.  Gosh that car was fun.

2) 1986 Chevy K5 Blazer:

3 speed manual transmission, V8 and an unimaginable amount of rot.  It was truly amazing that the body stayed in 1 piece, because there wasn’t a solid piece of metal on it.  On the other hand, it was quite a reliable truck, I don’t believe it ever let him down.

3) 1984 Olds Delta 88:

A true piece of American history.  This car was no less than 200 feet long, and the 14 additional speakers could deafen people from a 1/4 mile away.  With it’s red racing stripes over the hood, it raced its way to the junkyard under its own power in 1st gear with no brakes.  It was truly hilarious in every way, shape, AND form.

4) 1988 Chevy Camaro T-Top 2.8L (Z28 look-alike):

Scott got this Camaro for free because it had an engine fire, was disassembled, and left out in the weather for several years.  As crazy as it sounds, the car was in great shape other than the engine.  We put over 1 trillion hours of work into this car at the time, and it hated us in return.  The injectors constantly had what appeared to be chocolate brownie stuck in them on the fuel side.  The car had a new tank, new fuel lines and a dozen fuel filters. To our knowledge, the brownie fairy wasn’t filling his injectors in the middle of the night, so we were baffled.  We both learned immensely from that car, and although it was a major headache at the time, I am glad he had it.  I am also glad it is long gone.

5) 1988 Chevy K5 Blazer:

This truck was a value that could not be beat.  It had new everything, looked great, but kids were scared to ride in it.  So Scott bought it for about a 1/10 of what it was worth, and began customizing.  It got a monster truck size lift kit, big tires, a light bar, soft top roof, vinyl floor covering, and a loud flowmaster exhaust.  With all of these things combined, getting a legal inspection sticker became impossible.  It was sadly sold, and the regret is still deep in Scott’s heart.

6) 1986 Mustang GT 5.0L:

This was free to Scott if we helped a friend move to a new house.  The car had been sitting long enough to begin to sink into the PAVED driveway.  After siphoning a few mouth fulls of bad gas out of the tank, we got her running again and drove her to her new home…. hidden at a friends house. Seriously, if Scott brought another junk car home, he may have been kicked out of the house.  This was a decent car and quickly flipped for a decent profit.

7) 1964 Thunderbird 390:

Thunderbirds seem to always end up in Scott’s hands, nobody can explain it, because he doesn’t really even like Fords.  Anywho, he bought this from my family, he did some work to it, and drove it a bit. Then he re-sold it to a friend that sadly parted it out.  This was truly disappointing, because it was a very original car.

8 ) 1995 Ford Windstar Van (The Teal Serpent):

A free van can’t be passed up sometimes, even if it is teal green and was rumored to have a pair of blown head gaskets.  After quickly learning that “head gasket in a bottle” doesn’t actually work as shown on TV, he replaced them the “right” way. It was then that he learned that the radiator was the actual problem that caused the head gaskets to blow from overheating.  It was a learning experience for all parties involved.  Good van, too bad it was so darn ugly.

9) 1998 Geo tracker:

This was passed down through Scott’s family until his sister released the pistons from the engine while driving down the highway.  The carnage was immense, and fun to look at if it isn’t yours.  Scott bought it off his sister and tossed an engine in it so that he had a reliable 4 wheel drive beater.

10) 1963 Ford Thunderbird:

People call Scott and myself all the time with automotive bargains, and this was one of those.  It is a beautiful looking and driving T-bird that had been sitting in a friend’s driveway for a few years because the “family thing” happened.  It is now in Scott’s capable hands and he drives it regularly to car shows and to get ice cream.

11) 1991 Honda Hawk GT 650:

Yes, Scott and I have the same bike… pretty much.  After riding his bike, I knew I needed one too. I can’t say enough great things about Honda Hawk’s. They have a V-Twin, a single sided swing arm, and a short wheelbase to carve corners with.  Both of our bikes are unbelievable fun to ride and extremely unique.

12) 1985 Pontiac Fiero GT:

While trying to sell “The Teal Serpent”, I nonchalantly put a sign on Scott’s windshield that said “may trade for Fiero” because he is a Fiero Fanatic.  We laughed at the thought of a Fiero owner wanting a teal van in trade, but apparently it was nothing to laugh about.   A guy left his business card on the windshield saying that he would sell his 1 owner 85 GT 4 speed V6 for “cheap money” if Scott was interested.  Well, Scott sold the van, and bought that guy’s Fiero.  It is currently in the middle of a fastback conversion.  Hopefully we can get it done soon!

13) 1951 Dodge B Series Truck:

This was a good deal from a friend & fellow 1AAuto employee. It was sitting in her parents yard, and Scott was pretty sure he could do something with it.  That is still yet to be determined.

14) 1992 Chevy Lumina:

The high class Geo Tracker was rear ended and totaled, so a replacement was needed fast.  A few phone calls later, a $1, one-owner Lumina arrives.  It had issues, but they are sorted out, and now he is riding in style.  Temp gauge, oil gauge, voltage gauge? Who needs em!? Not this Chevy Lumina.

So as you can see, we have both had quite a few vehicles.  This is not counting the ones that we have owned and not titled in our names.  You can assume there have been 40-50% more if we included those, but that just wouldn’t be fair.

How does your collection compare? Do you have us beat?

Arizona Junkyards Are Better

Every car in Massachusetts is rusty. Whether you have a 1955 Lincoln Capri or a 2010 Chevy Camaro, in the North East, your car’s destiny is rust.  Now, if the nice cars are rusty, just imagine what the vehicles in our junkyards look like.  They are absolutely horrifying at best.  In the time that it takes to remove a junkyard fender, it often erodes itself back into dirt right before your eyes.  Bolts? HA!  After 1 year (so… 2009 models at this point), all bolts become permanent.  At the 2 year mark, the bolts don’t even look like bolts anymore. They become round rusty buttons that can only be removed by breaking the head off with Vise-Grips.  It is truly an awful experience.  Thank goodness for torches, Sawzalls, sharp drill bits, and tetanus shots.

Arizona cars on the other hand, are better in every possible way.  Rusty cars (New England style) just don’t exist out there.  What they consider a junkyard car is usually “flawless” in my opinion.  The nicest cars I personally own aren’t as clean as what is found in their junkyards.  It’s quite sad really.  Over the last few years, I have had the pleasure of working on several classic cars from the South West, and I laugh like the village idiot the entire time I work on them because I can’t believe that the bolts come out.  Underneath the AZ cars, the original hydraulic brake lines and parking brakes cables are often still there and working.  It is a gearhead fairytale.

Let’s do a comparison, to see who the real winner is.  Massachusetts on the left, and Arizona on the right. Ding Ding Ding. FIGHT!

Sure enough, Arizona wins with a KO, as expected.  If you want to restore an old car, just buy a rust free body from someplace dry. It will save you thousands of dollars, trillions of hours, and a Tetanus shot.

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?

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