G54B: Bird Seed & Oil Starvation Edition.

Over the weekend I acquired a mighty fine engine stand with a G54B engine attached to it.  For those of you not familiar with this Mitsubishi engine, it was the 2.6L that came in a variety of vehicle in the 1980’s.   Many people loved these single overhead cam 16 valve engines, but unfortunately….this one was loveless.  This one was roasted, toasted, and probably 2 rotations away from spitting connecting rods through the block at a very young age.  Before the engine was even broken in at just 46K miles, the engine lost oil pressure for some unknown reason, and promptly ate itself from the inside out.  The engine was then pulled out, set on an engine stand, and parked in the corner of a garage for the last few years.  Did I mention that it was sitting on a nice engine stand?  Well, that is the reason that this engine entered my life.  The price was free, and “POOF!” it landed in the garage as if from nowhere.

For my own entertainment, I tore the engine apart to see the catastrophic damage.  Here is a list of destruction:

– Timing chains tensioners ripped off the block, and chopped into many many small pieces. All hidden behind the timing cover.
– The crankshaft sprocket for the timing chain was missing every single tooth.
– The inside of the timing cover appear to be shot with a shotgun.
– The bearings for the balance shafts were blue, yellow, and black. The balance shafts themselves were blue around the bearings.
– The connecting rods were all loose on the crankshaft. The bearings fell out in multiple pieces.
– Then there was bird seed, so much bird seed. Once the engine became a fixture in my friends garage, it appears that a mouse or chipmonk moved into the upper radiator house. It was full, like 100% packed full.  Inside we found enough bird seed to probably feed all the birds in the Amazon for a month. I don’t know where it all came from, but it was epic.

So what now? Well, I am glad you asked. I am going to clean up the long block and use it as a base for a table. The engine stand was what I really wanted, and it wants an LS1 attached to it really badly.

…..updates on the coffee table will follow in the future 1A Auto Blogs…..

Beautiful and Likely Able to Survive a Dinosaur Attack.

They say that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.  I know that this statement is true because this truck’s license plate told me so.  Seriously though, this truck is amazing.  I saw it at a local show and instantly had dreams of driving through the jungle, fighting off a tiger, multiple ligers, maybe giant arachnids, and a dinosaur.  It is an absolute beast of a machine that would probably go around ripping tags off mattresses if you ticked it off.  I’m not sure what its intended use is, but it appears to be limitless in its abilities.  If Jurassic park ever becomes a reality, you better believe I will be the first one making friends with this “beauty”, and guaranteeing my survival of the dinopocolipse.

Bring Back Hood Ornaments

Am I the only one that thoroughly enjoys the gaudy hood ornaments on old cars, and really think we need to bring ’em back?   I do realize that dropping a giant chromed-out pelican on the front of a new Camry wouldn’t really work. However, if done tastefully it maaay actually improve the look of the car like it had in the past.  Sure it will cost extra money and it would be something for punk kids to rip off in mall parking lots, BUT pretend those negative factors don’t exist for now.  Instead, let’s think about how much class it adds to the vehicle, along with a feeling of luxury and honor.  Please raise your hand if you would not want a giant chrome bird, ship, plane, or beautiful winged goddess mounted to your hood.  Nobody? Yeah that’s what I thought. The fact is: these types of figures make you feel like a big shot.  You instantly feel more elegant, smart, and stylish than you really are.  Just go for a ride in any car from the 1940’s if you would like to experience this for yourself.  Even if the car doesn’t have paint, stalls out at stop signs, and generally looks like a beater, the hood ornament announces to the surrounding community that you are in fact, a really big deal.

Dear big 3,
Let’s try and make it classy again. I want sparkling chrome planes, goddesses, ships, and a variety of fowl guiding my vehicle down the roads. If you must, you can make them out of carbon fiber for a modern touch.

Now who’s with me?…….echo……echo….

The Automotive Future Update: Ben-Dera Ford!

Last week we talked about a spacecraft-looking car that was spotted at a Wendy’s in Ohio recently.  It was mystery with so many twists and turns, that the automotive community was left scrambling.  We needed to know the story behind this vehicle.  Who built it? When? What is it? Why?  Thanks to the super sleuth detective work of “oliver@triplezoom” on vwvortex.com, we now have the answer!  The vehicle from Friday’s 1A Auto Blog is a Ben-Dera Ford built by John Bender over 3 years in the mid 1990’s.

It turns out that in June of 1998, “Car and Driver” actually featured this vehicle and it’s owner / builder.  His name is John Bender and he built this vehicle because well….. he wanted to.  In fact, he built a couple of them!  I would go into details, but honestly, this article sums it up way better than I ever could.

Pictures borrowed from:


Which were originally in:

Car and Driver Magazine.

So You Want to Build a Luxury Hotrod…

In my never ending search for greatness on the internet, I came across some sad looking cars that gave me a really great idea (for you, not me…).  Ok, are you ready for this?  These four words might change your world forever, so I hope you are sitting down. Seriously.  Ok… here goes….   “Rolls Royce Hot Rod”.  That’s right folks!  Live the life of luxury with hand built quality, the finest metals, and do it on the cheap! “But how!?” Well, with the Nutt’s & Bolts Blog Guide to greatness of course!!

Nutt’s & Bolts Blog complete guide to greatness – Now featuring  more Luxury!

Step 1) Start with a parted out Rolls from eBay for like $700. Doors and trunk lid are recommended but not completely necessary.  (Home made tube doors will work fine in a pinch.)

Step 2) Build a custom boxed steel frame, with a junkyard IFS, and a usable junkyard rear differential (welded of course).

Step 3) Pull that spare 350 out from your shed, and shove a 8-71 blower on it. (Trust me on this, do what I say, and you will be the coolest person in your neighborhood.)

Step 4) Gut the interior of the car of anything that has mass. Throw it all in the trash or sell on eBay for maximum money recoupage.

Step 5) Rig up a manual transmission of your liking with a universal hydraulic master cylinder setup.  Piece of cake.

Step6) Add drag radials to the back & tub floor pan as necessary. Any wheels that bolt onto the front will be fine. Black steelies maybe?

Step 7) Be sure to paint it flat black, and get the car as low to the ground as possible.  It’s the only way to succeed.

Step 8 ) Burnouts, donuts, and jealous friends and neighbors will soon follow.  Be ready for high 5’s, gift baskets, and invites to pool parties. So much win, for so little investment.

mean rolls royce

Pictures borrowed from:

Ebay item number 190433491734

Ebay item number 190433491718


Who and what is Hot Rodding?

In the early days of hot rodding, there were guys putting big engines from big cars into vehicles that they had no business powering.  Flathead V8’s, Zephyr transmissions, multiple carb’s (sometimes even hooked up!), and quick change rear ends were all the rage.  Each hot rod builder wanted to be faster, lower, smoother, and more custom than the next guy.  Car customizing was pushing the limits of what could safely be driven on the street.  As cars evolved so did the hot rodding scene.  Muscle cars came and went and so did the days of factory emissions parts stealing your horsepower.  After writing yesterday’s blog about what to do with my 1960 Pontiac project car,  I began to wonder who really is driving this hot rod scene forward in 2010?  What is a hot rod? Who is still customizing cars and is it the same style as it was several decades ago?  Has everything been done?!  Is hot rodding only hot rodding if it is an old car? American? Foreign?  Gosh, so many tough questions.

In high school, my friends and I were minitruckers (don’t hate!), so we were all about laying our trucks as low to the ground as possible and tucking lug nuts in the fenders.  If some part of the truck prevented us from being low, it would simply be removed.  One cool fall day I was building a boxed steel frame, triangulated 4-link suspension, and air ride setup for a friends Toyota truck, and my dad walked outside and watched me work for a few minutes.  He then said “This is just like what we used to do when I was a kid.  This is hot rodding.”  For whatever reason those words stuck with me, and in my mind it holds true.  I feel like if you are modifying your car in a way that other people aren’t doing, don’t like, or don’t understand, you are probably hot rodding.

What’s your definition of Hotrodding? Who is doing it?

Picture borrowed from: