While cruising through the sand pits near the internet’s automotive superhighway, I came across something way more rad than your new patch-covered jean jacket. It’s quite odd, has 4 wheels, and comes complete with an engine, thus heavily qualifying it as an automotive oddity this week. Let’s stop for a moment and consider all the things in life that you have ever thought about running over. Watermelons, crush em. Dirt piles, crushed. Couches, crush. A wagon full of teddy bears, crushed. A pool full of pudding, crush. They are ALL now able to be crushed thanks to the guys in this video. With 7 feet of articulation, it doesn’t matter what’s in front of you, it’s getting crushed.
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.
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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.
Today we have a Pontiac Sunfire that may or may not have seen more air time than we want to admit. Much to our surprise, it continues to impress us with its never ending survival strategies. Sure we have to throw a few parts at it from time to time, but that’s what happens when you pretend your Sunfire is Ferrari-built Baja vehicle. It may not look the part, but I can assure you that deep within this vehicle is the heart of a hostile jellyfish and the soul of 1000 wild turkeys.
On this specific Sunfire (which is the really the same as a Chevy Cavalier), the rear control arm bushings were completely gone, in the physical sense. This made driving extremely scary, especially while steering and braking because the car would dart in the direction that you least expect. Just when you think you have the Sunfire figured out, it throws a curve ball at you and leaves you trembling in your tastefully upholstered cloth driver’s seat. In this video, we take the unintended roller coaster ride out of this very saucy Sunfire.
Once you get past the whole “I completely horrified my engine” thing, catastrophic engine damage is really awesome to see. Here is the Nutts & Bolts Top 3 Most Awesome Ways to Destroy your Engine:
1) Blowing pistons and / or connecting rods right through the engine block.
Typically when your internal engine parts forcefully become external, they do so for good reason. You likely built the engine wrong, over revved it, or had a complete lack of lubrication. What you may not realize, is that this seemingly negative action is a really just your car’s way of telling you it wants a more powerful engine.
2) Destroying your valves in epic fashion.
Whether it is losing your timing belt at highway speeds with an interference engine, or running lean enough to turn steel into magma, it sure is fun to see. The grossest display of shared combustion chamber space that I’ve seen was a Cadillac Catera that I worked on many years ago. It had broken the heads off the valves, bounced them around the cylinders, and then pushed them right back through the exhaust ports. The inside of the engine looked as if it were trying to combust rocks instead of gasoline. It was an epic win for shared space that day. Let’s not forget burned valves though, you get an extra points when the valves burn and destroy your turbo in the same instant.
3) Recipe for disaster: The automotive cocktail of destruction.
- 1 Blown intake / head gasket
- 1 Part Oil
- 4 Part Antifreeze
- 2 tbsp metal shavings
- Mix vigorously
- Cook at 220 degrees for approximately 3 minutes or until engine eruption is complete.
- Enjoy automotive cocktail of destruction.
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.
I have spent quite a bit of time working on a chameleon painted Karmann Ghia, and I liked it. There, I said it. No, the car doesn’t have a V8, and it doesn’t have a clutch pedal for its manual transmission. However, it does have windshield squirters that are activated by the air pressure in the spare tire (seriously).
When this flamboyant automobile entered my family, I was a bit confused because I was used to the big American muscle cars, and modern sports cars. This Volkswagen was just a wee-bit different. It was not only the antithesis of all the vehicles I was used to, but it came with free pass into a bizarre automotive culture. I would put the VW culture in the same genre as minitruckers, but just a touch more viral. The Volkswagen crowd will convert you to one of their own before you even realize it happened. One thing then leads to another and pretty soon you are replacing your oil pan and pulling a 23 window VW Bus out of a river.
What I am getting at here is that old VW’s are something that you need to mess around with at some point in life. By no means am I saying that they are “the greatest car evah!”, or the only thing that can possibly save us from 2012. What I am saying is that they are put together in a way like none other of their era, and aside from the windshield squirters and the missing pedals, I kind of like them. Working on one of these foreign oddballs really opens a whole new thought process on how to put a car together.
Now what’s your automotive confession?