Car Memories with Dad: Saturdays Under the Hood

1976 car

Dads are often who we turn to for car help. Whether they helped you through your first repair, gave you advice while car shopping, or just wanted an excuse to spend time with you in the garage, we know fathers play a big role in the sentimentality of cars. Welcome to our miniseries “Car memories with dad,” in which we’ll share stories about and interviews with some car-loving dads leading up to Father’s Day.

I’m 47 and grew up in the ’70s and ’80s. Besides listening to REO Speedwagon, watching Saturday morning cartoons and playing outside until the streetlights came on, one of my fondest memories is of working under the hood with my dad.

Read More

Check Out This Candy Dipped 1960 Pontiac Swagger Package.

1960 pontiac

WATCH THIS VIDEO OF IT RIGHT NOW.

This is 20 feet of 100 percent pure, swagger-coated, 1960 Pontiac. It appears to have 1959 Cadillac tail light lenses, and early 1960’s Cadillac upper tail fins.  It’s sitting on monster chrome wheels that are least 20 inches, but probably more like 22’s. Air ride suspension lives underneath with fast dump valves (likely 1/2 inch at least), and they are fully connected to a keyfob.  To complete the ultimate swagger package, this sexy American steel is dipped in a sweet candy red paint. I think this swagger package is complete, son.

Integrated Exhaust Manifolds

Cadillac CTS 3.6L Engine

Under the cover of darkness (okay, not really), there has been an evolutionary change going on beneath some new car hoods. Something that we all have grown to love & hate may finally become a thing of the past. For these new GM V6 engines, upgrading to a set of long tube headers for some added fun at the track is a total impossibility, because the exhaust manifold doesn’t even exist anymore. A tragedy? Nope, not really.

You see, General Motors has been starting to integrate the exhaust manifolds into the cylinder heads themselves.  This is absolutely terrific news for several reasons. It gives engineers & technicians a bit more room to play, weighs several pounds less, has fewer gaskets to blow, and it locates the catalytic converters closer to the cylinder heads which reduces emissions even further. Oh yeah, they also claim that these fancy new heads flow better than the old exhaust manifolds used to. So unless these integrated cylinder heads start cracking from heat cycles (plausible?), they are really nothing but great news for the enthusiasts and environmentalists alike. It’s a strange new world out there, and times they are a’ changin’.

2009 Cadillac CTS…..wait for it…. Convertible!

Just when you thought you had seen the roof cut off of everything (I’m looking at you Subaru STI ), somebody goes and lops one off of a 2009 Cadillac CTS, and throws it on eBay.  This whole “turn my car into a convertible” thing just puzzles me.  I have to assume that if the owner of this Cadillac wanted a convertible sooooo badly, they could have just bought a new Cadillac XLR at the time.  I mean what’s the price difference between buying a new CTS and having it turned into a convertible vs. buying a new XLR.  A few grand?  Ah well, at least it isn’t a full time convertible, that would be depressing.  Instead, in true Cadillac form, it has a luxurious power top, which you can see in action in This Video.

While it is actually better looking than many convertible conversions, it’s just not my forte’.  To each their own I suppose.  Nobody likes my truck either, but I still dump money into it like it’s a 401K, of which it is clearly not.  But I digress…. Here is the beautiful drop tizzop CTS showing off all that its got. What do you think? Is it your dream car or another nightmare?

Only 12 hours left ! eBay Item # 150605003408

Burnout Videos: Twin Turbo Cadillac CTS-V Edition

Friday is always a day of celebration. Here on the 1A Auto Blog, we usually do something fun like posting up burnout videos.  Well, today will not be any different.  Just when I thought that I couldn’t love Cadillac CTS-V’s any more, people stick twin turbo’s on them, and make burnout videos.  Here are three of them FYE…

Can’t see the video? Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKeKgdpHEYQ

Read More

OEM vs Aftermarket: Are Auto Parts Created Equal?

Being in the aftermarket auto parts bizzz, I often find myself verbally battling with guys that are hardcore OEM auto parts only.  They usually say “I only buy OEM auto parts because “aftermarket stuff” never fits, works, lasts, etc.”  They usually have an example of a part that they bought from a local auto part store that didn’t work out for them for whatever reason.  Fair enough, we’ve all been there.  Now, I have absolutely no problem with OEM parts by any means.  In fact, before working for 1A Auto, I was a technician at a Cadillac dealer using all OEM parts.  Needless to say, I’m quite familiar with a wide range of auto parts.  Do bad OEM parts exist?  Absolutely! (Just ask anybody that has owned a Cadillac Catera (Sorry, I had to…))  Do bad aftermarket auto parts exist?  Absolutely.  However, not all auto parts are created equal. So let’s talk about it.

We’ll start our examples with a company that does really exist and everybody knows of them because they make absolutely fantastic suspension products.  I’m leaving the name out because the auto parts that they build are more relevant than their name.  For now, let’s call them “Company X”.   Now, the way I understand it, about 50% of the suspension parts that Company X produces are OEM parts for brand new cars.   Naturally, they also produce extra’s for the car dealer’s to stock in their parts departments.  It would be in an OEM brand name box, but it is actually built by Company X.  When the OEM’s need a part produced, Company X  is given specs by the vehicle manufactures and as you may guess, they build these auto parts to the exact specifications that they are given.  The OEM engineers really only need these parts to last as long as the car’s suspension warranty, without compromising safety or their own brand name in the process.  All the parts function as they are designed to, but long term, some parts are better than others.

The other 50% of the auto parts that Company X produces are what I call “high quality aftermarket auto parts”. They are Company X’s aftermarket brand, built to their own specs, which are vastly improved over the OEM parts (if they need to be).  They find the faults of the original designs and they correct them for their aftermarket brand because Company X wants them to last forever.  Everything is greaseable (as suspension parts should be), and engineered to be better than the OEM’s originally wanted. It may be a visible change in the look, or it may look identical and be internally changed. In some cases the OEM part doesn’t need to be improved upon, and the high quality aftermarket part brand is the same exact part as OEM but without the part numbers marked on them.

Free same day shipping at 1AAuto

On the other hand, there are the cheaper options available out there which I call “low quality aftermarket auto parts”. These are typically the ones that can give “aftermarket parts” as a whole a bad name.  The reason that they are the cheapest price is because they are the cheapest to produce.  Being the cheapest to produce rarely equals the highest quality.  The unfortunate truth to these parts is that you don’t really know if this is the part that you are buying until you attempt to attach it to your car. Before long, you need torches and welders to make it fit, and you need a new one in a few weeks.

Now you can’t talk about OEM vs Aftermarket auto parts without talking about price.  Here’s the way it works.  Since the average consumer can only buy OEM parts through car dealers,  the dealers can charge a premium.  There is typically minimal price differences between dealers because their doesn’t need to be.  They control the flow of OEM parts.  Aftermarket parts are different because you can have multiple manufacturers of similar products.  You can count on all of them being priced less than an OEM part from a dealer, but the quality can vary greatly.  High quality aftermarket parts are priced far less than the dealer, but sold from a variety of different outlets which means competition and a super high quality part at a competitive price.  Then there are the cheap (and I do mean cheap) low quality aftermarket parts.  They will be priced the lowest, and may or may not be what you want when you open the box. “EEEK! What is that!?”

So although my opinion may appear to biased because of my position, I’ll give it to you anyway.  I prefer the high quality aftermarket parts over OEM because I know what goes into them, and the price is right of course.  Want more? Ok, fine. Recently I installed some new ignition coils in my wife’s RX8 as a general maintenance procedure.  I took a few pictures for OEM vs aftermarket comparisons.  The new ones were perfect in  every way, and the RX8 is happier than ever.  (OEM’s are on the left side of the picture, and the 1A Auto coils are on the right.)

       

       

So how do you tell a quality aftermarket auto part company from the others? Take a look at what else they have to offer you, including warranties and guarantees, USA based customer service, installation videos, engaging blog articles and other automotive content, etc. If it looks like they care, they probably do.

2011 CTSV Coupe Already Modified By Hennessey

Hennessey V700 CTS-V Coupe

You may remember back in June when a GM rep was spotted driving a CTS-V coupe locally and I posted it up for your entertainment.  Well, these days, the world is moving faster than ever before, and if you aren’t first, you’re last.  According to my calendar it is still 2010,  yet, Hennessey has already got a 2011 CTS-V running 11’s at 120+ in the quarter mile.  If you have crazy money to spend, this sure looks like a heck of a lot of fun.  I’m sure the dealer that sold it would be thrilled to see this video. “Cya Warranty!