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Showing posts from February, 2017

In 40+ years of experience you learn some things....

A lot of people ask me why I often contradict articles written in the buff magazines, or that I blithely poo-poo some "Experts" advice on what you "Gotta Have".  Here's why. My dad was a gearhead and restored and raced cars for many years. My mother says-not joking-that I could swap valvesprings in a small-block Chevy cylinder head before I could ride a two-wheel bike!  I worked in car dealers and independent shops for 38 years, and my friends and I drag-raced cars, ran "Street Stock", "Hobby Stock" and "Super Stock" cars on circle tracks for 20+ years. You learn quite a bit from your own experiences, and from talking to other people about theirs. That's why I'm confident, and yes I'll admit-sometimes even arrogant about my opinions. Anyhow-today I'll play "Mythbuster", and tell you why you don't need many of the "Gotta Haves" that you read about in the buff magazines.  # 1. Drivetrain and Su…

Lost Star Cars: The "Slapshot GTO" Reggie Dunlop Rides Again.

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By: Patrick Smith

   In March of 1977, a somewhat strange, hilarious movie about the rigors of minor league hockey hit the theatres. “Slapshot” starred Paul Newman as down and out coach, Reggie Dunlop assigned to work with an equally forlorn hockey team  (The Charleston Chiefs) in a depressed mill town. It should be a match made in hell, guaranteeing complete dissolution and breakdown of the team and clearing the path for a tax write off sale by the team owner. Reggie has other plans. He found gold and salvation in the form of three outrageous brothers who live to fight on the rink. The Hanson Brothers are part of Reggie's comeback strategy involving violence, intimidation and every dirty trick the team can pull off in a game.

  Although it didn't do great box office in the first run at theatres, Slapshot has since become a sports fan cult classic as well as a retro period piece spectacular. One of the unc…

Tech Tips: Kill Generator Radio Noise with Neat Gizmo

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With: Patrick Smith

     If you own an older classic car or truck that runs using a generator instead of an alternator, you've probably experienced this situation at least once. You turn on your radio and the sound is botched by a bunch of static or weird whining sounds that cut through the music. It's an electrical phenomenon called "hash". As generators are direct current producing devices they can create some pretty wild sound effects. It comes usually from the generator brush contacts as they wear. You can replace the worn set or add some shielding while you're inside there. A lot of generators have shielding installed but not all of them still have this stuff. Well you can eliminate the irritating sound effects by adding this simple device to your generator.

   All that's needed is a parallel circuit with a trimmer capacitor and a coil.You can buy the coil or make one yourself following t…

Make sure everything's right before you start throwing parts at it....

A lot of people ask me how to get the most performance out of a certain car for a certain budget,and they always ask-what should I buy first? Gears? Headers? A carb and intake? One thing they forget is to make sure the car is in top operating condition BEFORE you start modifying it. Here's a list of important things that many people don't check. # 1. Do a simple compression test. Even an 8:1 "smog" motor will have 120-130 psi of compression. Higher performance engines will have 150 psi or more. The main thing is the readings should be uniform for all 8 cylinders-within 5-10 psi of each other. If one or more cylinders only has 80 or 90 psi-you could have a serious problem like burned valves, bad rings or a blown head gasket. You'd be amazed at the number of cars I see limping around on 6 or 7 cylinders.  # 2. No high rpm power. I'm not talking about 7,000 or 8,000 rpm; many cars don't have the valvetrain or bottom-end for that. But a 318 Dodge with a 2bbl …

Ford Station Wagon Line Up 1963

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By: Patrick Smith

 In the baby boom era of the mid 1950s to late 1967, station wagons were big sellers and an important market to American car manufacturers. Once the headaches and expense tied to producing all wood bodies fell away to wooden trim pieces on a steel body, cost went down and profits climbed. A war erupted between the only companies making prestige wagons due to their connections to  expert carpenters and wood lots, to cheaper firms able to make a deal with a body plant like Briggs or even set up their own tooling for one.This opened up the wagon market wide. Rambler got into the all steel wagon body first while others like Chrysler experimented with Di Noc, a wood applique that looked like the real thing. Ford and GM experimented with steel bodies covered with wood trim to simulate the classic woodie appearance. By 1953, the trim was vestigial at most. Steel bodies were here to stay.


   While the 1950s were …

On The Block: 1970 Chevelle LS6 convertible 4 speed updated with sold price!

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By: Patrick Smith
 "Is it really worth almost half a million?'   Well one of the Holy Grails of GM muscle cars has finally broken cover and come up for auction this Spring at Mecum's Indy Spring Classic in May. We're talking about the 1970 Chevelle LS6 convertible four speed. That combination is super rare and this one is done to the nines. I've been watching for convertible LS6 four gear cars awhile now and they seldom appear for sale. A nice looking black on tuxedo interior was listed twice at two different venues, only to vanish on sale day due to questions about its papers. Since then we've seen a few nice ones but nothing amazing like this rolling brochure on wheels. Check this one out. The lot number has been added; R402. No pre auction estimates yet as of March 18.

   Sold new at British-American Motors Chev-Olds in Toronto, Ontario, this puppy was loaded. Finished in Cranberry Red wi…

Vintage VW Dune Buggies

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By: Patrick Smith

   The past two years, some trends have emerged in the car hobby.We are seeing a resurgence in popularity with vintage Volkswagen based dune buggies.I'm seeing more of them at cruise nights for starters. There always was one at least when I started doing cruise nights but lately I've been seeing different ones appear.They aren't brand new build ups either, both were older fabs that were stored away for decades and then revived for shows.I featured a nice green one on this blog a year ago that was built in Milton way back in 1969, stored away and dusted off for driving once again.


  This time out, I'm going to show two more buggies; one is a late 60s's Canadian dune buggy by SKOV, a company in Ontario using molds similar to the Meyers Manx. The SKOV shell is readily identifiable by the telltale front fuel filler stack positioned on the driver side of front compartment. On original,…

You may not always like what I say....But it'll be the truth!!

Had some people upset with my review of  "John Wick Chapter 2" and my bagging on "Gator"-the "White Lightning" follow-up. What did you want me to do, lie and say I liked them?  Both the "John Wick" movies had plot holes you could drive a semi through. And I am sick of CGI. Guy jumps six feet in the air, rotates his body clockwise, kicks 3 guys in the face, does a backflip and lands on his feet. It can't be done, we know it can't be done, we know the actor isn't doing it, so why put it on screen?  Is the target audience 13 year old boys?  At least if Chuck Norris or Jean-Claude Van Damme, or Jackie Chan, did something even if it looked inelegant-you knew you had an actor / athlete doing something 99% of the rest of the population couldn't do. Classics like "Bullitt" and the "Seven-Ups" and the "French Connection" are still watchable today because you had brave stuntmen and actors- ( Steve McQueen and …

1969 Camaro Z28 coupe

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By: Patrick Smith

   By 1969 Chevrolet had been competing in the Trans Am circuit for two years with the pony car star, Camaro Z28. When you ordered RPO Z28, you got a special high performance package. The heart of the beast was a high revving small block 302 V8 engine with solid lifter cam. This went nicely with the mandatory Muncie four speed floor shift. This wasn't some commuter engine, the 302 was built for high speed power, sporting an 11:1 compression ratio and a cam profile that woke up around 3,000 rpm. Everything about the engine was heavy duty. You could in theory make your own 302 doing a  327 block and 283 crankshaft swap, but there were a lot of hardware pieces used to make the engine run hard and keep it alive.


   Only 602 Z28s were made in 1967. It cost $684 over a base sports coupe once you added mandatory power disc brakes and manual transmission. Many guys wanted one of these but had to s…

"Gator" just doesn't cut the mustard...

There's talk of Quentin Tarantino doing a remake of "White Lightning." I gave my opinion on that in a previous post, and a lot of people consider "White Lighning" not only a great action film and a "cult classic" but perhaps Burt Reynolds' best work besides "Deliverance."  I agree. "Lightning" was a lean, mean revenge thriller with a great cast and great action. It opens with "Gator" being visited in prison by his cousin, telling him that his college-student younger brother has been murdered in Bogen county and that they think the corrupt sheriff was involved. After a botched escape attempt, Gator cuts a deal with the feds to get the Sheriiff on income-tax evasion and bribery charges in exchange for getting out of prison. Burt was at the top of his game-this was when he still acted-before "The Longest Yard" and "Smokey and the Bandit" and "Cannonball Run" where he began phoning in his &qu…

When Hondas Go Rogue: "A true horror story"

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By: Patrick Smith

   For years I've been using a nice late model Japanese sedan as my daily driver. Actually I say late model but in reality, it's an old car. Back in 2009 I picked up this 2005 Honda Accord EX sedan off a lease with just 88,000 kilometers on it. The car was like new and was on the showroom floor mixed in with brand new 2009s. I test drove another EX just like it with the four banger and was happy with the power and goodies. Signed, sealed and delivered for about 15 grand. That Accord has been the most reliable, fuel efficient car I've ever owned. Now with 119,518 kilometers on the odo, the car has a few nicks and scratches on the cashmere metallic paint finish but she still looks good overall. Annual rust proofing and oil and air filter changes keeps the engine happy. She's not a daily commuter car so the miles aren't piling up like most other owners' rides.

    She's sti…

American Classic: 1956 Ford Fairlane Victoria Hardtop coupe

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By: Patrick Smith

     When Ford brought out their all new 1955 Fairlane, it was a sales smash. Only the debut of the equally astounding Chevrolet put a lid on its runaway success. As the year progressed, Ford learned the all new 265 engine was pretty damned good and had potential for a lot more power. No resting on their laurels for Dearborn. In their quest to improve and offer something new, Ford restyled the Fairlane, giving it a new front and rear treatment, dolled it up with new chrome and improved the car with 12 volt electrical system over last year's 6 volt set up.The base model was the Fairlane followed by Fairlane Victoria, Crown Victoria with or without an optional front sunroof and the series topping Sunliner convertible. Sales of Victoria two door hard tops was relatively low compared to 1955's debut season. Ford moved 31,111 two door hardtops in Victoria spec.

  The power trains were Ford's Thunderb…