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September 13, 2014

Saturday Car Thread 9/13/14 - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse and KBDaBear

I've decided, today, to mix it up, blending in KBDB's great write-ups with my cheapo links in the hopes of disguising my lack of effort this week. Imma gonna guess that you'll still be able to tell who did what.

Classic Oldies with New Tech

When old classic cars have been featured here on the Car Thread, quite a few Motorhead Morons have lamented that the new cars, while quite advanced in technology, performance, and reliability lack the uniqueness and soul of the old cars. Thanks to the Pro-Touring niche of the show car organizations, this is actually quite possible for those with the money, mechanical proficiency, and imagination.

One such car that was featured a few years back in Hot Rod MagazineHot Rod Magazine caught my eye, a 1955 Chevy Bel Air convertible built by EMI-Experimenti-Metal based in Michigan. EMI specializes in replacement body panels for old cars, and they acquired the license to manufacture all the panels and the chassis for mid 50's Chevys and several other makes and models. A car customizer can actually buy a virtually brand new body and fit it with whatever drivetrains, suspension, electronics, and interiors that their talents or cash flow will allow.

With this particular 55 Chevy built by EMI itself, they chose to power it with a 5.7 LS-1 from a 1998 Corvette and installed an aftermarket Heidt independent rear suspension along with all manner of modern tech. Read the article for all the particulars, I fell in love with this car at first sight.

I want this car as much as a jello wrestling match with Kate Upton

Man reunited with car, 33 years after it was stolen

Sacramento, Calif.-Gary Chartrand's 1964 Thunderbird was stolen in 1981. He assumed he would never see the car again, but this week that changed.

According to Chartrand, the car was stolen about a year after he paid $1,600 for it as a gift to himself after he got a divorce.

Chartrand says the car was taken from him while he was bartending in Old Sacramento at Fanny Ann's Saloon. Chartrand says it was one of the worst nights of his life.

He thought he would never see his classic car again until he received an unexpected call, 33 years later. Sacramento police called and said his car was found in Washington State in great condition. On Tuesday, Chartrand was finally reunited with his T-Bird.

"Beautiful. Just a few bumps and bruises, but not much has changed,” he said. "It's a 50-year-old car, has been gone for 33-years, who knows where it's been"

Chartrand says there were hardly any miles on it, but looks like someone was trying to get it registered and take it on the road. Now, he only has to remember how to open the glovebox.

Totally 80's – Pontiac Fiero

In the early 80's, GM sought to produce a sporty small car to compete in the youth market with the Japanese compact sports cars. Desiring a fuel efficient but fun model, the GM engineers created a plastic bodied two-seater mid-engined car we'd come to know as the Pontiac Fiero. Contrary to popular myth, Fiero is Italian for proud, not the engine will incinerate you.

The engine fire issue of the first year of the Fiero was overblown, but there were other issues with engine cooling and general reliability due to GM bean counter decisions to override the designers concepts. The plastic body over steel chassis was unique to the Fiero, but the engine was the 2.5 liter 4 cyl Iron Duke, standard with the Chevy Citation. GM also tossed aside the suspension designs and used Chevette front suspension and brakes and reversed the Citation front suspension for the rear.

Although underpowered and plagued with reliability and cooling issues due to GM doing things on the cheap, the car nevertheless sold much better than expected for the first three years. Going from my personal observations living in the Northeast at the time, the Fiero had the reputation as a chick car, mostly 18-25 year old big haired Jersey Shore type girls.

Pontiac improved the Fiero quite a bit for the 85-86 models, including fitting it with the 2.8 liter fuel injected V-6 and the body was redesigned for the 87-88 models for a curvier more attractive look. GM also fitted it with the new suspension originally intended by the engineers. It was quite a fun little car with the V-6 and it handled quite well, but as is usual with GM, by the time they get it right nobody cared anymore and the sales were sinking from competition with the higher quality Toyota MR-2. GM discontinued the Fiero after the 1988 model, but it was as iconic to the 80s as the K-Car.

These guys might have curtailed sales somewhat

My Grandaddy had one of these. It was a pale turquoise color.

Aussie Retro Concept Car

If you don't want to build your own old car with new tech and you have loads of cash, perhaps the Aussies will come through for you if GM's Holden ever decides to produce this stunner;

Back in 2005, GM's Holden subsidiary in Australia rolled out a fantastically beautiful concept car called the Efijy, built on the Corvette platform but designed in a retro style reminiscient of the 1953 Holden FJ, but strongly resembling the 1950 Merc.

BMW forgets itself.

Crowd-sourcing automotive design

You know an adventure is going well when a press release starts with a location of “somewhere in Alaska,” which is exactly how Nissan started the release to update us on its progress of the Project Titan. After months of using its fans to crowd-source a design for a special version of the Nissan Titan, the truck has finally been finished and hit the trails.

Built to raise awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project, the truck will be driven by WWP Alumni and Iraq war veterans David Guzman and Kevin McMahon. The adventure kicked off last week, but Nissan just released the first images of the truck in action traversing the harsh Alaskan wilderness.

As a post-mortem tribute to honorary Moron Zheng Gang, your Car Thread Compliance Pic:

And a retro-pinup girl in a retro coupe:

Following that slam on my favorite 80's duo, you can blame KBDB for this:

Please feel free to send any complaints or commendations to us at Twitter: Nied's Dead Horse and KBDaBear.

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posted by Open Blogger at 05:25 PM

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