There’s a well-known show on TV these days called American Chopper. Chances are that if you’re reading this, you’re interested in all things mechanical, so have probably seen it. If not, it’s worth a watch.
Unlike most reality shows, there are no hot chicks; instead it’s about a father and his two sons who spend their lives building some of the most outrageous Choppers you’ll ever see. It’s not the motorbikes that make the show worth watching though, it’s the behind the scenes banter, bickering and pranks that go on between dad and kids that make it a laugh.
Now it’s likely that if there were to be a reality show about the build of this gorgeous 1969 Chev Camaro it would be much the same. Father and son team John and Shane have had (more…)
Jack Rainbow’s slammed ’61 Impala Bubbletop must have been what the Beach Boys were talking about when they sang, “She’s real fine, my 409”.
Real muscle car power was brought to the people in the early ’60s, especially with the arrival of the 1961 Chevrolet Impala SS 409. Chevy built 491,000 Impalas that year. Only 453 had the SS (Super Sport) package, and of those just 142 got the 409ci engine.
Word spread quickly about a mainstream Chevy V8 with 409lb/ft (554Nm) of torque and the ability to do mid-15-second quarter miles with the standard 3.36:1 rear axle and four-speed manual. The Beach Boys even immortalised it in the song ‘409’ (She’s real fine/my 409).
Jack Rainbow’s 1961 Chevrolet Impala may not be an original SS 409, but with a 409 W series motor now resting between the front guards and an impeccable build quality, it’s “even better than the real thing” — thought I’d keep up with the song theme with that little U2 snippet.
But I’m getting way ahead of myself here, let’s go back to the beginning… (more…)
Purchased with no thoughts of modification, Pat Croul’s car is now the toughest-looking Camaro in the land.
I still have no idea what I was thinking,” says Pat Croul, reflecting on what happened to his once tidy, stock-as-a-rock Camaro.
“I purchased the car to just drive, and then I thought I would just tidy it up a little over the winter. I had three or so months of driving it and then apart she came for an engine check.” And so it begins.
“The question was,” continues Pat, warming to his story, “what little mods could be made to the 355ci small block to give it a little more life? It was decided that dropping in a blown big block should take care of it.”
That could have been the beginning of the end. It wasn’t. “The car was stripped, repainted in black and in went a 461ci big block complete with 8/71 supercharger and some other goodies. This took a few months, and then while out for the first test drive I found that there was a little traction problem at almost any stage of the throttle in any gear. The 245 BF Goodriches were just not working out.” (more…)
If it weren’t for some home detective work, this 9-second streeter may never have called New Zealand home.
You’ve heard of those scam stories. Well, I got sucked in,” says the owner of this seriously tough 9-second Street Camaro, Rick Baker.
The look of disbelief on my face probably showed my confusion, because to me the car looks pretty well perfect. And it is. Rick explained the situation by going on to say, “There’s a lot to be said for doodling and taking notes, ’cause if I hadn’t the Camaro wouldn’t be here today.”
“My son and I were on eBay having a look for our next project. It had to be a ’68 Camaro, and a big block. Not keen on a rebuild we searched for a turnkey beast. The advert said this one had a fresh engine and was in show condition, even if the pictures were a bit blurry.”
“That was it. The ‘buy now’ button was pressed. I asked for the seller’s number to talk with him. After a few hours we were talking and the seller, David, insisted on a 50% deposit as us Kiwis are apparently time wasters. I was placed on hold while he answered a call or two, and that turned out to be my saviour.”
After wiring across the 50% deposit, Rick decided he’d head to the States and pick the car up in person rather than sending a transporter as he’d said he would to David. Just six days later he was standing in front of the given pick up address dumbfounded. All that lay in front of him was a derelict house, with no one nearby knowing the seller and the house having sat empty for years. (more…)
Clarke Hopkins’s Torana blurs the line between show car and race car, but that doesn’t mean it’s all show and no go.
One of the driving factors (excuse the pun) behind car modification is that we are all looking for different things from our vehicles.
For some, the ultimate goal is for a car to be as fast as possible in a straight line. Others aim to turn as many heads as possible, while a select few attempt to defy the laws of physics by raising or lower their cars as much as possible.
Clarke Hopkins, however, was torn. As a result, he built a race car. He’s also ended up with a show car. It’s just that in Clarke’s case, both cars are in the one package.
Right Time, Right Place (more…)
Holden’s ute is celebrating its 60th anniversary and to mark the occasion the Thunder Ute is back for the Aussie market.
This new VE Series II take on the once popular ute looks sharp with some cosmetic additions and is set to go on sale across Australia from next week.
The new Thunder Ute will be available in SV6 and SS trim with plenty of extra kit included. Special features in both models include 19-inch alloy wheels, satellite navigation, leather seat bolsters and special-edition Thunder badging inside and out.
“It is a really bold, tough looking ute which we think will appeal to many of our traditional sports ute buyers,” Holden Australia Executive Director of Sales, Marketing and Aftersales John Elsworth said.
In terms of powertrains there is no additional grunt over the standard models with Thunder ute offered with Holden’s 210kW/350Nm 3.6 litre SIDI petrol V6 and 270kW/530Nm 6.0 litre petrol V8. (more…)
When the Pontiac brand was killed off in the States so was the Holden Commodore, but at that time financially desperate General Motors had no idea of the following that the Commodore/Pontiac G8 really had.
Now, after serious demand, the Commodore will likely return to the U.S market badged as a Chevrolet SS sedan. There is also a chance that the Commodore’s ute and wagon form will also be sold in the states, but they remain unapproved at this stage. The Commodore ute would likely receive the El Camino moniker and the long back car would keep the SportWagon name.
If the Commodores do make it to the States in Chevy trim it won’t likely be until early 2013 as GM is waiting for the next-generation “VF” Commodore to be developed by Holden. GM will be most interested in performance models for the American market so expect Holden’s exports to be mainly V8 powered. (more…)