Saturday, March 19, 2016

Car Watching - Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

 To continue my fantastic car day, my old friend Chip dropped by to drop a bomb on me...he bought a C7 Corvette.  To those that don't know Corvette nomenclature, C7 means the 7th generation.  It's a culmination of what the Corvette has always been: an amazing sports car.
 There is hardly a review that one can read that doesn't gush over just how good this car is.  6.2 liter V8 with 455 horsepower and 460lb/ft of torque.  3300 pounds.  8 speed transmission.  3.9 seconds to 60mph, 11.9 in the quarter...all while turning almost 30mpg on the highway.  How is that for a 21st century muscle car?  Speaking of muscle cars, those four exhaust tips peaking out of the rear valance sound like 1969 all over again.  Push the kick ass little starter button and WHOOOMP! there it is.
 And I did push the starter button and I did drive this little red she-devil.  The seats, the steering wheel, the glass roof, the custom baseball stitched interior...they all add up to a luxurious experience that doesn't take away from the fact that this car will kick ass when you want it to.
 And it will also stop HARD when you want it to.  The dinner-plate sized rotors and monster red calipers are NOT FOR SHOW, even though they look damn good.
 Stingray still means something.  These little emblems should send some pleasant little chills up your spine if you are a Corvette fan.
 Vents are placed all over the car, and they are functional.  No 1980's fake vents here, people.
 This is the business end of the Stingray.  It's clean, it's tidy.  It's a monster motor packed into a small-block size.  There aren't many super-car engines that are physically this small on the outside while displacing 6.2 liters on the inside.  The magic of 60+ years of small-block development.
Speaking of displacement, the aluminum block lets you know what you've got your hands on.

Some car days are better than others.  Boom.

Car Watching - 1971 Boss 351 Mustang

 I had an extraordinary car day today and it started with my friend Jay Orr and his extraordinary 1971 Boss 351 Mustang.  Many of you know that my favorite Mustangs come from the 1971-1973 model years...the big ones.  Of those, this is the rarest, only 1806 made.
 The Boss models sprung up in 1969 with the Boss 302, which had to be produced to satisfy racing rules.  The Boss 429 had to be produced so that the engine could be used in another racing series.  The Boss 302 and Boss 429 lasted two model years, 1969 and 1970.
 The Boss 351 didn't have a reason except that Ford wanted to keep the Boss name alive and true to the name, it was special.  The Boss engines were never used in any other production Ford.  The Boss 351 engine is probably responsible for the high-performance reputation that the "Cleveland" series of Ford engines still enjoys today.  Solid lifters, 11.3:1 compression ratio, pushrod guide plates, functioning Ram Air...it was special.
 And this particular car shows it.  It's a low-mileage (50,000-ish miles on the odo) survivor and it has led a good life.  The Magnum 500 wheels are beautiful on this body style, as are the silver front splitter and the rear spoiler.
 It's in fantastic shape, not as a show car, but as a driver.
 And we drove it.  I drove it.  I'm forever thankful that Jay handed me the keys and I drove one of my favorite cars of all time.  I expected it to drive like a nearly 50-year-old car and it did not.  It was as easy as any car to drive.  The clutch has a high engagement point, but once used to that I could drive it in traffic like a normal car.  The brakes worked well, the car turned nicely, and it did have that legendary Boss power.  Each Boss 351 came with 3.91 Traction-Lok differential, which means it will rip the treads when you stab the throttle but you can control it at the same time.  Jay did that, I opted not to drive someone else's car like I stole it.
 And the sounds.  V8 roar, solid-lifter clatter.  Oh, the sounds.
 And the interior is awesome.  Gauges that I never remember in the old cars were all present and working well.  The Hurst shifter felt awesome in the hand.  I love the small steering wheel.  The seats and the rest of the interior are in great shape, with only minor blemishes and wear and tear.  The color is very nice contrasted with the 70's green and silver exterior, too.  Funny that we should call this generation the "big" Mustangs.  Looking at the dimensions, the 1971 and the 2010 cars are almost identical in length and width...with the '71 actually being 200lbs lighter.
Under the hood is the business end.  Factory aluminum finned valve covers, engine oil cooler, Ram Air plumbing, even the factory rev limiter were in place. 

The Boss 351 is a truly special car.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Bike Projects and Dogs

 The blue Shitbike, which has been my cyclocross bike of choice for several years now, it getting some "enhancements".  I put drop bars on it.  It is pretty cobby right now.  Lord knows how ancient those shifters are.  However, it's in the experimental stages. I think it's going to be pretty cool. I'm going to do some off-roading with it at Cliff Cave and Creve Coeur and see what stem lengths work the best.  Stay tuned.  Oh, and I'm going to paint it again.
 "Hey REX!  Get off of my pillow!"
 "Huh?  Pillow?  You want me off of your pillow??"
"Ok.  How about I lie on this one instead?"

Monday, March 07, 2016

Cliff Cave, Auto Mechanics, and Running Out of Gas

 I pulled on my big boy pants yesterday and took the new Anthem over to Cliff Cave for a little mild single-track action.  Despite the abundance of walkers and long-leashed dogs, it was glorious.  I can't exactly pull on the handlebars yet, but I still rode the bluff side of the trail a couple times, just to be sure my ribs still hurt.  Confirmed!
 I put the finishing touches on the new Cobra air cleaner.  There is always the issue of under-hood clearance when working in there, and air cleaner choice is a big part of that.  When I finished, the valve covers, air cleaner, and oil fill cap all matched and no hoods were harmed in the process.
 Another view, just because.
 Despite bleeding the bejesus out of the brake system last weekend, it still takes the quads of a sprinter to haul the car down.  That's because it's a completely manual system...no power brakes.  But the initial bite is missing, too.  I took the pads and rotors off for inspection, the hardest part of this was removing and replacing the wheels....again those pesky ribs.
The pads and rotors had an awful glaze on them.  Not to mention quite a bit of uneven brake pad deposits.  A little bit of rust pitting on the rears, too. I sanded each surface to a nice new sheen and did a bit of bedding-in once I finished.  Better bite, for sure.  And, I ran out of gas during this time, 100 feet from the gas station, too.  That was karma for not fixing the gas gauge yet.