Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Cad, turbo, fuel injection, Chevelle...sure, why not?!

My brother, Ben, and I helped dad pull the engine out of his Nash Monday night. It was a good night. Based solely on that activity, how could it NOT be a good night? It went amazingly smoothly, the only real problem being that we couldn't get the mill up over the header panel, so we had to take the car down off the jack stands and then let some air out of the tires to clear it. Other than that - piece of cake! Mom was great, and came out and used my camera to get some shots of us in action, which I shall post soon.

We were all pretty stoked to have the engine out successfully and quickly. I think that's partly why the subsequent conversation between Ben and I turned to the Chevelle. The poor Chevelle, having sat almost totally neglected for the better part of two years. Aside from getting a new steering box and some brake work, nothing much had been done to it, and because of it the uncompleted brake and steering work, the car hadn't even been driven during most of that time.

"Here's my plan," said Ben, which I thought was cool and interesting, because the car has always resided at my house, and any enacted plans generally waited for my motivation. Now Ben had plans.
"I've been looking at enclosed trailers," he said. "For about five grand you can get a nice one."
"Why would you do that" asked dad, "when you could just get an open one cheaper?"
"Because, when you have a car that's not weatherproof, and you're driving it all over the place from one track to another, it helps to have something that will keep the rain off of it."
"You could spend five grand on bodywork," I offered, "and then you wouldn't need for it to be weatherproof."
He paused before speaking. "That's true, but I want to take that car all over the place. Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois - I want to run it at every midwest track there is every weekend of the year next year. I want to be in an NHRA points race every week."

Wow. WOW! That sounded like a lot of money, effort...and fun to me!

"That would be really cool, to have pictures of it at all those different tracks," I said. "I was just thinking about having photos like that last week." It was true. I had been ruminating about what a nice legacy it would be to have that car run at a bunch of tracks all around the midwest. "It's about the experiences," as Burgess Meredith once said.

Ben continued, "It would be cool to pull up with that thing, and roll it off the trailer. People would laugh, 'Why'd you trailer that thing?' and then we'd rip off some 12-second passes and they'd stop laughing."
"Tens would really be good," I said.
"Yeah," he smiled.
"We could do tens with the Cadillac engine," I said, warming to my favorite subject. "I wanna put that Cad in there and really make it run."
"You know what I wanna do," replied Ben.
"Electronically controlled ignition."
"Oh, yeah. Laptop and all that...program in your curve," I said.
"Of course, if we're going to do that we might as well put fuel injection on it. Then we really can tune it any way we want."
"Yeah, of course," said Ben.
"And if we're gonna do that, well, we might as well put a turbo on it - "
" - one of those diesel ones," Ben added.
"Port fuel injection would be best, but I don't know if there's a setup for that on a Cad. Of course, I'm broke. We'd have to make something up."
"But that's what it's all about," said Ben. "Doing your own stuff, making it work."
"Yeah. The good side of this is that, since there aren't really any kits to do any o f this stuff, a lot of guys have figured out how to modify all this stuff and make it work. I think there's a way to use an old stock piece from about '76 or something and make fuel injection," I said.
"Right on," he replied.
"Look up some of that turbo stuff for me," I said. "See what you can find out about what we need. I suppose we should start planning this."

This is the beginning of trouble and tons of fun. Since I really am flat broke, and Ben's not much better off, I'm wondering how reality will make us shape and reshape our goal. It will be interesting to see how this plays itself out.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

For the record...

I friggin' hate doing brake work. I don't care if it's on a Chevelle or a Dodge Caravan. I hate doing brake work. Okay, I'd rather do the Dodge - less possibility for dumb crap to crop up.

This is the third brake job on the Chevelle in three years, and it's probably traveled a total of 200 miles in that whole time. Humidity + disc brakes = rust. And so we have yet another brake job plus a dehumidifier out in the garage. Sigh. Maybe this will take care of the problem.

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