More Car Art – Who says the Average Car Guy doesn’t like art??

Well, I don’t know about every car guy, but I do know what I like.

Some of my favorites are abandon car art, but I enjoy a lot of other subject matters as well.

If you look  to the right of this post you’ll see one of my favorites.  My old 1984 C4  red Corvette, closely following what would be my future car(unbeknownst to me at the time) a black C6 Corvette.  I have one other favorite and that’s a rendering of the interior of my 1970 Mustang.

My 1970 Mustang

I’ve known this starving artist (he’s not really starving, my wife won’t allow that) his entire life.  Ryan has a great eye for car art. (Shameless plug.  This image and the image of the Corvettes, nicely framed, make great gifts, tis the season.)

While tooling a round a little town in Southern Arizona this past Black Friday (Nov 26), I happened to meet an artist named Scott Taft and had to purchase  a picture of 1959 Chevy that he had transferred to metal.  You can see his work at

One other web site I ran across was this one, it’s got a little more bling, but some very nicely done pieces. It’s called Car Art Work and you can see their offerings @

Car Art Work

Just for the record I don’t receive any money, free stuff or benefit in any way (other than a big thank from my son if one of his images sell) for mentioning these artists or companies. This just stuff I like.

Thanks for reading.


Auto Factoids for 11/7/2010 and Beyond

Catching up and finishing up Nov. 2010

11/10/14 – The first Dodge is produced and on the same day 11 years later Ford built its first Tri-Motor airplane.

Not the plane:

1914 - 4 Door Dodge Touring

This is the plane:

Fords 1925 Tri-Plane

11/11/1940 – The first Jeep

1940 Jeeps

11/12/1908 – GM takes over Oldsmobile.

11/25/1844 – Mr. Benz was more in Karlsruhe, Germany (Been there, the wine is excellent, the beer is better and the food is OUTSTANDING!)

11/26/1966 -The DeTomaso Mangusta debuts

1966 DeTomaso Mangusta

11/27/1870 – Joe Mach’s birthday. Yeah…the guy that started MAC trucks.  The company started when Joe and his brothers purchased a carriage and wagon company in Brooklyn, N.Y.  The first vehicle they produced was a tour bus. (1900)  Next up was rail cars and locomotives. At the time they used the name Manhattan.  Somewhere between 1910 and 1911 the name changed to Mack at about that time the Mack brothers bought a truck company. case you are wonder the Bulldog became their logo in 1922 and the name was changed to MACK Truck.  When I was a very young, we called all tractor-trailer Mack Trucks.

1910 Mack Hook and Latter firetrucks

New Auto Factoid format.

The Ford Mustang sold 419,000 cars in the its first 12 months on the marked. That number trumped the 417,000 cars set by the 1960………………Ford Falcon!!!!

1960 Falcon - 417,000 Sold First 12 months

Ford Mustang II Concept.

Thanks for reading.


Car Technologies U.S. vs. Others.

Just recently I started comparing technology in cars that we own.  A couple of months ago I purchased a 07 Corvette that has a lot more technology then the 84 Corvette I owned and a lot more than my 70 Mustang.  We have also owned two newer vehicles a 2008 Lexus GS350 and now a 2011 Lexus RX 350.  I’m not going to compare the technology between the two Corvettes nor would there be any reason to compare the Corvettes to the Mustang.

But what I have compared is the level of technology between U.S. cars and the two Lexus (Toyota) vehicles we’ve owned.

First up is the 2008 Lexus GS350.  We purchase the car in late 2007, which, as far as a technology time line would be concerned, is smack in the middle of digital music, video and touch technology era. To better frame the time line 3 years ago while attending the Fords on 4th Ave Car Show, here in Tucson, I meet up with a couple of Microsoft guys (one of them I knew from a previous contract I worked) doing the first demo of Sync in a Lincoln.  They gave me quick demo and it was excellent technology which is now about 3 years old. Yet this luxury Toyota only managed to have a horribly  located, headphone port to headphone port connection for your IPOD or MP3 player. Compare this with the technology in my 2007 Corvette, it at least plays MP3 formatted CDs as well as standard CDs.

Next is the 2011 Lexus RX350, three years further into the mobile data revolution and it still seems lacking in technology.  The GS350 had a touch screen information center, the RX350 does not. What replaced that is a joy stick/mouse type device.

From my wife's Rx

It seems a like a step backward.  It’s much easier for you to touch the screen while driving.  The RX’s device requires the moving around of a cursor, centering it on an icon and clicking the mouse-like buttons. ( Don’t get me started on distracted driving, phone calls vs. eating McDonald’s fries.)  The RX is limited to a USB connection for music and that is it.  Sure it has options for  satellite and blue tooth (as did the GS) , but techno-backtracking from a touch screen is a bit odd and no music storage is nearly pre-historic.

Just comparing  technologies for music availability the U.S. cars are ahead.  Take the  2011 Buick Lucerne, it has a 60 Gig hard drive for storing music.  This particular car can even record radio station you are on for playback.  Ford has a host of technology to store music and using Microsoft’s Sync technology, their Fords and Lincolns brands (the dash of the new Lincoln MKX will blow you away) are far superior to the what I’ve found in the Japanese cars. Even a tone-downed Chevy Cobalt has tire air pressure sensors.

While we were test driving the RX a week ago, I asked the salesman about the missing technology and he agreed that Lexus does in fact lag behind in offering  this type of technology.

Don’t you think that’s odd?  Are American car manufacturers that advanced?  Are our car companies just toss in everything, even the kitchen sink to sell cars?  Hey..neither of those are  a bad thing!!! I’m sold!  Besides it a lot easier to eat fries while driving if you have a touch screen to change your music!!!

Your thoughts?

Thanks for reading and drop me a comment.


Comment from Bill

This reminds me of a co-worker who bought a new Chrysler minivan recently. He was excited to tell me about how big the harddrive was, the DVD system, the ‘info-tainment’ bus, the ability of the ‘my gig’ to link to the satiellite,and on and on. I asked what engine he had-he paused- gave me a dazed look-and said he didn’t really know?

I think Lexus does what US car manufacturers used to do; they build a car that will travel 100K miles with just a few oil changes and one set of tires, and a resale value that is 65% of the orignal sales price 10 years later. The lag of technology does not errode the MSRP sticker prices Lexus still demands for their products while Government Motors still discounts their Buicks $5,000 off MSRP to gain a sale. Then five years later that Buick has a market value of $2,200, and the poor upside down owner is looking for his own ‘bail out’.

Me personally, I’d like to see any car manufacturer ‘de-content’ their cars a bit. It not only reduces the sales price, the weight of the car (some cars have six miles of wire in them now days), but actually increases reliability (less to fail) and performance. That original formula of the Boss 302, or Plymouth Roadrunner where you got roll down windows, a bench seat, and for a few dollars you could get a tach, AC, or tinted glass as the only options is my dream come true. Don’t forget a LARGE V8 powering the rear wheels STANDARD! I’d buy a new 2011 car tomorrow if I could get a taxi cab interior with a 300HP V8 for under $25,000. I looked at the 2011 Boss 302, but it still is techno-overloaded for me to call it a true muscle car.

Can you tell now why I replaced our grocery-getter-always-repair-proned Impala with a Grand Marquis? It is (or was-Ford stopped production in September) the closest car out there that meets my formula: no navigation-no harddrive-no MP3-no Sirius-no 8 speed automatic. Bench seat-4.6l police V8-4 speed automatic-RWD; thanks, thats all I need! I’m used to the blue hair jokes and still happy with my taxi cab, hopefully for the next 20 years and 200K miles.

I have often wondered if Dodge introduced a Challenger with Hemi V8, roll up windows, AM FM radio, and the minimum government mandated equipment for around $25,000 if they would sell, or does our generation require several thousand microprocessors to be interested in their cars?

Thanks for letting me sound off! Take care, Bill

Tires: Nitrogen – Winter Air – Summer Air

If you’ve read my blog or found me on Facebook or MySpace or various forums you know that I recently picked up a 07 Corvette, which I love.

One of the things I notices was that the tire valve stems and a little “N2” them.  This was done to suggest that Nitrogen at one time filled the BFGs.

Valve Stem Caps

I wondered if any one (Average Guys) really put Nitrogen in their tires and really how much difference could it make.  When I asked a few guys at my vette club Arizona Corvette Enthusiast (ACE), we had lot of “Winter Air and Summer Air” discussions.  It stems from an old joke about a service attendant’s answer when asked by a customer why their was an extra charge on his bill when he had is tires rotated.  The attendant stated is was for filling them with winter air.

Of course there’s no such thing,  Nitrogen is used in tires, but is there really any benefits?

So what does GM say about the use of Nitrogen in tires?

From GM’s document #05-03-10-020C: Use of nitrogen Gas in Tires – (Apr 27, 2010)

GM’s Position on the Use of nitrogen Gas in Tires
General Motors does not oppose the use of purified nitrogen as an inflation gas for tires. We expect the theoretical benefits to be reduced in practical use due to the lack of an existing infrastructure to continuously facilitate inflating tires with nearly pure nitrogen. Even occasional inflation with compressed atmospheric air will negate many of the theoretical benefits. Given those theoretical benefits, practical limitations, and the robust design of GM original equipment TPC tires, the realized benefits to our customer of inflating their tires with purified nitrogen are expected to be minimal.

The Promise of Nitrogen: Under Controlled Conditions
Recently, nitrogen gas (for use in inflating tires) has become available to the general consumer through some retailers. The use of nitrogen gas to inflate tires is a technology used in automobile racing. The following benefits under controlled conditions are attributed to nitrogen gas and its unique properties:

• A reduction in the expected loss of Tire Pressure over time.

• A reduction in the variance of Tire Pressures with temperature changes due to reduction of water vapor concentration.

• A reduction of long-term rubber degradation due to a decrease in oxygen concentrations.

Important: These are obtainable performance improvements when relatively pure nitrogen gas is used to inflate tires under controlled conditions.

The Promise of Nitrogen: Real World Use
Nitrogen inflation can give some benefit by reducing gas migration (pressure loss) at the molecular level through the tire structure. NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) has stated that the inflation pressure loss of tires can be up to 5% a month. nitrogen molecules are larger than oxygen molecules and, therefore, are less prone to “seeping” through the tire casing. The real obtainable benefits of nitrogen vary, based on the physical construction and the materials used in the manufacturing of the tire being inflated.

Another potential benefit of nitrogen is the reduced oxidation of tire components. Research has demonstrated that oxygen consumed in the oxidation process of the tire primarily comes from the inflation media. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that oxidation of tire components can be reduced if the tire is inflated with pure nitrogen. However, only very small amounts of oxygen are required to begin the normal oxidation process. Even slight contamination of the tire inflation gas with compressed atmospheric air during normal inflation pressure maintenance, may negate the benefits of using nitrogen.

GM Tire Quality, Technology and Focus of Importance
Since 1972, General Motors has designed tires under the TPC (Tire Performance Criteria) specification system, which includes specific requirements that ensure robust tire performance under normal usage. General Motors works with tire suppliers to design and manufacture original equipment tires for GM vehicles. The GM TPC addresses required performance with respect to both inflation pressure retention, and endurance properties for original equipment tires. The inflation pressure retention requirements address availability of oxygen and oxidation concerns, while endurance requirements ensure the mechanical structure of the tire has sufficient strength. This combination has provided our customers with tires that maintain their structural integrity throughout their useful tread-life under normal operating conditions.

Regardless of the inflation media for tires (atmospheric air or nitrogen), inflation pressure maintenance of tires is critical for overall tire, and ultimately, vehicle performance. Maintaining the correct inflation pressure allows the tire to perform as intended by the vehicle manufacturer in many areas, including comfort, fuel economy, stopping distance, cornering, traction, tread wear, and noise. Since the load carrying capability of a tire is related to inflation pressure, proper inflation pressure maintenance is necessary for the tire to support the load imposed by the vehicle without excessive structural degradation.

Important: Regardless of the inflation media for tires (atmospheric air or nitrogen), inflation pressure maintenance of tires is critical for overall tire, and ultimately, vehicle performance.

There you have it.  But the experiences of the Average Guys I’ve asked, detected no difference for daily driving or when we take our toys to the track.

Thanks for reading


Looking for a Used Engine – Tips

When I began the restoration of my ’70 Mustang I knew that I wanted to replace the 250 straight six, with 175k miles on it, soon. I had several option, buy a new engine, buying rebuild or buying used.  I chose to buy a re-manufactured long block and add my own components.

The option of buying a used engine and rebuilding myself wasn’t an option (average guy, average space and average tools) but I would have enjoyed it.

If you are going to purchase a used engine, dragging out of a junk can save you even more.  But you’ve got to check it out before getting it home.

Here are a few tips that you can follow help prevent getting something home that the only real use it can server is to fill a corner the garage.

Now you aren’t going to be able to tear the engine down right there and look over all the parts  but you could do the following checks.

1.  If the engine still has the  spark plugs, pull them a look them over.  If they appear to have oil on them you might be looking at ring or value job being necessary (you might want to do that anyway).  Likewise if they have water on them you may be looking at a head gasket problems or worse.



Fouled plugs



2.  Most likely you are going to be able to pull the heads but you can remove the value covers. Look at for large mounts of sludge build up.  That indicates other issues as well.


Sludge Build up



3.  If you can drop the oil pan, check the contents for water or coolant contamination.  You can also inspect the oil pump.  Issues there indicate that there may be damage to pistons  and crankshaft.



Oil Pan Gunk



Currently I’m looking for a used manual 4 speed for my ’70 Mustang.   Now I don’t have any tips for that yet but I’ll let you know.

Thanks for reading


Mustang Transmission Swap

This was too good to just pass up and too much to just repeat here.  That’s coming up next for my ’70.

So from, here is some very good information on upgrading your Mustang’s (Ford’s) transmission.


Overdrive transmissions are a great thing. They enable you to significantly improve the gearing and acceleration of your car, while maintaining gas mileage and highway cruisability. Unfortunately overdrives, manual or automatic, weren’t offered in Ford vehicles until the late 70’s. But that doesn’t mean you have to be stuck with the non-overdrive C4’s. C6’s, and manual 4 speeds of the 60’s. Swapping in a late-model overdrive transmission, namely the T5 manual and the AOD automatic, is a straighforward swap for 289, 302, 351 equipped cars. In fact on most early Fords, the swap is so easy it makes you wonder if Ford was thinking ahead. In this article we’ll go over what it takes to swap in a T5 tranmisssion into an early Ford. In future articles we’re go over an AOD swap for early Fords, and also an AOD to T5 swap for late-model Mustangs.

Slight clearancing of the shifter opening in early may be required. We had to do it on our ’67 Mustang, but in a ’65 the T5 lined up perfectly.

Swapping into early Mustangs, Falcons, Mavericks, and Pintos is easy because the hole in the transmision tunnel for the shifter is in about the same spot on all the cars. The swap is also easy for Fox body cars such as the Granada.

For other Fords, namely the full-sized cars, the swap is a bit more difficult because the engine is placed farther forward in relation to the driver. Ford
used modified shifters and/or longer tailhousings to set the shifter back for the original transmissions in these cars. Unfortunately there is no such modification we know of for T5’s.

If your car is currently equipped with a non-overdrive manual transmission (Ford 3spd, 4spd, or Toploader) the swap is as simple as a clutch job, you can use your existing clutch and flywheel, but you’ll need a crossmember and possibly a slip yoke and driveshaft as mentioned below. For cars with automatics you’ll need to first install a clutch pedal and round up the clutch activation parts (either manual clutch linkage or a cable operated clutch.)

We’ve seen the T5 in several Falcons and Comets originally equipped with column shifters. The owner had to punch a hole in the transmission tunnel and fabricate a longer shifter and/or replace the bench seats with bucket seats. Most Ford cars sold with automatic transmissions have factory stamped holes in the firewall for the clutch pushrod or cable. Usually a hard tap from a mallet will knock the stamp out.

For Bronco and Ranger owners, sells adapters to bolt the T5 to 2.9L and 4.0L engines.


Toploader and T5 dimensions
Transmission A B C D F
Ford Toploader (small block) 6.375 13.25 25.375 n/a 5.5
Ford T5 6.9 14.5 24.7 15.4 5.5
Overal length (A+C) Toploader: 31.75 in.
T5: 31.6 in.

Where to find a T5?
The T5 transmission is a manual five-speed transmission manufactured for Ford, by Borg Warner (now Tremec.) The T5 was offered in Mustangs, Thunderbirds, Capris, and possibly other Ford vehicls from 1983 all the way up to 1996, but you have to be careful -there are different specifications for 4-cylinder, 6-cylinder, and V8 cars. What you want is a T5 from a V8 car, ideally a Mustang. The 1983-1989 V8 T5’s are rated at 265 lb.ft. of torque, while the 90-93 T5’s are rated good to 300lb.ft of torque (93 Mustang Cobra T5 is rated for 310 lb.ft.) The difference is in the internal components and also the gearing. See the chart below for gearing differences. The 1994-1995 T5’s are not desirable because the input shaft length and thus bellhousing depth were changed to accomodate the new SN95 Mustang body style. If you do come across one of these dirt cheap the input shaft can be replaced with one from an earlier T5, but it’d have to be a really good deal (read free) to go through the trouble. Finally, we should mention that the T5 is also called the “World Class T5”, but many people incorrectly believe the term World Class refers to a stronger type of T5. All Borg Warner T5’s are considered “World Class”, so don’t rely on that term to indicate the type of T5 you have. The best bet is to find the T5 attached to the car, or with reliable evidence of the car it came out of. If that fails, look for the stamped aluminum tag hanging of one of the tail shaft bolts and use the ID chart to identify the model. Copy the numbers down and call D&D or Hanlon and beg them to tell you what year it’s out of.

While it is best to shoot for the 90-93 T5 due to its increase torque capacity, you shouldn’t pass up a good 83-89 T5, espeically if you’re engine is not heavily modified. We’ve found that T5 strength and longevity is more a factor of its condition and mileage rather than it’s torque rating. A used, high mileage, Cobra T5 will probably shift poorly and give out much sooner than a earlier T5 that came out of grandma’s car. The T5 in Project 11.99 was bought from a wrecked 1990 Mustang 5.0 with 50,000 miles. We’ve had it in the car for nearly five years now, over 400 passes at the strip, and it shifts as crisp as it did on day one.

By the way, always take the bellhousing and block plate if they are available. The T5 swap can be done two ways, using a T5 bellhousing or using an early Ford manual bellhousing. It is much easier and cheaper to use the T5 bell, we’ll explain why below.

What to pay?
Used T5’s can be bought for as cheap as $100 out of a wrecking yard, however we rarely ever see Mustang 5.0’s in public wrecking yards, most of the cars go to specialty dismantelers. You’re better off searching the classifieds and online Ford bulletin boards for guys parting out their Mustang, or perhaps upgrading to stronger transmission wanting to sell the T5 cheap. A fair price for a used, but not abused, less than 80K T5, is between $300 and $500. Any more than that and you should consider buying a rebuilt/refurbished T5 for around $700 from places like D&D or Hanlon. If you want to be extra safe you can buy the T5 new. Both the above sources, as well as Ford Racing Parts and Summit Racing, sell brand new T5 “Z” spec transmissions. The Z spec. transmisison is rated for 330 lb.ft. and sells for around $1300.

Car Shows – The Paint Jobs

As with every car show there are some very good paint jobs. There are the cars that  have a traditionally paint with flawless surfaces and deep ” you could shave in them” in them shine.

Then there are unique paint schemes, ghost flames or custom air brushed images.

Here are a few from a recent car show I attended.

Check out this custom Ford pick up.

Two Tone Black and Yellow...that's not all

Check out the bed!!!!

That is some great air brushing!!!

Check out this VW Bus.

Front view

Side View

And for really interesting paint jobs. Stop by the  Bike section of the show.

Ghost Rider Bike

Even if you don’t like the paint you’ve got to appreciated the effort that goes into the work.  Nothing but pure art.

Got a kool paint job on your ride?  Drop me a pick.

Thanks for reading


Car Shows – Strange Things – Engines

You put WHAT, in that thing?

As I’ve blogged before, I love engines!!!

Another entertaining aspect of car shows is to  see what some people will stuff under  their hoods.

Check these out.

1956 Nomad....what's under the hood?? See below.

If You guessed an LS2 Engine, you'd be correct!!!!

Oh..let’s not forget this guy!!!!

Is that a V8 emblem? Yup!! Is that an MG? Yup!

Yes it's a V8. And no I don't know why!!!

And what would a V8 MG be without………………………………

Of course side exhaust!!!! Yes there is one on the other side too!!

Got any good pics?  Drop them off and I’ll post them up.

Thanks for reading.


Auto Factoids for Week of 11/14/2010

A few big ones this week.
11/15/1977 – Ford sell its 100 millionth CAR.   What was the car?  A Mustang?  One of the legendary F150s?  Nope it was a 1978 Ford Fairmont Futura  (the triple F).


Ford Fairmont Futura (The Triple F) Although some owners had an additional F to add.

The guy that started Honda Soichiro Honda was born 11/17/1906 in Japan.

11/18/1940 Buick produced it 4 millionth car.



1940 Buick Super Coupe



One day and 19 years later (11/19/1959) Ford stopped the production of the ugliest cars you’d love to own the “Edsel”.



1958 Edsel Corsair - Really..I don't think they're ugly./


Thanks for reading.