1991 Camaro


What We Drive – Jon’s ’91 Camaro

from:  Prestolite Performance   http://info.prestoliteperformance.com/111-what-we-drive-jon-s-91-camaro.html?utm_source=MailingList&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Automotive+Newsletter+7_26_12
Published on Thursday, 26 July 2012 14:55

What We Drive Volume 1, Jon's CamaroMeet Jon, one of our engineers here at Prestolite Performance. He is the focus of our first installment of What We Drive, our series of stories about the cars of Prestolite Performance employees. Jon got into cars when he was about 13 years old. His first car was a 1986 Ford Tempo that he worked on, but never got it to the road. His college car was a 1989 Chevy S10, which he beefed up by replacing the original 4 cylinder with a V8.

How Jon’s Camaro Went From 230 hp to Over 700 hp

Jon had been looking for a ’91 Camaro for some time, finding it difficult to locate one that wasn’t a rust bucket. In 2000, his search paid off and he purchased a nearly bone stock ’91 Camaro with only about 57,000 miles. The only performance upgrade on the car was a Flowmaster exhaust. Originally, the car made about 230 hp and 300 ft. lbs of torque.

The LB9 305 small block Chevy engine that was stock in Jon’s Camaro was removed to make way for a 355 small block. He hand ported aluminum Corvette heads and installed a Holley Stealth Ram intake with Mr. Gasket Ultra-Seal intake gaskets. Jon also made sure his engine was sealed for higher horsepower with Multi-Layered Steel head gaskets from Mr. Gasket. He made the engine even tougher with a forged ZZ4 crank, SRP forged pistons and a Comp camshaft.

Beefing up the drivetrain was also a priority so Jon installed a 4L80E transmission (built to handle 1000hp), Transgo shift kit, Lakewood transmission mount, SPOHN driveshaft, Detroit locker and Lakewood U-joints.

With twin 60mm Garret Turbos and his ACCEL 1000cfm throttle body and ACCEL Gen7 engine management system, Jon needed a hefty fuel delivery. His 5160FI fuel pump (now under Mallory) along with Mallory filters and high performance regulator provides the elite system needed for such a setup. For ignition, Jon used an ACCEL 300+ box with an ACCEL ultra coil and Extreme 9000 ceramic boot wires.

Now that Jon’s Camaro had been beefed up, he needed to harness the power with Lakewood 90/10 drag struts, panhard bar and control arms. He also needed better braking, so he installed 2002 SS Camaro brakes on all 4 corners.

All said and done, Jon’s beefed up ’91 Camaro now makes 700 hp and 800 ft. lbs of torque. That’s quite the improvement from stock.

See more Pictures

Beautiful Car!

Now that’s some plumbing!!!

Complete List of Improvements to Jon’s Camaro



Power Adder

  • Twin 60mm Garret Turbos
  • Custom stainless headers

Fuel system

Engine management



  • Custom 2-1/2″ down pipes
  • 4″ y-pipe back single exhaust
  • Dynatech muffler
  • Mr. Gasket ultra seal gaskets



  • 2002 SS Camaro brakes on all 4 corners
 Thanks for reading.


Mustang II Diaries 1


In November 2004, on a whim, I purchased a 1977 Mustang II off eBay. I don’t know the first thing about restoring old cars. But I had one of these when I was a teenager and it’s always owned a piece of my heart.There have been times when I’ve thought to myself–What were you thinking! I’m a mom of twin 6-year-old boys, with no extra money, and no mechanical experience! But I just love my car. Whenever I’m stressed, I drive it around town and I feel better.

Restoring my old Mustang–just keeping it running–hasn’t been easy. For a girl who never even
changed oil before, I had a LOT to learn. Progress is slow and I’m not quite ready to rebuild an engine, but I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished so far.

A Girl Gets In Over Her Head Restoring a 1977 Mustang II

Friday, July 2, 2010

New Wheels!

Pretty soon after getting my car, I decided to switch out the spoke-y hubcaps for some cooler looking wheels. Looking through an old Mustang II brochure, I saw a white with red stripe Cobra II with white lacy wheels and liked the look. Matching wheels to paint is not a look that appeals to everyone, but I thought that white wheels would be unique and add some personality to my otherwise ho-hum coupe.
I bought a set of 4 vintage white lacy spoke wheels from another II owner, along with four chrome center caps. As you can see from the pic, above, the wheels needed a lot of work. They’d been sitting in someone’s garage for years! I had them stripped down to the metal and powdercoated white. The picture below shows the powdercoated wheels and new tires mounted on the car. They look SO weird without the pinstripe! At this point I was thinking, hm, maybe this wasn’t such a great idea.
Locating someone to paint the pinstripes was more challenging than I thought. Apparently pinstripe painting by hand is a dying art. But I did eventually find a guy who owned a sign business (Shane’s Signs) in Manassas, VA who could do it. When I saw the final product I knew I had made the right decision about the wheels.
I might change them down the road but for now, I think they add a lot to the overall look of my coupe.

Mustang Muscle in the Mid 70′s Prt 4 1977

As it turned  out 1977 was one of the lower sales years.  The average since 1974 was around 180k or more.  For 1977 the sales number fell a bit short @ only 150K.  (Believe it or not that was more than Mustang sales for the 1971, 1972 and 1973 models!!).

There was some excitement for the 1977 Mustang.  For one thing the Cobra II could be had in white with red stripes and if that doesn’t stop your heart the options chrome luggage rack for the ’77 hard top coupe will.

You might be thinking, “Hey wait a minute!!!  Did he say ‘hard top’?  ‘Hard top’ as in there was something else?  Like a CONVERTIBLE?   THE CONVERTIBLE IS BACK?”    Well YES, if you spell it ‘T-TOP‘.

That’s not a bad-looking car!!! Agree?

The huge option for 1977 was the T-Top.  Frankly, I like T-Tops.  I had a Camaro with a T-Top and loved it.

Engine line up was the same as the previous years with the V8 302 (in the Cobra II package) producing 139 hp.

The Cobra package also include honeycomb wheels (or I think they were referred to as ‘lacy’).

Yeah..I guess they are more ‘lacy’ than ‘honeycomb’.

Thanks for reading and check out this blog.  The owner overs some of her issues when restoring a 1977 Mustang.



Desensitized to Speed

Could I be desensitized to speed?

I was told it would happen when I upgraded my Mustang from a 6 cylinder to a V8.  I was told it would happen when I got my first Corvette (1984 C4 with 205 hp).  I was told it would happen when I got my second Corvette (07 C6).

And I was sort of told that numerous years ago by an Air Force pilot.  I didn’t believe it each time.
No one can fault me, except some “car purists”, for taking the 250 straight 6 motor from my Mustang and replaced it with a V8 302 bored .030 nor when I attempted to increase the HP in my C4 Corvette from 205 to 245 with a new fangled intake (never actually took place).  Those were pretty understandable upgrades considering the 250 in the Mustang had no get up and go  (more like lay down and won’t) when the AC was on.  For that matter why would ever limit a Corvette to 205 hp?

Now the C4 is gone but the Mustang puts out about 300 hp and the C6 is at about 420.   I remember saying, “400 hp?  That’s plenty for me!!!” when I bought the C6.    And it should be.  I’m certain that this SHOULD be ‘true’.  But why then, do I have a set of 351 Cleveland Cobra Jet heads sitting in the garage for the Mustang. And why am I pricing superchargers for the Corvette?

I started thinking  about this driving the C6 on my way to work today, recalling back when the Mustang was 195 hp and the 84 Vette was just 10 more than the Stang and wishing I had more. As I stepped on the throttle entering the Interstate, I thought to myself, I which I had a bit more power now.   That’s just plan crazy talk!!!    Just a year ago I was happy with the C6’s   power and now its like… yeah its powerful, most powerful in the HOA I bet (why didn’t I just say “neighborhood”?).  What happened?

What has happened is that I drive the Vette daily and it as become common place to have that power at a bend of my right ankle.  I am sure that if I drove a Toyota Corolla every day and took the Vette out on the weekends, I would still be in awe of the power.   I’ve just come so accustom (not complacent, mind you) to driving the car that it doesn’t seem extra ordinary (although intellectually I know that 400 plus hp is no joke).

That doesn’t  explain the desire to upgrade the Mustang though, does it?  So what does?   I think that rational here is more rooted in my own attachment to what the last 60’s and 70’s muscles cars should be.  But still when I’m driving it I wish for more power.  You understand that don’t  you?  When you look at a 1969 Mustang and it has its original 6 cylinder in it, you say…”That’s nice. Its all original.”  However when you see a 1970 Mustang Mach I with its massive engine…you say…’WOW!!!  F-ing A that’s what I’m talking about!!!!”  So it’s some of that for sure.

So here is where I am with my cars and thinking about it  took me back to one of my military supervisor.  He was a LT Col and was one of the few that flew the SR-71 for a living.  He shared a story with me about flying a mission and on the return trip received a warning light on the instrument panel.  This required him to have to slow the aircraft down bit.  He said to me, “…and I thought GREAT  it’ll take forever to get home at only Mach 2.  I realized how relative speed it was.”

Thanks for reading and keep it under Mach 1.  (Yes I’m sure that’s enough power…perhaps.)


Six Cylinder Super Charged

Technology has come a long way in the car world.  Early on getting 100 hp from an eight cylinder was tough, much less from a six cylinder.   Now days you can get a V6 Mustang with a base horse power for up to 305.  Add a super charger and you can squeeze out 427 hp from the same engine.  Yes technology as come a long way.  Really?That’s what I would have thought. Super charging has been around in the hot rod, drag racing world, for some time, but in a production, oh that’s fairly new (last 10 years or so).  But reading an article from Hemmings Motor New dispelled this notion I had.

So you’re thinking how far back was super charging something for sale to the general public, 60’s maybe…70’s maybe?  How about 1937?

Yes.  A car company by the name of Graham produced a 6 cylinder coupe.

1937 Graham Coupe

Supercharger badging

That’s a nice looking coupe.  Here is a shot of the super charged straight 6 and one of the charger it’s self.


Straight 6 cylinder.



The supercharger. This was Graham own design of a centrifugal super charger which they manufactured themselves.

They used this first on their straight eight engines then on the straight six.  They preformed so well that they nearly equaled the power of the eight-cylinder.  The car was lighter with the smaller engine and that helped it hit 60 mph in just 14.5 seconds by producing 112 hp.  The car came into chassis lengths 116 inches which had 106hp, 199.1 cid straight six and 120 inches which had 116hp 217.8 cid straight six.  What about gas mileage? How’s 23.95 MPG grab ya.


Thanks for reading.


Transitioning to Modern Transmissions Prt 3


Posted By John Katz, June 25, 2012 in E-News, Engine & Drivetrain

Part 1  http://wp.me/pKHNM-1cL
Part 2  http://wp.me/pKHNM-1cL

From www.hotrodandrestoration.com

Switch Shifters

With manual transmissions in demand, it isn’t surprising to find that a fair number of vehicles—particularly muscle-era vehicles—that left the factory with an automatic transmission are being rebuilt with a manual. Frederick estimated that about 60 percent of American Powertrain’s classic muscle car customers are replacing an automatic transmission with a manual.

“[The conversion] is time-consuming, but not terribly complicated,” Frederick said. “Most of the parts bolt in.”

“It isn’t for the faint-of-heart or for anyone short on patience, but it’s do-able,” Hill added. “It’s just a matter of working through the process.”

Obviously you’ll need a pedal assembly; fortunately, according to Hill, there are a lot of aftermarket units that work quite well.

“That also gives you the option of using a hydraulic release bearing instead of a mechanical clutch linkage, which, depending on the application, can have some advantages,” Hill said. “It’s going to take a longer or shorter drive shaft. It’s going to take a different yoke on that driveshaft. The power bushing in the motor for the transmission input shaft may have to be changed. The starter could be affected by the diameter of the flywheel you put into the vehicle.

“You start at the back of the crankshaft and start matching componentry as well as possible—and if you can’t match it, then you have to compensate for it,” Hill continued. “I don’t think we’ve ever run into something we couldn’t convert, as long as we’re talking about American muscle.”

Many of the same issues crop up even when swapping one manual for another—for example, the customer who has a 454 and a Muncie and wants to put a modern six-speed in it.

Like many other projects, it’s significantly easier with older (i.e., pre-computer) hardware. If either the engine or the transmission came with computer controls, it gets a little more involved. And keep in mind that even some modern manuals now have computer controls—the GM transmission that comes with the LS engine, for example, with its skip-shift function.

Of course, some customers will want to go the other way and replace a factory manual with a new, high-tech automatic.

“It’s most important to make sure you have all the correct components—and that you make the finished job look appealing to the customer,” said Poff of TCI. “It’s the mounting that’s most likely to give you trouble.”

According to the experts, you’ll need to ensure that you have the right crossmembers and that there’s enough room inside the tunnel.

“There is no one-size-fits-all solution; every application is unique,” added Poff. “But once the physical installation is accomplished, it’s pretty straightforward to make everything operational.”

Either way, Nichols suggested finding out from the customer how critical it is to keep the car looking original, versus the cost to locate and install all of the correct original components.

As with so much else in hot rodding, the best results generally come from purchasing and installing complete systems.

“That goes for any product from any company in this business,” Frederick said. “We say, ‘Look, we have a turnkey kit. We figured it all out, and all you to do it plug and play.’ Buy it all from one source and you know all the parts are going to work together.”


Thanks for reading.



Selling Cars – Lincoln 1961

This another post where we are amused by the content of the write-up and this time the pics as well.  At the bottom check out the very cool dash.

Here is an excerpt from the write-up:

“”Car stopped running due to a split in the intake. I could not find a replacement part, but have not looked in 6 years. I talked to a machine shop about fabricating the part, but just never followed through. At the time, this was the *only* thing mechanically wrong with the vehicle, although this was over 6 years ago.

Please excuse my dog and my thumb in the pictures. Dog and thumb not included.””




Thumb again.


Ok, joking aside.  I love this dash.  Love the way the gauge clusters are separated and  the AC unit in the center sitting on a shelf.
Is this a 360?  I feel an engine spec article coming on.
Thanks for reading.

Transitioning to Modern Transmissions Prt 2

Posted By John Katz, June 25, 2012 in E-News, Engine & Drivetrain

From www.hotrodandrestoration.com

Stick Shifting

Meanwhile, manual-shift enthusiasts are upgrading to modern units packing more heavy-duty horsepower capacity—and more gear ratios.

“The generation that is now in their 60s can afford to build the cars that they wanted to build when they were in high school,” said Dick Hill, sales manager for Centerforce Clutches in Prescott, Arizona. And while those folks are not usually looking to build a race car, “they do want a four- or five-speed manual transmission,” he said.

More surprisingly, the trend extends beyond muscle cars and into traditional hot rods as well.

“I have friends who are building Deuce roadsters and they are putting LS motors in them, with a five- or six-speed manual transmission,” Hill said. “There are people who put Cadillac V-8s in 1949–1951 Mercs, and they want a stick. They want a three-pedal car. So that, too, is contributing to the growth of the high-performance clutch market.”

Hot rodders who already own or have owned multiple cars are now looking for something different.

“It’s like the people who buy their first Harley, they want it with every doo-dad they can get, where older bikers are turning back to the Knucklehead or even Flathead motors,” Hill said. “It’s the same with the hot rodder who already has two or three or four toys in the garage. The newest toy is going to be a stick car. And it’s for the same reason that someone will buy a brand-new Camaro, put 1,000 horsepower in it, and drive it on the street while blowing cold air and playing tunes. They want a manual not because they’re going to race it, but because they can have it. That’s what we hear all the time: ‘Because I can.’”

Rating the Ratios

American Powertrain of Cookeville, Tennessee, sells a broad range of high-performance drivetrain components, from complete crate engines to driveshafts and pedals. The company also distributes Tremec transmissions.

“The hot market right now is for the Magnum six-speed in a classic muscle car,” said Gray Frederick. “The Magnum is Tremec’s replacement for the T-56 is the aftermarket version of what you would get in a new Shelby GT500 or Camaro SS.” Frederick added that people are putting them into classic Mustangs Cougars, Camaros Firebirds, Barracudas and Challengers.

“The cars that people spend the most money on are the cars that [are] getting Magnum six-speeds,” Frederick added.

The Magnum is available with two sets of ratios, with the closer-ratio unit being the more popular of the two.

“The wide-ratio box has a 0.5 overdrive, which is very tall; a lot of engines can’t pull that much overdrive,” Frederick said.

But when it comes to overdrive, isn’t more better?

“That’s a myth,” Frederick said. “You can say, ‘Alright, I’m at the ragged edge of my cam, where if I’m on flat ground I can hold 70 mph all day.’ In a perfect world, that would be great. [I]n the real world, at some point you’re going to have to slow down for construction, and then speed up again; or you’re going to hit a rise, or something else that causes your engine to run out of breath. [T]hen you’re going to have to shift and that’s what you’re trying to avoid.

“You want to put it in sixth gear and leave it sixth gear,” he continued. “You don’t want to run down the highway at your cam’s peak performance, which would be 3,000–4,000 rpm. But you do want an rpm where your engine can pull your car up hills, and pass without dropping a gear. If every time you put your foot in the gas the engine lugs and you have to shift, that becomes very inefficient. We’re helping the customer understand that, even on the highway, you want to stay in your powerband. Otherwise the overdrive doesn’t do you any good.”

Frederick recommends the wide-ratio unit mostly for torquey big blocks.

“A Pontiac 455 will pull a stump out of the ground at 800 rpm; it doesn’t have trouble pulling a car at whatever rpm you’re running,” he said. “A Mopar 440 and some other big blocks with a lot of low-end grunt can usually handle the taller overdrive, too. And of course we’re dealing with a lot of electronically fuel-injected (EFI) engines now, and most of them have computers that can cope with low rpm very well.

They can retard the spark, they can meter the fuel differently, they can do all kinds of things.

“We help the customer choose a rearend ratio and a gear set that’s going to give them the best performance, from top to bottom,” Frederick said.

Pedal Pressure Another concern, according to Hill of Centerforce Clutches, is the physical effort once associated with a high-performance clutch.

“Our customers all ask, ‘How stiff is the pedal?’” he said. “That’s why we’ve been very successful, whether it’s a single-disc clutch for mild upgrade vehicle, or dual-disc unit that can hold 1,300 lbs./ft. of torque, we’ve been very successful in making them streetable.”

The average consumer, Hill said, could climb into a car with a Centerforce dual-disc clutch, push the pedal to the floor, and not realize that the car was modified.

“[T]he person who has a $75,000 Camaro or Corvette wants race-car performance without the race-car effort, so this is pretty significant,” he said.

Still, selecting the optimal clutch for any particular application is a complex task best left to experts.

“There are different linings and different friction materials on the pressure plate,” Hill said. “Heat is a factor. The first thing you have to know is how the vehicle is going to be used. Drag racers realize they are going to drive their car until they break it, where hot rodders don’t beat their cars up as bad. They are very proud of their cars and they want to drive them, not break them. And unless the car has been tubbed, a street machine generally runs smaller tires, so you want to tune the clutch for that.”

McLeod Racing of Placentia, California, offers its RST and RXT Street Twin clutches, both double-disc units that hold up to 1,000 horsepower, with the pedal pressure of a stock clutch, said President Paul Lee. Contributing to this low effort—and to easier installation—are McLeod’s hydraulic release bearings, “which fit most applications, replacing worn and/or outdated mechanical linkages,” he said.

“We’re selling more clutches for vehicles from the 1960s and 1970s, and installing a new hydraulic clutch in one of these cars can significantly reduce pedal effort,” said Rich Barsamian, national sales manager for Advanced Clutch Technology (ACT) in Lancaster, California. The company also offers a wide range of clutches for GM, Ford and Mopar applications, each rated for torque at the crankshaft.

When installing an aftermarket clutch, Barsamian suggested, “be sure to use the right amount of lube on the input shaft—it is possible to use too much. Be sure parts are free from dirt and oil, and washed in a non-petroleum-based cleaner such as acetone, alcohol or brake cleaner. Be sure to follow the correct torque and tightening sequence when installing the clutch cover—and do not use impact tools.”

Thanks for reading Part 3 coming up.

Transitioning to Modern Transmissions Prt 1

This is a great article.  If you are building a hot rod from scratch or you are taking your muscle car to a modern level  you will find some good information in this piece.  I toyed with the idea of putting a modern manual 5 speed trans in my 70 Mustang, but I opted for a rebuild Shelby 4 speed manual.  (Check out all 3 parts.)
Posted By John Katz, June 25, 2012 in E-News, Engine & Drivetrain
From www.hotrodandrestoration.com

Derided as “slushboxes” in the days when hot rodding was young, automatic transmissions have long since closed the performance gap and won the respect of (at least some of) the most dedicated lead foots. Today, even the fuel-economy advantages of the old-standard stick shift are more memory than reality, as the shiftless set has drawn even with, or pulled slightly ahead of, the shifters. Backing up these advances is a great deal of detailed engineering, especially of the electronic variety.

But a lot of it’s simply due to more gears—a wider range of ratios, allowing for relaxed, low-rpm cruising with peak torque still available on demand. About 10 years ago, a four-speed automatic with a lockup converter was the hot ticket to optimize performance with economy. Now the OEMs are building five-, six- and seven-speed automatics—and hot rodders want them, too.

Not that the shift-for-yourself crowd has been caught napping—six gears are now the required minimum in any respectable OEM performance car, and that’s left three-pedal rodders craving more ratios, too.

More Is Better
“Enthusiasts in every segment of the hot rod and muscle car markets are removing traditional three-speed gearboxes and replacing them with modern four-, five- and six-speed transmissions,” said Stanley Poff, who heads product and sales for TCI Automotive in Ashland, Mississippi. “As they experience modern overdrive automatics in their daily drivers, they become more inclined to want the same driving experience in their hot rods.”

TCI’s new 6x Six-Speed can be adapted to most GM small-block, big-block or LS engines; Ford small and big blocks; and Chrysler small blocks, big blocks and late-model Hemis.

“We build it in a modified GM 4L80E case that’s been machined to accept modular bellhousings, and we keep all of the Reid Racing bellhousings in stock,” Poff said. “We can put together a complete package for all of those applications, including the transmission, bellhousing, EZ-TCU electronic control, cooler, shifter (conventional and/or paddle-type), TCI transmission fluid and a dipstick.”

TCI currently offers the 6x in two models, rated for 850 and 1,000 horsepower, respectively. Models for 1,250 and 1,500 horsepower are in the works, according to Poff.

The market has also responded well to the company’s EZ-TCU, he said.

“It allows you to retrofit a modern electronically controlled automatic transmission, such as our 6x, or the GM 4L60E, 4L65E, 4L70E, 4L80E or 4L85E, to a carbureted engine, or an engine with a self-tuning EFI system such as the FAST EZ-EFI,” Poff said.

TCI worked with FAST to develop the EZ-TCU.

“It follows the FAST model of being extremely user-friendly and easy to install even by people who lack either tuning or electronics experience,” Poff said. “We sell a lot of EZ-TCU units to people who want to put a crate engine and electronic transmission in a classic street rod or muscle car.”

Pete Nichols, sales manager for Hughes Performance in Phoenix, pointed to the classic muscle car market, where “more and more people are building these cars with significantly higher-than-stock levels of horsepower and torque,” he said. “That requires a premium, high-strength aftermarket torque converter and transmission assembly.”

To meet these demands, Hughes now builds all of its GM 700R-4, 200-4R and Ford AOD transmissions with the upgraded, constant-pressure valve bodies.

“These valve bodies contribute to improved shift quality and more consistent shift timing, while reducing the possibility of premature transmission failure due to a broken or incorrectly adjusted throttle-valve (TV) cable,” Nichols explained. “The new design also eliminates a lot of the complexity and hassle associated with the TV system on these transmissions, so retrofitting them into older cars is easier than before.”

Hughes has also introduced a custom bellhousing system that allows builders to bolt the popular GM 4L80E behind a wide variety of GM, Ford and Chrysler engines without using an adapter. The company offers custom 4L80E options for applications producing 500–1,500-plus flywheel horsepower, and for virtually any popular V-8 engine.

Nichols emphasized the need to properly flush the transmission cooler and cooler lines before installing a new torque converter.

“Debris gets easily trapped in the old cooler and then it gets flushed out during the initial run-in period, inevitably working its way into the valve body, governor, etc.,” he said, adding that getting a new cooler is the best way to prevent debris-related failures.

Part 2 coming up.