Earlier this year, Mike Musto and Elana Scherr set out on a road trip in a 1981 Chevrolet Suburban. The goal: Drive across the country, upgrading the truck along the way to take it from no-frills factory spec to modern daily-driver convenience and reliability. And now we’re ready to share that trip with the first episode of Road to Improvement
Check out the video above, where Mike and Elana meet the large Chevy, affectionately nicknamed Big Green, and take it for a shakedown run and initial inspection before an overnight drive that takes them into episode two. Things don’t go quite as planned, as a small problem arises just before arrival at Wesley Motorsports. It turned out to be a minor snag, and the first stop at Kevin Wesley’s shop to put the Suburban on a lift and give it the once-over proved to be a wise decision.
We won’t go into too many details, so as not to spoil the episode, but once you’re done watching we have some bonus material in the form of the Road to Improvement Extra. In it, your author chats with Mike Musto to get some behind-the-scenes info and revisit just exactly what everyone was thinking when they saw the truck in person for the first time.
When it comes to the unknowns of setting off down the highway in a unproven vehicle, Musto was not worried, despite showing up to pick up Big Green with no tools. On the first trip to the parts store, he assembles his standard emergency kit: Several spare parts, oil, coolant, hoses, and belts. Not that the Suburban needed it. Musto says everything felt good on the initial run. The only problem was that, with little more than a speedometer on the instrument panel, they had no idea how fast the engine was turning – and remember, in 1981, steady cruising at 70 mph was not the norm for a big wagon like this.
Eighteen-year-old Jeffrey Wirl is a better hot rodder than I was when I was at that age. Back then, I was psyched that I managed to install a set of Accel spark plug wires on my Duster. Jeffrey, on the other hand, is doing an almost complete rebuild of a 1981 Monte Carlo – making […]
AMC’S INTERESTING, ILL-FATED EARLY 1980S ATTEMPT AT BRINGING BACK THE CONVERTIBLE, IN TWO FLAVORS: CONCORD AND EAGLE
AMC Sundancers: 1981 Concord & 1982 Eagle
AMC’S INTERESTING, ILL-FATED EARLY 1980S ATTEMPT AT BRINGING BACK THE CONVERTIBLE
The death of the “Great American Convertible” from the mid-’70s through the early ’80s has led to a lot of soul searching, head scratching, and finger pointing over the years. Who pulled the trigger? Who’s to blame? Was it the government publicly mulling over zealous safety regulations? Was it the advances in air conditioning that had made cool, enclosed air more desirable—and cheaper—than sun and a natural breeze? Was it Detroit, which refused to spend the millions tooling for a body style that was shrinking in sales from year to year? And if Detroit stopped making convertibles because of slow sales, wasn’t it really our fault? How did we ever get to a place where convertibles weren’t cool enough to buy?
The Avanti II is an American performance sports coupe based on the Studebaker Avanti and marketed through a succession of five different ownership arrangements subsequent to Studebaker‘s discontinuation of the model. After the closure of Studebaker’s South Bend factory on December 20, 1963, cars carrying the Avanti nameplate were initially produced from left-over Studebaker components and later, by the Avanti Motor Company from General Motors and Ford chassis and engines. Very few cars were made before all production ceased in 2006.
This car is really in pristine condition. Beautiful British racing green with camel leather Recaro seats. Upholstery and carpeting is all excellent. It has only 52000 original miles on it. The frame and hog troughes are solid and rust-free. The car has power disc brakes (Turner), power steering, power windows, power sunroof, A/C and rear luggage rack. Everthing works except the A/C which needs a condenser. The Chevy 305 V8 has been completely “de-smogged” and runs really strong. The car has rebuilt kingpins, new brake master cylinder and rear wheel cylinders, new front shocks, new all stainless true dual exhaust and new tires. This car runs flawlessly and rides and handles like new. It needs absolutely nothing to enjoy driving and/or showing. I am reluctantly selling it due to lack of storage space.