Posted in Chevrolet, Corvair

Building a Memory, Not an Investment: Finishing the Seven-Year Saga of a Long-Lost Corvair – Don Homuth @Hemmings

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After 6 long years of restoration, it is now as nearly perfect as it can be. It was in its first car show on 9/25/21.

It’s done. After seven years, plenty of money, and the able assistance of some local and national experts in Corvair restoration, my 1966 Chevy is done. Murphy’s Law applied many times, and many times the car resisted being rebuilt, but we did it.

Before 2014, I had been preparing to age out of the car hobby. But then I found the Corvair quite unexpectedly. It was my car—the very one I’d bought the day before going to Vietnam the second time, back in 1968. All the experiences I’d had and memories I’d made in it mattered more to me than the vehicle itself. My wife agreed that I should buy it and rebuild it. (Love that woman!)

As of the last report, five things needed attention to complete the restoration.

1/ The speedometer cable that runs off the left front wheel needed to be reattached. That was easy.

2/ After we got the engine running, we discovered the cylinder-head-temperature gauge didn’t work. The original thermistors have long since been out of production, and finding a working replacement was a formidable task.

3/ The stalk that controls the driver’s-side mirror needed to be replaced. Originally, that stalk had a Chevrolet bow tie on it. Corvair guru Duane Wentland found one; it was rechromed, and it’s on.

4/ The mirror-adjustment cables have plastic stops, which had deteriorated over the past 50 years. No replacements were available. But Duane had one, which he loaned to drivetrain builder Rex Johnson. Rex’s daughter had recently purchased a 3-D printer. We carefully measured the part and had the printer fabricate a new one. Installed, it works just fine.

5/ The engine ran ragged at highway speed. The four carburetors needed to be adjusted to run properly. Rex bought an air-fuel meter, which he inserted into the exhaust, and he drove the car a few miles. Turns out, it was running lean, not rich as I had suspected. After calibrating the carbs to the correct air-fuel mixture, all four work properly and the car drives beautifully.

A lot of people had never seen a Corvair at a major show. Mine got a lot of compliments and a couple of invitations to future shows in the Pacific Northwest.

Nothing is finished until the last detail is in place. Now it is exactly as it was.

I invite readers to check out the entire saga, which is documented on this site in considerable length with text and photos. It details how I bought the car in the first place, sold it to buy a Corvette, got it back after marrying the woman who bought it, sold it again when the divorce was imminent and storage was an issue, then lost track of it. How I remained mildly curious about what had happened to it between 1978 and 2014, wondering whether it had been junked, maintained, restored, or left to rust away in a field somewhere. How a Craigslist ad posted on a North Dakota site got a response from a fellow in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, who believed he had it. And how a scrap of paper in an old briefcase had the VIN, which confirmed it was the same car.

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Posted in camaro

Once Owned By Smokey Yunick, This Chevrolet Small-Block Intake Manifold May Be The Last Remnant Of A Canceled High-Performance Camaro – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

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By Daniel Strohl on Nov 4th, 2021 at 2:23 pm


When he first laid eyes on the Z/28-badged Camaro that had lain dormant in a garage for decades just three blocks from his house, Bill Fowler figured it was just another hot rod that just another kid had his hands on back in the Eighties. Little did he suspect that he may have stumbled upon a long lost piece of Chevrolet history that passed through the hands of one of the most legendary mechanics in the world.

At least, little did he suspect until he heard the asking price

“He wanted $25,000 for the car, but then he wanted another $5,000 for the intake manifold,” Fowler said.

The seller, small-block Chevrolet tech manual author Larry Schreib, had good reason to ask that much for the latter: The three two-barrel manifold quite possibly came off of an L-70 350-cu.in. V-8, a 360-horsepower engine that Chevrolet managers had reportedly planned for the 1967 Camaro and even sent down the pilot production line before scrapping the option entirely. Much of what we know about the L-70 comes from Philip Borris’s book, “Echoes of Norwood: General Motors Automobile Production During the Twentieth Century,” in which Borris spoke with former Norwood plant employees who recalled building L-70-powered Camaros, painted with Z/28-style rally stripes. In the end, Chevrolet offered the single four-barrel L-48 as the only 350 in the 1967 Camaro and essentially replaced the L-70 option with the 302-powered Z/28.

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Posted in 1965, Chevrolet, Corvair, Racing

A Road Racing-Inspired Mid-Engine Corvair? Yes, Please – Mike Austin @Hemmings

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The annual SEMA Show encapsulates so many things we love about the car hobby. Heritage, innovation, and craftsmanship are all on display. Take Lonnie Gilbertson’s RareVair, which is headed to this year’s festivities in Las Vegas. It’s a 1965 Chevrolet Corvair Corsa, with a mid-mounted small-block LS, painted to match a unique piece of Chevy road-racing history.

A mid-engine Corvair is not a new idea, of course. Kelmark and Crown made kits, and there are no doubt countless DIY efforts. Gilbertson’s personal introduction to the Corvair happened when his brother bought a Corsa in the 1970s. “That’s when I kind of first became aware of what Corvairs were and I’ve always liked that body style,” he says. “So progress up to now, I was looking around for another project to build, and I thought I’m going to go for a Corvair.”

The inspiration for the car began with the Yenko Stinger. “With the style of that body, it just fit for the sports racer feel about it,” Gilbertson says. Combine that with a 1972 De Tomaso Pantera his shop restored a few years ago and, Gilbertson says, “I’ve always had a thing in the back of my mind about how a mid-engine V-8 car is just a lot of fun to drive. So that combined with the Yenko Stinger and my need for speed, I just thought, I gotta do this.

“After finding a suitable donor car, Gilbertson sourced an LS3 V-8 from a 2009 Corvette. For the gearbox, he went to the 930-generation Porsche 911 Turbo, given its reputation for strength and the fact that the earlier four-speeds have one of the shortest bellhousings. With the gears mounted behind the engine, that means more legroom. “I’m not a small guy,” says Gilbertson, “so I wanted passenger comfort

.”He went to Kennedy Engineered Products to mate the transaxle to the small-block. As for the engine, it had about 30,000 miles on it and looked new inside, so Gilbertson didn’t feel the need to change too much. A Comp Cams camshaft (and associated valvetrain parts) and a Holley Sniper intake are the only changes from stock. Still, he estimates it makes about 500 horsepower at the wheels. Not bad for a car that weighs only about 2800 pounds

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Posted in Chevrolet, Engine, LS, S10

LSx Conversion Information for Chevrolet S10 – Philntx @S10Forum.com

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This post is a compilation of parts, suggestions, tips, and practices to successfully swap an LS-based engine into an S10 Truck (2WD, and Blazer variants)

Most swappers generally underestimate the total costs and time for these conversions.

Keep the engine bay clean. Once the original engine is pulled out, spend $10.00 on some degreaser and a car wash pressure washer. Can of black paint is under $5.00

Since no truck is built the same, it is difficult to put a specific construction price on the conversion. Parts range from complete swap kits from CPW, to junkyard dog conversions (using take off fans, radiators, modified f-body exhaust manifolds, DIY wiring harnesses, etc.)

This will not cover every combination, but will primarily cover the installation of a Stock LS engine and either manual or auto trans in these trucks.

4WD:

With the exception of the oil pan and exhaust system, the 4WD swaps are essentially the same. This swap will require a custom or fabricated oil pan, fabricated exhaust system, vacuum lines, better cooling, etc. The exhaust may include modified F-Body manifolds or custom headers.

4WD swaps are more labor intensive. Clearances are much tighter. The front differential interferes with every “stock” LSx oil pan. Several swaps have been completed using H3 Alpha pans and dropping the differential by 3/4″

If the back side of the engine is in the same location as the back side of the 4.3, then the front and rear driveshafts will not require modification. However, if you move the engine backwards any (in order to gain clearance for the radiator and fans), this will require shortening the rear and lengthening the front driveshaft.

The 4WD S10 uses a remote oil filtration system, which is an advantage, but requires additional plumbing.

The skid plates (if they retained) hinder air flow out of the engine compartment.

Suppliers of shortie and long-tube headers state that their headers are for 2WD applications.

This will be a closed post, which will be updated for new and/or better suggestions/parts/techniques. (send me a PM for suggestions)

Each component of the swap is in a separate section:

Cooling
Harness
A/C
Exhaust
Mounts
Engine components
Front accessories
Fuel
Oil Pans
Suspension/brakes
Emissions
Transmissions
Engine Identification
Security

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Posted in Chevrolet, Chevrolet S10 Gen 1, Chevrolet S10 Gen 2, History

Complete History Of The Chevy S-10 PIckup Truck – @S10Spotter

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Today, the historic Chevy S-10 pickup truck appeals to auto enthusiasts around the world. It became the first genuinely compact pickup ever built on U.S. soil by a leading automaker. The S-10 underwent extensive permutations during its development. This pickup inspired versions of the Colorado in some overseas markets today.

A Quick Overview of Chevrolet Company History

Chevrolet began producing the Chevy S-10 in 1981. It marketed the truck for the first time as a 1982 model. Chevrolet served as an important division of one of the nation’s top three automakers, General Motors during this period.

Founding Chevrolet

On November 3, 1911, race car driver Louis Chevrolet joined auto executive William C. Durant and others to launch the Chevrolet Motor Car Company. By 1918, General Motors acquired a significant interest in the firm. Chevrolet became a General Motors division in 1916.

Auto Industry Success

Alfred Sloan, Jr. became President of General Motors in 1923. The firm, often known by its initials “GM”, prospered under his leadership. By 1929, General Motors surpassed the powerful Ford Motor Company in terms of its U.S. sales figures.

During the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, General Motors competed with other automakers in North America. GM designed affordable vehicles for a mass market of consumers. The company started producing the sporty two-seat Chevrolet Corvette in 1953 and the innovative compact Chevrolet Corvair in 1960. Chevrolet exercised considerable influence over the U.S. auto industry during the 1950s, the 1960s, and the 1970s, too.

A Changing Era

Chevrolet released the Chevy S-10 pickup under the tenure of innovative (and controversial) CEO Roger B. Smith. High interest rates during the late 1970s impacted General Motors. The automaker initiated steps to streamline its products and cut costs by modernizing its production facilities and co-venturing with foreign manufacturers.

Even as the company introduced its compact S-10 pickup during the 1980s, GM began scaling back on the production of medium and large trucks. Several GM divisions underwent consolidation during this period:

  • Chevrolet
  • Oldsmobile
  • Pontiac
  • Buick
  • Cadillac

This transformation ultimately impacted the development of the “S” series (and the Chevy S-10).

A Complete Exploration of Different Chevy S10 Body Styles And More!

The Chevy S-10 underwent extensive appearance changes during its history, as did the closely related S-15 series. Automakers frequently modify popular brands in order to maintain currency. Consider 27 body types and special packages influenced to varying degrees by the Chevy S-10:

1. Chevy S-10 Regular Cab Truck: Both the first and the second generation Regular Cab accommodated either a short bed or a long bed. The cab transported up to three people on a bench type seat but it also came with bucket seats instead. The regular cab pickup was a little too tight and uncomfortable for a tall person. Personally, I always preferred the Extended cab because I am 6′ 1″ tall and always felt crammed in in a Regular Cab.

2. Chevy S-10 Short Bed Truck: The short bed rested on a wheelbase of 108.3 inches with a Regular Cab, or on 122.9 inch wheelbase when used with an Extended Cab. The short bed is only 72.40 inches long, that is a little over 6 feet, and it is great for recreational use but is too small for any semi-serious pickup needs.

3. Chevy S-10 Long Bed Truck: The Regular Cab truck with a long cargo bed measures 88.30 inches long which is a little over 7 feet long. Not quiet 8 feet you need to haul a piece of plywood but it is better than a short bed for utility purposes.

4. Chevy S-10 Extended Cab Truck: The Extended Cab only permitted the use of a short truck bed. It first became available during the 1983 model year. Starting in the 1996 model truck, it offered a standard “third” door on the driver’s side for easier access to the area behind the seats.

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Posted in 1960's, Chevrolet, Corvair, Gene Winfield

Rare Gene Winfield–Built Corvair-Powered AMT Piranha Goes Up for Sale – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

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If it weren’t for automotive fabricator Gene Winfield, the Marbon-Centaur CRV might have remained a footnote in automotive history, warranting a random article every five years or so before everybody forgets it again. But Winfield—known for designing vehicles in Blade Runner and Robocop—renamed it the Piranha for model car company AMT and put one on tabletops across America in the late 1960s at the same time he tried to convince adults to get into the full-size Corvair-powered version. More than 50 years later, at 94, Winfield has lent his talents and his name to the sale of one more Piranha

.”Gene’s personally working on this car,” says Dan Melson, who will offer it (and two other Winfield cars) for sale this weekend. “I have left all artistic control to Gene

.”Marbon Chemical’s development of Cycolac, a type of ABS, in the early 1950s opened up doors for manufacturers to start introducing plastics into consumer goods. Given that Marbon existed as a division of Borg-Warner, it was only matter of time before company executives decided automobiles could benefit from a heaping helping of Cycolac.

To help sell the idea, according to auto historian Nick Whitlow, Marbon partnered with Dann Deaver, a designer and co-founder of Centaur Engineering, another division of Borg-Warner. Deaver had built some race cars in his time, so Marbon’s execs asked him to fabricate an entire car out of Cycolac, one that Marbon could demonstrate for automotive engineers around the world. The resulting Cycolac Research Vehicle (known as CRV long before Honda started using the name) debuted at the Society of Automotive Engineers convention in January 1965 and led to a series of four more prototypes—two convertibles and two gulping coupes—all powered by Corvair flat-six engines.

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Posted in History of Hot Rods & Customs, Museum

The Street To The Strip: New England Hot Rods 1945 – 1965 Virtual Opening – Audrain Museum

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 The Street to the Strip: New England Hot Rods
1945 – 1965

August 28 – November 14, 2021
(on view during the 2021 Audrain Newport Concours & Motor Week)

Automobile owners have been customizing their cars since the automobile became common place in American society. Hot rodding first became popular in Southern California in the late 1930’s, though enthusiasts from around the country quickly caught the spirit of what was going on. While the West Coast hot rod and custom scene is well known and extensively documented in period magazines, books and film, the no less vibrant hot car culture of the East, specifically New England was equally interesting. 

This show will focus on the builders resident in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts who designed and built cars that garnered national attention at shows such as the famed Autorama shows in Hartford, CT, at speed at Connecticut Dragway, New England Dragway, Seekonk Speedway and everywhere club members gathered to enjoy their creations.

A wide selection of period hot rods and customs, from the 1940s through the 1960s will tell this little-known story and further spread the fame of these underappreciated talents.

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Posted in Chevrolet, Hemmings

Chevrolet’s Caprice was more than just an Impala with a fancy roofline – Bill Rothermel @Hemmings

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A unique roof for GM’s bestseller

Chevrolet introduced the new Caprice Custom Sedan in February 1965 at the Chicago Auto Show. The GM brand took a page from its own playbook much like it had in 1958, when it introduced the Impala, an upmarket trim level for the existing top-of-the-line Bel Air. The Caprice, a jazzed-up Impala, was Chevrolet’s answer to the new Ford Galaxie 500 LTD, introduced at the beginning of the 1965 model year. Like the Caprice, Impala, and Bel Air, the LTD was an upmarket version of Ford’s popular Galaxie 500, which was itself one step beyond the Fairlane 500 starting in 1959.

Rumors persist that the car was given its moniker by then-Chevrolet General Sales Manager Bob Lund, who reportedly named the car after an upscale New York City restaurant he frequented. Another origin story states that the car was named after Caprice Chapman, the daughter of automotive executive James P. Chapman.

The unique roofline played prominently in Chevrolet print ads for 1966. Typically, a white Caprice Custom Coupe with black vinyl top and blue Strato Bucket Seat interior (available only on the coupe) was featured. Interestingly, the special interior highlighted the optional four-speaker multiplex stereo controls and fully instrumented console. It makes one wonder, just how many (or few) cars were so equipped?

Offered as an option exclusively on the Impala four-door hardtop sedan, the new Caprice cost just $242.10 more than a comparable Impala’s $2,850.00 base price. For the extra cash, option code Z18 netted deeply cushioned seats in premium cloth and vinyl, with a fold-down center armrest for the rear seat passengers. Real wood accents highlighted the instrument panel and door panels, and deep-twist carpeting covered the floor and lower door panels. A special headliner and side-trim panels, along with woodgrain accents on the steering wheel, added to the upscale interior.

Outside, hand-applied dual pinstripes — color coordinated to the interior—and a black-accented grille and rear trim panel came from the Impala SS, as did the three-spoke spinner wheel covers, albeit with Caprice badging. Decorative fleur-de-lis Caprice emblems were affixed to the C-pillars to remind you what lie inside.

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Posted in Chevrolet, Corvair, David Conwill, Hemmings

The Nut Behind the Wheel: David Conwill can’t stay away from Corvairs – David Conwill @Hemmings

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[Editor’s note: The author behind The Nut Behind the Wheel talking about himself? Yes, well, here at Hemmings we’re all a little nuts. Here’s why David Conwill can’t stay away from Corvairs.]“

My parents warned me off from Corvairs when I was still in elementary school. At my bus stop, in kindergarten, there was this fascinating old car. I showed my parents and they said ‘Oh, that’s a Corvair. The heater will asphyxiate you.’ The name Ralph Nader never came up—I don’t think they took him very seriously. They were car people, but Corvairs were just too ‘out there’ for them. It looked so cool to me, though, with that flat roof and wrap-around rear window. I never forgot it. Even once I got into conventional cars, with the engine up front and a radiator, the interesting shape of an early Corvair stuck with me.

“Almost 20 years later, when I was visiting my fiancée, we saw a Corvair convertible coming the other way during a scenic drive we were on. She loved it too and she wound up buying me a couple of old ads that I framed on my wall. One calls Corvair ‘the happiest-driving compact car’ and I think that might be true. It’s not just a shrunken conventional car. That’s one thing that kept me away from them for a long time, but ultimately, that’s a big part of their appeal.

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Posted in Chevrolet, GMC, World War 2

AUTOMOTIVE TROUBLE SHOOTING” WWII U.S. ARMY 4X4 STEERING ADJUSTMENTS G506 TRUCK CHASSIS 98894 – @PeriscopeFilms

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This black and white, declassified US Army training film, created in 1942 and released in 1943, (TF 10-980, full title: Automotive Trouble Shooting Part 11c, Section 2, Chevrolet 4×4 and G.M.C. 6×6 Steering System Adjustments) offers troubleshooting advice for mechanics calibrating the steering of military automobiles (TRT: 15:24).

Title cards: “This Film is Restricted” over a stenciled banner “Restricted” and “Official Training Film, War Department” with a US War Office seal (0:08). “Produced by the Signal Corps for the Commanding General Services of Supply.” Titles continue over shots of mechanics hands, wrenches at work (0:22). A mechanic works with jack lifts under the chassis of a Chevrolet G506 1 ½ ton 4×4 truck (produced as the Chevy G7100, and originally G4100 models). He zeroes in on the steering column. He inserts a bar in a wheel. A closeup shows even weight distribution. The other wheel demonstrates excessive play, indicating loose pinion bearings (0:45). The tie rod is disconnected by removing the clamp bolt and yolk. The upper bearing cap follows in closeup. Shims are handled with care (1:46). Shims are removed from the lower bearing cap from a reverse angle, as heavy grease drips out (2:45). Proper steering knuckle resistance is demonstrated, then the tie rod is reconnected (3:11). The toe of the wheels is checked, using a telescopic toeing gauge. A helper drives forward slowly (3:50). The gauge reads 1/16”. The steering arm clamp bolt nut is locked (4:25). The mechanic climbs behind the steering wheel and turns it gently, testing. The separate components of the steering gear assembly. The steering shaft worm gear and tapered bearings in closeup. A ball nut is added in a cross-section shot, then filled with ball bearings and tubular guides. A nut locks the assembly housing together (5:16). Closeup on the mesh of two gears teeth. Calibration is adjusted with a screw and nut (8:11). The mechanic at the wheel loosens a bracket underneath the dashboard, then climbs out of the truck (8:35). The steering rod is disconnected from the pitman shaft (9:04). A lock nut is loosened and a screw is turned. Then, the worm gear bearings are adjusted (9:29). Passenger’s side POV: The Mechanic returns and rotates the steering wheel smoothly back and forth, finding the center (10:46). Re-tightening the steering gear assembly with a wrench. The steering wheel is re-tested to ensure an increased load and consistent resistance (12:12). A highlighted section of a mechanic’s manual: “Using J-544 Steering Gear Checking Scale, measure the pull at the rim of the wheel…” An illustration indicates the proper positioning of a checking scale (13:00). Checking alignment of the steering column jacket. The mechanic re-aligns the steering column jacket, working from the driver’s side wheel well (13:25). The steering column is fixed in place, and the drag link is re-connected (14:09). The mechanic checks the wheel one last time, ensuring a job well done (14:51). “The End” (15:03)

The “G506” truck chassis depicted in this film was manufactured in mass quantity by the Chevrolet Motor Division of GM during the World War II era. This model of vehicle became the standard truck for the US Army and Air Corps during the 1940s, as over 150,000 such vehicles were purchased. Of these, roughly 47,700 were shipped to the Soviet Union under the “Lend-Lease” program.

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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com