Posted in Tools

According to you: 10 of the most underrated tools – Sanjeev Mehta @Hagerty

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Last month I asked members of the Hagerty Community which was the most underrated tool in their collection. The answers covered the entire spectrum of automotive repair, so the ten examples listed here may not necessarily be suited for your particular project. But this discussion brings up the point that if you haven’t yet interacted with your fellow Hagerty readers in our Community, whatcha waitin’ for?

Join the fun on the Community and enrich our collective passion for all things related to the automobile with your knowledge. Anyway, let’s get to the answers that YOU provided us.

MAPP gas torch

Community user RedRyder_SFZ chimed in with a tool that isn’t needed regularly—but when you need one, you need it bad! These torches run on MAPP gas for its safety and ease of use compared to a conventional oxygen-acetylene setup, thereby making them great for smaller projects like breaking free rusted bolts and brazing metal together. RedRyder went further to say: “Without my gas torch, I’d go through more cutting and grinding discs than I care to think about. Sometimes after the torch gets the rusty fasteners loose, I pound my chest and exclaim ‘I … have made fire!!!’”

Braided wiring loom installation tool (DIY)

Again, this isn’t a tool for your average brake job or oil change. But when you need the finishing touches under the hood for your project car, Hagerty Community user johnman has a word for you. He made a DIY tool to run wiring into these looms: “I discovered a quarter-inch wrench worked the best on the half-inch split plastic wrap. Put the wrench into the split gap sideways, then turn 90 degrees to open the gap. As you lay the wires into the gap, pull the wrench through, and follow along with your thumb to secure the wires inside.”

Reciprocating saw

The Sawzall cutting tool is a bit of an Internet hero these days, for many reasons and likely countless applications. Which is why our CitationMan has one, and tells his friends, “I can cut anything you own in half.” Enough said—it’s gotta make the list.

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Posted in Ford, Transmission

T5 Transmission Swapped into a 75 year old Ford Truck | Pt. 1

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This week Davin tackles upgrading our 1946 Ford truck’s transmission. This was a truck assembled in 4 days on the grounds of the Hershey Swap meet in 2015 and ever since the plan has been to upgrade to a T5. Well, six years later Davin finally found the time. Watch along as we take you through the process. We’ll show you what it takes to do an upgrade like this, and worse case you might learn what not to do..

Posted in GMC, Syclone

The GMC Syclone was the world’s quickest pickup | Revelations with Jason Cammisa | Ep. 13 @Hagerty

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The GMC Syclone wasn’t just quick — in its day, it was among the quickest vehicles ever tested. And that success was lingering: the Turbo Truck was, by a significant margin, the quickest pickup truck in the world for a staggering 30 years. That’s nearly twice as long as the McLaren F1 held the top-speed record.

Surprise: it also handled well, keeping up with the supercars of its day.

What’s not a surprise: the Syclone, and its SUV-bodied brother, the Typhoon, were not conceived through the regular product-planning channels at General Motors: they were dreamt up by a Real Car Guy — Kim Nielsen — and pushed through using the help of outside consultants.

To get into production quickly, before the S-15 Sonoma pickup and Jimmy SUV ended their product cycle, Nielsen worked closely with ASC/McLaren and then Production Automotive Services to develop the turbo truck. And then PAS won the contract to engineer, certify, and build the SyTy (Syclone and Typhoon.)

With just a little wheelspin off the line, the Syclone blasted from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds, quicker than the then-brand-new C4 Corvette ZR-1 and almost as quickly as the Ferrari F40.

30 years later, there are many fast SUVs on the market, but until the 702-hp 2021 Ram TRX, there’s never again been a pickup this quick. And certainly none this good-looking: available only in black, with black trim that includes a deep air dam and (of chief importance) integrated fog lights.

Learn everything you need to know about the GMC Syclone in this entertaining episode of Revelations with Jason Cammisa.

Posted in Ford Mustang

Will it run? Starting up a 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 for the first time in 30 years @Hagerty

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Last week you saw us pull this 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 out of a pole barn it had been sitting in for nearly 30 years. Unfortunately, she didn’t start up on the first attempt, but that didn’t deter Davin as he set to work gathering a few parts to get her back up and running. So, join us as we get a little greasy and hopefully hear this classic roar again. Be sure to check out part 1 here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FB4zE…

Posted in Hagerty, interior

11 of the most insane automotive interiors, by decade -Sajeev Mehta @Hagerty

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I recently asked those in the Hagerty Community about the most insane interior they’ve ever seen. (You should visit our Community lounge, and not just because I’m the moderator.) Our users clearly did a great job, as their hard work motivated me to research this list of amazing automobile interiors. It was a collaborative labor of love amongst many of you, but I also dug up a few of my historical favorites. So let’s start from the early days of motoring and take a quick tour of 11 wild automotive interiors over the decade

While it’s true that the first mass-produced car didn’t have much of an interior, what made this Oldsmobile unique for its time was the dashboard. Sure, that area looks like the front of Santa’s stereotypical sleigh, but that aggressive curve extends deep into the front passenger compartment. The Olds Tonneau body style has a nicely designed rear passenger section, complete with a shockingly well-padded rear door that, apparently, Oldsmobile was simply begging others to replicate. Perhaps this “Curved Dash” Olds is more than a configuration that protects occupants from “dashed up” (i.e. kicked up) debris from the spinning wheels—it might just be the first car with an interior designed for style and functionality

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Posted in Firebird Trans Am, Pontiac

The most valuable Firebirds from every generation – Greg Ingold @Hagerty

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Almost everyone has an opinion about Pontiac Firebirds. Ours, for the record, is that they’re pretty great. Spanning 35 years, four generations, and myriad high-performance variations—not to mention three Smokey and the Bandit movies, Knight Rider, and countless other cultural touchstones—the Firebird transcends typical collecting considerations and cuts to the core reason most of us like old cars—they’re fun. Although most were relatively affordable when new and remain so today, a select few have appreciated into exotic-car territory. We looked at each generation, and here are the most expensive cars from each series.

First Generation (1967–1969): 1969 Firebird Trans Am Convertible

#2 (Excellent) condition average value: $1,000,000

1969 is when it all started, with Pontiac introducing the famous Trans Am to the Firebird lineup. Aside from the famous Cameo White body with Tyrol Blue stripes, the Trans Am included plenty of other upgrades. This included a standard Ram Air III 400-cubic-inch engine, with the optional Ram Air IV, heavy-duty suspension and quicker ratio steering. Trans Ams are very uncommon to start with.

Only 697 total cars were produced, so any car in excellent condition brings six figures. Convertibles are a completely different story, though, with only eight being produced. While all are equipped with the less powerful Ram Air III engine, a pristine T/A Convertible is easily a seven-figure car. Being even rarer than a Hemi Cuda Convertible, these cars come up for sale just about as infrequently

Second Generation (1970–1981): 1970 Firebird Trans Am 400/370-hp Ram Air IV Coupe

#2 (Excellent) condition average value: $172,000

Although the second-gen Firebird achieved pop-culture fame in its later years—think T-Tops and screaming chicken—serious collectors prefer the high horsepower, tightly wound thoroughbreds of the early ’70s. It should thus come as no surprise that a the most expensive of this era would be an early Trans Am. For the first few years of Trans Am production, numbers were the lowest and the most sought after engine options were offered—one of the rarest  the Ram Air IV. Pontiac offered this engine (distinguished by round-port, high-compression cylinder heads) in the Trans Am for only two years, producing only 88 of the cars. The Ram Air IV T/A is closely followed in value by the 455 Super Duty equipped cars in 1973.

Third Generation (1982–1992): 1992 Firebird SLP Firehawk Coupe

GM discontinued production of Pontiac V-8 engines in 1981, forcing the third-gen Firebird to find other ways to distinguish itself from its Chevrolet twin, the Camaro.

The Firebird of this era that managed to do that well is the Firehawk, built by Street Legal Performance (SLP). While SLP was technically an outside tuning company, you could walk into your Pontiac dealer and order yourself a Firehawk using option code B4U. This got you a fire breathing Firebird making 350-hp out of it’s 350-Chevy engine and a number of additional braking and handling upgrades. With 25 cars produced in total, these represent the top end in terms of both performance and value, for F-Bodies. The very best of these cars can flirt with the $100,000 mark. Given how rarely they come up for sale, we wouldn’t be surprised to see these continue to climb.

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Posted in GM, Hagerty

9 tragically flawed GM vehicles whose heroic fixes came too late – Sajeev Mehta @Hagerty

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Decades upon decades passed when General Motors could do no wrong, and the products rolling off its assembly line were proof positive of its business model’s supremacy. But nobody’s perfect, and mistakes had to be addressed to meet stockholder’s expectations. GM’s design and engineering teams made some great cars with serious potential that were packed with tragic flaws—and received heroic fixes that came right before their curtain calls. It’s all rather tragic, so here are nine examples to prove the point.

1993 Cadillac Allanté (Northstar)

You gotta give General Motors credit, because when it aims for the stars, it grabs a firehose full of ideas and shoots skyward. Take a shortened E-body coupe and turn it into a bespoke V-body, then deliver finished shells from Italy’s Pininfarina to Hamtramck via a convoy of Boeing 747s known as the “Air Bridge.” One of the biggest keys to the Allanté’s failure was the drivetrain layout (front-wheel drive does not a Mercedes SL competitor make) and the mediocre performance of Cadillac’s High Technology V-8 engines.

The lack of power was finally addressed in 1993, the Allanté’s final year, by the rocket-like thrust of Cadillac’s all-new Northstar V-8. The added grunt was competitive, but 1993 also included a heavily revised rear suspension, active dampers, and revised power-steering. As we previously mentioned, the 1993 Allanté was “finally, the internationally competitive luxury roadster its creators had envisioned … albeit six years too late.”

1988 Pontiac Fiero

One of the big problems with the Pontiac Fiero, aside from the engine fires of the early models, was the promise of sporty performance, which wasn’t realized until the last year of production. As we previously mentioned, cost-cutting sealed the Fiero’s fate well before 1988. There was simply too much parts-bin engineering: The compact X-body (Citation) front suspension was flipped 180 degrees and dropped in the back, while the front suspension was lifted from the T-body subcompact (Chevette). It’s a shame that in the Fiero’s final year the necessary suspension upgrades (new front control arms, knuckles, and an all-new tri-link rear suspension, plus a wider front track and, on WS6 models, staggered wheels) and improved brakes (four wheel vented discs) couldn’t alter the course of history. These bits were precisely what Pontiac engineers intended for the Fiero from the get-go. At least we got one year of mid-engine Pontiac Excitement.

2020 Cadillac CT6-V (Blackwing)

Hate to say it, but the Cadillac CT6 is not unlike the Cimarron before it. That’s because the last examples of Cadillac’s J-body experiment indeed improved when a 2.8-liter V-6 and five-speed manual transmission were standard equipment. Similarly, the CT6 never set the world on fire, because a flagship luxury sedan needs more swagger under the hood than a turbocharged four-cylinder could ever provide. (Yes, the CT6’s standard engine was 0.8 liters smaller than what’s on tap for a 1987 Cimarron.)

The CT6 didn’t receive a proper V-8 until the 2020 CT6-V hit the scene with the similarly star-crossed Blackwing motor. Because there is still a market for upper-crust luxury sedans (think Mercedes S-Class), the CT6 deserved an optional V-8 from the start. What happened when the CT6 got it all? Both the engine and the car unceremoniously met their maker

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Posted in 1937, Hagerty, Racing

Deciphering our 1937 Ford race car’s front suspension | Redline Update #84 – @Hagerty

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This week Davin gets to tackle something he’s been dreading for quite a bit, the front suspension of our 1937 Ford race car. When Snowball and the boys put this car together they worked with the parts they had or could salvage from somewhere near. They didn’t have a website to order from and wait for the proper parts to arrive in the mail. They improvised and made it work. Davin respects what they got up and running, but that won’t help him remember how everything is assembled.