At some point during our driving careers, we’ve all had the unfortunate experience of having either been in, or witnessed, an automobile accident. In most cases, the visuals come to us in the form of few seconds glancing at the wreckage as we drive by. But what if you were to stop – would you truly be prepared for what confronted you?
Edited by actress Diane Keaton and photographer Nick Reid, with original photos by now-deceased coroner Robert H. Boltz, Dead of Night is a photographic journey that tells an entire story in each photographic frame. As discussed on this week’s episode of the Hemmings Hot Rod BBQ Podcast, editor Nick Reid tells us how Mr. Boltz captured the horrific beauty of these accidents in a way that will captivate and astound you.
We have a new episode of Road to Improvement ready to watch, just click on the video player above or jump over to our YouTube channel. With the trip officially under way, Mike Musto and Elana Scherr head down to Silver Sport Transmissions in Rockford, Tennessee, for the first upgrade to Big Green, our 1981 Chevrolet Suburban.
With a first gear that’s crawling ratio, the stock Muncie SM465 four-speed essentially has three practical gears. Not exactly ideal for our goal of making Big Green suitable for daily driving. Plus, the old shifter is, to put it kindly, a little tired. So, out goes the Muncie, and in goes a new Tremec TR-4050. It still has a crawler gear (a 6.16:1 ratio, to be precise) but adds a 0.76:1 overdrive fifth that will make highway cruising all the more pleasant for both the engine and the Suburban’s occupant
Episode 2 of “Road to Improvement” takes Mike, Elana, and crew 600 miles south of Lansing, Michigan to Rockford, Tennessee for a much-needed transmission upgrade on our 1981 Chevrolet Suburban. Equipped with a Muncie SM465 4-speed manual transmission from the factory, the Suburban proved to be capable off-road and around town. For modern highway duty, however, the worn synchros, lack of overdrive, and long throws became tiresome.
Enter the experts at Silver Sport Transmissions and the new Tremec TR-4050 5-speed manual. With a die-cast aluminum alloy housing, beautifully crisp shifting, and a ratio spread from 6.16 in low gear for the trails to 0.76 for the highway, our hope was that the TR-4050 would not only enhance our overall performance and fun factor, but drivability as well.
On this, Part 1 of our transmission swap, the crew at Silver Sport Transmissions take us beneath Big Green and walk us through what it’s going to take to replace our old SM465 4-speed with a brand new Tremec TR-4050 5-speed manual.
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.
Almost 37,000 acres—that was the trail of destruction left by the Northern California wildfires in October 2017. And while the counties of Napa, Lake. and Sonoma were all hit hard, it was the city of Santa Rosa that saw the most devastation with more than 2800 homes completely destroyed. The fires claimed lives, property, and businesses and in their path uprooted families who now bare physical and emotional scars that no one should have to face.
It’s now November 2018, 13 months after those deadly fires. And while many in those regions are still rebuilding, a new set of wildfires have emerged that are currently cutting a path through both Northern and Southern California. As of now the death toll and damage continue to rise. It’s terrifying to watch.