Common Problems on the 1994-04 Chevy S10 – @1A Auto

Common Problems on the 1994-04 Chevy S10 – @1A Auto


1994-2004 Chevy S10 common problems include intermittent starting, an S10 that won’t start after sitting, an S10 that turns over but won’t start, and other issues like fuel pump problems. Find out their symptoms, causes and fixes as we explore the top problems on the 2nd generation of Chevy S10 trucks, also known as the Chevy S-10 or Chevy S-series.

Top Issues on the 2nd Generation Chevy S-10 (1994-2004)

1. Faulty Heater Core

Symptoms of a Faulty Heater Core

  • Cold air blows from the heater vents when the heat is on
  • Windshield fogs up while driving, sweet smell in the cabin, and/or coolant leaking on the passenger side floor

Causes of a Faulty Heater Core

  • If cold air blows from the vents when the heat is on, the heater core is clogged from old coolant or sediment. This can happen from not performing a regular coolant flush.
  • If coolant leaks on the passenger side floor, if there is a sweet smell in the cabin, or if the windshield fogs up when driving, the heater core is leaking.

How to Fix a Faulty Heater Core

  • If the heater core is clogged and not damaged, try flushing the heater core to extend its life. If the heater core is damaged, replace it. Replacing the heater core includes removing the dash, steering column, and heater box to access the heater core.
  • If the heater core is leaking, replace the heater core

2. Bad Intake Manifold Gaskets

Symptoms of Bad Intake Manifold Gaskets

  • High level of engine oil with a milky color
  • Low coolant
  • Coolant leak near or behind the water pump
  • Cross-contamination of engine oil and coolant in the coolant reservoir

Causes of Bad Intake Manifold Gaskets

On the 94-04 Chevy S10, coolant travels through the intake gasket, so it can look like the water pump is leaking, but on this pickup it’s usually the intake gaskets leaking

How to Fix Bad Intake Manifold Gaskets

  • An intake manifold gasket replacement on the 2nd gen S10 is a big, detailed job. It requires the removal of the upper engine parts like the fuel lines and the A/C compressor

3. Distributor Problems

Marked spark plug wires and their corresponding cylinder engraved on the distributor cap

Symptoms of Chevy S10 Distributor Problems

  • Engine misfires
  • Engine turns over but won’t start
  • Check engine light for misfire code P0300-P0306

Causes of Distributor Problems

Common problems with the distributor on the Chevy S10 are from a bad distributor cap and rotor, but sometimes it’s from worn internal parts

How to Fix Distributor Problems

The distributor is located near the firewall. To prevent distributor problems, routinely change the distributor cap and rotor. Check the owner’s manual for recommended intervals, which is usually around 60-100,000 miles.

  • Remove the screws on each side of the distributor cap
  • Replace the distributor cap or rotor if it has corrosion or carbon deposits
  • If replacing the distributor, for an easier install consider marking the cylinder number the spark plug wires lead to, which is written on the distributor cap, with a marker

4. Front Wheel Bearings

Symptoms of Bad Front Wheel Bearings on the 4th Gen Chevy S10

Growling sound at the front wheels at certain speeds, usually over 30 mph

How to Fix a Bad Front Wheel Bearing

  1. Jack up the front of the vehicle up and spin the wheel, listening for a growl or whirring sound
  2. Grab the tire from the 12 and 6 o’clock positions. If there is excessive “play” or looseness in the bearing, the S-10 could have a bad wheel bearing
  3. Purchase quality wheel bearings at and replace them yourself. To replace the wheel bearing yourself, check out the steps in this video.

5. Fuel Pump Problems

Symptoms of Fuel Pump Problems

  • Engine cranks but won’t start
  • Intermittent starting
  • Extended crank eventually starts the engine

Causes of a Fuel Pump Problems

A bad valve inside the fuel pump sends fuel back into the tank, leaving no fuel or fuel pressure in the fuel lines. Cranking the engine without readily available fuel will cause extended cranking. Turning the key on and off and on and starting the vehicle will prime the system, which is necessary if the S10 won’t start after sitting for a few hours or more.

How to Fix Fuel Pump Problems on the Chevy S10

  • If the S10 won’t start after sitting for a few hours or more, try turning the key to the ON position, and then turn the key to the OFF position. Turn the key back to the ON position, and crank the engine.
  • The fuel pump is located in the gas tank. If the fuel pump is defective, it needs to be replaced. Replacement requires lowering the gas tank. This can be done from underneath the vehicle by supporting the tank and removing the straps, or by removing the bed to the side to access the fuel pump. One method might be easier than the other depending on how old and rusted the truck is.
  • To prolong the life of a fuel pump, keep more than 1/4 of gas in the tank to keep the fuel pump cool and running efficiently.
  • Change the fuel filter about every 30,000 miles or less to keep a consistent flow of fuel and to reduce strain on the fuel pump

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From the John McTaggart Collection: A Pair of Historic 1916 Oldsmobile Model 44 Light Eights – @Hemmings


When it comes to Oldsmobile’s first V8, most people will think of the “Rocket” V8 introduced in 1949, but Olds first offered a V8 in the 1916 Model 44. Billed as the “Light Eight,” the engine carried a 40-horsepower rating and all Model 44s were built on a 120-inch wheelbase with a variety of body types, including a rumble-seat equipped roadster.

The centerpiece of the John McTaggart Collection is this pair of 1916 Oldsmobile Model 44s, one a Roadster and the other a Speedster. Though both feature extensive use of new body panels—many built to exacting standards replicating the original steel—they both feature original chassis and running gear, among many other original components. They are offered together, as a single lot, with extensive documentation and spares also included


Oldsmobile’s “Light Eight” was a flathead V8 with a bore and stroke of 2.88 inches and 4.75 inches, respectively. Fed by a Johnson carburetor and featuring a compression ratio of 5:1, Oldsmobile’s first V8 was rated at 40 horsepower when new. It was mated to a three-speed manual transmission with a leather-faced clutch. 

John McTaggart, a lifelong enthusiast with many restorations under his belt, completed both of these Oldsmobile Model 44 Light Eights using many original engine and chassis components, while having some of the body components professionally recreated in steel by a specialist. John acquired a trove of parts, including complete engines and chassis along with a significant quantity of spares in 2005. John spent the next three years remanufacturing the two cars listed: a Model 44 Roadster and a Model 44 Speedster. 

Following the completion of the two cars, John has spent the time since enjoying both cars, earning multiple awards with the Roadster and spending “15 years of problem-free country road travel”, in the Speedster. He sums up the experience as “a joy to drive.”

As part of the John McTaggart Collection, this pair of historic automobiles: a 1916 Oldsmobile Model 44 Roadster and a 1916 Oldsmobile Model 44 Speedster, along with a host of spares, is offered as a combined lot for the discerning collector who will keep the cars together for the story they tell and the experience they offer. 


Beyond the introduction of its groundbreaking engine, Oldsmobile enjoyed further publicity for the car when Amanda Preuss drove a Model 44 Roadster from San Francisco to New York, a distance of 3,520 miles via the Lincoln Highway in just over 11 days in August of 1916. Preuss’s feat not only established the reliability and durability of the new Oldsmobile and its drivetrain, it also cut some 37 days off the previous coast-to-coast record for a woman driver. 

This 1916 Oldsmobile Model 44 Roadster was built by John McTaggart as a tribute to the original that Amanda Preuss used on her drive. Using original Oldsmobile mechanical and chassis components, John completely remanufactured this Roadster. John went to painstaking detail to build the roadster as accurately as possible, including consulting original Oldsmobile documentation, exacting measurements from existing components and utilizing the extensive research of the prior owner who had assembled a large trove of 1916 Oldsmobile components and paperwork before his untimely passing. Since its build, this Model 44 has been awarded Junior, Senior and Preservation awards from the AACA, attesting to its provenance, accuracy and completeness. 


The seller reports that the Roadster’s V8 engine was prepared for long-term storage last fall. He adds that all lubricants are fresh, that the car rolls freely and that it remains safely garaged on his property along with the other cars in the collection. He asserts that the car can be readily prepped for running and lacks nothing in terms of components or maintenance. This Roadster is equipped with a functional electric starter. The engine presents as clean and original. The three-speed manual transmission is also said to remain road ready


Oldsmobile initially offered the Model 44 in three body styles: four-door sedan, four-door touring car, and a two-seat roadster with a rumble seat. This Model 44 Roadster was built on original Oldsmobile mechanicals. The seller worked with California-based sheet metal specialists Rootlieb, Inc. to recreate the body based on old original drawings and using “virgin steel.” Based on accurate measurements from an original car, the wooden frame was also recreated. The same applies to the roadster top, which the seller describes as “an exact reproduction original that also includes accurately reproduced side curtains and side curtain rods.” He adds, “Olds literature confirms that the rear window was a four-piece design in glass.”

The seller shares that the light gray-finished body is “free of any metal blemishes or patches.” The car does wear a round, readily removable magnet on the sides of the doors that commemorates the Lincoln Highway in a nod to Amanda Preuss’s drive


The original Model 44 was lavishly equipped with “French” leather seats and a walnut-rimmed steering wheel, two features this Roadster broadly displays. Instrumentation is relatively simple. The Stewart odometer/speedometer is complemented by an oil pressure gauge, an ammeter and a clock. The seller reports that all gauges are functional. The black leather seat appears to be in excellent condition with no excessive wear, no rips and no tears. The floor is bare with no carpet or rubber mat. The steering column, gauge surrounds, shifter and parking brake lever all appear to be nickel plate and present with a proper shine. 


An original 120-inch wheelbase 1916 Oldsmobile chassis provided the basis for this roadster build. According to the seller, “The chassis and running gear were sand blasted and followed up by extensive pit filling and surfacing before applying paint.” The semi-floating rear axle is suspended via leaf springs. The mechanical brakes work on the rear axle only as was typical of most cars from the era. The tires are all mounted on wooden spoke wheels, another feature of the original Model 44. The chassis appears to be clean with only very limited road use since the completion of the build.


Though Oldsmobile never offered a Model 44 Speedster as a production car, it is believed that one was built for the New York Auto Show upon the car’s debut, a fairly acceptable practice at the time for a manufacturer to share the most sporting possibility of its latest engineering feat. Given the big deal that was the Model 44’s new V8, a Speedster surely offered a great platform to best exhibit the powerful engine.

Like the Roadster noted above, this 1916 Oldsmobile was built around “authentic 1916 Olds mechanicals,” according to the seller who completed the build. He is quick to share that “No substitution components or jerry-rigged hardware were employed to realize running condition.” Since completion, John has used the car for enjoyable country motoring from his rural Vermont home when the weather has cooperated. Even for the photographs for this listing, the Speedster fired right up and was readily restarted and repositioned as needed for the required photography. 


The Oldsmobile L-head V8 and its accompanying three-speed manual transmission were rebuilt during the restoration of this Speedster. The seller reports having put more than 500 “joyful” miles on the car since its completion during which it “has exhibited faultless operation.” He describes an “easy” starting procedure of opening the petcock valve between the tank and the carburetor, letting the bowl fill for a few seconds, setting the accelerator lever on the steering wheel, retarding the spark with another steering wheel lever, pulling the choke, pulling the ignition button and then starting with the foot switch, which engages the electric starter. He is quick to note that the rebuilt 107-year-old engine “for sure” has leaks and weeps, sharing that “coolant finds too many joined surfaces,” so he carries an extra quart of coolant when driving. He describes oil leaks as “at a minimum,” finally adding, with notable experience, “These cars are not leak proof.”


Like the Roadster, the Speedster’s body was fabricated by Rootlieb using “virgin metal” for the fenders, hood, and running boards. The cowl and rear pieces are custom designs as would likely have been the case for Oldsmobile’s own Speedster prepared for the New York Auto Show. The seller chose the Sun Yellow finish out of a personal preference, but it certainly does not seem out of place when compared to competing speedsters of the era. Save for some “chipping incurred during country lane tours” on the underside of the fenders, the seller describes the Speedster’s body and finish as “free of any blemishes.” The monocle windshield that protects only the driver appears to be in excellent condition with no damage to the plexi-glass nor its metal frame.


The Speedster is upholstered in high-grade vinyl rather than its original leather due to the seller’s intent to drive the car when completing the restoration. The material remains in excellent condition with no noticeable wear, rips or other damage. There is however one button missing on the driver’s seat between pleats in the seating surface. The wood-rimmed, nickel-plated four-spoke steering wheel appears to be in excellent condition, as does the remainder of interior components, such as the steering column, shifter and other levers and pedals. Seatbelts have been installed for driver and passenger. Instrumentation consists of a Stewart speedometer/odometer, ammeter and an oil pressure gauge, all of which are noted as working. There is also a clock mounted on the wooden dash. The floor is bare with no carpet or rubber mat and appears to remain in excellent condition


The chassis features solid axles suspended by longitudinal leaf springs front and rear. Brakes are mechanical and act only on the rear axle and require some effort, according to the seller. As when the car was new, the wheels feature wooden spokes with removable rims mounted with wide whitewall tires that appear to have a significant amount of tread. 

This 1987 Buick Grand National Restomod Rendering Makes Us Long For A GNX Revival – Henry Kelsall @HotCars


HotCars renderer Timothy Adry Emmanuel has created a restomod 1987 Buick Grand National, with the same Darth Vader vibes of the 1987 GNX.

The Buick Grand National is one of the most famous G-Body cars ever built, with the most famous generation the second one from 1978 to 1987. It is the latter year that saw the most fame, with the exceptional Buick GNX elevating it to new heights. In honor of that beast, HotCars digital artist Timothy Adry Emmanuel has crafted this exceptional rendering of the 1987 Grand National, resto-modding the Buick so it is ready for 2023.

Emmanuel has kept the classic lines of the Buick but added a few subtle additions such as a new exhaust at the back, lowered suspension, and a massive turbo feeding air into an intake manifold poking out of the hood. It is still recognizable as a 1987 Grand National, however, with just a few tweaks to refresh the design.

The 1987 Grand National Was The Second-Gen Buick’s Last Model Year

1987 Buick GNX Engine Specs

The 1987 model year was the last of the second generation, and Buick wanted to make it a special one hence the introduction of the GNX, or Grand National Experimental. The model cost $29,900 at the time which roughly equates to $77,018 in today’s money. It was the product of a collaboration between Buick and McLaren Performance Technologies/ASC.

The partnership would yield 547 examples, with those 547 first receiving the new interior trim package before they were then sent to McLaren for upgrading into the Buick GNX.

Buick would rate the power output of the GNX at 276 hp and 360 lb-ft of torque, which in 1987 were substantial numbers. But this would prove to be Buick being conservative with its numbers, with the actual power output of 300 hp and torque levels even higher at 420 lb-ft.

To attain this increase in power, a special Garrett AiResearch T3 turbocharger was then added to the GNX, with a ceramic impeller blowing through a more efficient and larger intercooler with a special ceramic-aluminum coated pipe connecting it to the engine.

A special torque arm was on a GNX-only rear differential cover, to help increase the traction of the Buick. This clearly paid off, because the 1/4 mile performance of the GNX was incredible, with it able to pull in a pass time of 12.7 seconds at 113.1 mph.

Remarkably, this would prove to be faster than both the Ferrari F40 and Porsche 930 by 0.3 and 0.8 seconds respectively. The GNX would also earn the nickname of “Darth Vader’s Car” thanks to its stealthy black appearance and release at the height of the Star Wars movies. It was no surprise then that Car and Driver introduced the GNX with the headline “Lord Vader, your car is ready

Why A 1987 Buick Grand National GNX Is The Ultimate Sleeper Car

The HotCars Render Captures The Lines Of The 1987 Grand National

Emmanuel has captured the Darth Vader vibes of the original Grand National perfectly, retaining an all-black and stealthy appearance for the Buick except for the chrome beltline and wheel design. The biggest changes evident are at the front of the Buick, with a huge intake manifold sticking out of the hood, giving away that this Grand National has a much larger powertrain. That is further evident by the broken-up bumper, revealing a huge turbocharger poking out.

The changes at the front continue, with refreshed and modern headlights replacing the 1980s originals, and some big aerodynamic upgrades. A split front lip is on either side of the turbo, helping to channel airflow around the front of the car and in particular its new, larger front tires.

The front grille showcases a Buick emblem, and that angle really gives us a good look at the turbo sticking out from the bottom of the Buick. With the hood removed, the massive powertrain is visible, and Emmanuel has done an outstanding job replicating the power unit.

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Why Ford’s Flathead V-8 Engine Died – Sean Szymkowski @MotorAuthority


Ford’s famed flathead V-8 was revolutionary when the automaker put the engine into production in 1932. It brought the V-8 to the mass market and ready power to hot rodders for decades to come. But its design would eventually make it outdated. After more than two decades of service, the flathead V-8 was finally laid to rest in 1954 in favor of an overhead-valve design. 

Why did Ford kill the innovative V-8 engine? That’s a job for Jason Fenske of Engineering Explained to expound upon. Using a 3D-printed model for a visual aid, Jason takes the time to walk us through why the engine was so advanced, but also the downfalls that led to its death.

Ford’s design was incredibly simple, which made the engine cost-effective to produce. Its simplicity and affordability also meant an everyday person could purchase a V-8-powered car. The first flathead V-8 displaced 3.6 liters and boasted a compression ratio of just 5.5:1. It put out 65 horsepower in the 1932 Ford Model 18, a major selling point at the time.

As you can see from Jason’s model, the flathead engine design features rather flat heads, which is how the mill earned its nickname. Each head is a single piece of metal that helped keep costs much lower. A single camshaft sits in the center of the block’s V, and the exhaust and intake valves are situated above each piston.

So, why did the revolutionary V-8 die off? Advances in technology is the overarching answer, but it came down to the flathead V-8’s major airflow problems and low compression ratios.

As you can see in the video, the airflow path for the engine is hardly ideal. As the air feeds its way through the engine, it has to turn 90 degrees, then turn another 90 degrees to head into the cylinder. A modern engine’s valves help route air toward the piston, around it, and then down into the cylinder.

When air comes back up from the cylinder, it has to perform the same 90-degree turns, now in the opposite direction. Add in the fact that the intake and exhaust flow sit in opposite directions, and it’s easy to see why the flathead V-8 wasn’t an efficient engine.

Engineers couldn’t simply open the intake and exhaust valves open more, either. That would have meant digging out more area in the cylinder head, which would have lowered the already low compression ratios further.

In 1953, Ford made the final flathead V-8. It displaced 3.9 liters and made 110 hp. As engineers sought more power, Ford scrapped the design in favor of an overhead-valve engine. Thus the flathead V-8’s tenure came to end.

Click on the video above for more details from Jason on how the flathead V-8 works and its issues with airflow and compression

Source of video – Engineering Explained

You could add this Ford V8 from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? to your car-toon collection – Nik Berg @Hagerty


A 1939 Ford 91A V8 featured in the 1988 blockbuster Who Framed Roger Rabbit?  is up for auction online.Although all the animated action is set in Los Angeles, the film was actually filmed at Elstree Studios just north of London, and the V8 was sourced from a local owner.

The car crossed the Atlantic during the 1960s and was fully restored in the 1980s, spending time on display in a museum. When director Robert Zemeckis was looking for suitable cars for street scenes set in 1947 Hollywood the V-8 was in tip-top condition and, according the sales blurb, it remains so today. The owner has endeavoured to keep the car as original as possible although the Ford ‘flathead’ V-8 has been uprated with an Edelbrock intake and larger aluminium radiator. A stack of paperwork and original Ford De Luxe instruction book are included in the sale on auction site Car & Classic. Bidding only reached 15k and failed to meet the reserve.

“This is a Ford with a very special backstory, playing a key part in a movie that many will remember for its unique blend of actors – both real and cartoon” says Car & Classic’s Dale Vinten. “Today the car not only holds that appeal to fans of Roger, Jessica and Bob Hoskins but it also is a very original pre-war Ford that benefits from subtle upgrades to enjoy and show for many years to come.”The five-day auction starts on August 19 and the famous V8 is expected to fetch £20,000-£30,000. Who Framed Roger Rabbit? won three Academy Awards but who will win this star car?

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Brand New Muscle Car Announces Ford Mustang Continuation Cars Tara Hurlin @Hemmings


According to an early-August press release from PRNewswire, new 1965 to 1970 Ford Mustang fastbacks and convertibles will become available in 2025 as a limited-edition series in celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Ford’s iconic pony car.

The restomod Mustangs will be built by Brand New Muscle Car in Tulsa, Oklahoma using new all-metal Ford-licensed body shells. The first new classic Mustang, number BNMC-01, will be built on the MotorTrend TV show Brand New Muscle Car in 2024, and then displayed at SEMA the following fall before being sold at Barrett Jackson Scottsdale in January 2025.

Brand New Muscle Car will only be building 60 examples. Customers have the choice of 1965 to 1970 Mustang model years in fastback or convertible. Drivetrain options range from the 427-cid. Windsor, a 428-cid. FE engine, a 5.0-liter Coyote, the monstrous 7.3-liter Godzilla engine, or a reVolt electric system known for providing power to Teslas. Supercharged or twin-turbo boosts are also available. The choice between a five or six-speed manual transmission or a paddle-shift automatic sends power to the rear wheels.

Depending on pocketbook depth and the level of need for speed, drivetrains will offer 450 to 1,000 horsepower. All models will be equipped with independent front suspension, adjustable coilover shocks, four-wheel disc brakes, electronic fuel injection, and power everything. Buyers will have a list of other options including premium wheels, sound system, upgraded upholstery, and even an option for right-hand drive.

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How A Design Sketch And A Chance Meeting Made The Vega Kammback A Reality – John T. Houlihan @Hemmings


I Was There

Words and Photography courtesy of John T. Houlihan

In July of 1968, I was in my third year as an exterior designer for General Motors, working in the Styling Department at the GM Tech Center in Warren, Michigan. GM Styling was recognized as the pinnacle of American automotive design, and I somehow managed to escape the draft and land this prestigious job right out of college. My best friend and college roommate, less fortunate than I, entered the Navy upon graduation and had just been reassigned to a destroyer off the coast of Vietnam. Prior to departing, he flew in for a visit. His final night in the States found us commiserating about his fate at my kitchen table, well into both the morning and a case of Stroh’s fire-brewed beer. He had an early flight and I had to go to work. We caught a couple hours of sleep, and around five in the morning, I dropped him at the airport and headed for the studio.

This was an important day for me. I had to finish a full-size airbrush rendering that I had convinced, or so I thought, the chief designer to include in the array of proposals to be presented to GM “brass” later that afternoon. A team of senior executives were slated to tour the access-restricted Advanced Chevrolet Design Studio to review the XP 887 project, ultimately named the Vega.

GM needed another “small” car after the Corvair was derailed by Ralph Nader’s book, Unsafe at Any Speed. Negative press had unfairly panned the car’s design as inherently dangerous. This new small car needed to be a “world beater,” intended to restore GM’s reputation and enhance our market share in the growing demand for smaller, more economical vehicles.

Earlier designs for the XP 887 project had been rejected by corporate management as being too “GM looking.” The new direction was to be “European” in look and feel. Large photos of the Fiat 124 were mounted all around the studio for inspiration. The engine for the XP 887, well into development for several years, was actually installed in a Fiat 124 for testing at the Milford Proving Ground. We designers were encouraged to research European cars to gain a feel for that aesthetic.

Despite all this effort to “Europeanize” the design, the real influence for the XP 887 was the current design effort for the next-generation 1970 Camaro. That design, underway in another Advanced Chevy studio under the direction of Hank Haga, was quite stunning. I had the opportunity to visit Haga’s studio and view a full-size, perspective rendering of a wagon version of this new Camaro. It was awesome, a truly breathtaking design that left a deep and lasting impression on me. From that moment, I was driven with a passion to create a wagon version for the XP 887.

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The 5 best dashboards of the muscle-car era – Diego Rosenberg @Hagerty


1967 Chevrolet Corvette dashboard Mecum

2023 marks 70 years since the first Corvette rolled off the line in Flint, Michigan. To complement our extensive coverage of America’s sports car, from never-realized prototypes to Barbie partnerships to the future of Corvette Racing, we dug up this 2018 story focusing on interiors and starring the C2 (shown above). Enjoy! — Ed. 

When it comes to American performance cars of the 1960s, we tend to focus on style and quarter-mile times. Considering that cars were made to be driven, it is somewhat curious that ergonomics took so long to catch on with designers. Is it any wonder the aftermarket was so successful with accessories like tachometers?

Yet not all performance cars were designed with sweeping needle speedometers and poorly placed tachometers. All it took was one quick glance and vital statistics were easily registered without having to take your eyes off the road.

Who got it right? Here’s a subjective list:

1963–67 Chevrolet Corvette

Chevrolet’s redesigned Corvette was special for several reasons: Split-window style, four-wheel independent suspension, and great weight distribution, among other things. The 1963 Corvette also had “new conveniences [that] blend Sunday-driving ease with sports car function,” thanks to its functional instrument grouping: speedometer, tachometer, ammeter, oil pressure, and fuel and temperature gauges were grouped in a “single smart-looking cluster,” all within easy eyeshot. There were few changes through 1967, and for good reason—it followed a standard that was appropriate for a sports car and set one that should have been emulated by Detroit but rarely was.

1963–64 Studebaker Avanti

1963 Studebaker Avanti Mecum

The Avanti was a make-or-break model for Studebaker, which at the time was America’s oldest automotive manufacturer. With fiberglass construction and exotic, Euro-inspired style, this 2+2 from South Bend, Indiana, was unique in so many ways. The interior kept the unique which included “aircraft throttle-like controls” and functional instrumentation that included 160-mph speedometer, tachometer, ammeter, oil pressure, water temperature, manifold pressure, gas gauge, and clock. All this was illuminated by red backlighting that seems to have picked up in popularity in recent years.

1966–67 Dodge Charger

1966 Dodge Charger Mecum

The 1966 Charger’s “four easy-to-read hooded circles” (150-mph speedometer, 6000-rpm tachometer, alternator, water temperature, oil pressure, and fuel) stood in contrast to the regular Coronet dashboard, which was a generic horizontal needle design with an optional tach only available on the console for the Coronet 500 trim level. While the Charger’s chrome bezels could be prone to glare, the dials themselves were large, legible, and illuminated by nifty electroluminescent lighting. Chrysler had previously used electroluminescence in 1960–62 which, at night, provided a gray-green glow with the added effect of depth as if it was rendered in 3D—something that is mimicked by today’s electronic dashboards.

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The Real Reason so Many Police Cars Are Fords – Wendy Johnson @MotorBiscuit


Ford makes more police vehicles than any other automaker in the country. There’s a reason so many police cars are Fords.

Oftentimes, police cruisers will have features that aren’t available for regular everyday cars, giving officers a leg up when they have to chase down criminals. These are built by a few different manufacturers, but the most popular police vehicles are produced by Ford. Why do so many come from this brand and who are Ford’s competitors?

Police departments across the country usually buy the most inexpensive model offering the most useful items, according to one Quora user. Ford has been the number one choice with its Crown Victoria cars and recently the Explorer for decades and it’s used for both marked and unmarked police cars

According to CNBC, the brand offers the Police Interceptor package as an add-on to the Ford Explorer. This gave them the leading edge because the brand has been able to stay on top in this market since at least 2014. The reason Ford became the go-to for police vehicles is the ability these cars have to add aftermarket parts designed for law enforcement use. The brand actually put in a lot of effort to build its cars this way to make a police department’s customization of the cruisers easier. Another reason, however, for Ford holding more than half of this specific market is the fact that the brand has a long history with law enforcement agencies. Ford has offered a police package for some of its vehicles since the 1950s. 

History of Ford’s police cars 

In 1951, Ford began using the ‘Interceptor’ name on its optional Flathead V8 engine that produced 110 hp. That would later on change to represent a specialized model, built to make police duties easier. 

By 1961, a study came out that showed that most large cities across the country were buying and using Ford models as the police cruiser of choice. The brand continued to be popular, so in 1967, Ford built a special-purpose vehicle, its Bronco model, and added a police package to it, according to Ford’s site. 

Other models began popping up at police departments, like the police Mustang cruiser, which became a favorite of the California highway patrol. They bought about 400 of these units in 1982. Eleven years later, the Explorer SUV was first introduced as a police vehicle using Ford’s police package add-on. You’ll find some departments still using this model for rough terrain driving. 

By the time 2002 rolled around, the brand had added a new feature designed specifically for police safety. Ford began installing ballistic panels for the doors, which offered bullet-proof protection. 

In 2003 the Crown Victoria police Interceptor edition became the first vehicle to be tested that could withstand a 75 mph rear-impact crash. Today, you’ll only find Ford Interceptor vehicles being tested this vigorously.

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Box Find: “1937 Cord Convertible” Model Kit by Pyro Plastic Corporation – David Conwill @Hemmings


A Small-Scale Classic

While we all dream of it, not everyone will be afforded the opportunity to obtain an amazing barn find, such as the now-restored 1930 Cord L-29 Brougham. As it stands today, 1 in 3,000 people will have better chances of getting struck by lightning in their lifetime. Better still are the odds of finding a coveted “full classic” at a considerably smaller scale—especially at a storied event such as the AACA Eastern Fall Meet, held each October in Hershey, Pennsylvania, where we found this 1937 Cord convertible for sale produced by Pyro Plastic Corporation.

Pyro Plastic was founded by William and Betty Lester in 1939 after perfecting the injection molding process for creating precision forms of various sizes. Located in Union, New Jersey, Pyro quickly established itself as a “leading contractor of custom-made parts and products in plastic.” It wasn’t hyperbole. During World War II, Pyro was awarded military contracts, at least one of which was for the manufacture of aircraft parts. After the war, the company shifted focus to the boom economy plainly in the making: toys.

Armed with freshly minted molds, Pyro’s toy program centered on military-type products, initiated by its introduction of trigger-actuated, noisemaking “clicker” pistols. Inexpensive, quick-to-manufacture army men, jeeps, tanks, airplanes, and other such creations were quick to follow, all designed to fit in shop owner’s aisle bins or in nicely packaged poly bag sets. By the mid-Fifties, Pyro was the dominant producer of military toys, further bolstered by creations that coincided with the growing interest in space-age science fiction. If that were not enough, Pyro further diversified into the fledgling assemble-it-yourself plastic model kit market.

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