303HP 5.3L V-8 IMPALA SS
Fuel-Altered Thrills At 28 Mpg
It's been nearly 10 years since the Impala's had what it has always deserved. A stompin' V-8 under the hood is what makes this latest iteration a very interesting bundle to drive. The supercharged 3800 V-6 was a nice try, but the new V-8 literally rolls all over it. Its bags smoother, it sounds like an SS should and scoots like a bad monkey when you stomp the loud pedal. The Fuel Altered connection? Throttle this dude from a standstill and you'll likely be tooling torque steer like Wild Willie Borsch.
The best-looking SS since the '90s reincarnations can naturally be pimped out like any factory ride. There's leather for the heated seats and full amenities (including remote engine start) for comfort and convenience. The mechanicals are right in line, too: 18x7 alloy wheels fixed with 235/50 Goodyear RS-A rubber (with low pressure warning), a heavy-duty 4T65-E transmission, 3.29:1 final drive, and a firm but malleable FE3 suspension package. There's spacious room for five and a mammoth trunk to go with it. In all, the SS sports a curb weight of 3,712 pounds.
We saw mule cars years ago with 5.7L conversions, but were under the impression they would have no real chance in the outside world. Somebody with some brains gave the go-ahead to lower a front-drive-specific 5.3L (LS4) engine in the Imp (as well as the Pontiac Bonneville). Torque output is 323 lb-ft and it lays thick over the rpm band.
Thanks to Displacement On Demand (DOD), the V-8 runs on only half its cylinders during cruise mode, so the payback can be as much as a 25-percent improvement in fuel economy under the right conditions. The transition from four to eight cylinders and vice-versa is absolutely seamless. Simply explained, the solenoid- control valve assembly located in the engine valley contains solenoids that direct the feeding or the withdrawal of high-pressure oil to the lifters in a sequence. Engine oil flows to the solenoids from passage in the block and (based on the position of the solenoid valve) either activates the lifter (enabling normal operation) or deactivates it (disabling the valvetrain), allowing the engine to run with half of its cylinders operating. Ain't technology grand? -Ro McGonegal
Imagine getting the chance to build a '69 Camaro in your high school auto shop class. Under the hood of the Camaro is a small-block Chevy and your instructor thrives on high-performance cars. In the class you learn about porting cylinder heads, posi-traction rearends, high-lift camshafts, and more. If you attend Oswego East high school (45 miles west of Chicago) and are part of Mr. Guy Tiberio's Oswego East Auto Club, it's not a dream but a reality. The 25 students in the club (both guys and gals) are this month's Young Guns entry and have been busy restoring and building this SS Camaro. Steve Sandlin (owner of the Inciner8tor and the GTO-turned-Chevelle HRSS454) donated the Camaro to the school so the students would have something fun to work on.
So far the Camaro is fitted with a 350 small-block, a four-barrel carburetor, TH350 transmission, and houndstooth seat trim. Next they plan to replace the rims, install a new transmission, headers, 4.10 posi, better brakes and suspension items, and, best of all, a totally built small-block with lots of horsepower. The high school club plans to attend car shows and race at the drag races once the car is reasonably completed.
To help with the high school's club project, Mr. Tiberio is looking for sponsors and donations. In the meantime he has plenty of enthusiasm, hard workers, and a great game plan. If you'd like to contact Mr. Tiberio, he can be reached at Oswego East High School or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are under 25 years old and own a cool Chevy-whether it's new, old, or a work-in-progress-we want to see it. Send or e-mail your prints and hi-res photos to: Young Guns, Chevy High Performance, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048; email@example.com.
Shine BriteShining trim makes your paint pop and sets your car apart from the others. If you're into musclecars, you've undoubtedly noticed the quality level of restorations climbing over the past few years. Accordingly, there is a huge demand for trim parts in excellent condition. If your hunt finds that the aftermarket or online auctions do not have the part you need, there's a great alternative.
Ano-Brite brilliantly restores original aluminum grilles, trim, or stainless steel to better-than-N.O.S. condition. In most cases they can use your rough, bent, dull, and often broken trim parts, and with a special process transform them to show quality. Since each phase of the process requires much attention to detail, parts typically take weeks to complete. And if you don't have useable cores they sometimes do. We recently had an opportunity to tour their North Hollywood, California, plant and watch as the parts go from harsh to totally concours condition.
The process for aluminum trim begins by cataloging the part, cleaning it, and then removing the anodizing. An experienced craftsman then steps in to carefully reshape the trim to original specs. Then the surfaces are completely repolished. Next, the item is placed into a series of solutions to clean and produce a bright shine that exceeds new. The part is anodized again for protection from corrosion. Finally, an expert paint detailer carefully applies any factory-style paint (in the original areas), with superior precision. The result is a concours trim part. Ano-Brite also restores stainless trim pieces to mint condition. In the end we were amazed as we watched parts that once looked useless transformed to show quality.
To learn more about this restoration process, as well as how to package trim parts to send in, visit www.anobrite.com and scroll down to King of Trim (www.kingoftrim.com), or contact Ano-Brite, Inc., 6945 Farmdale Ave., Dept CHP, North Hollywood, CA 91605; (818) 982-0997.
Coker Tire President Receives 2005 Armo Award Joseph "Corky" Coker-president of Coker Tire Company, the world's largest distributor of tires and wheels for collector vehicles-has been named the Automotive Restoration Market Organization's "Person of the Year." The annual ARMO award honors one member for his or her outstanding achievements in the restoration industry.
Coker was a founding member and former chairman of ARMO, which is the auto restoration council within SEMA. ARMO is dedicated to addressing the challenges facing the collector car industry and works to ensure the prosperity of its members by directing its efforts toward preserving vehicles and promoting the automotive restoration industry and hobby.
"I am deeply honored by this award and feel blessed to have been able to earn a living in this wonderful restoration market," says Coker. "I'd like to thank all of the council members who felt I should receive this wonderful accolade. You know, all our ARMO member companies-from manufacturers and distributors to restorers and retailers-are actively embracing the mission and goals of ARMO and are working hard to ensure that our important issues, collector car legislation, new products, and educational programs are moving forward."
Tool Time Green Grease GunnerSo one morning there we were, all set to get down and a just little dirty. We had a grease job to do on the fittings that are included in the Hotchkis suspension kits to keep the bushings lubed and the metal inside them moving freely and completely quiet. (Poly bushings have a habit of squeaking if you don't.) Our Omni Lubricants Professional Grease Gun outfit made it as simple as squeezing a trigger.
The core of the system is a 14-ounce cartridge of Omni's Green Grease, a waterproof, high-performance synthetic polymer developed for mining, manufacturing, marine, and off-road use. The stuff remains viable to 500F. The Omni folks supplied us with the complete kit: a chrome-plated gun rated at 6,000 psi, two 14-ounce grease cartridges, a 5-ounce tube of Simple Green hand cleaner, a roll of disposable towels, and a selection of SAE zerk fittings and dust caps, all nestled in a rugged carrying case.
We could have shelled 15 or 20 scoots to have the service performed "professionally," and we could have blown a couple of gallons of precious premium to get to the shop and back, but being cheapskates, we cut the overhead and squeezed it ourselves right there on the garage concrete. For more information, call (877) GO-GREASE or go to www.waterproofgrease.com. -Ro McGonegal