12th Jan2017

CAMcast: We Need Adult Supervision

by Michael Chandler

SEMA 2016 Thursday CAMautoMag-168

Can you make a 911 better by shoving an LSx in the back of it? What were the cars that Dave, Gavin, and I spent time wrenching on, are working on, and would like to turn into future projects?  And just where the hell is Pizza Dad?  All of those questions, and an actual reader email are in this week’s episode of the CAMcast!

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Stream the episode above, go grab it on iTunes and other fine purveyors of podcasts (please rate, comment, and subscribe while you’re there!), or download it here.  We’ll be back next week with a new episode, and a new voice!  We welcome Dan Chilinski, owner of Old Man Yellow, and driver of a twin engine Toyota in the 24 Hours of LeMons.

*Article, Photos, Videos, and Audio clips are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
18th Feb2016

So Ronda Is In Storage

by Michael Chandler

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Unfortunately, I had to send my girl away.  It’s sad, I know; however, there’s a reason for this.  It’s a reasonable one too: someone in my house just leased a brand new car, and they wanted to keep it in the garage.  That would mean the semi-motionless Ronda had to go to a new home.  I say “semi-motionless” because the starter is going out, which makes getting the old girl started a tremendous pain.  That, combined with her lack of gas and practically dead battery, meant I’d need someone to help me drag her to the storage unit I had rented earlier that day.  I got Mat to bring his truck and trailer, and Dave to come over after he got off work, and we got her out of the garage and onto the trailer.  Then we almost ripped the lip off the front bumper as we gracefully rolled her into the unit.

And there she sat for a few weeks, mostly because it has been cold, but also because I’ve been terribly unmotivated.  Well on President’s Day I found some motivation.  I grabbed Joey, and we went down to try and do… something.  But first, let’s get caught up with Ronda a bit more.

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When last we left Ronda, she was getting lowered and getting a big cooling upgrade.  She also had an H in her name.  That’s gone now, but she did get something to make up for the loss of a letter: a braking upgrade, in the form of Stoptech drilled rotors and brake pads.  There’s a set of 17″ wheels sitting in my garage, just waiting for tires and powdercoating.  At the end of last year I jumped on a screaming deal: for $500 I picked up a Tanabe Hyper Medallion exhaust, downpipe and turbo elbow, and a new intercooler and piping.  There’s a few reasons for that purchase:

  1. The current exhaust, while stainless steel with V-Band clamps holding it together, look awful and is rusting in places.  It’s also loud and droning.  It just needs to go.
  2. The downpipe hangs low.  Really low.  It scrapes on everything.  While it’s better than scraping the oil pan on everything, it’s incredibly annoying.  It also looks pretty cheap, so might as well replace it with something shiny, new and brand name.
  3. Stock MA70 intercoolers are cool because they’re shoved into the nose of the car.  They’re not cool because the damn things, and the OEM piping, don’t do that great a job of keeping the boost in the system.  Oh, and there was one coupler that was not meant to see positive pressure.

So with that out of the way, let’s talk about what Joey and I managed to accomplish.

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The OEM boost leak, I mean intercooler

The original plan was to pull the faulty starter, and the battery, and maybe get cracking on some of the fun stuff.  We managed to pull the battery out, and we got some bolts off of a bracket holding the intercooler in.

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We also pulled off some of the old intercooler piping, and got a shiny new pipe fitted.  One with the appropriate couplers!  The rest of the piping and the new intercooler are going to have to wait for a warmer day, one when we can get going earlier since my unit doesn’t have power inside of it.

There’s still a lot left, most importantly is the starter.  That’s going to be an endeavor.  And there’s also the issue of all of those nasty, gray silicone hoses.  They’ve gotta go too.  And I should probably take care of the leaky targa top…    I should probably make a list…

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
26th Jan2015

Old Man Yellow

by Michael Chandler

Old Man Yellow Chevelle 300 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-6

In this era of instant gratification, where some measure their worth in the amounts of likes, shares, favorites and retweets, taking time and doing things right is lost.  A lot of people’s “builds” are nothing more than installing coilovers or airbags, and new wheels.  It seems that people have forgotten that the more time you put into something the better it can be.  This 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle 300 two door post sedan received a frame off restoration, something that takes year to accomplish in its own right.  Daniel Chillinski, the owner, has taken ten years to bring the car to this point.  It was worth the time.

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Daniel bought this car when he was 18, from the original owner.  A little old lady who only drove it to church on Sundays, and to the store once a week.  Or something like that, because the math says the Chevelle did less than 5000 miles per year in its forty-seven year life span.  The car was still packing the 230 cubic inch straight six engine, and three speed transmission with a column shifter.  Most of the original things have changed about this car, except the color.  According to Daniel “the color was going to be much more radical burnt orange, and gunmetal grey but after so many years I couldn’t part with the original Butternut yellow.”  That Butternut yellow was dubbed “Old Man Yellow” by a friend of his who was in town, on leave from the Navy, was refreshed by Nocturnal Performance.  They also threw the color on the custom hood that’s sporting an L88 style hood scoop.  All the emblems were taken to Unknown Coatings to be powdercoated in black chrome.

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In his decade of ownership, Daniel has made quite a few changes to this retiree.  The Johnson-era suspension is long gone, replaced by more modern equipment.  Up front he installed a set of Hotchkis tubular upper control arms and lowering springs.  To settle the motion of the front end there’s a set of QA-1 twelve way adjustable shocks, and to help keep it planted there’s a PST sway bar.  All the old suspension bushings have replaced with pieces sourced from PST as well.  Hauling this Nimitz-class carrier to a halt are BAER two piston calipers clamping onto 13.5″ rotors.

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The rear has also seen its fair share of upgrades.  It too has BAER brakes, just smaller: single piston calipers on 11.5″ rotors. There are more Hotchkis control arms in the back (upper and lower), but just like the front they’re tubular.  It’s lowered on Hotchkis lowering springs, and stiffened up by a Hotchkis rear sway bar.  The main attraction is the rear end: a Moser twelve bolt piece, with 3.55 gears and Positrac to boot.  Why does this classic need such a beefy rear end?

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Because it has 489 cubic inches of America under the hood!  The 489 (that’s 8 liters to those playing the modern version of the home game) started life as an equally massive 427 cubic inch (7 liter) tall deck big block, but then was bored .030″ over and stroked half an inch to come to the massive displacement it currently sits.  Seeing as how this whole build took ten years, you can be assured he didn’t just drop a big block in the cavernous engine bay and call it a day.  He did things to it.

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Things like put a big Howe Racing aluminum radiator in the nose, which he had covered with cardboard (the radiator, not the nose) because it was so cold on the day we shot.  Sanderson shorty headers mate to a Pypes three inch exhaust, and an MSD 6AL box and plug wires help get the ignition boogying.  Hanging off the front of the motor are some Billet Specialties V-Belt accessories. And then there’s the stuff on top of the massive motor…

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This artsy* photo has the Dart Pro 1 heads and intake manifold in it, along with the Barry Grant Mighty Demon 850 CFM carburetor.  This whole set up provides for a lot of forward propulsion.  Propulsion that the old three on the tree couldn’t handle… Probably.  In place of the three speed is a beefy Tremec TKO 600 five speed gear box, with a floor shifter.

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A Husrt shifter at that!  We’ve seen some cool shift knobs in our history here at CAM, and this one is right up there.  But that’s not the coolest thing about the interior.

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“During the initial build of the car when I started dating my wife I actually told here that the car was more important than her and she ended up sewing the interior for the car.”  She did a killer job.  That is the seat she sewed up in black leatherette with orange inserts, and she did not pull a Marge Simpson and knit some seatbelts.  Daniel grabbed a set of Corbeau four point harnesses.  He also has an Art Morrison four point roll cage in there for that extra little bit of protection.

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The dashboard received the custom touch.  A set of Autometer Cobalt gauges relay important information to Daniel.

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On the day we were shooting he didn’t need to keep cool, but on days he does there’s a Vintage Air air conditioning system to blow conditioned air throughout the cabin.  Below the “I can’t believe that’s not an OEM a/c control panel” sits a Pioneer DEH-800PRS head unit, an upgrade from the old AM radio.  It sends signals and sounds to an MB Quart Q Series amp and mono amp, and 6.5″ component speakers.  There’s also a trio of RE Audio 8″ subwoofers in individual ported boxes.

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This car took ten years.  In those ten years Daniel dated a girl who became his wife, graduated college, and moved a couple of times.  During the restoration, which he did in his two car garage, the car took up more space in their house than they did: doors were in the office, drive shaft was in the guest bedroom, etc.  His wife really got to see his passion for cars, and is seeing it again.  He’s building a four door Integra for the LeMons race at Miller Motorsports Park coming up in October.  But that’s not his only Honda project.

S2000 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag

Daniel used to daily drive an Integra LS, which is a fun little car in its own right.  But then it his 210,000 miles, and that’s a lot of miles.  He needed something different, and up popped this AP1 S2000.  He picked it up in November of 2013 and it’s been pretty mild since, only receiving a K&N FIPK intake and JDP carbon fiber duck tail spoiler.  This level of modification shall not last, as he plans install a set of KW Variant 2 coilovers, and more aggressive wheels and tires.

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It has taken ten years to transform the Old Man Yellow Chevelle from lightly driven, straight six powered cruiser into a 489 powered boulevard bruiser.  Could he have thrown in a 350 and called it a day years ago?  Definitely, but it wouldn’t be as impressive as it is today.  This Chevelle, and the S2000 down the road, rolls as a testament to taking time to get the ultimate build: one that will stand the test of time, and THAT is the ultimate gratification.

Words and photos by Michael Chandler
*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.

*Not terribly artsy, but it’s still pretty cool