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Chevrolet Performance
Chevrolet Performance Connect and Cruise LS3 Engine and Transmission Package
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Lincoln Electric is the Official Welding Supplier to Detroit Muscle
Matco Tools
Matco Tools are the Official Tool Supplier to Detroit Muscle
Street Rod Garage
Buick G-Body Evolution Series Chassis with Moser 9" rear axle & QA1 coilovers
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Tools, Hardware, Shop Supplies

Episode Transcript

(Narrator)>> Today on Detroit Muscle Tommy and Marc give us an update on the projects that we have in the shop. Plus we get to work getting project "Street Regal" onto its new chassis. ♪ ♪

(Tommy)>> Hey y'all, welcome to Detroit Muscle. I'm Tommy Boshers.

(Marc)>> And I'm Marc Christ, and in case this is your first time tuning in here's what we're all about.

(Tommy)>> We like anything that's cool or fast. Whether it be classic muscle or late model performance.

(Marc)>> We do everything from salvation to restoration with one thing in mind. Making them look good and run like hell.

(Tommy)>> And we always find a way to weave in the one thing that's more important than all that...

...having a real good time!

(Marc)>> The three project cars that we're working on here in the shop are from the big three. We've got a Ford, a GM, and a Mopar. They're all at different stages of the build and with completely different attitudes.

(Tommy)>> The apple of our eye would have to be this '69 Dodge Charger. You can't get much higher up in the food chain of the muscle car world than one of these. Now whenever we picked up "Project Hard Charger" it was nowhere near this sweet. You could say it was in the need of a little bit of t-l-c. Right off the top we knew we wanted to build a classy black high performance Mopar. Dodge nailed the styling. So all we wanted to do was compliment it with all the best performance options of the day. Find one of these that was cherry was out of our budget, but we didn't want to buy a rust bucket either. So we needed to find something that fell in the middle. When we first went to look at this thing we were told that it was running and driving car. [ engine starting and revving ]

(Tommy)>> But there was only one way to find out. All right, we're gonna take the ole car for a test spin to see what the first impression is. Now you can definitely tell that the carburetor's kind of gummed up and it's been sitting for a long time. Now the interior of this ole car, it's definitely, well the radio thing just fell off of it. Looks like someone drilled it out to make room for, it don't matter. We're gonna have to replace just about everything in here whether it's vinyl or plastic because this thing's a long time way old kind of ride, but that's okay because the bones and the structure of this old car is here where we need them. Another thing that this car has, which is a very rare option, and that is the accelerator sensitive rear view mirror cause when you get after it, oh yeah, it kicks back so you can see of that police is chasing you. Woo! ♪ ♪

(Marc)>> We knew it was gonna need some sheet metal work, a full interior, a paint job, and some mechanical work but that's what we do. So we paid the man, loaded it on the trailer, and brought it back to the shop. To get the car where we wanted it was gonna take some time, and we just couldn't wait. So we took care of some of the tune up and safety items and took it out to stretch its legs a bit and to hang out with some fellow Mopar enthusiasts. We went down to the Wellborn Muscle Car Museum for one of its car shows, and we think our old fixer upper stuck out like a sore thumb against all the other show cars present. ( )>> I would clean it up a little bit. ( )>> Yeah the 440 that's in it, that's great. Maybe build that or something. ( )>> I would definitely do fuel injection. ( )>> Gotta have a really good sheen to it. Not just a flat black. ( )>> I think you need to have it worked on before you bring it back to another show.

(Tommy)>> We got the point. It was time for us to start digging into our project. The first chore was that tired old leaky drivetrain, and we started with the first and most obvious task, the engine. This was a 440 big block four barrel out of an old pickup truck. After getting it tore down it was off to the machine shop for some boring and cleaning. We wanted to give this thing some upgrades with a new rotating assembly as well as some aluminum heads, a hotter cam, and of course a six pack intake manifold.

(Marc)>> The factory four speed got a once over with new bearings, synchros, and seals, and the rear end got a re-gear with that posi unit and some stronger axles. It would have been silly to put all that fresh new drivetrain into a nasty old carcass. It was time for a full body massage.

(Tommy)>> We ended up having to put quite a bit of sheet metal into this ride to bring it up to our standards with a new floor, quarters, and trunk pan. But hey, it's just another day in the office.

(Marc)>> After ripping this thing apart it was off to the blaster to strip it down to its bare bones.

(Tommy)>> With all the repairs done giving us a solid foundation it was time for some body work. Since we were going with a black finish, and to achieve the quality of paint job that we were looking for, it was gonna take a bunch of hours. So we brought in some friends to help speed up the process, and after many of hours of sanding, and priming, and blocking it was ready for some color.

(Marc)>> Mopar was known back in the day for offering some crazy and bright colors, but that wasn't what we were after. We were looking for classy, simple yet sinister, and black did the trick.

(Tommy)>> It's obvious that our paint job is above and beyond even our expectations. We were just about ready to drop that power plant and drivetrain back in but then game changer. What we're referring to is this 707 horsepower supercharged Hemi call "The Hellcrate". This is the same engine that powers the dominant Dodge SRT Hellcat, Charger, and Challenger now offered as a crate engine package. This is Mopar's answer to feed the need for late model performance in a plug and play unit.

(Marc)>> And having the opportunity to build a high end classic muscle car like our Charger but with the pinnacle of today's high performance technology under the hood was something we just couldn't pass up.

(Tommy)>> It took a little bit of work to shoehorn that late model Hemi into place, but with the help of some modern chassis and suspension components along with a body saw we made it fit. And because that new Hellcrate kicked that old plan to the curb, Plan B.

(Marc)>> We're going with big power, big brakes, big wheels, and big fun.

(Tommy)>> So in days to come keep watching and see "Project Hard Charger" come to life.

(Marc)>> But that's not the only project we have. We've got a couple of '80's ladies we're gonna tell you about. So stick around. ♪ ♪

(Narrator)>> Don't go away. We'll give you the inside scoop on what's in store for our '80's model projects that Tommy and Marc are building for their friendly head to head competition.

(Tommy)>> Hey y'all, welcome back. The next subject for discussion is these two rides right here. I know they don't look like much but that one right there, we'll we really haven't done nothing to it, and that one over there it's kinda supposed to look that way.

(Marc)>> And before we started on both of these '80's cars they were both pretty much stock and definitely slow. When we first picked them up we decided it would be a cool idea to do a little build off. A friendly competition if you will. And even though they have similar styling they couldn't be much more different.

(Tommy)>> One's a Ford, One's a GM. One is a uni-body, and one has a full frame. ♪ ♪ One's pretty sporty.

(Marc)>> Tommy's behind me. I'll show him what's up. ♪ ♪

(Tommy)>> And the other one? Oh yeah! Oh, did you feel that shift? Even the power shift is comfortable. That shows you what kind of power this thing makes. Well it's kind of a luxury car. My plans for this thing is to add some modern conveniences with some strong power. Let's say fuel injection, automatic transmission, big brakes, some fancy wheels and some pretty paint. Kind of a pro touring theme with a luxury feel to it. Pro-luxury if you know what I mean.

(Marc)>> And quite the opposite is what I wanted for my baby, this '81 Mustang Cobra. Raw power with a carb, a five speed manual gearbox, and several touches that some might say are a little rough around the edges. I'm calling "Project Sydewinder" complete with a patina paint job, fender flares, old school looking wheels, and a racy attitude. We installed a bunch of aftermarket parts like a tubular k-member and control arms, coil overs, a crate rear end, and some chassis stiffening parts. We sourced the 427 Windsor from our sister show Engine Power, which made 613 horsepower on their engine dyno on pump gas, and backed it with TKO 600 five speed transmission. On the outside we cut out the wheel arches and added some carbon flares to make room for larger wheels and tires, and then we stepped way outside the box with a custom patina paint job complete with some rust and air brushed logos. And most recently we gutted the interior so that we could start with a clean slate for a whole new look. We applied some sound deadening mat, a four point roll bar, laid in a new rug, and riveted in a rear seat delete and trunk floor. Then it as time for some safety harnesses, sport seats, and the final touches like some new gauges, a steering wheel, and shifter. I'm really happy with how this old Fox body Mustang's turning out, and with just a few systems left to button this thing up it won't be long and it'll be on the road. We've got to do fuel and cooling systems. I've got something special planned for that exhaust, and with those custom wheels already on order it'll be out on the open road ready to eat the fanciest gourmet lunch it's ever head, Buick Regal, if it's done by then.

(Tommy)>> Don' you worry about that thing right there. Just consider it like fine wine. You add a little bit of age to it and you've got yourself some really good stuff. And I guess you could consider that Mustang wine, but it'd be that stuff you sip out of a box. Kinda like your parts, but if you've got good taste like I do stay tuned and see what that Buick is all about. ♪ ♪ You know becoming a welder takes a lot of patience, skill, and knowledge, but doing so gives you the ability to build anything from a skyscraper to a piece of jewelry. Now I really enjoy working on these old cars, especially doing sheet metal work. Now whenever these cars were assembled often times they were using a process called resistant spot weld. That's where two electrodes clamp the panel, current is applied fusing them together. Buying a machine to do that exact process can be kind of costly but there is a way to simulate that with a simple mig welder. To start off this process it's a good idea to know what you're gonna be working with. What we have here is some simple 18 gauge, and before we get too carried away we're gonna clean this stuff up a bit. To do this I'm gonna use an air grinder and an abrasive pad. Simply moving it around on this piece of metal brightens it all up. Now we need to put some holes in this piece so that we can weld it to our other. What we're gonna be doing is making some five-sixteenths holes in it. Now if your material was a little bit thinner you could reduce down to say quarter inch, where if it was a little thicker you could go up to three-eighths, and to make those holes you can use a punch or your trusty ole drill. Now what we're gonna do for this demonstration is put them right down this edge. So using this punch, well it's gonna make it a lot easier, but if it was out here in the middle, well obviously you'd have to use a drill. ♪ ♪ [ compressed air hissing ] ♪ ♪

(Tommy)>> With a few clamps you can hold everything nice and tight with no gaps. ♪ ♪ Before we start throwing all those hot sparks I'm gonna demonstrate the procedure that we're gonna use for welding this up, and it's a lot like whenever you're at the buffet getting you some soft serve. What you want to do is start you a puddle right here in the middle and then circle around filling up the void. It's that easy. All right, now it's time to burn some wire. [ welder crackling ] ♪ ♪ [ welder crackling ] ♪ ♪

(Tommy)>> Well those turned out pretty good. They're nice and flat, and if you look here on the back there's a little bit of distortion. That means you've got some pretty good penetration. Now it may take you a little bit of effort to dial in your machine, cranking the heat up, or even turning the wire speed down, but a little bit of practice and some patience and it'll get you exactly where you need to be.

(Narrator)>> Coming up, we get to work turning grandma's grocery getter into a pro touring beast.

(Tommy)>> Hey y'all, glad you made your way back. Now ole Marc's been talking quite a bit of smack about my old Buick back here, and that's all swell and good cause you know he's putting a lot of work into that ride of his. Well you know what he's gonna have when he's all said and done? An old Fox body Mustang. So let me give you the inside scoop on my plan. I'm looking to build a refined street car with some grit. It's gonna have modern power, billet wheels, leather interior, some serious suspension, and sweet candy apple paint that'd make your teeth hurt. To kick off our build I knew I needed a solid foundation to build off of. So we took a trip to Grant, Alabama, to Street Rod Garage. These guys have applications for chassis' to fit just about everything, and if they don't have one to fit your ride well they'll design one. That was the case in our situation.

(Chris)>> Here at Street Rod Garage we specialize in building custom chassis for muscle cars, street rods, hot rods, just about anything else.

(Tommy)>> So after a bit of sweet talking we left our Regal with them to use for R&D. This is what they came up with. It's their newest addition in their evolution series chassis. A full custom frame that's boxed front to rear with inner and outer gussets for superior strength. They also narrowed the rear rails a bit to help accommodate for wider rear tires. For the front suspension it's a combination of c-five vette spindles with fabricated tubular upper and lower control arms, and rack and pinion steering. They also added a nice, solid sway bar for good measure. Out back we're running a parallel four link with pan hard bar connected to a beefy Mossier nine inch rear axle with a Wave Track limited slip differential to put the power to the ground. For springs and shocks all four corners have adjustable QA One coil overs. That gives us the ability to dial in that ride whether we're cruising on the streets or making a hot lap at the track. For a power plant I wanted something that was strong and reliable with fuel injection. So I'll bet you can guess what I picked. LS Power! This is a 525 horsepower l-s three from Chevrolet Performance. It's part of their connect and cruise line, and it does just that. It comes with everything you need to do the install, like harness, pedal, e-c-u, transmission and so on. What's really nice about this setup is it comes with all the pieces to the puzzle. So it's a plug and play unit that's ready to go. We're gonna use these plywood wheels so that we can move our chassis around here in the shop. We've got to fit it up under our Buick, and then we can measure for some custom wheels. And I bet you ole Marc's gonna have something to say about them. Y'all just wait for it. ♪ ♪

(Marc)>> All right Tommy, I got this old chassis out of here for you. The hard part's done.

(Tommy)>> Now after you get the old frame out from under there you can pretty much tell that this thing is nowhere near as strong. It's got C-channel here, where that one's boxed. It's got all those gussets. Man that piece is gonna be nice up under here.

(Marc)>> Yeah, plus this whole thing's got to go anyway. Might as well just roll the whole thing out. ♪ ♪

(Narrator)>> Stay with us. We circle the wagons on our new chassis.

(Tommy)>> Hey guys, welcome back to the shop. Well it's finally time for us to marry the motor and transmission together, and hopefully we can slide that thing onto the chassis and get all that up under our Buick.

(Marc)>> Come on down. We need to get the engine spreader bar attached using a few bolts. [ drill spinning ]

(Marc)>> Then we can pick it up off the pallet with our forklift so we can get it into place to mate it to our transmission. ♪ ♪

(Tommy)>> Since we're just mocking it up for now we're not going to install the torque converter.

(Marc)>> All right, let's try that.

(Tommy)>> We'll just secure it with a couple of bolts. [ drill spinning ]

(Marc)>> All you!

(Tommy)>> Up we go! And maneuver it over so that we can install it onto our new chassis. ♪ ♪ So excited!

(Marc)>> Oh, let me get this trans mount on. ♪ ♪ [ drill spinning ]

(Marc)>> All right, come on down. ♪ ♪

(Tommy)>> Fast?

(Marc)>> Preferably not. ♪ ♪

(Tommy)>> Can I help you steady it?

(Marc)>> Just keep an eye on that. See where those mounts fall up front as I'm moving this back. ♪ ♪ And when the big moment comes... ♪ ♪

(Tommy)>> The oil pan's not gonna clear. ♪ ♪

(Marc)>> Oil pan's not gonna clear.

(Tommy)>> So where we're at right now, we need another oil pan to clear our cross member, which isn't no big deal at all. So we're gonna have to order us one of them, but what we can do is still put this thing up under the car just to see where it's at cause it's about that much too high, and I'm sure all this is still gonna have plenty of clearance. So let's just see where it's at. I want to see it in that today. [ drill spinning ] ♪ ♪

(Tommy)>> We can detach our spreader bar and roll the chassis under the body.

(Marc)>> I like your wheel choice Tommy. Are these board Codington's?

(Tommy)>> No, no!

(Marc)>> We'll use a plumb bob to make sure our body mounts are in line with the holes on our new chassis.

(Tommy)>> That's pretty close. ♪ ♪

(Marc)>> Then we can lower the body onto it.

(Tommy)>> We down now.

(Marc)>> Yep, it's down. Well I have to admit Tommy, great engine choice. It looks good in there.

(Tommy)>> Yeah we've still got quite a bit of work to do. We're gonna be enlarging the wheel tubs. Plus you never know. We may accidentally bolt in one of these fancy power adders.

(Marc)>> Yeah you're gonna need it, but all that's gonna have to wait until next time. So until then go to Powernation TV dot com.
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