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Parts Used In This Episode

Advance Plating
Custom Chrome & Powder Coating
Blast From the Past
Sandblasting & Powder Coating

Episode Transcript

(Tommy)>> You're watching Powernation!

(Joel)>> Today on Detroit Muscle we freshen up Fat Stack's fronts and slap on the rest of her chrome plated components along with a tricked out tank to feed this fuel guzzling phenom! [ Music ] [ engines revving ] [ Music ]

(Tommy)>> Hey guys, welcome to Detroit Muscle. Today we've got a couple of projects planned. One is restoration. Second is more replication, but both are all in the efforts of looking good. [ Music ] Ole Fat Stack is kind of an odd car, and with that said it being a '71 Caprice it has a one year only half make grille in it. Now this large egg crate style is actually a pretty sought after piece. Now if you were looking for one of these that was a n-o-s part well you're kinda s-o-l. To find a good used one, well that's just as difficult to find as well. Now looking at this one it's in nice shape. There's no cracks, no breaks, not even any nicks in it. However it does have some corrosion and what I'd like to call some organic material on the surface. Now what we're planning to do with this one is a little bit unorthodox but we hope that it works. With a delicate component like this you know it's 50 plus years old. You've got to take some extra precautions to make sure that you don't tear it up. Now some might think that you can just grab some steel wool and some polish and just have your way with it. The problem with that is you may do more damage than good. What we're gonna be using to brighten up our grille is some corrosion and rust removing solution. Now there's several of these out on the market, and a lot of them do a very similar thing. You basically put it in the solution and it dissolves all that crustiness. Now with our old Road Runner project we used it on some heater controls. It saved a lot of work, and when we were all said and done it did make a dramatic difference. Now you're probably thinking with this big ole grille that we're gonna need a big ole jug of it, like 55 gallons worth, but that's not the case. I'm gonna use a trash bag, a vacuum, and this stuff, and a simple zip tie, and I think we're gonna need a far less amount. [ slow motion ]

(Tommy)>> Now the trash bag that we're using is one of those heavy mill ones. They're a bit more puncture resistant, and if you're working with a grille or something that's got a pokey surface on it you want to pay attention to that. Just trying to finagle this thing in here. Oh yeah! Now we're just gonna dump our solution in here. [ liquid sloshing ] [ Music ]

(Tommy)>> We're gonna use all of it. Now I'm just gonna tie up a trash bag like you would after the Thanksgiving dinner. I'm not choking this thing up all nice and tight. The vacuum's gonna do all that, but I have left a little hole in here and that's where I'm gonna put the end of the vacuum on here and see if I can collapse this bag. [ air hissing ] [ trash bag crinkling ]

(Tommy)>> To make sure that the solution is touching the surface I'm gonna slide it to one side, let it set for a little while, and then come back and rotate back over here. Well we let this thing set overnight and now all we have to do is cut off our zip tie and see what it looks like once we pull it out of the bag. I bet it's gonna look a lot better once it comes out of there. We're also gonna take it out there and give it a quick bath and see exactly what we've got. And oh yeah, it's already shiny. Gotta be a little careful. I don't want to break it. I'm teasing you. I've got it turned around backwards so you can't see it. [ Music ] This is the greatest water sprayer outer there ever was. I'd suck at being a fireman. [ Music ] This is one of those kinda jobs you get to ponder life. So tedious. You focus on just what you're cleaning it'll drive you nuts. [ Music ] [ hose hissing ] [ Music ]

(Tommy)>> I like it, shiny! Not too shabby, except for my water sprayer. [ Music ]

(Joel)>> Up next, we brighten Fat Stack's smile and give her the juice to cut loose. Actually looking forward to having gas.

(Joel)>> Well after a couple of hours of labor ole Tommy has certainly breathed new life back into our old grille, and it looks really nice. Only nine screws later and ole Fat Stack's gonna have her smile back. [ Music ]

One thing I like on these old Caprices is this little emblem up front. You know if you see that in your review mirror the guy behind you means business. It's almost a torque sequence like on an intake. Gotta get all your holes lined up first, start in the center, and work your way out. You crank down on these too much too fast it can actually start to spread the grille in a sense and it'll bind up and actually crack as you're tightening it down. So gotta be really careful, especially at this point in a restoration. I think ole Tommy would be mighty sore at me if I broke his fancy new grille that he just spent hours and hours cleaning up. So fresh and so clean, clean! [ Music ] Tommy and I have a lot of hours into the paint and bodywork on this thing. So before I get this front bumper on I'll go ahead and mask all this paint off just to be safe. [ Music ]

You guys probably remember a little while back we visited our friend Steve Tracey at Advanced Plating and he and his guys took all of the rusty, crusty chrome pieces off ole Fat Stack and applied his proprietary alchemy to wash away over 50 years of grit, grime, and grease, to transform the dull trinkets off our Caprice with worn steel to full on sex appeal. It was pretty cool to see how involved the chrome plating process actually is. It's one of those peek behind the curtain moments you rarely get to see that reveals how the magic happens. Now since the front bumper probably weighs close to 100 pounds I brought in a hired gun. Mister Peyton is gonna help me with the install. I'll give you the heavy end.

(Peyton)>> Oh thank! [ Music ]

(Joel)>> Still good?

(Peyton)>> Yep.

(Joel)>> Good news is this is not awkward or heavy at all!

(Peyton)>> You can come my way a little bit. How about your side? [ Music ] Alright, well I got mine.

(Joel)>> Man, if I did 30 of these a day I might be as fast as those guys on the assembly line. We're continuing to chip away at the block on our '71 Caprice Fat Stack project. Before we get the rear bumper on the fuel tank has to go in. Now the last time you guys saw this thing it wasn't in the greatest shape. Tommy had to do some full on open heart surgery so he could pull out the old sender and make room where we could install the new FiTech setup. After some precise cutting, welding, and a few shots of liquid refreshment the Caprice's not so great gas tank changed from a pumpkin into a carriage that can supply the fuel needed to the heart of this big green fire breathing dragon, but it wasn't quite ready for the glass slipper. So we sent it over to the guys at Blast from the Past and they sand blasted it and powder coated it in this really cool kind of flat silver color. Another thing we did is we went ahead and installed a new factory style sending unit. Even though it's not gonna be the main source of our fuel supply we just needed it for the fuel gauge indicator. Now for our fuel supply for that 840 horsepower supercharged LS is actually gonna be our FiTech in-tank universal pump. One thing about doing a fuel injection system is we always recommend that you use these AN style fittings. There's a reason for that. You've got a lot of pressure going through these fuel lines, and it could be in there from 50 to 60 p-s-i easily. So if you use an old style rubber hose and clamp style for your fuel lines what could happen is all that pressure could literally blow the lines off of whatever you're using and that causes a fire hazard. I don't want that for any of you guys at home any more than you do. Let's get this thing in here. [ Music ] [ drill humming ]

(Joel)>> Ideally this is a two man job, but if you've got a transmission jack like this at home or even if you're doing on the floor with a floor jack, it makes things a little bit easier. Awkward and heavy, luckily there's no fuel in this thing. One time I had this old S-10 ZR-2 pickup and I had to swap the fuel pump on it. I did it in my driveway, and I didn't think ahead. I was a young kid, probably 22, 23, and I still had about three quarters of a tank in there. That was fun! Not my smartest moment but still got the fuel pump swapped. So my lesson for you at home. If you're gonna do this in your own garage drain the fuel tank. [ drill humming ]

(Joel)>> Perfect! This may be one of the few times that I'm actually looking forward to having gas! Well we've got our fuel tank installed, and now it's time to check off another milestone on our '71 Caprice Fat Stack project by installing the rear bumper. It's another straightforward process, very similar to the front only a little bit lighter. [ Music ] [ drill humming ]

(Joel)>> How's she look?

(Peyton)>> Like a new back bumper.

(Joel)>> You know you could almost use that thing to shave. I wouldn't recommend it though. [ Music ] Coming up, I challenge you to say you don't love the T/A.

(Joel)>> Without a doubt one of the coolest perks of working out of the Detroit Muscle shop has got to be the plethora of American muscle cars that we get to wrench on. We try not to discriminate because at the end of the day we're all car guys and we just like what we like. Take Tommy for example. That guys is a tired and true bowtie man at heart. His first car was a '62 Impala, which he still owns to this day, but his favorite is '71 to '76 GM big bodies. No surprise there right. As for me, well my first car was a '69 Chevelle, and my family has owned many different GMs throughout the years. However it's funny to think how our tastes change as we mature. In fact nowadays I consider myself more of a Mopar guy. How can that be. Think about it, '69 Dodge Chargers, '71 Hemi Cudas, all the good stuff. One of my favorites actually didn't come with a 440 or a Hemi. It came with a small block. These factory race ready Mopars packed a mean punch that far exceeded their displacement. No it wasn't the AAR Cuda. I'm talking about his little brother, 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A. [ Music ] A 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A. Those letters stand for Trans Am. A road car series dominated by Z-28s and Boss 302s. Dodge threw its white hat in the ring with a fierce new pony car, and with that a muscle car legend was born.

(Tommy)>> Trans Am rules stated you had to sell what you raced. So the street version was every bit as powerful. It all started with the viscous 340 six pack. That was your only engine choice, and no other Dodge had it.

(Joel)>> Horsepower was underrated at 290. Yeah, try closer to 350. Part of its power came from the innovative snorkel scoop, which was raised an inch above the hood. This helped it avoid the slower, choppier air on the hood's surface.

(Tommy)>> The oval air cleaner sealed direction to the fiberglass hood for maximum air flow. Crack open a six pack and you'll find three two barrel carbs sitting on top of an Edelbrock aluminum intake.

(Joel)>> Keeping with the race imagine, the exhaust exited in front of the rear tires. To achieve this the pies had to do a U-turn inside the mufflers. The T/A was also the first muscle car to come stock with two different size tires. Up front you had two E-60-15s, and in the back a fatter g-60-15s. Front and rear spoilers and a race style gas cap completed the look.

(Tommy)>> The suspension got several upgrades, including the rear leaf springs that had a higher load rating. The front and rear sway bars were stiffer, shocks were heavy duty, and power disc front brakes.

(Joel)>> Inside the T/A a Hurst pistol grip put all that firepower in the balm of your hand. Bucket seats and rally gauges were included, but a/c was n/a on the T/A.

(Tommy)>> The Challenger line debuted in '70. It was built on the all new E-body platform. It shared some styling with its sister car, the Cuda, but Challengers rode on a two inch longer wheelbase. The body line creases, quad headlights, and venturi grille helped to set it apart.

(Joel)>> You can tell a true T/A by the fender tag. It's got to have Trans Am stamped right on it. This all original numbers matching beauty was bought back in 1975, and recently restored to stock.

(Tommy)>> It's definitely a fun car to drive. It's fast and always gets a lot of attention.

(Joel)>> T/As didn't do all that well on the race circuit, though it did make a few top three finishes. Dodge only managed to sell about 2,400, party because the Trans Am package costs over $1,000 bucks! There were plans to offer it again in '71. It even showed up in the Scat Pack brochure, but Dodge was pulling out of racing and the muscle car market started to fade.

(Tommy)>> With its loud exhaust and a 340 six pack you don't need a radio to hear sweet music. The '70 T/A ended up a one year only model, making it highly sought after today. Good luck finding and catching one of these.

(Joel)>> The Challenger T/A was definitely iconic muscle car back in its day. To build something that can stand on its own, well it can be a challenge in itself. I think it's safe to say we're well on down that pack with ole Fat Stack. Up next, we decode a tire trope and carb up a heated topic! You and a buddy could bust this out in a weekend.

(Joel)>> You know guys, we have many different viewers across the entire automotive spectrum. And some of you have been wrenching on cars for decades, while others, you may just be getting started. No matter your level of experience, sometimes it's good to just get back to basics. On my personal opinion, one of the most important aspects of any build will be dictating the stance on your project. Take ole Fat Stack for example. It's low, mean green street machine that's slightly squatted in the rear to give it that perception that it's launching even when it's sitting still. Then there's Road Burner, an aggressive angry looking muscle car with that traditional hot rod rake due to the meaty tires in the back and the skinnies up front. Your tire and wheel size will heavily dictate which direction you want to go. I've got a set of Continental Extreme Contact Sport tires on the table to help guide you through the thought process so that you know you're making the right decision. Most tire manufacturers have a series of letters and numbers stamped on the side wall. The letters are usually gonna dictate a tread style, sub-model, or even a speed rating. While the numbers, those are gonna dictate your size. Now let's take a look at it side by side comparison. Now these two tires are pretty much the same except one is a 245 and the other is a 275. So that difference? Now the next number is gonna be your side tire profile, meaning the real estate going these two directions. So when it comes to stance this is actually the easiest way to do it. If you raise that number on your rear tires it'll give you more of that hot rod rake, just like Road Burner. If you decrease that number the profile becomes smaller, giving your wheel and tire combo that rubber band look. Finally our last number is gonna be your wheel size. On this one it says 20, meaning only a 20-inch rim can fit inside this tire. This is one of the most common mistakes people make when they're ordering tires online or buying from a private seller. So make sure you've got the right wheel size before you order your set. Hopefully all this information helps you find the ideal stance for your ride. Some of the best memories I have growing up working on hot rods with my old man is tuning an old school carburetor on a small block Chevy. Usually when we were done that thing ran like a top. Any more a lot of guys are switching over to modern fuel injection like this setup from FiTech. Why is that? Well that is a very highly heated and debated topic amongst a lot of enthusiasts. Mostly old school guys love being able to just tune a carburetor with a spin of a screwdriver, while a lot of younger guys love that plug and play horsepower. Probably one of the biggest obstacles guys run into on one of these setups is the electronic side of things. Now luckily FiTech has really simplified all of that. Now all you're really gonna need to do is wire in a relay to your fuel pump and a key hot ignition source. From there you've got to tie in a pigtail to your O-2 and your temperature sensor, and that all plugs directly into your main harness on your throttle body. After you've got it all wired up just kick on your monitor, and then you have to input your elevation, engine displacement, target idle r-p-m, and then your WOT tuning, or wide open throttle. If you've ever considered swapping your old carburetor out for modern fuel injection but weren't quite sure of the complications involved you might be surprised to find that these things are a lot simpler than you think. In all reality you and a buddy could bust this out in a weekend. It's time well spent if you ask me. After almost a full year of blood, sweat, and tears ole Fat Stack's looking like a car again. And you know what? It seems like just yesterday we were pulling this thing out of the weeds and look at her now. A refined, refurbished version of her old self. And for the amount of time we've put in today we got a lot of work done. We started off by brightening up Fat Stack's smile by scrubbing out all the tartar and cavities in its grille for a full fledge restoration. Then we bolted on our freshly re-chromed bumpers so that should look good coming and going. Finally we installed the gas tank that's gonna add fuel to the first that will ignite the soul of that supercharged LS. We're closer to finishing Fat Stack than you think. Won't be long now before we're opening it up on the highway and making our neighbors jealous. For now, gotta keep on trucking!
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