Does chrome really make an engine faster?

In the interest of hot rod research we will sacrifice and do this, that’s the kind of folks we are.

While we were cleaning up the V8 engine destined for action in the 1980 Chevrolet shop truck the idea came to do some testing.

We will take one ugly three-fitty Chebby V8 and see if will turn out as a fire breathing Testosterone laden American Vee Eight we hope for by adding stupid amounts of CHROME!  This is what we have amassed so far:

Cheap Chrome

The plan is to see how much Cheap, Chinsey, Crappy, Chinese Chrome we can add to a small block! Maybe we can cover the whole thing!

Cheap Chrome Cost

We have spent a whopping $163.74 for all the chrome above. After time and material it is actually cheaper to buy a chrome altenator bracket that what it would cost to clean, prime and paint the same!
Crazy huh?

1980 Chevrolet Truck headers

$149.00 for stainless headers. I could not even buy the material for that.

This is actually the ANTI chrome project!


Chevrolet shop truck get some attention

The 1980 Chevrolet Plain Jane shop truck has been ignored for too long. It got a set of Buick Road Wheels a while back and that definitely helped the looks but it was still lacking power (and the right sound!)

I like the 70’s and 80’s Chevrolet truck as they are soo simple and cheap to work on. Parts are available everywhere, both new and reproduction.

The tail lights needed attention. Your Humble Editor is plagued by a serious allergy to cracked lenses. Cracked lenses is a sign of ignorance and lack of respect for the vehicle…did I make that clear? Not the lens, the statement!


1980 Chevrolet Truck tail light old

These old lenses aren’t making it. Also, they are the plain version without chrome.

1980 Chevrolet Truck tail light new

Adding the Silverado style light with chrome bezels adds to the look. The fact that I spent six bucks on brand new lenses did not hurt either! Also, as you know, a fair amount of chrome make the vehicle go faster and offers better fuel mileage.

1980 Chevrolet Truck tailgate

Now that’s a nice tail! (Uh, I said tail!) I plan to raise the bumper closer to the tail gate and add a heavy duty trailer hitch.

1980 Chevrolet Truck new windshield front

I also had the cracked front windshield replaced and added the chrome trim that goes around the shield. It really brightened up the rig. The total cost was $190.00…installed. Can’t argue with that.

1980 Chevrolet Truck side

There she is…I think I got a really decent shop truck for not much money. Now I think we need to match the good looks with some power.

1980 Chevrolet Truck engine 6 cyl

This truck is powered by an anemic 4.1 liter six cylinder engine. I have tried to destroy this engine so I have a reason to replace it with a V8 but no go. I have brought it way past it’s rev limit and you can hear the engine and long crank go in to some sort of harmonic (not so harmonic ;-)) convulsions…but no, it takes a licking and keeps on ticking, just like that Timex watch.

Nevertheless, it has no power so out it goes.

1980 Chevrolet Truck 350 V8

Mr. Goodwrench to the rescue. I found this three-hundred-and-fifty cubic inch American Power Plant in a van on Whidbey Island. I heard it run before it was pulled and it sounded great.

Interesting Fact: According to the American Journal of Hot Rod Doctors: Nine out of ten doctors say that men have cancelled their boner pills after installing an American V8.

Remember what I said about Chevrolet and cheap? Let’s just use inexpensive instead, it sounds better. Aftermarket chrome for these engines is as common as overpaid athletes on steroids.

So let’s find some…ahem…inexpensive chrome for this fine power plant. As we already discussed, a fair amount of chrome can make any engine develop more power…honest. I think we need some headers as well.

Stand by for shiny stuff!

More later…

Let’s check out the car corral at the swap meet

Some swap meets have an area set aside for just complete cars and this is a walk through one of them.

Let’s take a stroll:

1964 Plymouth Sport Fury

How about an arrest-me-red 1964 Plymouth Sport Fury? With a Hi Performance 440, 727 Auto it should be a fun car.

Buick Cop Car

Drive around and pull people over in this vintage cop car.

1948 Dodge deLuxe 2 door

Best value at the swap: 1948 Dodge De Luxe 2 door.

1948 Dodge deLuxe 2 door rear

1948 Dodge deLuxe 2 door interior

Your humble Editor need another car like I need a hole in my head but I was close to take this one home. I just love the excessive use of chrome in the grille and dashboard.  How can you not love that steering wheel? This is an older restoration but still in nice condition and it would make a great cruiser stock or modified.

1959 Buick flat top rear

How about a Delta Winged Flyer? The 1959 Buick 4 door hard top makes for a very stylish car.

1959 Buick flat top side

I am not feeling the sixties era Riviera wheels on the car but that is an easy fix. Stock Electra hub cabs and wide white walls would make this car pop.


1959 Buick flat top

OK, I admin it! I was very close to take this one home as well until I reminded myself that my garage is only 25 feet deep! The GM four door hard top cars from 1959-1960 offers great styling.

That’s all folks…go to a swap and buy a cool vintage car and DRIVE it!


Cult car For Sale: 1982 Volvo 245 GLT Turbo 4 speed OD

The Volvo Turbo was introduced with the 1981 model year in the US. In 1982 Volvo did something that changed the perception of the parental units boring station wagon: They introduced the Turbo wagon. It was the first turbo charged station wagon in North America.  All the sudden the boring and boxy Volvo changed from being bought by nerdy engineers, pipe smokers and slide rulers to now being enjoyed by hip middle class suburbanites that wanted in on the new image…and the speed!

1983 Volvo Turbo baggage handler

The Volvo Turbo is listed as one of the top ten turbo charged cars of all times by Popular Mechanics.

Up for sale is a one family owner car. I bought it with intention to keep it but I just do not have time.

1982 Volvo 245 GLT Turbo clean

The car has only 170,000 miles on it. It runs and drives excellent. The transmission is very smooth and the overdrive goes in and out smoothly. It is completely rust free and appears to have all original paint on it.

However, it does not move in reverse. It goes in just fine but the overdrive slips in reverse. It could be anything from a bad o-ring on the overdrive solenoid to a worn cone clutch.

The seller was nice to share all receipts from day one. Checking the engine oil revealed very clean fluid. Oil was changed recently. Looking at the stack of receipts it turns out that oil was also changed religiously. That’s a good thing. Also, another receipt confirms that the turbo unit has been replaced and upgraded with a water cooled turbo. That is a really good thing. Turn out that the heater fan has also been replaced and that’s a really, really good thing as it is an extensive job. The oil pressure gauge shows 5 bars immediately after starting. The Michelin tires have lots of tread left.


1982 Volvo 245 Turbo for sale rear

1982 Volvo 245 Turbo for sale, interior

All the factory accessory floor mats are present and in nice condition.


1982 Volvo 245 Turbo for sale, rear seat

The interior is in excellent condition with no tears. It has never been smoked in. It still smells like a new Volvo inside. The dash has some cracks in it. It has the factory AM-FM cassette unit.

1982 Volvo 245 Turbo for sale, door panel

The map pockets on each side are perfect.

1982 Volvo 245 Turbo for sale, cargo area

The cargo area is super clean. The car also have a trailer hitch.

1982 Volvo 245 Turbo for sale, front end

The front chrome bezels and grille is in excellent condition.

1982 Volvo 245 Turbo for sale rear hinges

Even the chrome on the rear hinges is perfect. These are usually pitted on these Volvos.

1982 Volvo 245 Turbo for sale door

The car has some scrapes and bruises but with the original paint you can see what you get.

Contact me via EMAIL

Crusing Linköping, Sweden

So you think America is the only place where motor heads cruise?

Well, that would be…incorrect. Check out these pictures fresh from Sweden. This is a Thursday night cruise that goes on all summer long in Linköping, Sweden.  All cars American are popular as well as some European classics.

As you can see, the quality of these cars rivals any car in the US.






How about a 1970 Camaro Z-28 muscle car?



This is a little too much ZZ Top for your Humble Editor but as they say in Sweden: Taste is like the rump: divided.



1970 El Camino next to a late forties Ford.

Cars like these could be seen in the US in the 50’s but this is 2013 and in Sweden. Traditional hot rods are a big thing in Sweden.


All the right stuff and the right look. Don’t know about the pimp mobile besides it but it looks like the all get along.



I was told that a lot of rubber is laid down once these folks decide to call it an evening.

There you have it. Now get out and cruise!

Photo: Lars Åström

Still Out There, vintage tin waiting for someone to rescue

We continue our series Still Out There.

Vintage tin is still sitting around for someone to save them from the crusher. I don’t know where these cars are today or if they still are around but that’s not the point.

Go out on a car or truck safari sometime.

Here is some inspiration:

Skoda Cabriolet

How about a super rare Russian Skoda convertible? Stock or custom, it could be cool.

Scoda Cabriolet 2

The interior could clean up very well. A turbo charged 4 cyl with a five speed? You would be the ONLY one at the car show!

Old Volvo 122S Sedan

Since we are looking at furrin’ material…here is a 1962? Volvo with the old style grille. Could make for a nice car if fixed up. Still being driven at this point.


Volvo 122 wagon

More Swedish iron. This 1967 wagon is a desirable car for vintage Volvo enthusiasts.

Black Falcon



This flat black Falcon was being used as a daily driver. I can think of worse cars. I think some shiny paint and it will be someone’s cruiser.

Chevrolet Monte Carlo

1970 Monte Carlo as seen outside a tire shop. It is fun to see nice iron being used as daily drivers as opposed to the standard econo boxes. This car is sporting the worlds longest hood. Cool design. The Monte Carlo was actually built on the Chevelle cowl. That actually opens up some possibilities: The Chevelle was available as a convertible. Imagine a Monte convertible. Someone needs to do this. Just saying!


Econolines anyone? These have some cool lines and deserves to be rescued. In these early 60’s vans you can still see the Edsel DNA in the head light surrounds.

Do yourself a favor…find a vintage car, truck or motor cycle and fix it up to your liking and then DRIVE IT !


Rolf Coupe, 2.0 hits the road: “The Roller Nailer”

I got several e-mails and messages about this car so I best give it a proper intro.

I was asked to build a model A hot rod similar to the old red “Rolf Coupe” as you guys call it. The cool thing with this is that I could improve on areas where I learned from the first build.

The customer is a Buick enthusiast so a Nailhead was a given. The 425 Nailhead is built to the hilt including a high lift roller cam. That gave the car it’s name: The “Roller Nailer”

It has taken WAY too long to build this car. I have gone through two back surgeries, sold a home, bought another, sold a business, bought another…my customer has been incredible patient but I think he is pretty happy with it.

The plan was to build a similar car but this time with shiny paint and high detailing. I’m am the first to say that the car is not an era correct car but it’s built in a certain style that qualify as sort of old timey.

We opted for the best solutions like Lincoln brakes, radial tires (yup, the slicks are built on radial cores) and the Cooker Classics bias-ply-look-alike tyres upfront do not offend most traditionalists. The interior is European leather and the carpets is Euro square weave material. It smells like a new Mercedes inside.

Well, we made it to the NSRA meet last weekend. I still have a few things to finish before GoodGuys in Puyallup but it is manageable. I have some issues with the carburetors that I have to dig in to it.

Sorry for crappy overexposed photos, I was in a hurry.

1930 Model A Hot Rod top


1930 Model A Hot Rod interior

The red leather looks great against the black paint. Instruments are 1956 Chrysler.

A Muncie four speed hides under the swan shifter.

1930 Model A Hot Rod rear

Ford 9 inch with limited slip keeps the slippage limited.

1930 Model A Hot Rod front

1930 Model A Hot Rod 425 nailhead engine

The reason we opted for the Rochesters as they will feed this thirsty monster better than a set of Strombergs.

There you have it, see some of you at GoodGuys in late July.