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Cars > BigChevyJoe’s Garage > Blog


76 El Camino

By BigChevyJoe

This is/was (was in the sense that I've since sold this car) a '76 El Camino. It had a 350 (HP unknown - let's just say it was a typical '76 rating). It did have a 4 barrel and duel well as power steering and power disk brakes. It was originally equipped with A/C, although it no longer worked by the time I got it.

I had bought this car because I wanted an inexpensive truck with some "cool factor". This seemed to meet my needs. The photos are flattering & allow the viewer to overlook many of the car's cosmetic flaws. It ran well - that is to say it didn't smoke, leak, ping or knock, but it wasn't a performance powerhouse.

One of my sons had a very nice Silverado. That was an enabler for me to sell this El Camino and continue to pursue my goal of owning at least one of everything ever made.

Challenger Upgrades

By BigChevyJoe

For my 50th Birthday, I got;

1. Kit to transform my Challenger's hood scoop into an air-induction set-up.
2. Diablo Predator U7135 Performance Program kit
3. Car cover

My Challenger is kept in the garage. Even so, Birds come in the garage (& poop on it), we all (esp. me) open that garage door at least once a day and it often drips water on the Challenger and many other harmful things that can happen – so why not cover it? My 'Vette is covered...My son's '66 Caprice is covered...they're both in the garage...And now, so is my Challenger.

I had heard that Dodge was coming-out with the “MOPAR Edition” Challenger and that it would have a T/A hood that was fully functioning (mine was closed and only for “looks”). At the 2011 Chrysler’s at Carlisle, I talked to the MOPAR Performance representative about the new T/A hood on the “MOPAR Edition” Challengers and ask if a “conversion kit” might be available for us pre-2011 Challenger owners – he said that by mid-2011, a kit would be available.

When I “ordered” the car, I got it with the T/A hood & the Cold-Air-Induction kit – So it was staged perfectly for the next step. That step iswas: Forced Air Induction.

For my 50th birthday, I got the kit to transform my dormant T/A hood, into the 2010-Dodge-Version for Forced-Air-Induction.

Additionally, I got Diablo's Sport Predator Performance Tuning kit. This thing is cool! Yeah, I'm old-school & low-tech when it comes to cars. But I'm coming around... This was order for my car – a 2010 Challenger RT Automatic.

Keep in mind, my Challenger was tuned to run on 87 octane fuel from the factory...thus, it was leaving a lot of HP untapped. After filling the tank with a fresh batch of Sunoco's 93 octane fuel, I applied the performance tune. I was pleasantly surprised to find-out that I could applied dyno-tested performance tunes that were:

1. 93 Octane
2. 93 Octane with Cold-Air-Induction
3. 91 Octane
4. 91 Octane with Cold-Air-Induction
5. Manufacture's stock tune
6. My car's original – which was save before the process began
7. Economy tune to get even better gas mileage on 87 Octane fuel
8. ...Or, Customize the tune. But Why bother? The other tunes are dyno-tested.

Having the Cold-Air-Induction, the “forced-air-induction” and full tank of Sunoco's 93 octane fuel (I ran-out the 87 octane & filled-up the night before), obviously I went with the 93 Octane with Cold-Air-Induction tune.

I had took today off & went down to a part of our local bypass that has lots of room & little traffic. I did four test runs;

1. Power braking with the Traction Control disengaged
2. Power braking with the Tracking Control engaged.
3. Flat-footing it with the Traction Control disengaged
4. Flat-footing it with the Traction Control engaged

Out of the four tests, #1 & #4 aligned best to the car's liking. I'm “taking the 5th”...but based on these less than scientific test; I'd guess that I could run through a ¼ mile trap-light at somewhere between 115-120 MPH with little to no traction loss at the line. Once I take it to the track, I'll post some more objective & less incriminating data.

With all this technology & the performance gains, I'm reminded of what GTO from Two Lane Black had to say “I was online”!

Christmas Splash Guards for the Challenger

By BigChevyJoe

For Christmas & my 50th birthday I received several upgrades to my Challenger – I've applied them all.

For Christmas I got Front Splash Guards.

Believe it or not, this car didn't come with front splash guards (aka mud-flaps). I ordered them as dealer installed options, but they weren't available at that time. Now the car has them. I think it looks more complete.

"Final" Tire & Wheel Combo on Ben's 66 Caprice

By BigChevyJoe

Here's my son's Caprice with the latest tire & wheel combination. This should be the final combination, but these things are rarely permanent.

I got these tires, wheels & trim rings from 66HardTop. They were on this '69 Camaro. Since they're 14's, they fit nicely on this car and no modifications were required to fit them on it.

Since this car rides & drives so well, I was really reluctant to raise it.

66 Caprice

By BigChevyJoe

Here's Ben's '66 Caprice. We put on a set of Rally Wheels just to mock it up. This won't be the final tire & wheel treatment - but it gives a good baseline.

Notice that I've buffed-out the hood. The rest of the car will get buffed as the summer continues...

Big Chevy Joe is BACK!

By BigChevyJoe

Check it out! I just bought this 66 Caprice. It's the proverbial "barn find"...It has less than 32K miles, protect-o-plate, no rust & no dents. It has been unmolested.

It has had one repaint, the original lacquer is cracked & showing through what I must assume is enamel paint...which has become discolored.

I am featuring the day one photos. I can't say that this 283/PG car will win a national championships, but I can say without too much uncertainty that it will look better (and soon).

I have bought this car for my son. I think that I'm going to call it; 66BC as in 1966 Ben's Caprice.

Stay posted if you'd like to see it transition...

I'm back!

BTW - Props out to 66HardTop who helped me get her home! I appreciate your help! BCJ


By BigChevyJoe

I didn't know that there were 2 door Full-Sized Chevy Stations Wagons after the 1957 Nomad. I realized that Chevy continued to use the Nomad badge, but it was used on a 4 door Wagon. Tonight on Barrett-Jackson, I saw (& had it resonated with me) a 1958 Chevy Yoeman 2 Door Wagon.

For more information see: http://www.58...n-wagons.html

This peeked my curiosity, thus I pondered; When did Chevy stop making Full-Sized (not Chevelles) 2 door Station Wagons? I had found that the Yoeman version was dropped in 1959, but instead the Brookwood was offered in either a 2 or 4 door configuration.

FYI – It was only about a year or two ago that I realized that Chevy had made a Full-Sized model called the Brookwood...It goes to prove that it's never too late to learn something new.

For more information on the 1959s see: http://www.59...-wagons.html.

Thus I pondered; Where did end?...What was the last Full-Sized Chevy 2 door Station Wagon?

It wasn't 1960 – See: http://www.60.../chevy826.htm

It seems as though 1961 was the last year for Brookwood – But I can't find any reference to a 2 Door Stations Wagon. Does anyone know if one was made?

What I'm really getting at is this; Was 1960 the last year that Chevy made a Full-Sized 2 door Station Wagon? If you know that answer, I'd like to hear it?


IT'S BACK....And gone again.

By BigChevyJoe

I had owned this Dakota from 1996 to 2001. I had bought it new & then sold it to a friend and coworker. In the Fall of 2002, I had bought a 2003 RAM 1500 Quad-Cab. The guy who bought the Dakota had been saying all along that he'd buy the RAM whenever I was ready to sell it. Last month he bought the RAM & I bought the Dakota back.

And now (April 2011) I've sold it again. I haven't been driving it...It's often in the way...and I'm glad to see it going to a good home.


By BigChevyJoe

Even though my Garage-Handle is BigCHEVYJoe, I'm buying another Mopar. Within a week or so, I should have my new Challeger Classic RT. It will be Torred Red with a T/A Hood.

I'm also adding an extra set of Floor Mats, Cargo Mat for the Trunk, Front & Rear Splash Guards & a Cold Air Intake Kit.

I'm letting go of '03 RAM Quad-cab...So long ole Friend!

The one that wish I had back...

By BigChevyJoe

It was just a 283 2 barrel car with a power-glide & 10 bolt rear...heck, it wasn't even a Super Sport, but I really liked this '67 Impala. For every part that was even a little sub-standard, I had New Old Stock to replace it.

When I was having my current house built, I had my '71 Nova & '74 Scottsdale for sale - I ended-up selling this Impala too.

If I would have kept it, it would have gotten at least 327 upgrade - perhaps a 396 or bigger. I would enhanced the brakes, rear & transmission too - I'm sure of it.

The plan was to get it re-painted (again White) and install all of the new parts - I didn't have a new drive train lined-up when I sold it - but I was always looking.

Again, because I was building a new house, money was tight - I had had the opportunity to buy a 4 door '67 Caprice that had 427/385, TH300, PDB & tilt wheel - I have always wished that I would have bought that Caprice & kept the Impala. Instead of simply stripping (i.e. destroying the Caprice), I believe that I would have put the all of the low HP components on the Caprice & the Hi-HP stuff on the Impala.

I'm sure many of the Garage Owners have similar stories - that was my story of the one that I wished I had kept.

New Cars and one old(er) own

By BigChevyJoe

As promised, I've posted pictures of the '08 Kia Optima & the '01 Grand Caravan. Yeah, yeah,'s a "boring sedan" and the other is a minivan - but each has it's good points. That Kia would probably blow the doors off of my Corvette - it's got a 168 HP, the Vette has only 185. And the minivan is loaded - it has always sort of reminded me of one of those (ex.) Caprice wagons of yester-year that could be a great donor car for hot rodding a smaller, more desireable platform (no offensive intended for any Caprice andor wagon owners out there). Any way, they're not the coolest cars - but, they're there.

I bought my Corvette in October & posted it immediately...I bought my daughter the '02 Cavalier for her birthday & posted it immediately...but I've owned a '01 Grand Caravan Sport since 2001 and '08 Kia Optma since Spring 2008 that have not been posted yet...The next time I wash each of them, I'll photograph them & post 'em.

Feb. 8, 2008 - I've posted the Kia.


By BigChevyJoe

A Little Gun History Lesson

In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, 13 million Jews and others, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and

Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Uganda est ablished gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million 'educated' people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.

It has now been 12 months since gun owners in Australia were forced by new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by their own government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500 million dollars.

The first year results are now in:

Australia-wide, homicides are up 3.2 percent.
Australia-wide, assaults are up 8.6 percent.
armed robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent)!

In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms are now up 300 percent. Note th at while the law-abiding citizens turned them in, the
criminals did not, and criminals still possess their guns!

It will never happen here! I bet the Aussies said that too!

While figures over the previous 25 years showed a steady decrease in armed robbery with firearms, this has changed drastically upward in the past 12 months, since criminals now are guaranteed that their prey is unarmed.

There has also been a dramat ic increase in break-ins and assaults of the ELDERLY. Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public safety has decreased, after such monumental effort and expense was expended in successfully ridding Australian society of guns. The Australian experience and the other historical facts above prove it.

You won't see this data on the US evening news, or hear politicians disseminating this information.

Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws adversely affect only the law-abidi ng citizens.

Take note my fellow Americans, before it's too late!

The next time someone talks in favor of gun control, please remind him of this history lesson.

With Guns...........We Are "Citizens."
Without Them........We Are "Subjects."

During W.W.II, the Japanese decided not to invade America because they knew most Americans were ARMED!

Note: Admiral Yamamoto who crafted the attack on Pearl Harbor had attended Harvard U 1919-1921 &was Naval Attaché to the US 1925-28. Most of our Navy was destroyed at Pearl Harbor &our Army had been deprived of funding &was ill prepared to defend the country.

It was reported that when asked why Japan did not follow up the Pearl Harbor attack with an invasion of the US Mainland, his reply was that he had lived in the US & knew that almost all households had guns.

Bel Air vs. Biscayne

By BigChevyJoe

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

Not everyone understands the difference between a Bel Air, Biscayne or an Impala. Thus, I'm going to do my best to try to explain the differences and similarities. The Bel Air line had changed after the introduction of the Impala (1958) and Caprice (1965) lines, so all of my comments are based on the 1966 Chevrolets.

The cars are similar in that they're both Sedans (aka post cars). I've heard them referred to as "post coupes", but I don't really like that phrase. Unlike their Impala & Caprice siblings (which are hardtops), the sedans have a “post” around the side windows and another “post” between the front & rear entry ways. Biscaynes and Bel Airs share the same body (with the exception of how some panels are drilled - see below). Both cars generally (with the exception of their respective badging) share the same dashboard and steering wheel. Both Bel Airs and Biscaynes share the same rear bumpers and tail lights. Bel Airs and Biscaynes share the same glass, interior & exterior window moldings and rear view mirrors. Neither Biscaynes, nor Bel Airs came with a trunk mat.

Biscaynes are more austere than Bel Airs. Biscaynes did not have body side moldings (aka “spears”), nor did they have stainless steal gutter moldings - Bel Airs did have that trim. Biscaynes had rubber floor mats and more plain door panels & seat upholstery. Bel Airs had carpeted floors and fancier door panels & seat upholstery.

An easy and convenient way to think of a Bel Air is, it’s sort of like an Impala sedan -or- the middle ground on the luxurycomfort scale between Impalas and Biscaynes.

There are still many differences between Impalas and Bel Airs (more than just the doors & roof lines). Impalas have very different interiors; door panels, head liners, seats, upholstery, dashboards and steering wheels. Although both Impalas and Bel Airs have body side moldings, each car’s molding is different. An Impala has three tail light sections per side, Bel Airs and Biscaynes had only two. Impalas have their back-up lights in the rear bumper, Bel Airs and Biscaynes have their back-up lights in the tail lights.

All 1966 Full Sized Chevys share the same grille and front bumper. Generally their hoods & front fenders are the same. Biscaynes and Bel Airs share the same hood - both are not drilled for the “hood spear” - Impala’s and Caprice’s are drilled. Although the front fenders are generally the same, every ‘66 Full Sized Chevy’s front fenders are drilled slightly different. Biscayne’s & Caprice’s aren’t drilled for body side molding - but Caprice’s are drilled for rocker panel molding. Bel Air’s and Impala’s are drilled for bodying side molding - but Impala’s are drilled for rocker panel moldings.

Hopefully, I have explained the differences and similarities between several of the ‘66 Full Sized Chevys. There are probably things that I haven’t described, but I believe that I covered the major attributes. In my opinion and based on my experience, Bel Airs are generally the most difficult 1966 Full Sized Chevys to restore. The Bel Air exclusive trim & interior pieces are (generally) not reproduced - so N.O.S. (if available) or nice used parts are many times the only options.

When shopping for ‘66 2 door sedan, beware or “Biscaynes” that are converted Bel Airs - there are many of these cars out there. I believe that most “restorers” convert their Bel Airs to appear to be Biscaynes out of the ease of access to Biscayne trim. The easiest way to spot a (in my opinion) poorly Bel Air to Biscayne convertion is; Look for stainless steal gutter strips - If the “Biscayne” you’re looking at has these, I’d bet that it was a Bel Air. Since Biscaynes generally have better name recognition, some sellers don’t even try to discriminate, they’ll actually call their Bel Air a Biscayne in their advertisements - that’s how I found my Bel Air.

Daily Driver

By BigChevyJoe

Most of my albums are of cars that I've recently sold (i.e. that I no longer own). I've decided to add one that I still own, even if that car is a truck. I've posted pictures of my '03 Ram Quad Cab 1500 Short Bed SLT. I've owned a lot of vehicles and many other trucks - this own is my all time favorite. I love driving this truck. It's nothing that special, but with the SLT package it's pretty loaded-up. It has the Infinion sound system, so it has a one kick butt stereo (for stock) and power everything. It's not a Hemi, just a 4.7 liter V8, with a 5 speed (over drive) A/T, 4 wheel drive and posi rear.

'65 Chevy Bel Air Wagon - Parts Car

By BigChevyJoe

A friend of mine has a nearly complete '65 Chevy Bel Air Wagon. This car is available as a whole car or he will sell parts. I personally wouldn't try to restore this one, but is got lot of good stuff.

The car is a '65 Bel Air wagon. Originally white with a red interior. It was originally a 283 power-glide - the engine has been replaced with a circ '70s 350, although the original intake, carb, ignition and exhaust manifolds appear to have been reused. It had power steering, which has already been sold. As of last 1/19/08 it still had many interesting parts; good grille, decent front & rear bumpers, excellent side spears, good "Bel Air" scripts, good glass (exept for windshield), complete interior & dash, original Harrison radiator, the bracket to hold the windshield washer fluid bottle. The car is located in Oxford, PA.

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