Sunday, January 31, 2016

Chevy vs. Ford: The Classic Car Guy’s Debate

Chevy vs. Ford: 

 The Classic Car Guy’s Debate

  -Alan Arnell

My friend Marvin was driving his pristine all red 1955 Chevy into a car show.  Blocking the way to his parking spot was a Ford Mustang.  Marvin called out, “Does that car need a push?”   All of us Chevy guys snickered and the Ford guys failed to see the humor.  

I have been hearing this type of humor and debate about Chevy vs. Ford my whole life.  For as long as there has been Chevys and Fords you have had proponents and detractors of each brand. But why?  I never have given it much thought until now.  I asked myself, why am I such a strong Chevy

For many a car enthusiast it was because the family car was always one brand. Looking further, I think you will find that the patriarch of the family had a strong brand preference that was passed down.   It could also go back as far as to what Grandpa chose to drive.  It very well could be that your family has for generations had just one brand brand of automobile.  

My love for Chevys came from another place.  My dad was a Dodge man.  My grandfather's were Chrysler and Ford men. And, typically my grand mothers could care less.  As you might know, that trend has switch as most cars are marketed to women.  Generally, in the traditional family today the mom picks out the car or at least, the color.

As I have said in past blogs and I will say again, the automobile has lost most of its admiration of the
male side of the human race, because men do not have to work on cars all the time to keep a it running.  Maybe not a bad thing, but a thing none the less.

I became a Chevy man by default and for reverence to my older neighborhood car nuts.  My first car was a 1969 Chevelle Malibu.  Don’t get excited, it was a 307 cubic inch engine, two speed-slip n slide powerglide all on 14 inch-steel wheels. Only after many bolted on aftermarket parts could I get the old beast over 100 MPH.  I didn’t race unless I wanted to lose.  But hey, It was practically the teenage dream in the 70’s.  I put air shocks on along with slotted aluminum wheels.  Wide track tires in the back and a custom Maaco jade-green paint job.

My first car restoration 1974.
For power enhancements, I added a stock four barrel intake manifold and a four barrel Quadrajet carburetor.  The parts were off a SS Chevy Nova, that I would brag to anyone who would look under my car’s hood.  Yellow spark plug wires, custom weights in the distributor and dual exhaust with
My first car in 1976.
Cherry Bomb mufflers.  I made the typical “Hot Rod” of the time, that was the envy of many in my high school. Still there is nothing you can do to make a Chevy 307 engine fast other than replacing it with at least a 350.  Without the social media and video games of today working on and driving that car around my neighborhood was my major time killer.

So, I fell into having my first car be a Chevy, because the motor went south in my family’s car.  Rather than trade it in my dad gave the car to me to keep me out of the house competing with him over the three channel TV.  Why did my dad have a Chevy Malibu piece of junk to give me?  He only

bought the car because he stumbled on a good deal when his Dodge became too much of a piece of junk to drive to work.  He had only had the Dodge for 16 years.  To my father, cars were just transportation and a money pit.  His only pride in cars was in how much money he did not spend on them!  We did not have a radio in a family car until you could not buy cars without a radio in the late 70’s. I love you Dad!

I became a Chevy man therefore by default, but the coup de gras was the fact that my John Milner and all the kids older than me with hot rod cars were devout Chevy guys.  Not a Ford guy among
them. The final cherry on the cake was that my dad’s best friend was a Chevy guy.

An excerpt from my blog that will help explain my obsession with the Tri Five Chevrolet the Texas Classic Chevy Experience, The Beginning,

“When I became interested in cars in 1963, there were several kids in the neighborhood that were 10 or more years older than myself that were hot rodding '57 Chevys. I used to watch them tearing around the neighborhood in their '57’s with reverse chrome wheels and no front bumper up until my early teens.  I was so enamored, I even made a plastic model of what my '57 would look like if I had one.  Of course it had no front bumper, was painted yellow, with an off centered racing stripe and multiple “STP” and Moon stickers. How else would you want you Tri-Five to look? To this day many, many years later, I still have that model car, that I constructed during my single digit years as a boy.”
A Model I made in the mid 60's of what I believed a Tri-Five should look like.

The Car that started it all, Bud's Tri-Five Corvette.
Bud was also in the mindset of not spending money on transportation.  Except unlike my father who kept his cost down with thrift, Bud being a mechanic by trade would buy wrecked and or mechanically totaled cars to fix up to drive and later sell.  He as quite the guy and parlayed his vast knowledge of mechanical things to become a professor at the local community college. Both he and my father were my true hero's and the main reason why I chose a career in education.  

He was also into Corvettes. My fondest 
very-young memories were of Bud and my father driving Bud’s light blue 1957 Corvette with me sitting on my dad’s lap.  Years after the ‘57 was sold, Bud also bought a 1967 427 cubic inch red Corvette that had been a totaled.  That car was one of my biggest fantasies as a youth.  Even though Bud and my father are no longer with us the Vette is still in Bud’s family and in my dreams. And, still I might add, after 40 years the Vette is not completely restored but as a family the car is almost finished.  How about that for a family legacy!
Bud's Corvette on the way to completion by his children in 2016.

Bud's Vette Circa 1975

With all that being said, I have mainly bought Chevys throughout my life as daily grocery getters.  For hobby cars I have also bought Chevys.  My hobby car now is a 1957 Chevrolet Model 150 2-door post. My daily driver is a 2009 Silverado pickup truck.   I am Bowtie to the max!

I can not understand why, but this auto brand loyalty thing is widespread and not only limited to Chevys?  A Ford man feels just as strongly about his Ford, a Dodge man, a mopar man, etc.  If you ask them you will find they have as strong or maybe even stronger opinions about about their brand
as I do for Chevys.  Many times once an auto manufacturer puts their grubby hooks into a customer they may not only have him, but his entire family line for generations to come?

My wife’s dad was a Ford man.  After we married my wife finally dropped that bombshell on me.  I was aghast.  All I could say was, “I thought you were raised better than that!”

My auto brand loyalty was shaped during a different time.  During that time cars that were bought, sold and hot rodded were American made.  There was the Beetle but does that really count? There was not that much of a difference in price between a Chevrolet and a Ford back then.

As for the “Greatest Generation” certainly pricing played a role in their decision.  That is true to my grandpa.  He could buy a Model T for 10 dollars in the 30’s and 40’s.  That was all he needed on the farm.  He never drove more than 10 miles from home.  If he wanted to take the 100 mile trip to Kansas City, he took a train.

For those hot rodders that came of age in 30’s the best performing engine you could get was the V-8 Ford Flathead.  That is what my uncle drove as well as Bonny and Clide.  During the age of the late 50’s and 60’s it was Tri Five Chevys because of the fabulous small block Chevy engine.  See “Ode
to the Fins” blog post for a better understanding of the love for Tri Five Chevys. Here is a link to that blog post:

All in all brand loyalty comes down to faith in your car choices.  Faith is a complete trust or confidence in your decision, in this case, for choosing a car to own.  The human condition enhances this sense of trust to defend one’s decision.  In the beginning, as is true today, all everyone wants is to get their money's worth when buying a car.  For me in my developing years for that reason and all the rest is why I chose Chevy!

More history  of Chevy vs. Ford from Auto

Ford vs. Chevy
At the turn of the last century, Henry Ford put America on the road. His Model T was cheap, reliable, and it came in black. By 1920, over half of the cars in America were made by Ford. But Henry’s cross-town rival Billy Durant had other ideas.

Chevrolet was started in 1912, as a way for Durant to raise the capital he needed to reacquire General Motors. Several years earlier, his bankers had voted him out of his own company. So he teamed with famous racing driver Louis Chevrolet, and started one of the best known car brands in the world.

Durant’s plan worked, and he bought his way back into the chairman’s seat of GM in 1916. Henry Ford had already sold a ton of Tin Lizzy’s by that time, and he’d go on to sell 16.5 million copies of his Ford Model T. Chevrolet on the other hand, was nowhere near that kind of volume. In fact, their first best-seller wouldn’t come until 1958, when they introduced the Chevrolet Impala. That 2-ton hunk of Americana would go on to sell 14+ million copies. Ford had control of the “mass market”, but Chevrolet had control of the “cool factor”.

During the muscle car war of the 1960’s, the whole Ford vs. Chevy thing really heated up. The wildly popular Ford Mustang finally had a bow-tied competitor by 1967. “Shaped for Speed”, the 1967 Chevy Camaro had “a big-car engine” and “a big-car stance”. By the time the Camaro went of production in 2002, nearly 5 million copies had been sold. The Ford Mustang on the other hand, had sold 8.3 million copies by ‘02.

On a more practical front, Ford trucks vs. Chevy trucks is where you’ll find the most die-hard fans. Ford truck owners couldn’t live without their smooth ride, or bullet-proof motors. Chevy truck loyalists are just as adamant about their high-horsepower engines, and luxurious interiors. Since the reliability and capability are pretty much even between the 2013 Ford F-150 & 2013 Chevy Silverado, your choice between Chevy trucks vs. Ford trucks pretty much boils down to a matter of taste.

#Classicchevy #TriFive #ClassicCar #Chevy #Chevrolet #Belair #Carshow #Custom
#Musclecar   #HotRod #StreetRod #DragRacing #55Chevy #56Chevy #57Chevy

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Saturday, January 30, 2016

What Is Your Tri-Five Classic Chevy Worth?

What Is Your Tri-Five Classic Chevy Worth?

  -Alan Arnell

Appraisals are the Best Way to Know.  The Real Value of Your Car.

When it comes to selling a classic car its value is really only what someone is willing to pay to buy the car.  Some classic cars can bring astronomical amounts of cash. Another model of may be a real bargain. One car lover may value a car much more than the guy next to him at an auction.  And, an insurance company may value the same classic car even less when paying out for a claim.  You know how much money and time you put into your classic to make it your dream car more than anyone.  But the guy writing the check does not have the same appreciation for that value.

Classic car values are a subjective and sometimes an ambiguous subject.  However, one tried and true method of finding the value of a classic car is to have it professionally appraised. A professional will take the emotion out of the process.  Face it, we are all emotional about our hobby cars.  If we were not emotional about our cars, then what would be the point?

Choosing an appraiser is hard.  You have to find a person who knows the jandra of your classic car interests.  If you have a Tri-Five you want a Tri-Five guy, not someone who usually appraises the high dollar antiques that Jay Leno and the other billionaires play with for a hobby.   When looking for an appraiser you need to find one who knows the industry and the car you are seeking an appraisal on.

When you are selecting an appraiser it is important to know the appraisal method the appraiser will use to appraise your car. Using a simple check off sheet is not good enough.  A check off sheet may not put the best fair value on custom items or unique accessories.  The best appraisers will take plenty of photos of your car during the appraisal.  If your car were ever stolen or destroyed, a photo is truly worth a thousand words and maybe worth a thousand or more dollars.

Ask is if the appraiser is accepted and recognized by your insurance company.  If your insurance company does not recognize the appraiser you will be just wasting your money for the appraisal.

Other reason to get an appraisal would be for legal reasons, financial reasons, bank loans, tax donations, divorce, diminished value, estate sale or just because an owner wants to know how much to sell his or her car for.

In the case of insurance claims, a professional independent appraisal of your vehicle is just about the only way to insure that your insurance company knows what your car will cost to replace in the market of the day. Even a brand new insurance claims adjuster can look up the value of your late model Honda Civic. On the other hand, if you wreck your show quality highly modified ‘55 Bel Air with a 504 blown big block, disk brakes, air-conditioning, all leather interior and a monster stereo system how would an insurance adjuster ever realize the value of that car?  The smart way to go would be to have had an appraisal done before hand that had been submitted for an agreed upon value by you and the insurance company for your car. If you do not you are that the insurance company’s mercy at the time of a claim.

The smart classic car owner will have his or her classic car appraised if the car has been modified, customized, or unique, is rare or just a super noteworthy car.  With those things the car is worth much more that a stock version the the same car.  As well, if you have a ‘57 Chevy that is completely stock
with matching numbers and rare factory equipment packages that car is worth more than a daily driver of the same make and model.  It is best to have what you have confirmed with an appraisal.

How do you find a good appraiser?  I believe the best method is to ask around for referrals from your friends and people in the know within the hobby.  Looking on the internet will also provide success at finding a good appraiser as well.  My personal success in find an appraiser at this writing has been less that what I had hoped for.  If you can give recommendations for a quality appraiser please do so in the comments sections; especially in the Dallas, Texas Metroplex

When looking for an appraiser finding one that is willing to come to you is a plus.  Of course an appraisal should be thorough and detailed.  To insure that quality, it is recommended that, the consumer ask for copies of sample appraisals to preview.  Most appraisers have several they can show you.  

Your quality appraiser should be well versed in all the differents types of custom auto components and fabrications.  With a modified vehicle modifications make changes to the overall value of the vehicle.  During the appraisal the appraiser should compile a written list of all custom components and fabrications completed on the appraised vehicle.

If your appraiser comes to appraise your car and he or she does not know where to find the
appropriate identifications such as cowl tags, VIN numbers and engine numbers you may have a problem.

The appraiser needs to have a good overall knowledge of the aftermarket business.  Some people have gone as far to say that you as the consumer should quiz the appraiser by making them name the manufacturer of most of the custom parts on your car.  If he or she can not pass your test, he or she needs to hit the road.  Your better appraisers keep up with the market and trends of the cars he or she is appraising.  They should be well versed in the trends presented in different types of magazines and major trade shows, like SEMA.

As well, the appraiser should be familiar with and be known by most local professional restorers and classic auto sales establishments. An old school friend told me once that a good appraiser should be familiar with the best known upholsterers, fabricators, painters, engine builders, etc.  He went further to say, that the appraiser should be able to recognize who did work on your car.

So what really determines the appraised value of a car?  Of course the type and exact model is of huge importance, whether or not it was customized or not, was a total custom fabrication or a frame-off restoration, or a 90 percent plus survivor to name a few items.  The caliber of the work is of course a factor as well as the number of dollars spent, the extent of the modifications, parts used and the uniqueness of the vehicle.  A big name builder can also add to the car’s value.  My favorites are if the car was owned by someone famous or was in a movie.  
Lastly, most good appraiser should also offer to update your appraisal as time goes by.  Especially, if  you have made updates to the appraised vehicle.  This updated appraisal should be given at a lower fee than the first appraisal.  Having an update appraisal completed is especially important if your car was appraised during the building process.  Yes, you should insure your car while it is being rebuilt.  I have a friend who’s ‘55 Chevy was damaged two times by fire damaged during restoration.  Those types of setbacks can greatly lengthened the timeline of the restoration and also drain your bank account.  

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Front Wheel Alignment

Front Wheel Alignment for A Tri Five Classic Chevy After a Disc Brake Upgrade 1955, 1956, 1957 Chevrolet

   -Alan Arnell

I have been told that once I install my new Chevy disc brake parts on my 1957 Chevy that the car at low speeds will more than likely drive and turn okay.  However, I may develope a problem from the retrofit installation when driving at interstate speeds.  The common problem is that the upgraded disc brakes might make the car not want to stay in a straight line going dead ahead.  

This problem is common to the disc brake upgrade.  The main culprit is the fact that the front wheels after the installed disks will extend outward from ¾ to 1 inch from the track the drum brakes produced on each side.  The extension of the wheels away from the original turning axis will increases the distance from the turning axis.  This increases the up and down movement of the wheel and tire during turns.  

The common fix for this problem is that 2-½ to 3 ½ degrees of positive caster must be dialled in to the front suspension.   This measurement is also recommended whenever a Classic Tri Five Chevy has any late model improvements, such and disc brakes and power steering improvements.  

The movement of the upper ball joints to the rear (Positive Caster) slows the steering down and gets rid to the overly sensitive feel.  An additional extra ¼ to ½ degree may be added to the right side to compensate for the crown in the road.  

Recommended Adjustments
Caster Camber Toe In
Stock Steering Box +½ to 1 degree 0 to -1 degree ⅛” to 3/16”
605 Pwr Steering +2 ½ to 3 ½ degree 0 degrees driver ⅛” to 3/16
Box or Rack & side & -¼ passe-
Pinion Unit enger side

It is more than likely easier to take your car to an established alignment shop that understands Tri Five Chevys.  Many place don’t, so ask around.   But if you want to be a do it yourself kinda guy here are some instructions.

There are three separate adjustments to getting a proper front end alignment.  To properly position the front alignment the Camber, Caster and Toe must be set.  

Camber is when you face the front of your car then look at the front tires.  If the tips of the tires are tilted inward they have negative camber.  If the tires are tilted outward they have positive camber.
Camber will help tire-wear or destroy tires if not set correctly. Handling of the car is also determined by having the correct camber.  On the other hand, camber has little or no effect on straight-line driving.

Caster is the measurement of whether the top of the tire is adjusted forward or to the rear of the car from a side view.  Think of a peace sign,  The top line hits the top of the peace sign at zero.  If the top center is angled rearward the caster is positive.  Forward and it is negative caster.  Positive caster creates high-speed stability and turns the steering wheel during a turn back to center.  This is because a part of the vehicle weight is behind the tire.  That weight helps position the tire straight ahead.  Negative caster is where the top center is tilted forward past vertical.  Negative caster will reduce steering effort. That happens because the weight moves forward of center.  However, negative caster is not good for freeway speeds.

Toe is the amount the front tires are turned inward, like if you angle your feet in while standing.  Toe-in is where the tire is turned inward. Toe-out is when the leading edges of the front tires are angled outward as viewed from above.   Both in and out helps or hinders tire wear.  The usual spec is for a slight toe-in to compensate for normal pressure that forces tires outward as the car goes down the road.

To complete your own front wheel alignment one could use digital angle finders.  But, using this tool requires math.  So, forget that!   An easier way uses a basic bubble gauge.  Though not necessary, a turn plate will help by allowing you to perform the 20-degree turn-in and turn-out measurements of caster.  The plate are also good for toe adjustments.  With the bubble gauge attached to the wheel and leveled it will read out camber.  To change camber the upper control arm must be changed by inserting or removing shims.

Caster is the next angle to set.  Turn the tires in 20 degrees. Zero the caster reading on the gauge. Next turn the wheels 20 degrees out and the gauge will read the amount of positive or negative caster.  Positive caster is put in by either adding shims to the rear bolt or removing shims from the
front attachment point for the upper control arm. This adjustment will affect the camber, so you will have to check and set it again.

Now adjust the toe. Note: when adjusting the toe you must push the car backwards and forward about 10 feet.  Doing so will load the front tires to make for the best readings.  Toe is always set last because adjusting the camber and/or caster moves the control arms, which changes the toe. Usually the tie rods have left and right hand threads with a threaded sleeve and locking nuts to prevent the adjustment from changing.  It is best to move the left and right side adjusters the same amount until you get the correct toe-in.

Links to more Power Brake Posts:

Tri-Five Late Model Power Booster Conversion Part 1

Power Booster Conversion Tri-Five Late Model Part 2
Power to the Front
Move to a Dual Purpose MC and Disk Brakes
Front Disc Brakes for a Tri-Five Classic Chevy

Power Booster Conversion Tri-Five Late Model Part 3
Tri-Five Classic Chevy
Proportioning Valve, Dual Master Cylinder and Brake Lines

Brake Pedal Clevis Relocation After A Power Assisted Disc Brake Upgrade on a Tri Five Chevy.

Front Wheel Alignment

Classic chevy, Tri-Five, Classic Car, Chevy, Chevrolet, Belair, Car show, Custom car
Muscle car,  Hot Rod, Street Rod, Drag Racing, 55 Chevy, 56 Chevy, 57 Chevy, Street Racing

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Texas Classic Chevy Experience will post blogs about: Hot Rods, Chevy, Chevrolet, Drag Racing, Car Shows, Classic Cars, Custom Cars, Muscle Cars, How to Tech. posts, Dallas Area Classic Chevy Club, Texas Muscle Car Challenge, Tri-Five Nationals, Lone Star Chevy Convention, Classic Car lists, Classic car links, Spotters guides, Car Shows, Swap meets, Book reviews and More.