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  • Re: I spotted an (insert obscure car name here) classic car today!

    The cream New Yorker is the 5th Ave, but oddly, for 1979, the 5th Ave's leather seats weren't the deep tufted ones. They're actually the same pattern as the base New Yorker, just done up in leather rather than cloth. However, if you got leather in the base New Yorker, you got that deep-tufted stuff with the buttons. I think a lot of people complained about the base leather looking ritzier than the 5th Ave leather, because for 1980-81 they swapped! Now the leather itself might have been higher quality in the 5th Ave, but the pattern itself wasn't as plush/pimpy.

    As for condition, the 5th Ave is in better shape overall than the blue base model. I've thought about getting rid of the blue one...yes, believe it or not, as I get older, I'm starting to try and shy away from that hoarder mentality! :p I hesitate though, because I figure it might come in handy as a parts car if something ever happened to the 5th Ave. But the reality there is probably if something happens to the 5th Ave, it would just be easier/cheaper to go find another nice one, than bother fixing this one up. R-bodies are somewhat rare, as they were poor sellers when new, and a lot of the low-end models were sold as police cars. Plus, the civilian models became popular as taxis once they hit the used market, or demolition derby cars (they're pretty tough and rugged. But, it seems like the 5th Ave has had a fairly good survival rate.

    As for fuel stabilizer, I have used it off and on. Probably should do it a bit more religiously, though, especially during the off season. As for building a barn, I would, but the county wouldn't let me!
  • Re: I spotted an (insert obscure car name here) classic car today!

    I took advantage of the nice weather on Sunday, and got the cars in the garage started. Surprisingly, the Catalina, 5th Ave, and LeMans all started up with very little trouble. I can't remember the last time I started any of them, but I'm sure it hasn't been this year. Anyway, I got them out in the yard, and got a group shot of everything (minus the DeSoto, which is still in the shop).

    This will probably be one of the last group shots that includes the '85 Silverado, since I sold it a couple weeks ago. The kid who bought it has been working hard to get it running...seems like there's just some kind of wiring problem stumping him now. And he's got it tagged and insured, so it's not my problem anymore! :p
  • Re: Project Cars--You Get to Vote on "Hold 'em or Fold 'em"

    I'm sure you're a little sad to see it go. The truck reminds me a lot of the first new vehicle dad bought when we moved to VA in '76. It was a long bed '76 GMC Sierra 15, two tone, solid red body and white top. It had the 350 4bbl, full time all wheel drive, auto, ps, pb, am radio, gauge package, full wheel covers. IIRC it had Uniroyal L78-15 all season, but look like snow tread bias ply tires. It was a hard riding, fun truck that rarely got above 10mpg.
    This truck actually replaced a '76 GMC! My grandparents had a '76 GMC 3/4 ton crew cab, a 2-tone that was sort of a copperish and white. It had the 350-4bbl as well, and I recall it would get about 10 mpg whether it was completely empty, or whether it had a slide in camper on back, or anything in between.

    Granddad bought the '85 in the summer of that year. He tried putting the truck camper in back and did a test run around the block, but didn't like the way it handled, so they held onto the GMC another year so they could use it for camping. I have a pic somewhere that I scanned in, years ago, of Granddad posing with the '85, with the camper in back. I'll dig around and see if I can find it.

    **Edit: Found's a pic from the summer of '85. What a difference ~32 years makes, huh?

  • Re: I spotted an (insert obscure car name here) classic car today!

    The Chevy 350 is the lightest of all the various GM divisional 350s I believe. If you look at all 4 at a show or wherever, the Chevy is physically quite small in comparison. It isn't very substantial looking.
    Actually, I think it's the Buick 350 that's the lightest, which I find odd, because it's a deep skirt design. This actually carries over to the V-6es of the era as well...I've seen a Buick 231 listed at 375 lb, versus 425 for the 229/262 Chevy engines. The Chevy smallblock is physically small, but when it was first built it was also very weak. However, rather than redesign it from the ground up to make it right from the get-go, Chevy simply beefed it up here and there, which added unnecessary weight.

    The Olds smallblock was also pretty lightweight because it used a lot of nickle in the block, which made it stronger, yet lighter, than what Chevy was doing. As for Pontiac, my understanding is that they never really did do the "big-block/smallblock" thing, but rather came out with, for lack of a better term, a "medium block", which ultimately accommodated CID ranges from 287 CID on up to 455. They'd use a raised deck for the largest versions, when they needed a longer stroke.

    Ultimately, the Chevy smallblock won out, but not because it was the best. Most likely because it was the cheapest. The Pontiac and Buick engines were good units, but didn't adapt well to stricter emissions controls. I'm not sure about Buick, but Pontiac engines tended to run cool, and didn't do so well when the emissions controls forced them to run hotter. The Mopar slant six suffered from this, as well. Pontiac's V-8's got banned in California for '77, and the Buick 350 may have, as well.

    The Olds engine was the cleanest running of them all, and as a result was in high demand, which is part of what led to that whole engine-swapping fiasco. But, as time went on, there was simply less demand for V-8 cars, and by the 1980's, for the most part the cars that were getting Olds 307s were the types of cars people would buy regardless of how advanced the engine was (or wasn't), so Olds never really advanced it the way Chevy did their smallblock. I think the 1990 Olds 307 might have been the last domestic car to be produced with a carburetor.

    As for physical size, I remember years ago my mechanic saying that one reason the Chevy smallblock looks so small is the design of the heads. Same with the Ford smallblock. I guess there could be some truth to that...I remember awhile back, seeing my DeSoto's Hemi all pulled apart, and with the heads off, the block looked a lot smaller than I thought it would.
  • Re: I spotted an (insert obscure car name here) classic car today!

    My '79 New Yorker looked kind of photogenic today, glistening in the slightly post-apocalyptic morning light, so I figured I'd snap a pic...