The auction does more than command some high numbers. It seriously puts the entire musclecar movement into a spot it never would have arrived at. The media coverage, daily newspaper stories, and conversations the auction generates are countless. One of my favorite post-auction experiences was telling my Volvo-driving neighbor that a '70 Chevelle SS 454 LS6 convertible (although he didn't know what that was) had sold for over $1 million and then watching the look on his face as he processed this. I think he left my front yard thinking the '76 four-door Chevy Nova he drove in college would have been worth a lot of money today.
For some there is the amazement, confusion, and doubt-then there are the few who just get angry. You know, the PC type who still believes that all musclecars should have been crushed in the '70s to save the planet-now the fact that these cars have lived on to invigorate the economy is just troubling.
But for most folks it's fun to talk about the cars, the people who attend, and the latest prices. Perhaps it has motivated someone to pull that old car out of the far side of the garage, give it a three-month restoration, and have fun driving it again. And although it may not mean that a big-block-converted '72 Camaro will command six figures, it surely makes a fair contribution to keeping the musclecar hobby alive. I can hardly wait for next year.
Who is That?Want some cool Chevy High Performance paraphernalia? The first reader to correctly put a name to the face on page 24 will get what we're calling the CHP Package. Actually, count on a couple stickers, a license plate, and whatever else we can dig up. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org with your answers. -HD
Pod What?We here at Chevy High Performance try to provide F-body owners with all the info they need for their vehicles, but when you don't have a copy of our rag handy, reach for your iPod, because camaroz28.com provides weekly podcasts you can download through iTunes and take with you. As the popularity of podcasts grows, so will the content, so get on board. -DC
Book Learnin'"Without a doubt, camshafts and the engine valvetrain are the most misunderstood areas of engine performance and have been for a long time." Author Graham Hansen makes this sweeping understatement on the back cover of his new S-A Design book, High-Performance Chevy Small-Block Cams & Valvetrains, and then does his best to demystify this critical area. For the most part, he succeeds. Working from the premise that a camshaft predetermines the torque and horsepower curve before an engine even fires, Hansen goes on to suggest that enthusiasts take a "broader, two-dimensional approach to power that asks both 'How high?' and 'How wide?'" This common-sense viewpoint underlies the entire book, making it a valuable source of info.
The "Camshaft Basics" chapter alone is worth the price of admission. Hansen's explanations of lobe centerlines, advance and retard, and especially overlap are user-friendly and enlightening. His discussion of roller cams is also well worth the read, extolling the virtues of the popular hydraulic setup without dismissing the advantages of a mechanical roller or even a flat-tappet 'stick. There are also at least five chapters covering the balance of the valvetrain, and these are equally valuable. (The section on selecting and properly installing rocker arms is key.) Hansen includes a pair of chapters on how to choose a cam, a more esoteric section on "Valvetrain Dynamics," and a rundown on matching cams and heads that will give builders plenty to think about.