It happens to us all eventually. We go to turn the key and we're met only with the sound of a dying starter. Some of us get lucky and it has just enough life left to linger on for a bit until we can get it repaired. Then there are the rest of us, to which I include myself, where, without warning, it passes on into the automotive afterlife. Luckily for me, mine took its last breath while I was parked at the offices of Team VETTE. As I flipped through the phonebook on a hunt to find the nearest auto parts store with a suitable replacement, Editor Bob approached me and made the suggestion to try a Hi-Torque starter from IMI Performance Products. After a short trip down to IMI-in a borrowed car-I met with Jack Isom to discuss the problem at hand (or under the hood as the case may be).
First off, let me say that if a handshake is still a way to judge a man or his product, the starter I was looking to install should probably outlast my '87. I was promptly greeted like a returning old friend and given the nickel tour of the facilities. When that was over, they brought out my starter and explained the product in such detail that I'm confident that even I could have taught the old dog (Ed. - Hey Miles, don't forget who does your reviews!) running VETTE Magazine some new tricks. And the weight itself was unbelievable. Anyone who has ever handled the monster that GM installs on their engines knows that you can't find a heavier piece of equipment under the hood unless it's the engine block itself. IMI's starter weighed in at well-under 9 pounds by my own estimation. But don't let the compact design fool you; IMI's starter can produce more than twice the amount of torque of the original starter. And for those individuals who are concerned with appearance as well as performance, the IMI Hi-Torque is also available in a chromed or polished finish.
With everything in hand and back over at the Primedia Tech Center, I got started on this simple installation with the help of friend Ray Collazo, as well as Jason Scudellari of Barry White's Street Rod Repair Company. The installation is a one-man job, and I took the photos while Ray played tool gopher and Jason handled the installation. Speaking of photos, take a look at the ones covering this easy install.