Rough Times For The Auto Industry
Not a day goes by anymore that doesn't spell out the doom and gloom of the U.S. auto industry. By now the pain has worked its way to the imports-Toyota posted its first loss in 50 years! Everyone thought the imports were immune to the challenges facing car companies, but this slump is worldwide.
Bailouts are all we hear about these days. The government is holding car manufacturers to a different standard than any other industry it is looking to help. In my opinion, this is going to be part of the recovery problem for automakers. I'm sure many of you have heard that GM has closed its High Performance Vehicle Operations (HPVO). This was a small job facility in Detroit that gave the finishing touches to such vehicles as the V-Series Cadillac, the Chevy Cobalt SS, HHR SS, and the Pontiac G8 GXP. What this means is that GM is not going to produce these high-performance vehicles any longer. This closure was a requirement of the bridge loans the government gave GM to keep it afloat. Also, Congress is requiring that GM offer 15 hybrids by the year 2012, and I've heard of numbers as high as 24 by 2014! I'm not saying GM shouldn't have to make concessions to get our hard-earned taxpayer money; however, the requirements shouldn't hamstring GM's recovery chances.
History is repeating itself. Back in the fuel crisis in the late '70s, Detroit raced to build small, fuel-efficient cars to give the public fuel economy. This, in combination with emissions regulations, just about killed the muscle car. This time the government believes that if you build it, they will come. With the feds requiring the closure of the HPVO, they have taken away the ability to build high-performance vehicles to fill a niche market. This is the only defense the domestic auto manufacturers have to make exciting vehicles that keep them on the automotive map.
Only time will tell if all of the government's recovery plans are going to make a difference. Today, the market took another turn for the worse and GM hit historic lows. I hope for all our sakes that GM makes it through this very tough time, not only for all the workers who build cars for us, but for the folks connected to every vehicle made. All I know is I can't wait to see the '15 Camaro SS with a 600hp Gen XII small-block that gets 50 mpg. I'll see ya at the dealers in five years for a testdrive.
Great Flow, Less Noise
Q: I am planning to build up the '85 Monte Carlo my father gave me. He bought the car new with a 305, a TH200R-4, and a posi 75/8-inch 10-bolt with 3.73:1 gears. I plan to install a GM Performance Parts ZZ383, a rebuilt CZF TH200R-4, and an 81/2-inch 10-bolt out of a '87 Regal T-type. I already have the transmission and rearend. The ZZ383 cylinder heads have D-shaped exhaust ports that are raised 0.200 inch with angle plugs, and I'm not sure if they would require any special headers.
I'm also not sure if I should go with 15/8- or 13/4-inch-diameter header tubes. GM tested this engine with 13/4-inch headers. I'd like to run a 21/2-inch exhaust system with an X-pipe to keep the sound tame. Any suggestions on great flow with low-noise mufflers?
I also want to run a Quadrajet on this engine with an Edelbrock Performer RPM Q-jet intake PN 7104. The heads are listed as dual-pattern accepting Vortec and early-model intake manifolds. The GM information suggests a Vortec-style intake. Do you think the RPM Q-jet intake would be a better choice over a Performer Vortec? I am going to drive this car on nice days and drag race it some. Any suggestions on a set of full-length headers, mufflers, and intake would be greatly appreciated.
St. Louis, MO