Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Another Fun Project

I first want to apologize to my readers for not blogging more lately. There are two reasons for this. 1) PTC is keeping me way too busy lately and, 2) much of my personal time has been spent on finishing up the following project.

It all started about 10 years ago when my son and I agreed to purchase a fixer-upper car to work together on as a project. I let him pick the car. He eventually settled on a 2nd generation Camaro (1970 to 1973). This is the one we ended up with. It’s a 1973 Type LT, 350, turbo 400 automatic transmission. It was drivable when we bought it and my son used it to get to and from high-school until he ran out of gas money. This is the picture from the EBay ad where we found it.

Over the course of many years we started restoring various parts of the car. Here are a few pictures that represent some of the work:

Every piece of sheet metal on this car has been refinished, and we did it all ourselves with the exception of the sub-frame powder coat and the final external body and paint. We also built the engine, rear-end and suspension ourselves. Hard to tell where this car has been but there were signs of many years of use. We even found a bullet hole in the right front fender.
The car now has a 383 stroker small block engine, with a lot of goodies in it. It is nothing too radical but came out on the engine dyno right a 400hp and 436tq. (Since then, last weekend, we put a little more aggressive roller cam in it.) We also replaced the Turbo 400 with a Tremec TKO 5-speed, and put 3.73 gears in the back with a Detroit Locker Trutrac differential. After a few suspension trials we ended up with mostly Hotchkis springs, shocks and bars, with the exception of the Detroit Speed springs in back. My son also picked out the final paint colors and wheels. It is certainly lots of fun to drive, and we plan to show it this summer. Here are a few pictures of the finished product. (Although it is never finished. Brake upgrades are next. Don’t tell my wife).

1973 Camaro Type LT

Now I have to bring this back to CAD somehow. Do you realize that this car was designed with the help of no CAD system? They used drafting boards back then. That thought ran through my head several times as we were dissembling and reassembling this car, (many times). I even have a copy of the original assembly manual for this car. It’s full of hundreds of drawings, and in the title blocks are the actual signatures of the draftsman and the checker. Very cool. (And today we fuss about which CAD system we get to use.)

I hope to now get back to some serious blogging, although no promises.



R. Paul Waddington. said...

Your closing comments about the car being built using hand hewn drawings is something I think about every time I see an add or press release stating how "some job" got done using xyz's 3D CAD.
Often the inference is that without CAD it could not be done. This thinking has also had the effect of devaluing designers and draughtspersons abilties and skills.
There are still those of us who, if we had too, could still design, draught and build without CAD and I believe having those skills is still very important in some areas of CAD use.
Congrats' on the project it looks like a job well done

Paul Hamilton said...

Agree 100%. I find it interesting to see job titles like "CAD Designer" or an engineering job posting where the first requirement is knowledge of a particular CAD system. It's like an auto mechanic claiming personal value in knowing how to use a particular brand of tool. I really don't care what brand of tool they use, I expect a quality mechanic that know's what their doing. Maybe it's a testament that CAD tools still require too much investment to learn and be proficient with. We latch onto that investment/value in hopes to advance our career - and perhaps even claim that without this skill something "could not be done".