• PROTOTYPE ENGINES: OLDSMOBILE ‘ROCKET’ SCIENCE!

    PROTOTYPE ENGINES: OLDSMOBILE ‘ROCKET’ SCIENCE!

    These lightweight multi-carb, four-cam and even Hemi engines were being developed for future production engine research and, in some cases racing projects.

    PROTOTYPE ENGINES: OLDSMOBILE ‘ROCKET’ SCIENCE!PROTOTYPE ENGINES: OLDSMOBILE ‘ROCKET’ SCIENCE!Between 1969 and 1970, Oldsmobile Engineering was responsible for creating powerful ultra-efficient 350 to 455 cubic-inch V-8 engines rated up to 700 horsepower! Some were naturally aspirated and fitted with single Quadrajet four-barrel or Weber carburetors; others were fuel-injected and turbocharged. Most had aluminum blocks and heads. It was hard to imagine that these engines were anything other than veiled attempts at building pure racing engines, but they actually were. Oldsmobile engineering used these engines as prototypes for developing lighter, more fuel-efficient and “cleaner” production engines.

     Olds engineers were responsible for the radical OW-43, above, a racing-only, four-cam 455 tested with four Weber carburetors and fuel injection with three-inch ram stacks. The OW-43 was developed at the same time Chevrolet Engineering was working on the ZL1 for Corvette and Camaro applications and Can-Am racing. The OW-43 was tested in a Can-Am racecar, but never used in competition.

    Based on the same bore-stroke configuration of a production 455, the OW-43 had heads and block with steel cylinder liners cast from Reynolds 356-T-6 heat-treated aluminum. With a redline of just under 8,500 rpm, it produced 600 horsepower at 6,000 rpm with Webers and 700 horsepower at 6,800 rpm with Lucas direct-port fuel-injection. The DOHC prototype had Forged-True 12.20-to-1 pistons, Carillo billet steel rods and a forged steel crank. It weighed 50 pounds less than a production cast-iron 455.

    The mildest of the group was an all-aluminum 350 small-block, displacing 389 cubic inches and utilizing dual-throat Weber 48IDA carburetors, above, right. The alloy 389-inch engine ended up in a Cutlass that was driven to the C/Production record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1968. A friend and editor at Hot Rod, Lee Kelley, drove a factory-supplied Cutlass 169.133 mph to set the record. Apparently during impound, SCTA officials never detected that the engine was an all-aluminum prototype.The engine in Lee Kelley’s record-setter was a one-off, rated at close to 500 horsepower and built in Lansing by Dave Maurer, a special projects engineer. At Bonneville, the Cutlass was crewed by Maurer along with racing legends, Ak Miller, Jack Lufkin and Ed Iskenderian.

    PROTOTYPE ENGINES: OLDSMOBILE ‘ROCKET’ SCIENCE!One of the most interesting engines was the 455-inch W-43 Hemi. There were cast-iron and aluminum iterations with four-valve, Hemi-chamber heads. The W-43 engine was designed to be easily converted to chain or gear-driven overhead camshafts. Fitted with a single Quadrajet, it produced in excess of 500 horsepower at 6,500 rpm. The aluminum version weighed 75 pounds less than the then current production 455 engine. This engine found its way into Mule cars tested at the Milford Proving Ground.

    PROTOTYPE ENGINES: OLDSMOBILE ‘ROCKET’ SCIENCE!Oldsmobile engines displacing 389 to 455 cubic inches had powered Can-Am Series cars, like Bob McKee-built Cro-Sal racers in 1967. The highest output Can-Am Olds was an all-aluminum, single-cam 455 with injection and twin turbochargers. It generated 659 horsepower at 6,250 rpm and 554 pound-feet of torque at 6,200 rpm.

    Oldsmobile Rocket Science

    This story is from DAY ONE, An Automotive Journalist’s Muscle-Car Memoir, covering domestic 1962-1974 high-performance vehicles, https://www.amazon.com/Day-One-Automotive-Journalists-Muscle-Car/dp/0760352364/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1493561421&sr=1-1&keywords=Day+One+by+Martyn+L.+Schorr

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  • MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!

    MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!

    The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering is not your average 16-year-old. Yes, the swagger is there but it’s less arrogant, more confident. And if she exhibits any aggressive behavior it’s in the way she is determined to please all within her intoxicating embrace, blogs photojournalist Jim Palam.

    MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!So how did I get so lucky to gather here in the manicured splendor of the Quail Lodge & Golf Course in Carmel, floating among the magnificent motorcars, bounteous buffets and beautiful people? Ah yes, I am here to shoot the pictures and tell the stories of the event, now in its 16th year, that many consider the Crown Jewel of all Monterey Car Week events.

    So grab a glass of champagne and come-along with me for Part II of my three-part Monterey Car Week report – a peek into the pomp, polish and pleasure that is The Quail. The Rolex Circle of Champions – Best of Show 1953 Lancia Aurelia PF200C, above, was the first car I photographed, not because I’m a predictor of outcomes, but because it truly has magnetic appeal – and it was parked close to the entry point of the show!

    You know you’re about to experience something special when it’s not even 8 AM and they’re handing out champagne under the towering entrance gate to The Gathering.

    MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!A feature of the show-winning Lancia that first caught my eye was the chrome bumpers where rear lights would normally be. With seating and controls far forward one appears to be piloting the Lancia rather than driving it.

    MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!“Everything Else Just Became Transportation.” The folks behind the Genesis Essentia Concept Car know how to write a good tagline – and how to dazzle the Quail crowd with a big-screen video backdrop that looped stunning high-definition black & white graphics and cityscapes behind their sleek and sinister showstopper.

    MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!What can I say that hasn’t already been said about this icy-blue Bugatti Type 57 Atlantic Coupe – other than it’s more Pacific on display at The Quail – and a galactic gem wherever it dazzles!

    MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!Porsche hopes to flip the Sizzle-Switch again in 2020 with it’s all-electric Mission E Taycan, which sat book-ended with ‘48 Porsche No. 1 Type 356 on the heavenly white 70 Years of Porsche stage.

    MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!Jose Fernandez of Mexico City had a dream – to build a traditional, handcrafted, coach-built ‘Speciale’ as an homage to the Michelloti-designed, Vignale-bodied racing Ferraris of the early-1950s. With deep pockets, determination and the skills of The Creative Workshop, his Custom Coachworks 1966 Ferrari 330 GT Speciale was unveiled at The Quail. Simply WOW!

    MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!The heart of Mr. Fernandez’s dream car – a matching numbers, modified Ferrari 330 Columbo 60-degree V12, 3,967cc, SOHC, 24 valve motor. It’s a treat for the ears and eyes.

    MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!Ever been too early for something – like the unveiling of the custom-built Hennessey 7.6 Liter Twin-Turbo V8 engine capable of achieving more than 1,600 horsepower at 7,200 rpm? Me neither, until The Quail. I did get to photograph the awesome Supercar she’ll be powering though. I’m good with that.

    MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!You’re looking at Zora’s #58053, the first L88 Corvette prototype development car and Ken Kayser, the insider, one of its owners, and author who has written the definitive story (http://www.tachometerpublishing.com/order/zoras-58053) of this legendary build. It’s believed to be the first St. Louis assembled Corvette with the big-block Mark IV 427 RPO-L72 engine.

     http://www.tachometerpublishing.com/order/zoras-58053 This impressive lineup of legendary Lancias sat ready to rally in front of the winner’s ramp at The Quail. The successful Martini Racing sponsorship with the works Lancia team lasted for over a decade, starting in 1982.

     http://www.tachometerpublishing.com/order/zoras-58053 Chasing Classic Car’s Wayne Carini describes the size a wad of car restoration cash needs to be to bring a classic to The Quail in show-winning condition!

     http://www.tachometerpublishing.com/order/zoras-58053 The gent representing the Jim Glickenhaus SCG 003S Supercar was somewhat tight-lipped about details. There’s nothing sleepy about this Sleepy Hollow, NY- based, 800-Horsepower, 2,700-pound Stradale.

    MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!This ‘78 Dome ‘Zero’ was one of the road-going Supercars developed in Japan by racing aficionado Minoru Hayashi. Dome prototypes were intended to offer an alternative to exotic European Supercars.

    MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!When Curtiss Motorcycles CEO Matt Chambers unveiled the unpainted, all electric Zeus motorcycle at The Quail Motorcycle Gathering back in May he was wearing a suit, albeit without a tie. Just three months later he has added color and performance enhancements to the Zeus and ditched the suit. I like your style, Matt!

    MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!Even though there were only 435 Kaiser Darrins produced, many of you car guys are familiar with its quirky exterior design and sliding channel doors. So I thought you might enjoy this look at this ’54 K-D’s soothing Seafoam interior. Designed by Howard “Dutch” Darrin, power came from 161-inch Six.

    MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!The Senna is the most track-focused McLaren ever built, delivering a power-to-weight ratio of 668 PS-per-tonne (659 bhp). Impressive – but not to the two ‘Twenty-Somethings’ standing next to it at The Quail. “Yeah, it’s fast but this one is just boring looking.” Apparently, the monotone color scheme left them wanting!

    MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!How to standout in a field of Porsches: Go small. This stunning ½-scale, gas-powered 356 ‘Speedster’ is a highly-detailed, fully-functional driver!

    MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!Croatian EV manufacturer Rimac Automobili brought its beautiful blue California Edition C–Two to The Quail. With a sticker price of over $2 million this hyper-EV delivers 1,888 horsepower, goes from 0 to 60 in 1.85 seconds and has an advertised top speed of 258 mph!

    MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!Well guys, I was hoping to finish this report with a cool shot of this wicked ’65 GT350 Mustang. But darn it, this visitor from Belarus walked into the picture. I’m sorry. Stay tuned for the final installment of my Monterey Car  Week coverage – coming soon!

    Words & Photos: Jim Palam, https://www.jimpalam.com/

    For more information about The Quail Motorsports Gathering and details about next year’s event, please visit https://whatsupmonterey.com/events/monterey-car-week/the-quail-a-motorsports-gathering/457

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  • GARAGE STYLE: IN THE GARAGE W/ JIM PALAM!

    GARAGE STYLE: IN THE GARAGE W/ JIM PALAM!

    Our man on the Left Coast spends some time in front of the camera in his garage while Cindy Meitle profiles him for Garage Style magazine.

    GARAGE STYLE: IN THE GARAGE W/ JIM PALAM!GARAGE STYLE: IN THE GARAGE W/ JIM PALAM!I first met Jim Palam more than a half-century ago when he was a kid on the pit crew of the legendary “Astoria Chas” Snyder’s ‘67 Corvette powered by an L88 engine, below. The car was KO-MOTION, it was built at Motion Performance, Baldwin, NY, raced by Chas, and I was Editor of Hi-Performance CARS magazine. CARS was one of the Corvette’s sponsors. Chas became a friend.

    Everything changed in 1968 when 19-year-old Charlie Snyder lost his life in Vietnam, while serving with the First Cavalry. KO-MOTION went on to win the AHRA A/Corvette World Record at 129 mph in 11.04 seconds. The record was set in Chas’ name by his old team, supported by Motion Performance and still sponsored by CARS.

    In 2008 Jim and I met at 303 Gallery in New York City for the opening on my daughter Collier Schorr’s show, THERE I WAS, about Charlie’s short life and his iconic KO-MOTION. It was also the subject of a book – THERE I WAS – written by Collier. It was great seeing Jim again, surrounded by my daughter’s artwork and memorabilia from Charlie’s family and from Glen Spielberg, owner of the legendary KO-MOTION.

    THERE I WASKO-MOTION & crew at New York National in 1967. Jim Palam is wearing the Navy Blue shirt.

    GARAGE STYLE: IN THE GARAGE W/ JIM PALAM!For the last few years Jim, owner and Creative Director, Jim Palam & Partners in Solvang, CA, has been a valued contributor to CarGuyChronicles. He’s also responsible for the blog’s home page design. Congrats, my friend!

    For more information about Jim Palam & Partners, please visit https://www.jimpalam.com/

    Check out Garage Style magazine, https://www.garagestylemagazine.com/

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  • MARK II: CHEVY’S MYSTERIOUS 427!

    MARK II: CHEVY’S MYSTERIOUS 427!

    The real 427 Mystery Motor, unlike the Z11, was not available in a car, or to the public. You had to have serious NASCAR cred to get one of the 20 built.

    MARK II: CHEVY’S MYSTERIOUS 427!MARK II: CHEVY’S MYSTERIOUS 427!In the 1960s, Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen always seemed to be one step ahead of GM Chairman Fred Donner’s anti-racing missives. While running Pontiac, he had supported the Super-Duty Group that later, after he left, managed to get 421 Catalina Lightweights to drag racers before the axe fell. Then he moved on to Chevrolet in 1961 and supported the RPO Z11 drag racing and clandestine NASCAR 427 Mystery Motor projects. Both pure racing programs survived even though GM was officially out of racing. In the case of the Mystery Motor, everything was conducted through Chevrolet’s backdoor.

    The 427 Mystery Motor’s real function was that of a “bridge” between the old school W-Series 348-409 and the next-gen 1965 Mark IV big-block. It used the same bore/stroke block – 4.31-inch bore and 3.65-inch stroke – as the Z11 engine. But that’s where the similarity ends. Unlike W-Series engines with combustion chambers in the cylinders, the Mark II NASCAR engine utilizes canted and staggered-valve (Porcupine) heads with conventional chambers. This style head debuted in production 396-427 Mark IV big-block engines, affectionately dubbed “Rat Motors” by enthusiasts!

    Although developed primarily as a NASCAR race engine, Chevrolet did produce a singular variant for street applications, shown here with Ken Kayser, right, who had been Business Case Manager for the Mark IV big-block at Tonawanda. The Mark II in street trim, displayed for many years at GM’s Tonawanda, NY engine plant, was built to justify the expenses of building a racing-only engine. It is possible that at some point the project was referenced internally as RPO Code Z33. That would have been done only to disguise the 427 as an optional production engine so as not to attract unwanted attention. Interestingly, the Mark II engine was not produced at Tonawanda, the facility best known for Mark IV 396-427-454 engines.

    MARK II: CHEVY’S MYSTERIOUS 427!Part of the mystery surrounding the Mark II engine can be attributed to its planned public debut on February 24, 1963 at the Daytona 500. The first couple of engines were shipped to Smokey Yunick for use in Chevys being prepared for the 500. Junior Johnson and Johnny Rutherford were two high-profile racers originally slated to run this engine. However, Mark II 427s were in two Z06 Corvettes competing in the 250-mile American Challenge Cup, at Daytona on February 16! This was a race for sports cars and one-offs, not NASCAR stockers. Few people at the time realized that two of the split-window Sting Rays in the Challenge Cup had Mark IIs under their hoods. They were actually the first big-block Corvettes.

    Smokey Yunick prepared two Corvettes like NASCAR Grand National stockers and installed Mark II engines, sparked by magnetos with HD three-speed transmissions. Scheduled drivers were Junior Johnson and Rex White. During practice, Junior was not comfortable with how his Corvette was handling at 160 mph and decided not to drive. Bill Krause replaced him and went on to finish Third. He beat other Corvettes, Ferrari GTOs and Porsche Carrera Abarth GTLs. Paul Goldsmith driving a Pontiac Super-Duty 421 Tempest, won the three-hour race, followed by A.J. Foyt driving a Nickey Corvette! Bunkie was not unhappy!

    MARK II: CHEVY’S MYSTERIOUS 427!Johnny Rutherford driving Smokey’s #13 car finished 9th, the best finish for a Mystery-motored Chevy. Rutherford lapped the track at 165.14 mph, setting a closed course record. A broken distributor in the #3 Ray Fox/Holly Farms Impala sidelined Junior. Junior won 7 of the 55 Grand National races in 1963, including the Charlotte 400 in October. With no factory support for the engine, the car was parked in 1964. Junior’s iconic Impala, as last raced, survives today. It’s at RK Motors, Charlotte, NC,  https://www.rkmotors.com/

    The 427 Chevy Mystery Motor, along with other super-high-performance cars and engines from the period including the Z11 Chevy drag cars, are showcased in Marty Schorr’s new book, DAY ONE,  https://www.amazon.com/Day-One-Automotive-Journalists-Muscle-Car/dp/0760352364/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1493561421&sr=1-1&keywords=Day+One+by+Martyn+L.+Schorr

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  • ’19 CORVETTE ZR1: KING OF THE ROAD & TRACK!

    ’19 CORVETTE ZR1: KING OF THE ROAD & TRACK!

    The ‘19 Corvette ZR1 set a production-car lap record on the 4.1-mile Grand Course West at Virginia International Raceway with a time of 2:37.25.

    ’19 CORVETTE ZR1: KING OF THE ROAD & TRACK!’19 CORVETTE ZR1: KING OF THE ROAD & TRACK!Along with a harness bar and track seats with five-point harnesses, the record-setting stock ZR1 coupe was equipped with the available paddle-shift eight-speed automatic and ZTK Performance Package. The ZTK package includes an adjustable carbon-fiber High Wing, a front splitter with carbon-fiber end caps, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 summer-only tires, and specific chassis and Magnetic Ride Control tuning.

    “The Corvette ZR1’s lap record at VIR, arguably America’s most challenging road course, is a testament to its supercar status,” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. “On the racetrack, the ZR1 can compete with any supercar – at any price.”

    On sale this spring, the ZR1 coupe will carry a suggested retail price of $119,995 (price includes destination charge, but excludes tax, title and other dealer fees). The ZTK Performance Package will cost $2,995.

     The ZR1’s record lap at VIR was set during routine validation testing earlier this month; with vehicle dynamics engineer Jim Mero at the wheel. The car was set up per the owner’s manual’s recommended track alignment and aerodynamic settings. As part of the validation, the ZR1 was finalizing its total of 24 hours of at-limit track testing, with multiple GM Performance engineers logging laps.

    ’19 CORVETTE ZR1: KING OF THE ROAD & TRACK!“The track had been empty since mid-December, so it was a bit slow when we started, but the conditions turned pretty quick at the end,” said Alex MacDonald, manager, Vehicle Performance. “On the heels of announcing our Z06 time of 2:39.77, the ZR1 lap time is the icing on the cake. It’s not too often you set a lap record during validation testing.”

    ’19 CORVETTE ZR1: KING OF THE ROAD & TRACK!

    The ZR1’s exclusive LT5 6.2L supercharged engine is rated at an SAE-certified 755 horsepower and 715 pound-feet of torque. It features a new, more-efficient intercooled supercharger system, along with GM’s first dual fuel-injection system, which employs primary direct injection and supplemental port injection. Compared to the supercharger system on the Corvette Z06 LT4 engine, the LT5 employs a larger, 2.65-liter supercharger that generates more boost while spinning at a slightly slower speed. That reduces heat to help maintain a lower air intake temperature for optimal performance. Four new radiators also help manage cooling in the ZR1, which features 13 radiators in all, including circuits for engine oil, transmission and differential cooling.

    Watch the 2019 Corvette ZR1 set lap record at VIR,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7j1gCM6-5M

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