Autoblog: Early Ford Model T factory may become a museum but needs your help

I always enjoy the rich history the city of Detroit has to offer, so it would be great to see something like this happen.  Cast your vote!

The Ford Model T was a game-changer, allowing middle-class America to finally afford a horseless carriage. As the public began taking to the roads in greater numbers, our nation began its transformation into a modern motoring society.

The Model T was first produced in 1908 and enjoyed a successful sales through 1927. In 1925, production hit its peak and Ford was turning out 9,000 to 10,000 cars per day. That adds up to an annual run of around two million cars.

One of the first assembly locations for the Ford Model T is the Highland Park plant, which is located steps from Woodward Avenue. It’s a building with a rich history and it may get another shot at life.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the Woodward Avenue Action Association has nominated the Highland Park building in a national online competition. The National Trust for Historic Preservation runs a competition where they provide $25,000 in grant money to help preserve buildings of historical significance. The WAAA, if they win, plan to use the cash as seed money for an interesting project. Their goal is to turn the Highland Park assembly plant into an area Welcome Center. Visitors would have the opportunity to learn past and present information about Woodward, Detroit, and Michigan. To further entice visitors, the Henry Ford Museum has expressed interest in supplying exhibits for a small display.

If you think the Highland Park factory should win the contest, head over to the National Trust’s Community Challenge page and cast your vote.


Sneak Peak: American Top Gear

Here is a sneak-peak clip of the upcoming Top Gear show.  It looks good, but the hosts don’t seem to show much character.  Is it going to stack up to the UK version?

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Summer 2010: Trying new things, and putting the car to the test

This summer I have really gotten some quality enjoyment out of my car.  Since I redid the engine in 2008, this is definitely the most I have driven it in one season – although part of that comes with the fact that I was without a daily driver for a few weeks.   But moreso than I ever, I really pushed the car to the limit and more fun than ever!

Part 1 – Drag Strip:

First up was a trip to the drag strip with Jon and Sean!  What a better break from the routine of college classes than a day at 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, MI.  (which makes it a convenient drive from GVSU!).  Although we got rained out towards the end of the day, the forecast kept enough people away in the morning that we were able to get plenty of runs in while spending very little time in the staging lanes.  My best of the day ended up being a 12.90 at 110!  Not bad for a 2.2 second 60 foot on street tires, and the pessimistic trap speed reputation 131 has.

My best pass was not recorded but here is another pass from the same day:

My good friend Jon O also ran a new best that day in his cam-only Corvette C5!

Part 2 – Dyno Test

Next, I had the opportunity to participate in the Michigan F-body Association’s annual dyno day.  First off, a big thanks goes to my friend Jeff for putting this together for, and also to Jake’s Automotive for hosting it!  This has become a very fun annual and affordable event.  Gathered around the dyno of a well-kept shop in camping chairs, watching numerous cars make pulls, is not a bad way to spend a day.   Not only that, I hit the goal I was hoping to achieve with my car: 370rwhp.  Even better still, my rev limiter kicked in before the power peaked off!  Time to make some adjustments to the tune 🙂  My numbers are the higher of what is seen from a typical “cam-only” LT1, and with a smaller cam Ive still managed to keep my power under the curve as well.  Major props to Advanced Induction for the research done on their 226/234 cam.  I am very happy.  Below are the videos and dyno charts.

Dyno chart peaking 373 rwhp!

Part 3: Road Racing at Grattan

Road racing, although more expensive than just about anything else I have done with my car, was quite possibly one of the most fun things I have ever done!  This has been something I have always wanted to do, but I have to give credit to Jon O. for giving me the push to go out and actually do it.  This is something that will be difficult to resist in the future.  Not only was road racing aspect of it fun, but the people around the sport made it enjoyable as well.  I was VERY impressed with the 3ballsracing staff and their organization of the event, as well as the overall openness and helpfulness of everyone there.  I learned a LOT in a very short period of time.  The level of trust was also impressive, as tools, parts, and laptop computers were left in the open without a bit of concern.  One gentlemen even offered Jon the unsupervised usage of everything in his trailer when he had a problem with his car.  As for my experience out on the track, my car did better than I expected.  The flat torque curve of the 226/234 cam was a huge asset coming out of corners!  The engine thrived out there, but maybe a little too much since it wanted to push right through my stock brakes!  Time for an upgrade.  Also, the word on the street was that taking a solid axle car out on a rainy day was “ballsy.”  Not only did I drive my solid axle car for a session in the rain, it was also my first time ever on a track!  Yikes!  Unfortunately I didn’t get any videos or pictures of my car on the course, but here are some pictures from our day:

Early morning cruise to the track!

Getting close to 100k!

My Camaro and Jon's Vette in the pits

Early morning rain, final corner before the straight

Jon and I waiting to enter the track

Jon going through the S-curves

Part 4 – Autocross

One more time I get to thank a friend for getting me out to something I had not tried yet.  Only a week after road racing, I got a call from my friend Brian about the autocross that was being held in Detroit that Saturday.  Thankfully, I hadn’t even gotten a chance to wash my car!  So, I packed up my things and headed down.  But the story gets better.  The previous weekend at Grattan I had overheated my power steering so many times that I had managed to lose the cap for it.  Whoops!  I knew this would not pass tech, and so I have to thank Brian again for finding me one to borrow in the nick of time for my inspection.  My impression of autocross is that it is a slower, more affordable version of road racing.  I was using primarily first gear instead of third, and only one car was out on the course at a time.  The rest seemed largely the same!  I also have to admit at this point that I got beaten by Brian’s Cobalt, or “tuner” as he calls it. 😉  Here are some pictures from the day:

Staging Lanes

Gentlemen with a Saab 9-X that I was talking to in the staging lanes

Breaking out of the start box!


Another turn with Detroit in the background

Pit area

Brian showing me how its done

Oversteering with a front wheel drive!

And thats all folks!  Hope this was enjoyable or helpful in some way, if you are looking to get into any of these activities feel free to contact me and we can set something up next season!


LS1 Lid & Radiator Support Install on 93-97 F-body

This document is for informational purposes only.  The following modification is assumed to be at your own risk and of no liability to the author.  It also assumes you already have good fabrication ability and sense, because you will need it.  When properly done, this modification not only looks good, but it can also offer an additional 10-20 peak horsepower (my own estimate) over a tradtional CAI along with improved throttle response and gas mileage!

My full collection of full-sized pictures are available here if you are seeking more detail than shown in this writeup:

1.  Supplies Needed

  • LS1 Air Lid
  • LS1 Radiator Support (NOT the high-rise WS6 version)
  • LS1 Air Cleaner & Basket (basket optional depending on how you choose to do this)
  • (1) 3″ to 3″ Fernco coupler, available at Lowes, Home Depot, etc in the plumbing section
  • (2) additional hose clamps if using a non-SLP lid (MAF can be inserted directly into the SLP lid)
  • (4) 3/8″ self-tapping bolts for the radiator support
  • (2) 1/4″ self-tapping screws to secure the lid to the cross member
  • A dremel with plenty of cutoff wheel bits, as well as the plastic trimming bit pictured later on.

2.  Install LS1 Lid

The guide I used to install the lid can be found here:

The install begins the same way any other LT1 lid install has been done – laying the radiator back.  You will want to begin by removing your factory radiator support.  If you have an A/C condenser you will need to pull it out of its mounting tabs on the radiator so that the two devices will be able to articulate in relation to one another.  If you have an electric water pump as I did, you will need to trim your fan shroud.  This modification may not be possible with some electric pumps, as my CSR offered just enough clearance for the fan.

You need to the radiator back enough that your filter will set down into the back half of the core support.  You can decide whether you want to make your cut in the radiator support to fit the filter basket, or just the filter.  I chose just the filter, but using the basket might provide a better seal in some cases.  You will also need to verify the alignment of the filter with the lid and the throttle body.

Sizing the cut

Tape off where you will be making the cut

Below is the result of the cut.  You will notice that I also bent the top edge of my radiator forward in order to achieve a confident support of the air filter against the lid.  This also serves to snug the filter up against the core support as well.  Again, if you are not happy with how the air filter fits against your lid, I advise cutting the core support out some more so that you can fit the LS1 filter basket in also.  In my case I was surprised to find it unnecessary.

End Result

How the filter should fit

Optional LS1 Filter Basket (I did not use)

The next step is installing the lid.  Get the lid itself, the fernco connector, and the 2-4 hose clamps ready.  There are two ways to set this up:

  1. Use a single coupler from the throttle body to the MAF and insert the MAF directly into the lid (lid will probably require trimming).
  2. Use two couplers, one on either side of the MAF.

I chose option #2, and in hindsight I feel that inserting the MAF directly into the lid is the better option. However, I will include the instructions for the alternative method anyway.  To make my two couplers, I cut my single piece of fernco in half down the center, since there is a limited amount of space between the lid and the throttle body.  I was able to make a nice even cut by using masking tape as a guide.  It is best to make your cut on an angle, so as to accommodate for the angle of the lid inlet.  The lid, being designed to fit a higher filter mount, has more angle than necessary, so you will need to trim that down to get it closer to alignment also.  Here are some pictures:

Lid before trimming (note inlet angle)

Lid after trimming, to reduce inlet angle

Fernco couplers loosely connected

Now that the lid is in place you may need to drill a hole in the lid for the IAT sensor.  Also make sure your MAF is connected, you may need to modify/extend the wiring harness to get it to reach in this position.  I was able to rotate my MAF such that I didn’t need to.  Once the fitament is verified you can start on the radiator support.  It is probably best not to screw the lid down yet at this point, just to be safe.

2.  Installing the LS1 radiator support

Here is what you’ll be starting with:

Unmodified Radiator Support

here is the bit that i used for 95% of the trimming, it cuts through plastic quite well:

Dremel bit

This process is going to take a lot of trimming and lot of patience.  The first piece you’ll want to remove is the front cross-brace, since it will not fit under the stock hood.  You’ll also want to remove ALL plastic that sits beneath the filter, and even then some further back. I cut the support back to the start of the lid clips, which will actually line up with the lid quite well when you are finished.

You will also need to clearance the back of the support to clear the fernco connection and MAF.  From the top, your end result should look something like this:

Trimmed radiator support

When you are done, the lid should fit inside the support:

Lid set inside support

Next, you have to trim the underside of the support.  Keep in mind that you will be positioning the radiator support an inch or so back from the normal position, to accommodate for the repositioned radiator.   You will still be able to use the screw-holes in the radiator support, but the screws will be tapped into the very back edge of the core support.  Take note of the trimming I did near the bolt-holes, the remaining plastic behind the bolts is good for strength.

Here is how I trimmed the underside of the support:

Trimming the radiator support

Trimming the radiator support

Trimming the radiator support

Trimming the radiator support

For a clean install you will need to cut the side edges to fit snugly around the core support.  This best done by trial and error:

Outer edge trimming

Outer edge trimming

Outer edge fitament after trimmng

Lastly, check your fitament with the filter. (You’ll want to remove the lid for this). If the radiator support doesn’t fall into place perfect don’t freak yet, it will snug up when you tighten down the screws.

Test fit of radiator support

If everythings good, get your 3/8″ self-tapping bolts and washers and fasten it to the core support.  Use self-tapping screws to secure the front of the lid to the support.  The following pictures should help show where the self-tapping screws are positioned in the core support (very back edge):

Securing the core support

Securing the core support

Securing the core support

After that, put the lid back on and use your 1/4″ self-tapping screws to secure the front edge of the lid.


The only thing left is making your hood close.  This will require removing part of the bottom layer of your hood skin.  Here are some pictures of the trimming I did to make the hood close.  I put grease on the lid to mark the bottom of the of the hood where trimming was needed.  I still plan on making this part look “prettier” but these pictures will work for now:

Bottom of hood, full view

Bottom of hood, side angle

Bottom of hood, close-up.

You’re done!  Enjoy your engines new ability to breathe!

Here are a few more angles of the finished product:

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