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Project AMC Eagle wrap-up: “Universal” was an exact fit; I sold it anyway

Alan Cesar July 28, 2015 Project Cars

20150701_185711 This AMC Eagle’s unobtainable clutch master cylinder has plagued me since I bought the project two years ago. After enough screwing around with rebuild kits and new hoses, I finally capitulated and followed the advice of a LeMons racer I met last year: It’s a simple hydraulic system. Just adapt a Tilton or a Wilwood master cylinder and move on.

That advice was better than I could’ve imagined, but it still didn’t solve the problem.  … Continue Reading

True Companion: Living with a 1990 Peugeot 205 XS for two years


A little more than two years ago, in the middle of the summer of 2013, I bought one of the cheapest cars I’ve ever seen advertised with valid inspection, let alone bought for myself. It was a white Peugeot 205 XS with 230 000 km on the clock, it cost 350 euros and I pretty much immediately wrote it up for Hooniverse. After being used as a student runabout, it was the way you would imagine a cheap, somewhat neglected car to be, as the paint was dull, the interior smelled of smoking and the engine bay was horrendously dirty. There were a bunch of weird noises here and there, the tires were bad and I didn’t really know what I was going to do with it, except tidy it up and drive it. And that’s exactly what I’ve done in the past two years.

It’s most likely one of the best deals I’ve ever done.

I’ll now let you catch up on the two years’ time I’ve had the affable little French econobox, and it’s going to be photo-heavy. Even so, that it’s better to splice up the pieces into several posts.

… Continue Reading

1931 Chevrolet Build Update


There has been progress on the ’31 Chevrolet hot rod/rat rod. This is slow work, since we are making it up as we go, but we are moving forward. At last update, we had added some patch panels to the body and were trying to shore up the shell so it could be moved around without it collapsing like a house of cards. Though the photo above may look like it collapsed, it actually represents quite a lot of progress.

… Continue Reading

Calculating Head CCs, Compression Ratio and Risk Tolerance

Tim Odell June 11, 2015 Project Cars

measure cc head

Engineering’s a funny thing: there’s no such thing as “Best”, only “Best for a Purpose”. We’ll take The Ranchero’s cylinder head as a case study: I’ve got a good 200ci block bored .030″ over and a mystery head. I need to determine how much to mill off that head to ensure straightness and the proper compression ratio.

I wanted to do a whole tech write up on this process, but to be honest it’d just be recreating this diagram and repeating much of this Classic Inlines article about static Vs dynamic compression ratios. To summarize the first: there are many things that contribute to the ratio of displaced volume and leftover space at top-dead center. The second: gnarly cams effectively drop your compression ratio.

head level

In my case, it’s a pretty common theme you’ll see: early-to-mid-’60s motors tend to have lousy cylinder heads with small ports and valves. Later 60s-70s-80s motors have better flow, but also larger combustion chambers. If you drop a later model head on an early motor, you’re likely to end up with a pathetically low compression ratio in the 7s-to-low-8s:1 range, so you’ve got to mill it down.

In my case, I measured the existing chamber volume using kitchen oil and a freebie drugstore syringe, then created my own Google docs sheet to do the math for how much milling gives how much leftover space.

With that in mind, what compression ratio would you target to eek a few more ponies out of a gutless motor without creating something that’ll detonate to oblivion on lap two?


Help a Hoon: Suggestions for a Replacement Heater Valve


Hey everybody, I need to engage the awesome power of the greater Hooniverse in finding a replacement part for one of my project cars.

My Jensen Healey got a handsome new radiator yesterday, one I picked up on the cheap at last month’s Queen’s English car show. It was while testing and installing the radiator that I discovered that the heater valve has apparently been keeping company with Greek wine amphora in a shipwreck at the bottom of the Mediterranean. At least that’s how it appears.

The valve is vacuum operated and has 1/2-inch connections on either side. I’m sure that there’s an exact replacement option that would keep the car OEM and my wallet all the emptier, but that’s not my goal. What I want to do is find the best replacement that won’t clean out the kids’ piggy bank.

Does anyone have a suggestion as to an alternative valve that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg? So far I found one – for a Porsche 928 or all things – on PartsGeek that runs $22.99, but I’m not sure if the connections are the right size on that one.

Does anybody have any ideas?

Image: ©2015 Hooniverse/Robert Emslie, All Rights Reserved

Project Car Fun: 1964 Corvair Monza


A few weeks ago, I was visiting my brother’s place, and I had a chance to talk with him about his latest project – a 1964 Corvair Monza. I’ve seen it a few times before, but this time I wanted to let you all in on the fun. Check it out. … Continue Reading

Project Car SOTU: 1984 Toyota Tercel 4WD

DSC00005 (Copy)

When we purchased this 1984 Tercel for $1k back in 2011 I made a thread on FinalGear entitled “Restoration. How hard can it be?” Unfortunately Richard Hammond wasn’t nearby to shout “Don’t say that!” Still, even though the restoration isn’t anywhere near finished we have made some progress.

Only for it to be killed by entropy.

For example, the pic you see above is the one a less-reputable used car dealer would use to frontline an ad (or the one a writer would use to make a point). A cab driver had its way with the other side, because of course it did.

… Continue Reading

Project Car SOTU Straggler: 1931 Chevrolet 5-Window

Scott Ith May 12, 2015 Project Cars


This is not my car, but it is in my garage, and all of my projects are on hold for the moment, so here’s an update on my friend’s 1931 Chevrolet 5-window coupe, which we dragged out of some guy’s back yard a few weeks ago.

… Continue Reading

Project Car SOTU: The Exalted Collection Of Cameron VanDerHorst

Cam Lead Image

[As a member of the Cammed and Tubbed Podcast *Every Friday Morning, available exclusively on the Hooniverse Network Of Podcasts*, Cam sent me this blurb to include in the project car SOTU today. Hopefully you enjoy hearing about his quartet of lovely project cars. If you listen to the podcast, you’re likely already familiar with them! – BB]

Hi, I’m Troy McClure Cameron VanDerHorst. You might recognize me from “The Cammed & Tubbed Podcast,” the “other” podcast here on Hooniverse. Since it’s PCSOTU time, I thought now was as good a time as any to introduce my projects to you.

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Project Car SOTU: Bultakenstein & The Honda CL125S


Over the years that I’ve been dabbling with my project Bultaco, a certain annual rhythm has evolved. Around the middle of November, my workshop time erodes as my spare time and money starts getting earmarked for holiday get-togethers and Christmas shopping. Once the holidays are over and the credit cards are paid off, usually sometime in February, I rededicate my free moments to project tasks again until mid-summer, when vacation trips (not to mention really, really nice Spyder riding) distract me again. There’s another less intense, shorter period of activity in the fall until things grind to a halt for the holidays once more. Things have been going this way with Bultakenstein since 2011, and I have a fairly complete, rolling, homemade chassis to show for it, along with most of the parts needed to assemble a working engine. This year, things didn’t work that way.

As you may recall from my last Project Car SOTU update, I picked up a ’74 Honda CL125S a year ago. It was intended to be a fun commuter/neighborhood runner to keep me on two wheels and assuage my growing discontent with the glacial pace of Bultakenstein’s progress. Well, a year later, neither two-wheeler is on the road, I’m buried in work at the office, I’ve spent forever helping edit my father’s latest book, and the Bultaco is mouldering in the workshop, unattenteded to. The situation is not all that sad, however. Even though the CL125S has become an unintentional second project, I have completed some fun and rewarding work on the little Honda.

… Continue Reading


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