Name That Part- Winter Olympics Edition

While Vancouver has had to import snow so that the amateur athletes have something to land on when suffering the agony of defeat, the eastern seaboard of the United States has been inundated with the white stuff. All that makes for some hairy driving conditions, whether you like to drive like you’re on the luge, or prefer the more cautious curling style. Sometimes it’s best just to stay inside, curled up with a good laptop and a bottle of absinthe to keep you warm.

That big Ford wagon up there has only a light dusting on top of it, and getting it out and on the road would take little more than a turn of the key and  a flick of the wipers. But being rear wheel drive, and sprung to take a load, when lightly burdened its slick surface handling could be considered entertaining at best, and insurance deductible-exceeding at worst.
But until the early eighties, four wheel drive wasn’t available in anything other than butch trucks and the occasional esoteric furrin’ car. Most average-joes just had to make due with studded tires, chains, and sawing furiously at the wheel to keep their daily drivers from emulating Evan Lysacek on the way to work.
Many a midwesterner, and east coaster handed down from generation to generation their trade secrets for driving in the snow. On many a death bed, the final words spoken are not repudiations of past sins, but instruction to feather the throttle and to always steer into the slide.
And that brings us to today’s Name that Part. What does the Winter Olympics and tribal story telling have to do with the part below? Absolutely nothing, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t honor our nation’s amateur athletes with a little contest of our own, does it? I can tell you that is a part, and that it did originate from a car. With those clues, it should be pretty easy.
So, there it is- what the heck is it? What did it come out of? And, most importantly, who will take home the gold in curling this year?!

Chewie, we're gonna' need a new plasma coupler for the Millennium Falcon.

Image source: [richardlewis.org]

31 Comments

  1. Am I allowed to participate?
    Obviously it's a diff. You can see in the little windows that it's a helical-gear limited slip (gotta do a writeup on those…pure sorcery).
    The question is, what from?
    Regarding this, I will give no clues.

      1. While I don't know the answer, a key to identification will be the number of ring gear bolts.
        I see 8, but it looks like it's probably got 10 or 12.
        Can't be a Ford 9" (which the Country Squire might suggest, and which has 10 bolts) because they don't have that solid barrel look.
        GM 10 or 12 bolt is an obvious possibility…but that's not really Mitch's style.

        1. I can't believe it would be out of any high-volume factory application – too much lightness and doesn't look like there are any cast components to the case. Also doesn't look like any of the Eaton LSD's or locking diffs, nor from a c-clip axle as others have also mentioned. I can't really muster a good guess, but I would think it's out of a low-volume high performance car or a race car.
          Regardless: Best "name that part" I've seen yet…

    1. I'm gonna guess a center diff from an Audi or Volkswagen, since Subarus use viscous center diffs and I don't know what kind of system Volvos use (and those are the generally-accepted snowy weather AWD vehicles).

  2. I too believe it is a limited slip. What from I have no clue nor do I know if it is from a front diff or a rear diff. I'm leaning towards the front.

  3. Deducing from the clues in Mr. Robber's story, it's the transfer case from a 4WD AMC Eagle. How can I be so sure?
    Well, he starts off with a picture of a Ford wagon. Ford wagons did not have an AWD or 4WD option until recently. So, we can rule out Ford. However, the wagon is obviously correct because this is Hooniverse and we love us some wagony goodness. So, what wagons did have 4WD or AWD? Well, Subaru and Audi have both had AWD wagons. However, Graverobber specifically ruled out esoteric furrin cars. So, the eurotrash and the car from the land of the rising sun are out. What domestics put AWD or 4WD in a wagon? Chevy? Nope. Rambler? Nope. LaSalle? Nope. AMC. AMC is the only right answer. Their 4WD wagon was the Eagle.

  4. Based on what is in the background, a limited slip from something front wheel driven. A volkswagen, or a Sentra spec V.
    As for the curling question: Double gold for Canada. We've got more cold, flat, and tolerance for boredom than the rest of the world put together.

  5. I am going with LSD from a Saab 900. I have no actual idea.
    /I have been rewatching the theatrical version of Star Wars IV V and VI. They are totally awesome, and worth a rewatch if you haven't seen them since the recent abominations.

    1. I watched Empire recently, and even though it was the digitally "remastered" version, it still blew my mind how good it looked 30+ years later. There are so many movies that look dated 10 years later, and the fact that the original trilogy still looks good today almost excuses George for creating Jar Jar.

  6. A Subaru diff maybe? I don't really know…
    Speaking of Torsen, for the longest time, I thought it was named after a Mr Torsen who invented it. It turns out (as most you who by now are laughing at me) it is a contractraction of "Torque Sensing". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torsen

    1. +1!
      Had a green LTD wagon of the same vintage in my senior year of High School. 400ci motor, tiny race steering wheel, goofy Loco Motion surf stickers all over the back… used to offroad and jump it out in the diggings. Would hold 15+ people and a keg of beer no problem.
      Was goaded into doing the goofy Wolfmobile car-surf for the last day of School. Man that was a fun car.
      Got a pic of it around here somewhere.

  7. I can tell that it is NOT from an AMC Eagle. Why? Well, it is a far more modern looking design than the viscous coupling center diff that was built for AMC by New Process. So, my guess is that it is from a 1986 Subaru as i believe it was the official car of the US Olympic Ski team that year.

  8. Back when I lived where it snows, I never has any problem with driving big American rear-drive cars in the snow, as long as I had passable snow tires and weight in the back. When I was a cabdriver, I always used to drive the big Caprice station wagons during big snowstorms, hell, they were unstoppable.
    I was going to say Detroit Locker, but I get the feeling that it's something more exotic than that.

    1. I have to admit, it bothers me that everyone who considers a car (well, the people who I talk to about it here in Michigan) always will say, "but it's rear wheel drive."
      So is every Crown Victoria police car, so is every E-series based ambulance, and the people driving these are those who are depended upon to get through the snow.
      The words of wisdom passed down to me for driving on snow were "treat the accelerator as if you are stepping on an eggshell."
      Oh, still no guess on the part, I haven't gained that much knowledge throughout the day today.

      1. Must have been in some drivers ed textbook; I got that same advice about driving in snow.
        And one of the reasons why those RWD Vics, Econolines, etc. are controllable in snow is that all Ford automatics can be held in second to ease that takeoff even further.

      2. Did you know that if you drive an ambulance, you can call in for a plow escort? My cousin drives one in west Cleveland and had to call it in once. I've also found out first hand that you can Hoon the Heck out of an ambulance in the snow without much effort!

  9. I just aquired my first absinthe spoon set and lately I have been comparing absinthe types and have heard that Duplais is a popular variety in Australia. Is this the case elseware. Here in Australia, I find a lot of styles I have not seen yet and am unable to locate reviews for. It would be much appreciated if some of you guys who are familiar with absinth would offer their usual types. I just was introduced to the green fairy and was told that that Duplais is a nice absinthe to begin with. Opinions on is also helpful. So I got a bottle of Clandestine to sample and was really satisfied with my decision to buy it.

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