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Debbie Harris's 1969 Grand Prix

2022 September
of the Month

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Aguila1
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Hey guys:



New to this forum, but not to Pontiacs or restoration. Two nice cars that I own are a custom 1979 Pontiac Trans Am, painted in House of Kolor Kandy Tangerine Base Coat and a recently purchased 1981 Daytona Pace Car.



The '79 is undergoing an engine rebuild to improve power and efficiency. It's a '73 455 that was last rebuilt by Steve Norwood and myself around '97. It featured 6x heads and a mild cam. For the last two years, I ran it on E85 fuel, knowing the moderate compression was less than ideal, but wanting to experiment with converting the QuadraJet.



The plan now is to raise the compression with 1969 GTO #16 heads with the Crower Ram Air IV type 60919 cam with Rhoads lifters. It also will feature Crower Sportsman forged rods, Pro-Gram four-bolt main caps and possibly Ross pistons.



You can follow along with the engine build at Vimeo, by searching Pontiac 455, or linking to Part 2 of my engine building series here and then going to Part 1 first:



https://vimeo.com/60619852



Thanks for having me and let me know if you enjoy my videos.


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Welcome to FP and the associated madness. I am impressed with your '79. I use House of Kolors in my automotive airbrush hobby, so I use my share of Kandy Tangerine when I do true flames. So I know that paint job was not cheap but it looks fantastic in your pictures. How many coats of base and clear coat are on it?



I do have a question about going the E85 route. Sounds like an interesting idea and I do want to see your results. I have read that the higher the alcohol in the fuel, the less efficient the compression stroke is (i.e. less horsepower is produced) and that alcohol produces more heat than gas does. So your future engine combination should certain up the horsepower portion. Do you plan to do anything to the cooling system to compensate for the higher heat that motor will likely produce over normal E10 gas? Just curious. Sounds like you have quite a neat project going on.


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Welcome to FP and the associated madness. I am impressed with your '79. I use House of Kolors in my automotive airbrush hobby, so I use my share of Kandy Tangerine when I do true flames. So I know that paint job was not cheap but it looks fantastic in your pictures. How many coats of base and clear coat are on it?

I do have a question about going the E85 route. Sounds like an interesting idea and I do want to see your results. I have read that the higher the alcohol in the fuel, the less efficient the compression stroke is (i.e. less horsepower is produced) and that alcohol produces more heat than gas does. So your future engine combination should certain up the horsepower portion. Do you plan to do anything to the cooling system to compensate for the higher heat that motor will likely produce over normal E10 gas? Just curious. Sounds like you have quite a neat project going on.

Hey Frosty. I'm a master airbrush artist, myself, having the privilege of learning from and working with Dru Blair when he was starting out. You'll undoubtedly appreciate the pin-up on this car's decklid. If I remember correctly, it was 3-4 base coats (KBC08) over silver sealer, then 3 coats of clear, cut, 3 more coats cut and buffed.

On standard compression engines a switch to higher levels of ethanol might produce less power in a naturally aspirated application as the fuel has less energy than gasoline per unit. However, my measurements hovered around 200 rwhp with gasoline and around 173 rwhp on e85, but it did seem to produce more bottom end torque, a typical observation among users. It is my understanding that the heat of combustion is actually cooler on alcohol and have had no issues. What is noteworthy is an improved smoothness of the motor, as if a more even flame front and more complete combustion cushioned the explosions within. I've been told on numerous occasions that the converted Q-Jet runs and feels like a fuel injected car. Both my brother and I have experimented with ethanol - he has run his own blend of e30 in his '88 GTA 305 for over 100,000 miles on an engine that has never been opened with 360,000 miles! On a high-compression NA or a turbo-application, an ethanol fueled car will see an improvement, as e85 has a rating of 105 octane (that some measure as an actual 116), meaning the engine will produce more power, without any fear of detonation. My brother routinely runs e50 in his '89 TTA. Around here the local LS tuner is providing dual-fuel tunes in 7-800 hp boosted applications. Gale Banks refers to e85 as "the biggest performance fuel bargain ever on the planet."

Don't take my word for it though, just try to weed through all the misinformation out there put out by the oil powers. This is nothing new as the Model T ran on ethanol and that possible energy competition was squashed during prohibition. A good source of technical articles is D-Sport magazine.

Please stay tuned to the videos to see how these theories play out in a high-compression engine, which should produce more horsepower than on gasoline, given the same engine set-up.

pinuphighres.jpg

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Welcome to FP and the associated madness. I am impressed with your '79. I use House of Kolors in my automotive airbrush hobby, so I use my share of Kandy Tangerine when I do true flames. So I know that paint job was not cheap but it looks fantastic in your pictures. How many coats of base and clear coat are on it?

I do have a question about going the E85 route. Sounds like an interesting idea and I do want to see your results. I have read that the higher the alcohol in the fuel, the less efficient the compression stroke is (i.e. less horsepower is produced) and that alcohol produces more heat than gas does. So your future engine combination should certain up the horsepower portion. Do you plan to do anything to the cooling system to compensate for the higher heat that motor will likely produce over normal E10 gas? Just curious. Sounds like you have quite a neat project going on.

I just talked to my brother, and he corrected me - he's been running e30 since the 305 tpi turned 200,000 miles - that's 160,000 miles on e30. Also, his 3.8 turbo is in the tuner's shop as I write this, so we can look forward to that as well!

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Welcome to the forums! The 79 T/A looks great, especially with those more modern snowflake wheels. Excellent tire choice, by the way. Nitto Invos are awesome, I know they're huge with the import crowd, especially the Evo guys.

Looking forward to more progress updates, but stick around! Plenty of entertainment going on around the forums.

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Hey Frosty. I'm a master airbrush artist, myself, having the privilege of learning from and working with Dru Blair when he was starting out. You'll undoubtedly appreciate the pin-up on this car's decklid. If I remember correctly, it was 3-4 base coats (KBC08) over silver sealer, then 3 coats of clear, cut, 3 more coats cut and buffed.

On standard compression engines a switch to higher levels of ethanol might produce less power in a naturally aspirated application as the fuel has less energy than gasoline per unit. However, my measurements hovered around 200 rwhp with gasoline and around 173 rwhp on e85, but it did seem to produce more bottom end torque, a typical observation among users. It is my understanding that the heat of combustion is actually cooler on alcohol and have had no issues. What is noteworthy is an improved smoothness of the motor, as if a more even flame front and more complete combustion cushioned the explosions within. I've been told on numerous occasions that the converted Q-Jet runs and feels like a fuel injected car. Both my brother and I have experimented with ethanol - he has run his own blend of e30 in his '88 GTA 305 for over 100,000 miles on an engine that has never been opened with 360,000 miles! On a high-compression NA or a turbo-application, an ethanol fueled car will see an improvement, as e85 has a rating of 105 octane (that some measure as an actual 116), meaning the engine will produce more power, without any fear of detonation. My brother routinely runs e50 in his '89 TTA. Around here the local LS tuner is providing dual-fuel tunes in 7-800 hp boosted applications. Gale Banks refers to e85 as "the biggest performance fuel bargain ever on the planet."

Don't take my word for it though, just try to weed through all the misinformation out there put out by the oil powers. This is nothing new as the Model T ran on ethanol and that possible energy competition was squashed during prohibition. A good source of technical articles is D-Sport magazine.

Please stay tuned to the videos to see how these theories play out in a high-compression engine, which should produce more horsepower than on gasoline, given the same engine set-up.

pinuphighres.jpg

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

I am impressed that you have worked with Dru Blair. I had one of his signed prints for years hanging in my study. The print was "Power", the B-1 bomber flying over the mountain lake. I loved that print. I got rid of it when I got married though. It was deemed "bachelor" decor. You need to post a picture of the deck lid when you get a chance. You've piqued my curiosity.

You definitely had some serious coin in the paint job then. The silver sealer is what seals the deal for sure. It gives it that reflective base. Sounds like you know your way around a paint gun and an airbrush. I love using my Awata Eclipse dual stage. Sweet !

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The Iwata Eclipse is my favorite airbrush, too. I remember when Dru did that painting - it really was the one that launched his career. We both got our start airbrushing T-shirts in Myrtle Beach, something I would recommend any beginner since putting in the hours under pressure makes many highly skilled artists. Not that all professional airbrush artists are great, but like anything - practice, practice, practice!



pin-uphighres_zps01620866.jpg

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Excellent pin-up my friend. How many different colors did you need for her skin tone? How many hours do you have just painting her? I have considered doing an old school aviation style 40s era pin-up myself, but my shop is out of commision right now. So I have no place to airbrush (or wrench for that matter). I need to build a new pole barn and I don't have the funds right now (buying a new house will do that to you).


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I used a lot of different kandy toners over a custom metallic base, so it's hard to answer that question. I guess by blending the main transparent colors you can create from a few colors a tremendous range in your palette. I just try to paint what I see.


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Makes sense. What was your metallic base - silver?


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I mixed up a tan flesh tone that also had pearlescent in it. I can just offer that there are no fast rules - just experiment a lot to see what looks pleasing. And remember to always use a respirator when spraying automotive paints and a fresh-air respirator system when using anything with isocyanates. I think Dru still teaches a school down here in South Carolina and does Airbrush Getaways for Airbrush Action in Vegas and other places, so you might want to take a few courses to learn from the pros first hand.


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I have read about the Vegas classes in a couple of the airbrush magazines I've picked up. I'd also like to practice my true flames with Lavallee too. Most of all I need a lot of practice.


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The build followed a smoothed and shaved custom or street rod aesthetic. You'll also notice the side indicator lights are smoothed, as are the door handles and locks - shaved. Look closely and you'll see that even the bumper has been smoothed a bit by getting rid of the factory step. This is an old customizing tradition that emphasizes the car's lines over extraneous add-ons or decorative elements. Only the hood and decklid have been decorated and are viewable from a high angle, the hood bird in the factory tradition, the pin-up - acknowledgement of an American tradition dating before WWII. The glamour paint also alludes to the Motorama concept cars of the fifties. The result is something familiar to old school hot rodders but different applied to a more modern car. You might want to try these styling ideas in Photoshop first on one of your project cars to see if the result is a pleasing one.


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