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Motor Monday: LS4 Cavalier

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Ontario has, or at least had, an oddly ambitious J-Body community. Jeff’s famous, yet unfinished, right-hand drive Cavalier was from here. L67 supercharged examples are not uncommon. And most notably the Northstar V8 swapped example was from here.

Continuing with the trend of ridiculous today’s #motormonday features a LS4 swapped Cavalier.


This red devil was spotted at the 2017 Truck and Tuner Expo.

The car is owned by a local female enthusiast named Alysha who did all of the work to the car herself. When I say all of it I mean all of it. Including all the carbon fiber she does under the name AK Carbon Fiber.

The motor is mated to a 4T65E-HD transabd has a 3″ exhaust all the way back. It is more or less stock but really that is more than enough for a front wheel drive car of this size.

It runs and does drive, but it is predominantly a show car so it doesn’t see a lot of miles. Still though, it’s a FWD LS Cavalier.

Now Playing: Our Lifestyle The Podcast

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When I’m out in the garage working on Project Why Wait I always have something cranking through the speakers. One of the podcasts I listen to the most is ““. I got hooked on it after  where they had fellow Canadian Todd Robinson on.

Near the end of 2017 host Jason Ballard reached out asking if I’d like to be on the show. Obviously I said yes.

It took a bit for our schedules to connect but we recorded it last week and it’s live now as Episode 52. We covered a wide range of topics as the two of us are quite similar. Cars, BMX, the start of the website nothing was off-limits. I’ve embedded the episode below, give it a listen and go easy, it’s my first one!

Theme Tuesdays: Detroit Steel Wheels

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have become staples in the aftermarket automotive industry. The cause for this is two-fold. First, the guys at have a relentless work ethic, promoting and manufacturing them tirelessly. And second, large steel wheels just look great on a wide variety of vehicles.

Trucks, Hot Rods, Cars, Rat Rods, European cars you name it. 18″ and bigger steel wheels are in.

The Smoothie

The ‘Smoothie’ remains the most commonly seen Mobsteel wheel. With no holes on its face it looks the simplest but has the widest appeal.

This Bel Air is the first car I remember seeing on Detroit Steel Wheels
Cruise height wasn’t much higher than park height
I believe this original paint car is known as the Detroit King or something along those lines, it’s sitting on smoothie wheels with bullet caps
Matching the portholes to the wheel centers is perfect here
With oem style caps used the look of the smoothie wheel is further transformed, blending old and new
Bullet Caps and Mobsteels look great under John’s Mercury M1
a few years ago at Vanfest, love the retro paint on this truck
The Taylor’d Custom “Dirty D” Dodge sits on 20″ black Detroit Steel wheels
These wheels have the push through bullets installed

Mike Livia’s Task Force wears 20″ Detroit steel smoothies with dog dish caps
Not just for trucks and Hot rods  ‘s Merc looks stunning on Mobsteels with MB caps
on smoothies – Photo: @
20x14s are on the back of this Dodge owned by , they look massive!

Artillery Wheels

The Artillery wheels came out in 2016 or so and, if I were to run Mobsteels, these would probably be the wheels I would run.

It’s hard to see but Willys is indeed on Mob Steel Artillery Wheels
Again a little hard to see, but artilery wheels are tucked up under this Advanced Design truck

Delrays And Beyond

Late 2017/early 2018 Detroit Steel Wheel released revealed two new wheels at SEMA, the Del Ray, which has square slots repeating over the face of the wheel, and a second wheel that has four slots in the face.

The Del Ray on a Stoner’s Speedshop AD build, AD’s and Mobsteels go hand in hand I guess
The ‘Slameo’ tuckin’ the newest wheel from Mobsteel in 2017
A better look via the
And finally the new wheel with a vintage looking cap, great touch

Got a wheel I should do a Theme Tuesday on? Let me know in the comments below, and if your car matches this week’s theme tag me on Instagram () or post up below.

And, no, don’t take this post as an indication I am stepping away from 15″ steels or Astros for Project Why Wait 🙂

Project Why Wait: Unboxing Lange’s Shop Firewall Fillers

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With the chassis of Project Why Wait steadily humming along its time I start gathering parts for the cab. Like most trucks of this era mine does need some rust repair. Cab corners, toe boards, things of that nature.

Repair, rather than modification, is in order for all areas except the firewall. The firewall is one part of the cab that I’ve always planned to modify.

Imagine, if you will, the firewall above with all the accessories removed. The result would be a panel riddled with holes.

It is of course possible to fill those holes (as seen below), but that is quite the time-consuming task when you consider welding and proper metal finishing.

Enter . Lange’s Shop, headed up by Chris Lange. Lange’s Shop is an award-winning Alberta based facility Specializing in restoration, and modification.

Metal work is one of several areas they are extremely proficient at.

While building an advanced design truck of their own, Lange’s Shop noticed a significant gap in the market when it came to quality custom filler panels for the Advanced Design truck.

S10, C10 and even Task Force Era trucks have plenty of options for the job, but sadly this isn’t the case for the Advanced Design, or 1947 – 1954 Chevrolet/GMC trucks.

To remedy that problem Lange’s Shop is offering two in-house designed and manufactured firewall filler options.

At the listed –and extremely reasonable– $160 USD the choice to rock these panels was pretty easy.

Using these fillers also offered an extremely rare opportunity to support a Canadian manufacturer while building my truck. Being able to pay in my native currency and not have to worry about extra postage fees is a .

The fillers arrived within a week of sending money, safely flat packed in cardboard and protective wrapping inside. Being 18 gauge steel there isn’t a need for additional bulky protection.

Shipping this way also keep the costs down to a reasonable number, $40 Canadian in my case.

Cracking open the box the first thing I took a look at was the instructions. I plan to dedicate an entire post to the installation of these fillers, so it’s nice to get an idea of what I am getting myself into.

The instructions are well written, easy to read color prints versus black and white re-copies some companies ship their product with.

Lange’s Shop also handily lists their in the instructions for anyone who might need additional help.

Looking at the final installation photos, I honesty can’t wait to cut my firewall out and get started.

Something I wouldn’t have said a few updates ago.

Instructions temporarily tossed aside, I turned my attention to the panels themselves.

They are top-notch pieces that will look great under the hood of a patina’d truck like mine, or a full-blown show vehicle.

High quality steel is used and they arrived, scratch and surface corrosion free. Something that can’t always be said of replacement panels. The markings you see on the panel in the photos are actually my own fingerprints.

The beadrolls in the panel are straight and a consistent depth. Each filler is hand cut and hand rolled too. Making the overall consistency that much more impressive.

I’m so pleased with the overall quality of these fillers that I’m eyeing up the other panels has available for the 47 – 55 Chevy/GMC truck.

My toe board’s are a little soft and their new toe board kit would look great paired with the firewall fillers. That said I’m going to get through my firewall install before I put cart before horse.

Lange’s full line up of filler products for Chevy/GMC trucks of all ages (Taskforce, Advanced Design, c10 and more) is listed on their . For additional information can be ed via , , or .

If you do grab a pair be sure to let them know who sent you.

Now that the un-boxing is done, who wants to see me cut up my truck?

WTF Friday: Mack Rod

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While on Reddit I ended up getting sucked into . There I discovered  current project the Mack Rod. The Mack Rod is his way of using up left over parts from other projects. Almost like a dish made up from left overs and presented as something new.

The cab comes from a Mack garbage truck and the front end is largely custom metal work done by the builder using sheet metal.

Out back the bed is from an s10, a first gene judging by the lack of curves. The fenders are from a Task Force (late 50s) era Chevy truck.

The chassis is the equally loved and hated s10 chassis. S10s are under so many hot rods these days it’s almost ridiculous and if you frequent any hot rod forum you can see people arguing about their use.

Some people say it isn’t a good frame to use. Others say it is more cost-effective. Choose your own adventure is the best course of action.

In this case a back half has been added to support the air suspension, as well as a few stiffening cross members to the center section.

From a visual perspective, the truck is 100% unique.

A fellow Reddit user suggested a chop top and section to make the vehicle lower are around, and I’m inclined to agree that it would make the vehicle look better.

The owner however has stayed true to his vision for the vehicle and left it as he saw fit. As you can see from the photo below it does lay out fairly hard at 0psi.

Inside the vehicle shows its service truck roots with switches and gauges nearly everywhere. But for a bit of hot rod flavor the seat has been covered in a “Mexican” blanket.

There’s no build thread or anything for the truck unfortunately If you want to see more a few clicks through will get you where you need to be.

Theme Tuesdays: Recently Viewed – January 2018

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Better late than never with the first “Recently Viewed” Theme Tuesday of 2018. I’ve been watching an eclectic mix of old and new videos this month, many from the usual suspects.

If there’s any channels that you think I absolutely must follow for 2018 be sure to add them to the comments below.














The Beauty In The Struggle Of Building Cars

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Despite often being depicted as such building a car isn’t easy. This is a reality that I have become intimately familiar with as I fumble through of my own build, Project Why Wait.

No matter how you slice it building a car is a form of skilled labor, and there’s a learning curve to every new task. How-to articles and YouTube videos have made these learning curves smoother, but the road from idea to execution is by no means straight.

It’s full of switchbacks, hair pins, forks, cliffs, dead ends and everything in between. Say nothing about the number of roadside distractions (life, other projects, etc) that appear along the way.

The challenges one encounters during a build are virtually endless and frustratingly, not all of the challenges are fun. Some are even downright stupid –s10 motor mount engineer I’m looking at you– but each offers a teaching moment.

Be it how to do a specific task, or just another lesson in being proper planning and patience.

In moments of frustration it is important to remember that every project hits peaks and valleys. From the best of the best, to the weeknight, or weekend warrior. Everyone finds more rust than they expected, more damage than they thought possible, and more fitment issues than they care to admit.

All these unexpected ‘gotchas’ come with building a car because, well, that’s just what comes with building a car. The saying “if it were easy everyone would do it” might be cliché, but it’s true.

As an amateur builder I spend lots of time drooling over the fabrication talents of those with skills that far surpass my own. Mike O’Brien, Rob Ida, Nigel Petrie, Keith Charvonia  and Gene Winfield, are just a few of the people who make up a long list of builders I admire.

At face value it might look like they each have some sort of superior deity given talent, but, while it’s true there is such a thing as mechanical inclination, they’ve each hit the limitations of their skill at some point.

The key is they’ve pushed through.

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They too also all look up to builders they admire. Everyone strives to be better, and often the best way to learn is to observe those who are better.

Creating anything, from a car, to a business involves overcoming a series of challenges and struggles and there’s beauty in that struggle.

Each bloody knuckle, burned through panel, or outright failed approach offers a lesson. Some of these lessons come at the most inopportune times (as I’m sure anyone who’s had a failure at the track can attest) but persevering through them is where the magic happens.

Through the darkness of blown deadlines, depleted budgets, and late nights of limited productivity there is a light.

So next time you toss a piece on your scrap pile in frustration. Or find yourself stumped, remember in the end you’ll know more than you had at the beginning. Not one person who knows what they are doing today knew what they were doing when they started.

When you are done and it’s just you and your creation doing what you built it to do it will all be worth it.

That is of course until you tear it all apart to start again.

WTF Friday: 28 Cars In One

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Any Simpsons fans reading this likely remembers . A vehicle Homer Simpson designed using styling cues and features from other existing vehicles. The car was shockingly unique, but didn’t have much visual cohesion.

The same description could be used for this car. Made up of 28 different vehicle components in total, the car looks about as good as you’d expect a vehicle made up of 28 different vehicles to look.

A full list of the cars and components that brought this vehicle together is at the end of this post, but here’s a quick rundown.

The hood, fenders and grill come from a 1939 Chevy. Though they might not look it, the doors are from a ’71 Pinto. Despite the reworked openings they retain functioning factory glass.

All opened up the car resembles some sort of bird of prey more than a car. The interior borrows from a ’64 Thunderbird, and ’84 Firebird.

If building a unique car was the goal then this car delivers in spades.

Power comes from a small block Chevy, with matching transmission. The rear axle is from a ’72 Pontiac, and there’s no mention of whether or not it is a posi unit.

Cadillac suspension and brakes are used all around The rear end is make up of Cadillac components as well, fins from a ’61 and a trunk lid from an ’85.

Shockingly straight –considering the combination of parts used– this car is still not going to be everyone’s cup of beer. That said there’s no denying it took some sort of evil genius to pull it all together into a functioning vehicle.

The , and the car hasn’t been driven any length for some time. According to the seller it needs some shocks and a thorough once over before it’s truly ready to hit the roads.

Everything that went into creating this unique number is below:

  1. ’85 GMC 350 Truck Motor
  2. Chevy Caprice Electric Windows
  3. ’72 Pontiac Rear Axle
  4. ’64 Thunderbird Slide Away Steering Wheel
  5. ’72 Pinto Doors
  6. ’39 Chevy Hood
  7. ’39 Chevy Grill
  8. ’39 Chevy Fenders
  9. ’64 Thunderbird Interior
  10. ’72 Pinto Fuel Tank
  11. ’84 Firebird Seats
  12. ’82 Chevy Transmission
  13. ’82 Cadillac Front Brakes
  14. ’82 Cadillac Suspension
  15. ’61 Cadillac Rear Fins
  16. ’85 Cadillac Seville Trunk Lid
  17. ’73 Ford Sunroof
  18. ’85 Olds 98 Electrical System
  19. ’85 Olds Electric Dash
  20. Ltd. Headlights
  21. Ltd. Front Turn Signal
  22. Ltd. Rear Brake Light on Roof
  23. ’72 Javelin Tail Lights
  24. ’58 Buick Front Bumper
  25. ’58 Buick Rear Back Up Lights
  26. ’32 Chevy Rear Bumper
  27. ’92 Chevy Electric Cooling Fan
  28. Keyless Entry between the seats

The car is however street legal and comes with a ’39 Chevy title. I highly suspect that the builder either owned, or had access to, a fairly large domestic Junkyard.

Theme Tuesdays: Jeep Rods

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Building a hot rod –and arguably any car for that matter– should be about creating exactly what you want. If you’ve got the tools and skill to build the car that won’t stop running laps in your mind then by all means do it.

And if that car is a Jeep crossed with a hot rod then more power to you. Just don’t expect everyone to like it.

Jeep Rods , like the Volksrods (and like the smaller Porscherod segment) typically cause a knee jerk reaction.

The reaction is usually love,  or hate, with little in-between. Because of this, if you’re a Jeep,  Willys, or Powerwagon purist this post likely isn’t for you.

But,  if you’re the type that loves a bit of everything and believes there are no rules to hot rod building then this post is for you.

This ’48 Jeep was the subject of a previous WTF Friday titled Pleasantly Surprised, and it’s a great way to kick things off
The hardest part of a ‘Jeep Rod’ seems to be getting the proportions sorted. Some vehicles take pushing the axle in front of the grill quite well. Others look varying degrees of exaggerated,  like this ’52 M37 Dodge Power Wagon – via
The extremely stretched wheel base on this build probably produces interesting handling characteristics. The military theme throughout is pretty rad though – Via
This chassis, while still stretched, comes off much more naturally when compared to the two above
This particular vehicle was built by an off-road enthusiast using parts he didn’t use for his off-road builds, including the ‘off fire’ v6 – Via
Not over the top, with a splash of deep purple accenting, this Jeep Rod is quite solid.
Given that this car is probably lower than the door handles of most other cars (at ride height no less) the plate is probably fairly valid
I really dig this one low slung, classic color palate, and nothing looks exaggerated
This 1970s Willys boasts a 420HP small block – Via:
This Japanese build might be the odd man out in this post, but it’s too cool to leave out.
It’s cool to see an SR under the hood too
It looks like this might be a little out-of-place at the event it was pictured – Via:
Fuel Tank has a ton of wicked features, like this Willys hot rod build  from Thialand – Via: 
The ‘Iron Rat’ is a great looking 1UZ powered Jeep Hot Rod A full rundown of features can be found on  – Via:

Twin Turbo 454 YJ, well alright then!

on

@rustanddust at h2o

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He clearly has some great taste!

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A little (or a lot) of Hemi power never hurt anyone…

Motor Monday: Plot Twist

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Don’t judge a book by its cover is a slightly cliché term that is often easier said than done. Assuming that a 4.3 Vortec v6 was under the hood of this Chevrolet S10 Extreme was easy.

Bagged on chrome 20s, with heavy flaked clear over a custom blue, at best I expected a mildly cleaned up bay.

At worse I expected an excessive use of plastic blue wire loom.

Poking a head under the the hood revealed how wrong my assumptions were. The factory 4.3 was history, replaced by a small block 350.

Better still, that small block has been done up traditional hot rod style for an interesting contrast.

A red block, and finned valve covers starts the story, and a six carb trio with Offenauser speed equipment parts finishes it.

Unfortunately I’ve never seen this truck again, but if I do I’ll be sure to grab the owner’s ear for a minute.

With a unique swap like this, I know there’s more story to be told.

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