07-17-2012, 06:49 AM
= Project 1987 Chevy Monte Carlo from Hot Rod =
1987 Chevy Monte Carlo
A blast from the past from Hot Rod Magazine
Finale: The Completed Monte Hits the Pavement
Photography by Jeff Smith
Hot Rod Magazine
, February, 2009
- Build it pretty, make some horsepower on the dyno, then take it out and see what it will do. The G-Force Monte delivered on all counts, with solid visuals and strong performance.
Build it pretty, make some horsepower on the dyno, then take it out and see what it will d
- Between the PPG Red paint and the killer stance provided by Hotchkis, Boyds, and BFG, the G-car looks mean and backs that up with plenty of daily-driver performance.
Between the PPG Red paint and the killer stance provided by Hotchkis, Boyds, and BFG, the
- Slalom and skidpad performance delivered a strong message. The G-Force Monte is just a tad shy of a brand-new Corvette on the skidpad and through the slalom, and it runs low 14s on the dragstrip.
Slalom and skidpad performance delivered a strong message. The G-Force Monte is just a tad
- PAW shop meisters Mike Johnson and Craig Kossow dropped the 426 into the Monte’s cavernous engine bay. The Milodon oil pan was modified to clear the exhaust crossover that snakes between the oil pan and the crossmember.
PAW shop meisters Mike Johnson and Craig Kossow dropped the 426 into the Monte’s cave
- This entire project was guided by the image of a close-to-stock-appearing Monte that could still stomp when called upon. To this end, PAW used an ’85 Camaro dual-snorkel air cleaner along with matching cold-air pickups and hoses. This required custom routing of the A/C hoses by Lucas Auto in Van Nuys, California. Year One supplied a few resto pieces, including OEM-style hose clamps.
This entire project was guided by the image of a close-to-stock-appearing Monte that could
- Edelbrock supplied the shorty four-tube headers, which feature 11/2-inch tubes that expand to 15/8 inches before the collectors. The A.I.R. tubes allow everything to meet California emissions requirements.
Edelbrock supplied the shorty four-tube headers, which feature 11/2-inch tubes that expand
- To make the exhaust system work, Johnson and crew cut the flanges off the factory cat (left) and welded them to the new Hedman 21/2-inch cat (bottom) to create the final piece (top), which was then HPC-coated.
To make the exhaust system work, Johnson and crew cut the flanges off the factory cat (lef
- Here’s the finished stainless steel exhaust system installed on the car. Johnson and crew modified a Borla Turbo V6 Buick system with additional tubing to create the V8 system. Distinctive Polishing gave it the sparkle.
Here’s the finished stainless steel exhaust system installed on the car. Johnson and
- Big-inch displacement also adds a load to the starting system. PAW added an Optima Battery to the G-Force Monte to ensure consistent starts every time.
Big-inch displacement also adds a load to the starting system. PAW added an Optima Battery
- When you pump in an extra 121 cubic inches of engine, a cooling system upgrade is in order. PAW went with an aluminum Be Cool radiator that bolted right in, including the automatic transmission cooling lines.
When you pump in an extra 121 cubic inches of engine, a cooling system upgrade is in order
- PAW also included a set of Infinity Reference series two-way speakers, which are a direct replacement for the factory speakers.
PAW also included a set of Infinity Reference series two-way speakers, which are a direct
- You don’t get world-class performance from mediocre tires. The G-Force Monte stepped up to a set of Classic 16x8-inch two-piece Boyds wheels fitted with 245/50ZR16 front and 255/50ZR16 rear Comp T/A radials. Even at stock tread depth the Monte cranked out a 0.89 g on the skidpad with these tires.
You don’t get world-class performance from mediocre tires. The G-Force Monte stepped
Most hot rods are built to be driven, some are built strictly for show, and even fewer do a little of both. Performance Automotive Warehouse’s (PAW) Project G-Force Monte Carlo fits into the rod-for-all-seasons category. PAW project supervisor Mike Johnson, along with Craig Kossow, has reassembled the Monte into not only a great-looking street machine, but one that more than delivers on its performance promise.
When we left our fearless Monte constructors last month, they had just finished painting the underside of the G-car and were in the process of dropping the PAW 426ci small-block into the engine compartment. This included a set of Edelbrock dual-primary shorty headers that tie together downstream to a custom-fabricated Hedman high-flow catalytic converter. Borla became the system of choice for the Monte, but unfortunately it does not offer a dedicated system for a V8 G-body. The closest Borla system was one for a turbo V6 Grand National, so Johnson and company used the GN pipes along with a few extra lengths of various prebent 2½-inch tubing to fabricate the G-Force exhaust system. According to Johnson, each side of the dual exhaust out of the cat required roughly six to eight splices. The entire stainless steel system was then polished by Distinctive Polishing while the Hedman cat was HPC-coated.
While the exhaust was being fabricated, Kossow worked on completing the drivetrain. With the Richmond-geared, Auburn posi–equipped rearend installed, all that was left was a transmission and a driveshaft. While the Monte originally came with a 200-4R automatic overdrive, PAW decided to go with a B&M 700-R4 matched with a B&M Holeshot 2000-stall lockup torque converter. The different trans required drilling some new holes to mount the crossmember further aft, but the job required no major fabrication work other than a shortened driveshaft. The final touches for the rolling portion of Project G-Force added both image as well as performance. The Baer 13-inch front and 12-inch rear disc brake conversion required the use of larger 16-inch wheels. Narrowing the choices down to a few hundred, PAW finally decided on a set of Boyds five-spoke Classic 16x8-inch two-piece wheels mounted with BFGoodrich Comp T/A 245/50ZR16 front and 255/50ZR16 rear tires, which are slightly shorter but dramatically wider than the original 15-inch Monte rubber.
With the Monte running under its own steam, the PAW crew delivered it to Mike Ambrose in Northridge, California, where he created an entirely new interior for the car to replace the factory burgundy upholstery. The goal was to maintain an original factory look but in a steel-gray color using a breathable factory velour material for the seats and the door panels. Changes included a new headliner, recovered seats and door panels, and new carpet along with repainted dash pieces from Valley Colorflex. Colorflex’s dash and vinyl process involves much more than just a vinyl dye. It’s a multistep process that is both great-looking and incredibly durable.
With a refined cruiser like the Monte, tunes are important. PAW left the factory head unit in place but upgraded the sound quality with a set of direct-replacement Infinity speakers. Finishing off the interior is a LeCarra steering wheel and a set of Auto Meter instruments, including a Sport Comp 8,000-rpm tach, and oil pressure, water temperature, and voltage gauges.
Image often comes from performance. In the G-Force Monte’s case, that low, aggressive stance usually works in favor of better handling. Hotchkis has the Betts Spring Company wind their coil springs, and Hotchkis cut a half-coil from a set of 600–lb-in front springs to lower the G-car even further. Unfortunately, this places the suspension only about ¾ inch away from the factory rubber bumpstops, which can make day-to-day driving somewhat bone-jarring. This falls under the category of leaning toward the performance side of the daily-driver compromise. Since we were calling this project “G-Force,” we decided it was time to put the Monte to the test to see if it could live up to its name. With only a quick test blast down the alley in front of PAW’s shop after setting the front end alignment, we tagged along with sister publication Motor Trend to generate quarter-mile, skidpad, and 100-foot slalom numbers on the Monte. Keep in mind that other than setting the ignition to 36 degrees, we did no other tuning. The carburetor was a new replacement Q-jet from Holley using the factory-supplied jetting and a Camaro dual-snorkel air cleaner. Motor Trend’s Mac DeMere did the driving, and within six passes he brought the Monte down to a respectable 14.10 seconds at 98.38 miles per hour on street BFG rubber.
Given the Monte’s tire-spinning torque, 3.01 First gear, and 3.73 rear gear, the 2.35-second 60-foot times are slow but not surprising. A pair of slicks or BFG Drag Radials would easily be worth a 0.40- to 0.50-second reduction in the overall e.t. This compares to the stock Monte’s pathetic 17.65-second/75.57-mph stock baseline.
But dragstrip times are only half the story when it comes to the G-Force Monte Carlo’s capabilities. With the stock tread-depth Comp T/A tires at 40 psi in the front and 34 psi in the rear, DeMere pushed the Monte around the skidpad to generate a remarkable 0.89g lateral acceleration. When you consider the 3550-pound weight and the lack of suspension tuning, this number is excellent. To put it in perspective, Motor Trend’s recent test of a ’96 Corvette generated 0.91 g.
But skidpad numbers can be deceiving. The skidpad tests lateral but constant-load road-holding, which is only a portion of the total handling picture. A better test is a 600-foot slalom course where the vehicle is required to negotiate a series of tight lane changes. The better the car handles, the faster its average speed. Again with no tuning, DeMere pushed the Monte through its slalom paces to a speed of 64.23 miles per hour. By itself, this number really doesn’t mean much, but when compared to a ’96 Corvette’s average speed of 65.7 miles per hour, you can see that Project G-Force is no slouch in the handling department either. Unfortunately, we ran out of time to do braking tests, but with the Baer Claw system of 13- and 12-inch rotors in the front and the rear, respectively, the braking numbers would have been right up there with the handling and acceleration numbers.
If this were an all-out performance effort, we could have tweaked the Monte to squeak into the 13s on the dragstrip, 0.90 g on the skidpad, and 65 miles per hour on the slalom. But these performance numbers are only part of the G-Force Monte’s true identity. Ultimately, the G-car is an excellent example of a well-executed boulevard cruiser. On street tires it can hold its own in the stoplight grand prix without giving up anything when the road turns twisty. For the G-Force Monte Carlo, it’s about having performance along with an overdrive small-block that can cruise down the highway with four adults and the A/C on in stylin’ comfort. That makes it a hero in the everyday-cruiser category. But you must excuse us now, that twisty coast highway beckons. Maybe we’ll call in sick tomorrow.
- Mike Ambrose is responsible for the entire interior upgrade. The headliner, seats, door panels, and carpet went from factory burgundy to a more neutral factory steel gray. PAW also added a LeCarra steering wheel and an Auto Meter Sport Comp tach and gauges to complete the image.
Mike Ambrose is responsible for the entire interior upgrade. The headliner, seats, door pa
Read more: 1987 Chevy Monte Carlo - Hot Rod Magazine
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