Online Newsletter


Vol. 4                            April 2006                         No. 4



A good day to you all. Greetings and well wishes too!



Spring always puts me in such good spirits.

It is here. It is now. It is time!


Let’s get out there and get going! I long for a rallye to partake in, but a long drive in one of my Muscle Mopars will serve just as nicely. Take a drive on one of the scenic parkways and look at the buds coming up and blooming on all the trees. The blue sky, warmer weather…mmm, it all was worth the wait.

The emergence of a totally satisfying and sensory pleasing season. Something the west coast and southern folks will never know.

They are spoiled with sunshine and warmth all year long and don’t get that chance to revel in the new birth of life that a northern spring offers every year.


I love it!


To try and explain it to those of you who might be reading this that never had to endure the automotive famine of a long, cold winter, the lack of color and outdoor activities to please the senses and the mind, is almost impossible. You need to have a point of reference, a common understanding gained through experiencing withdrawal and “life without”.


To try and explain it…think of the season of Lent.

You gave up something REALLY tasty that you love to eat all the time (whatever that is for you), something that is always satisfying and you enjoy immensely. You yearn for it for 40 days because you can’t have it and you want it all the more! You miss the flavor so much. You have dreams about it! You even ache at times.

Then, what is it like when Easter arrives and you finally break the fast?

You take that FIRST bite and your senses all kick in and stimulate your brain! You slowly taste the fullness in your mouth of that chocolate, that ruby red wine, that perfectly cooked and juicy steak, the aromas fill your nose and… !!!!!

That’s it!

That’s what it is like, but on a much grander and sustained scale.

You just fasted without ONE thing for 40 days.

We have TOTAL automotive withdrawal for FIVE MONTHS!


Can you southern folks understand now what it is like for automotive enthusiasts (and nature lovers too) when spring arrives in the northern areas?

Maybe you can, maybe you can’t.

But at least now you can see where we are coming from and what we go through.

I think we appreciate the use of ours cars all the more because of it.


Spring. It is here. It is now. It is time!



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1   Editor’s Introduction

2   New Advertisers

3   New Magazine

4   Picture Caption Contest

5   Clubs & Events

6   Cruise Night Information

7   Guest Writer’s Columns

                        Lou Refano

                        Andy Vourlos

                        Rich’s Tech Tips

8   My Car Story

            9   The Archive

          10   Editor’s Closing



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Please take note of our new advertisers:


AJ Classic Auto Transport.

A Long Island based company that can transport your specialty vehicle.

We, (Ange and I) enjoy meeting people and the open road. We feel car collectors and gear heads are really nice people. In our travels we have met some neat individuals who are very talented in restoring classic cars, and just good ole everyday folks.  

Ange handles all of the paper work and computer issues plus the photo department, while I do all the driving. We take each trip together and enjoy all of the new sites. We find traveling long distances to be very peaceful. We also have the capability of total contact with our customers, right from the start, with the first phone call. We utilize a mobile computer and a digital camera, we take photos of the vehicles at the seller’s location and send them immediately to the buyer prior to pick up if need be.”  

 Rest assured, every trip we take is as safe as possible, we do not rush. We take Classic vehicle transporting very seriously.

These guys are fully licensed and insured. To top it off Jimmy is a retired NYPD officer that you can put your trust in! Tell them Long Island Classic sent you!


Tappen Enterprises Ltd.

A FULL service shop for Street Rod, Race, and Muscle Car enthusiasts and their vehicles. Custom, stock, fabrication, repair, restoration, maintenance, and more! Electrical systems, brakes, A/C, suspension, fuel systems, custom & brand name parts….the list goes on and on!

Bill Thume (pronounced Toom) is the owner and he is great to deal with! Not only is he a nice guy, but he has a tremendous amount of experience in the specialty auto field. He has done tons of work and will give you many happy references to call on. 

Tell him Long Island Classic sent you!


    Tell these fine folks you saw their ads here when you call them, and get a nice discount!



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Hey, there’s a new mag in town! Have you seen the April issue of Long Island Rides?






“LI Rides is the hottest custom car and bike guide on Long Island!  We cater our paper to the car, truck, and bike enthusiasts on Long Island.  Our main goal is to give the people of Long Island some direction on where to get their car, truck, and bike needs taken care of as well as give them quality reading material by showcasing the finest shops, cars, trucks, & bikes and the hottest girls that Long Island has to offer.” (Jason & Anthony)








(Good luck Fellas! Great idea you have there…it will make a nice

addition to the LI scene!) Pete








Long Island Classic Cars.Com’s





Submit your caption along with your name and e-mail address to:


This contest is open to everyone! (LI Classic paid personnel, regular column writers, and business advertisers are not eligible.)

Winners will be notified by e-mail and/or phone.

Please submit all entries by the 1st of the next month. (ex: for April’s contest the entries are due by May 1st)

No substitutions of prizes will be allowed.

In the event of prize choices, winner will be given the opportunity to select the one they want.

All decisions are final and are made by the paid personnel of Long Island Classic

Winners must claim their prizes within 30 days of contest end or forfeit the prize to the runner up.


A few simple rules:

1) Be funny and creative!

2) Keep it somewhat clean!


Here is last months winning entry from Terrence Playner.

“Hop on! We need one more to use the Baghdad to Basra HOV lane!”


Terrence wins a Car Care & Cleaning Kit stocked with goodies!  Congratulations!



OK – Here is the picture for our April “Caption Cut-Up Contest”!!



Go to it! Send in your funniest, wittiest comments by 5/1/06 and win the prize!






Clubs and Events


More car clubs are listing their events, meetings, cruises, and shows for the current season.

You can check them out in the EVENTS section on the main page of the website.


There are hundreds of them now!


If you are in a car club, get your club and your stuff listed ASAP! The sooner it is up on the site and everyone has access to it, the more people will plan on attending your events! Remember to list your rain-dates as well.

…….   …….


We would like to mention more car clubs that have listed on our site recently. As the hobby continues to grow and bring in both older and younger enthusiasts, there are no shortage of clubs and organizations to fulfill anyone’s tastes. Some of these clubs have been around for many years, while others are relatively new start-ups. Check them out in our CLUBS section!


Mustang Shelby Club of Long Island. This is a newly formed combination of the LI Mustang Club and the Shelby Club of LI. They are open to all Mustang and Shelby vehicles, as well as other Ford products. Over 200 members. A club that likes to do things and have fun! Many events and happenings. New members are welcome!




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                       Cruise Nights will be starting up soon!  Here’s the latest on them…




2006 Cruise Night location updates:           



TUESDAYS:         McDonald's. Metropolitan Ave. & 69th Road, Forest Hills, NY.

                                   Sponsored by East Coast Car Association/Toys For Tots

TUESDAYS:            Audrey Ave. Oyster Bay, NY

                                               Sponsored by Oyster Bay Chamber of Commerce

TUESDAYS:         Bald Hill Cultural Center. North Ocean Ave. Farmingville, NY

                                   Sponsored by the Farmingville Fire Department

TUESDAYS:            Old K-Mart Plaza. Hempstead Tpk. Levittown, NY

                                               Public gathering.

WEDNESDAYS:   KFC. William Floyd Pkwy & Montauk Hwy. Shirley, NY

                                   Sponsored by Bow Tie Boulevard Camaro Club

THURSDAYS:      Wendy’s Shopping Center. Montauk Hwy and Locust Ave, Oakdale, NY

                                   Sponsored by Still Cruisin’ Car Club                                                                

FRIDAYS:            Bellmore Train Station. Sunrise Highway. Bellmore, NY

                                   Public Gathering

SATURDAYS:      *AM Cruise* Steve’s Collision. 618 North Bicycle Path. Port Jefferson Station, NY.

                                   Sponsored by Steve’s Collision.                                                               

SATURDAYS:      Sonomax Station. 278 Greenpoint Ave. Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY.

                                   Sponsored by East Coast Car Association/Toys for Tots

SATURDAYS:      Kohl’s. Corner Grand Blvd and Commack Rd. Deer Park, NY.

                                   Public gathering.

SATURDAYS:      King Kullen Shopping Center. William Floyd Pkwy. North of Montauk Hwy. Shirley, NY.

                                   Sponsored by Bow Tie Boulevard Camaro Club

SUNDAYS:          *AM Cruise* Ocean Pkwy, Captree Beach Parking Lot through May, then at OBI.

                                   Public gathering.


PS –

Whoever has information on the early Sunday morning cruise out near where OBI used to be, please let us know.






NOTE: Hewlett on Friday nights has been declared dead after only two weeks. I have been notified by several individuals that were gathering with their rides that they were scolded and sent packing. Seems the (not so) good folks in the 5 Towns areas do not like having cars gather in their shopping areas or driving through their villages. People were unceremoniously kicked out last year as you all know, this year people were just gathering without impetus from any club or organization,

and guess what; the locals and the merchants complained already!

Well, all I can say is, if we’re not good enough to be allowed to park there, I guess we shouldn’t shop there either.

If they don’t want us and the business we bring in at night, then they can’t have it during the day either.











Lou Refano pens a very informative feature about Crosley. “Who?” you say. Well read on and find out.

Powel Crosley Jr. was an industrialist that knew no bounds. Lou tells us about his automotive venture.


We have another returning writer this month! Andy Vourlos is back with an article that reviews some current incarnations of our favorite cars from the 60’s and early 70’s.The GTO, Charger R/T, and Mustang GT.

To top it off, Andy got to drive all these cars for the story! Lucky guy.


Rich’s Tech Tips continues his series on the ignition system with some brilliant information on how things work.

You all should really be sending him money each month. What a wealth of information he imparts!!


In this month’s “My Car Story” Debbie and Thomas Derych write about their Mopar Muscle. No wonder this family stays together and does it so well. Wait to you see the cars and read the story! Inspirational to all the “hitched” of us out there. Gives hope to those who want a partner that’s as “committed” as they are!


And we’re off ……..



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                                 THE LITTLE CAR THAT COULDN'T      

by Louis Refano                            



Last time I covered the adventures of GM's giant Futurliner buses.  This time we look at their polar opposite--the diminutive Crosley automobiles.

The 20th century is destined to go down in history as the American century, and the American automobile industry is a huge reason for that.  Near the beginning of the century the industry brought so many creative, free-thinking, inventive types out of the woodwork; people who had the passion and desire to get involved and put their stamp on this new technology, much like
television in the '40s and the computer in the '80s.  They were mostly classified into two groups: The captains of industry, and the dreamers.  Once in a great while they were a little of both, and were able to work some real magic.  Powel Crosley, Jr. was just such a man. His automotive idea was to produce something that, going on 100 years later, seems like an other-worldly notion in the land of giant SUVs and ever-larger pickup American microcar.  It would be a simple car anyone could drive, in the tradition of the Fiat Topolino and Volkswagen Beetle.  Regarding cars, he observed, "Why buy a battleship to cross a river when a rowboat will get you there just as well?" 

Crosley was an extraordinary industrialist.  He achieved significant success with his affordable Crosley radios and refrigerators.  One of his innovations was putting shelves in the door of the fridge (and his appliances were known to the basement of my parents' Roslyn Heights house we had a 1950's Shelvador that kept things cold until 1990...when the motor finally died). Crosley also owned the Cincinnati Reds, who played at Redland Field, which was renamed Crosley Field in 1934 when Powel took over the team. In addition he owned the most powerful radio station in the world during World War II, WLW in Cincinnati (not WKRP, that was somebody else).  So before Pete Rose came along, Crosley was basically the King of Queen City.

Crosley had the "car bug" as early as 1907 when he first attempted to produce a motor vehicle, but it never left the drawing board.  He tried once again in 1913 with a cycle car, and got it to the prototype stage, but it too, never saw mass production.  So the distinction of being the first individual to produce a car for the masses went to Henry Ford.  But Crosley never gave up on his
dream of being the next great automaker.

It would take 28 more years, but Crosley finally got his car produced for the general public. It would make its debut in the fall of 1939.  It was called the Crosley Convertible Coupe.  This 80-inch wheelbase minicar was powered by a 2-cylinder, horizontally-opposed, air-cooled engine of 35.3 cubic inches, which developed a meager 12 horsepower.  Even with that limited power, the "mighty mite" that weighed only 925 pounds could get up to 50 mph, and as you would expect, gas mileage was phenomenal ...around 50 mpg.  This was important in the era of gas rationing right before World War II. 2,017 Crosleys found a home in '39 among budget-minded people who wanted a knock-around car that was easy to drive and maintain and very easy on gas. It sold for just $210, and it was available at hardware stores and appliance shops were there was already some Crosley brand recognition. In 1940 two sedans were added to the line, plus a station wagon. Several commercial bodies were also available. 


Starting in 1941, the cars were sold by automobile dealers, and prices were raised to $339 for the convertible and topped out at $496 for the enclosed station wagon.  Also in '41 the lineup was expanded again, to include a "Covered Wagon" (sort of a convertible station wagon with a full canvas top), a parkway delivery and a panel delivery. These were built until early 1942 when World War II ended all automobile production.  In 1942 Crosley created a new engine for the military, an overhead-cam 4-cylinder engine with a brazed copper and sheet-metal block called the CoBra.  This was used on 1942 Crosleys and was also
installed on his '46 lineup after the war ended.  The CoBra displaced 44 cubic inches (2.50 x 2.25-inch bore and stroke), developed 26.5 horsepower, and weighed only 60 pounds.

The 1946 Crosleys' styling was much more modern than the prewar models; they had slab sides one year before any other car had them, integral headlights, and the previous "bullnose" was replaced with a full-width front end and a "French moustache" twin grill.  They came in convertible, two-door sedan (4-seater), and station wagon.  Once again commercial bodies were offered. 

A "sports utility" (where have I heard that term before?!) was added in '48, and the wagon was also available as a panel delivery van (a true MINI-van!).  The '48 station wagon was now all-steel...the first American wagon designed this way, beating Plymouth by one year.  Price-wise, the 1946 Crosleys were priced at $905 for the two-door sedan and $949 for the convertible.  In 1947 the sedan price was dropped to $888.  The '48 "sport utility" was $799 and the station wagon went for a "whopping" $929.  Also in '48, Crosley dropped prices again on its sedans and convertibles.  Don't you love the good old days?  By the way, if you bought a brand new 1948 Crosley convertible for $949, it would be worth $10,000 in condition #1 as of March 2006, according to Old Cars Price Guide.  A nice return on investment if you owned one, and if you're looking for one, it's STILL A BARGAIN!

The 1946-48 Crosleys were basically similar, but the car-buying public didn't seem to mind, because after the war there was a
huge seller's market.  Buyers had to go on long waiting lists at other dealers...up to a year for a new Pontiac versus 30-60 days for a new Crosley.  This helped the company produce 5000 of the '46s, 19,344 '47 models and a peak of 29,707 of the '48s.  The little independent built the most station wagons of any car manufacturer in '48.  Then in '49 came the end of the postwar seller's boom and all-new designs brought out from GM, Ford and Chrysler. Consumers became a little more choosy...they wanted more style and refinement than the lowly Crosley could offer.  Another chink in the armor was that the CoBra engines were developing a bad reputation—their copper-steel blocks were prone to electrolysis, which created holes in the cylinder walls and required an engine rebuild.

In the face of the problems from within and without, the 1949 Crosley was vastly improved.  A new cast-iron block engine, or CIBA, was introduced, which kept the original dimensions of the CoBra. The styling was modernized with straight-through front fenders which ended in sealed-beam headlights, standard turn signals, side sculpturing with chrome trim, and a newly-styled front end
with three horizontal chrome bars.  Despite all the improvement, production dropped to 7,431. 

Starting in June of 1950, things got more interesting with the introduction of the 85-inch sports car called the Hot Shot.  That's right...sports car!  It was a two-seat roadster featuring semi-elliptical springs in the front and coil springs in the rear, that could do 90 miles per hour.  It featured a three-speed gearbox with no synchromesh, and the 44-cubic-inch overhead-cam CIBA.  This car, completely stock, won the Sebring Road Race in 1951.  For $999, you got the only mass-produced sports car built in the United States in 1951; a car that sent European sports-car designers back to the drawing board.  It was also the first American-built car with four-wheel disc brakes.  Looking at a later Austin-Healey "Bugeye" Sprite, you can see the influence of the Hot Shot. 

The regular lineup in '50 consisted of convertible, sedan and station wagon in Standard and Super models; Super basically got you some additional chrome trim.  The production tally of 1950 was 7,612 cars and trucks, including 742 roadsters.  The compression ratio of the CIBA was raised to 8:1, nudging the horsepower to 30.

For '51 a curious new propeller nose was added to the front end of Standards and Supers.  The Hot Shot offered the Super-Sports version and steel doors replaced the canvas ones. But it was the beginning of the end for the Crosley automobile.  Only 4,839 of the '51s were produced, and the last '52 Crosley was built around July 4 of that year.  Despite investing over $3 million of his personal funds, Powel could not keep his car company afloat.  However, he was able to sell the assets to General Tire and Rubber Company, and the CIBA engine was used in boating applications.

One of the things I like to speculate about is, had the independent automakers survived, what products would have evolved?  Had the Crosley automobile been produced throughout the '50s, and been made a little more powerful and comfortable, and hung on until the big recession of '58 and the compact boom of '59, it surely would have been a hit; an anti-big car just the way the AMC
Rambler and Studebaker Lark were.  It was surprisingly peppy, great on gas, and the CIBA engines were durable and simple to maintain.  Daniel Strohl of Hemmings Classic Car pointed out that “your kid's video game probably has more wires than a Crosley!”  And with just the right amount of quirkiness with its could have been the American Beetle...and Powel Crosley, Jr. would be as well known today as Henry Ford. 

Be sure to visit the Crosley Automobile Club at for everything pertaining to Crosleys.  Also, go to for a definitive history on Powel Crosley, Jr. and his fascinating cars.  Another terrific article is in the November 2005 issue of Hemmings Classic Car, detailing the complete restoration of a 1950 Super station wagon.

Photos: 1939 Convertible Coupe; 1948 CC Coupe and 1951 CD Panel Delivery owned by Jim & Jo Hockenhull; 1951-52 Crosley Station Wagon

Sources:  The Dream Machine by Jerry Flint, Cars of the Fabulous Fifties by James M. Flammang and the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide, Old Cars Price Guide,, Hemmings Classic Car Magazine, Crosley Automobile Club.


(Lou you are a virtual encyclopedia!) Pete




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The Hunter-Killer of Modern Day Muscle

By Andy Vourlos



Not too long ago our gracious host of this website asked me to do a comparison of the new American muscle on the road today; the GTO from down under; the “oh-my-god-its-1968” new Mustang GT; and the “why did they have to make it a 4 door” Hemi Charger R/T.  Seemed like a good idea.  Here’s the 411.

 2005 Pontiac* GTO


My first turn at the wheel of this very cool coupe was at the GM Autoshow-in-Motion, held at the Nassau Coliseum last year.  This is by far the best way to get behind the wheel of a variety of cars.  Whatever your fancy, GM brings them out.  They even bring in some of their competitors cars so you can compare them to GM’s finest.  No high pressure, no admittance fee, just fun.  I can’t imagine what it must cost GM to put on that kind of show, but I give them a lot of credit. 


Anyway, I went down on a Thursday after work, because I knew the weekend would be a zoo.  I had about 2 hours to kill, and I drove everything from an H2 to a Vette.  However, my favorite car turned out to be the 6-speed GTO.  And like the Vette, this car had the longest line to wait in.


The Aussie-built GTO has gotten a bad wrap for being a historic name tacked onto a plain looking, aero-derived coupe with a nose from a 1995 Grand Am.  Even I balked at the name when it was announced by GM’s Bob Lutz that the Holden Monaro was coming to the U.S. as the new GTO.  From the first year only dual exhaust that looked like single exhaust with a dual tip, to the latest iteration replete with faux hood scoops and symmetrical dual pipes out the back, this is a really neat car that has a stigma attached to it because no one felt it should be called a GTO.  Personally, I think the car should have been introduced as a LeMans, considering its raced in the American LeMans Series and now Formula D Drift Championship. 


Enough of the philosophy; you want to know how it drove.  Well, I drove an automatic and a 6-speed, and I can tell you that I would take the manual any day over the automatic.  This car likes to flogged, and the stick just makes it so much more racy.  I drove both on a slalom course, and the automatic is just too boring.  The LS2 rumbles right through the cockpit into your seat.  The car is loud on the inside, like a racecar, and I loved it.  The quality and fit of the materials was real good for a GM car (compared to the cheesy plastic found in most Pontiacs since the 80s) and I thought it was befitting for such a special car. 


It's a snug interior with the sharply raked windshield and form fitting seats.  The back seat isn’t too bad, but I don’t think many folks would be happy there for a long period of  time.  The look is Pontiac up front, Monaro in the rear.  It wasn’t a big seller, but I bet you it will be coveted once production of it ends this year.  Get yours now.


 2005 Ford Mustang GT


I got lucky on this one.  I visited a performance Ford dealer on the island but they would not let me test drive a GT.  Apparently, these cars are so hot that no one wants to allow miles to be accumulated on cars that sell for list, so unless you are putting a deposit down on one and plan to buy it, you’re out of luck taking it for a spin.  I’ll keep the dealer nameless for no ill will, but it was disappointing after my good fortune with Mopar (read on).


Fortunately, my luck is sometimes good.  Turns out a friend of my cousin has a black GT automatic with white stripes painted over the hood, roof, and trunk.  A short phone call got him to come over, and, although reluctant at first, let me take it for a quick spin around North Babylon.


What can I say?  This car is just way too cool.  I mean, what a headturner.  On Deer Park Ave, you can’t stop at a light without the guy or gal in the next lane looking up and down its flanks, then checking out to see who’s riding in it.  For a 4.6L cammer, Ford got it to sound like the 5.0 of old.  The automatic takes away a little from the fun factor.  I’ve never found a Ford automatic to downshift quickly.  Although I have driven automatics all my life and can drive a stick, this car should just have a stick, period.


The interior is very cool looking, and roomy in the front (forget the back, as usual in a Mustang).  You can see where Ford cheaped out on some of the materials, but hey, they offer this car for under 20g with a V6 (and less, I’ve driven that too, with a slushbox tranny).  It's a comfortable car, and I could live with one every day if I had to.  One thing I don’t like is the door windows.  In order to make a tight seal (because there is no door frame), the window drops down a half inch upon opening and then goes up a half inch when you close the door.  My friend’s Mini Cooper S does the same thing, as do certain luxury cars.  If the battery dies, your windows don’t move, and that could be a problem.  That’s really about the only thing I don’t like about the car.  Well, that and the automatic.


I think most of those reading this will agree; Ford hit a home run with the styling of this car.  It has no identity crisis; one look tells you it's a Mustang.  Built in America, with just the right amount of doors.  Nuf said.


 2006 Dodge Charger Hemi Daytona


First off, I want to sincerely thank Kevin Stiles at Herbee Dodge in West Islip for being gracious enough to allow me the privilege of taking out a Banana Yellow Charger Hemi Daytona for a test drive. Herbee Dodge has been a sponsor of LI for awhile now, and is about the last true Mopar Performance dealer on Long Island.  This was my first time going to their dealership, and I really appreciated their accommodating my request to take one of their beasts out for a quick spin down Sunrise Highway.

I titled this article the hunter-killer of modern day muscle, and this car was the reason for it.  Being the owner of a 1974, 318-powered “granny” Charger, I was looking forward to the day that I would get to drive the modern day namesake successor to my beloved ride.  This car is just bad-ass.


Walking up to it, you take stock of what you are about to get into.  Its screaming yellow at you, but has a blacked out grill with snarling headlights that beckon the words, “you want a piece of me?”.  As you continue to take in the entire vehicle, you then come across those dreaded rear doors.  The first words through my mind are “damn it, why couldn’t they make it a two door?!”. 


Alright, enough of the four door whining.  It is what it is; we Charger diehards have to live with it.  The new Charger is a four door.  That’s it.  Get used to it. 


I know, enough of the BS. You want to know how it drove.  What can I say?  Hunter-killer.  This car is FAST.  And LOUD.  I got into it, adjusted my seat and mirrors, and keyed the beast over.  The Daytona has a louder exhaust than the standard R/T, and you hear it right through the car.  What’s interesting though, is that you don’t feel it.  The sound is there, but the body picks up no shake, no vibration.  Whereas the GTO felt alive and the exhaust permeated the body, the Charger felt eerily isolated from its exhaust.  Maybe that’s the four door, family-oriented image.  Don’t shake the baby.


I pulled out onto Sunrise and gave her some throttle.  There is no hesitation with this car.  You can get into a lot of trouble with it (re: Suffolk County’s finest).  It is fast, smooth, and stable.  The Hemi is not gruff; its silky smooth,  but has that loud exhaust (almost like voodoo).  Bumps don’t upset it, and it turns with little lean.  As a matter of personal preference, I would prefer rack-and-pinion steering as opposed to the current arrangement, which is taken from Stuttgart.  The steering was not as sharp as I would like it to be, but make no mistake, this car doesn’t exhibit any bad handling habits.


The interior is not as nice as its kissing cousin, the Chrysler 300.  There is more plastic in the Charger’s interior, and it is a little claustrophobic even though it's a decently sized car (maybe is the high beltline, smallish windows).  You sit far away from the windshield, and adjusting the rearview mirror is a reach.  The Autostick transmission is silky smooth, although once I put it into Autostick mode, I couldn’t figure out (for the short time I was in it) how to get it back into Drive without coming to a stop, putting it into Neutral, then back into Drive.  I’m sure there is a way, I just didn’t have the time.  And no, I did not beat on this car (that is my style).  But I did get to open it up a bit, and I liked it.  Did I mention its FAST, and LOUD?


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So, why did I name this article Hunter-Killer?  If you are privileged to own one of these bad dudes, you can go hunting for V8 Bimmers, Benzes, Lexus’, Infinitis, etc, and show them what a bad-ass American muscle sedan (gulp) can do. 

There is nothing subtle about a Banana Yellow Charger Daytona.  Was there ever?



OK, now you’ve had a chance to read this.  Perhaps you own one of these cars.  Maybe you even test drove them at one time.  Whatever the case, you know what you like. 


For me, I love my Mopars, but it's the old ones that I really love.  The new Charger is a really cool sedan, but just how the GTO brethren cringed when their beloved moniker was tacked onto the current variant, its hard for me to warm up to the Charger as a four door.  There is something about that name on a sedan that just makes me sorry they didn’t produce a two door version alongside the four door (and then call the four door a Coronet, and all would be right in the world….)


For the blue oval crowd, all I can say is wow.  You got the coolest looking ride out there.  And I’m seeing a whole lot of them on the road.  Its getting to the point where almost every other car out there is a pony.  And that can almost be annoying…


I’ve never been a Pontiac man, and never will.  Heck, I don’t even consider the new GTO a Pontiac.  *It's a Holden Monaro with a Chevrolet drivetrain with some faux Pontiac bodywork on it.  You know what, call it anything you want, GM.  To me, it's a corporate hotrod.  Yep, dare me to say it, but I’d take me a 6 speed GTO as my daily flogger.  Its daring enough to be different, you don’t see a whole lot of them, and with the 400HP LS2 and Tremec 6 speed, geez, you got to be dumb not to like it.  With some aftermarket suspension goodies, you’ve got one hell of a hotrod.  One that has a little bit of mystery and exoticism to it.  Couple that with GM’s killing off of the model in the U.S., and you’ve got a little collectible factor to boot. 


Now, if Dodge builds their retro 70s Challenger, that’s another story….


Til next time, thanks for reading.





(Andy, great job! Wish I could’ve driven those three hot cars!) Pete


Hey folks….how about that for impartial reporting? A Mopar man picks a Pontiac!!

(Only here on Pete




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                  By Rich Fiore                                                         





   In my previous installments I discussed the workings of your ignition system. The primary and secondary sides of the coil, coil saturation and how the points / dwell come into play. Today let’s look at  how your ignition advance works and its effect on performance and mileage.


     Let’s start with some theory relative to spark advance timing.  To obtain full power from combustion, maximum pressure must be reached as the piston just passes Top Dead center ( TDC ). Ideally combustion must be reached 23 degrees after TDC. The fuel mixture in the combustion chamber burns at a specific rate ( depending on what grade of fuel used ) which is just a fraction of a second.   Ignition must then start before TDC.


     As engine speed increases, the piston moves through the compression stroke much more rapidly, but the burn rate of the fuel stays the same. To compensate for these higher rev's, ignition must occur earlier in the compression stroke. Dig it ? For example at 1200 RPM the crank should rotate 41 degrees's during this process ... 18 degree's BTDC and 23 degree's ATDC.  Remember that is from the start of ignition to the end of combustion. At 3600 RPM, spark should occur at 40 degree's BTDC and end at the same 23 degree's AFTDC. This is why spark advance is so critical for efficient engine performance. Keep in mind these number are general guidelines and can vary based on engine/carb design.


     Sooo how do we go about advancing the ignition timing you ask ? I'm glad you asked oh inquiring one. It’s actually pretty simple. Through the distributor.  Distributors on our classic rides are usually equipped with centrifugal and vacuum advance mechanisms.  The centrifugal setup automatically advances spark timing ( at a specific rate ) relative to engine speed ... above idle.  The vacuum type does it through changes in carb vacuum.


      With the centrifugal setup, the distributor cam is linked to the distributor shaft through the advance mechanism in such a manner that as the distributor speed increases, the weights move out due to centrifugal force. This action causes the cam to rotate several degrees ahead of the distributor shaft, which opens the breaker points earlier in the compression stroke. This action advances your ignition timing ( more power Scotty ) . The advance springs return the weights to their starting position at idle which thereby retards the timing. Again this type of advance is based solely on engine speed. The amount of advanced required will vary depending on engine design, compression ratio, air fuel ratio, and octane rating.  Speaking of octane rating - do you know what the difference between high test and regular gasoline is ? High test burns at a slower rate. ( Now go impress all of your friends !!! ). The advance curves ( in degrees ) are designed into the contour of the centrifugal weights and also by using springs of different length and tension.


     The other type of advance unit that I mentioned is the vacuum type. During normal operation the engine does not operate under full load. While at partial load the engine can use some additional ignition advance. The additional advance under light load provides better fuel economy and a slight effect on performance.  The vacuum advance is nothing more than a chamber with a diaphragm in the middle. It is external to the distributor and is linked up to the distributor breaker plate assembly with a rod.  A spring in the diaphragm keeps the breaker plate in a retarded position . A vacuum line is attached to a nipple which is on one side of the diaphragm. When carb vacuum ( a port which is even with the throttle plate ) increases upon acceleration , this vacuum pulls the diaphragm which overcomes the spring pressure and pulls the rod which is connected to the breaker plate against distributor rotation. This action results in the advancing of the ignition timing. This diaphragm can be tested on most GM vehicles by cracking the throttle and feeling for rod movement under the distributor. Another way is through the use of a timing light.  The vacuum advance can be temporarily disconnected. Crack the throttle and watch the timing mark. Re-connect the vacuum  line and again crack the throttle. The timing mark should have much more movement this time.


     There can be times when an engine gets too much advance resulting in detonation ( ping ).  The first order of business is to check the EGR ( if equipped ) and switch over to high test if you are not already using it. If that doesn't do it then try to retard the initial timing  slightly. If still NG then there may be too much total advance.  The vacuum advance can be adjusted with a 3/32 allen key through the vacuum nipple. Counterclockwise delays while clockwise advances. For race applications I have seen some disconnect the vacuum advance completely and change the springs on the centrifugal advance mechanism.


     So there you have it. The basic theory behind your ignition system's advance units. The how's and why's of centrifugal and vacuum advance.


     So its spring time boys and girls. Time to break out the beast and stretch her legs. Try and keep it safe. See you at Bellmore.



 Quick and Dirty:  When was the last time you actually inspected and tested your centrifugal advance for binding or broken springs and tested the diaphragm on your vacuum advance?



(Rich I stand corrected, [see Feb’06 comment] Scotty should be looking over his shoulder!) (Brilliant! F-N brilliant!) Pete




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       My Car Story    Tom & Deb Derych: 1970 Dodge Charger & 1970 Plymouth GTX  




Tom & Deb have been married for 30 years & both drive Mopars.    


    By day, Tom drives a Dodge pick up. By night, weekends and sunny days he drives a 1970 Dodge Charger 500. A stroked 472 Hemi powers the Charger, "SUBLIME". Topped with an 871 BDS blower and a pair of 850 Holleys. It breathes through a set of TTI 2 1/8" headers, Hooker Aero chamber mufflers, a full 31/2' exhaust system and hand made 4" tailpipes tips! The rest of the drivetrain consists of a 727 Torqueflight, manual shift Cheetah valve body with a 2500 stall converter and bringing up the rear is a 4.10 Dana.

    Tom bought the Charger in 1990. It was originally a 383 car, then had a blown 440, only to eventually change the entire drive train to what it is today. Tom completed all mechanical work. He's a transmission rebuilder by trade and loves to work on his cars.



 By day, Deb drives a 2006 Dodge Magnum Hemi RT, which Tom surprised her with for her 50th birthday. By night, weekends and on sunny days Deb drives a 1970 Plymouth GTX 440 six pack. Tom purchased the GTX,"PRPLHAZE" in 1989 with the money Deb saved for a new kitchen (haha). The GTX was fully restored by the couple 5 years ago. It is an original "V" code car with a pistol grip four speed Hemi box, 4.10 Dana rear and a factory air grabber. The car's slight modifications include a Competition 280H cam, Flow Master exhaust, several chrome components under the hood, and Keystone classic wheels.




 Both cars are original in color, Sublime and Inviolet Metallic.





    Tom and Deb enjoy attending cruise nights and car shows all across the eastern half of the states. "I am a female in a man’s world" says Deb, "and loving every minute of it. I can drive a stick as good as one of the boys." 

    This past August, Tom & Deb's daughter Lisa got married; it was a Mopar wedding. Five Mopars were used to drive the Bride and her bridesmaids to the wedding ceremony! Tom, father of the bride, drove his daughter in the Charger. The 1970 GTX escorted the Matron of Honor and the flower girl. A '70 Coronet RT and '72 Challenger took the bridesmaids. A '66 Hemi Charger finished things off with the mother of the bride, Deb. The '66 Hemi Charger was owned and driven by their dear friend Stuart Sharenow who passed away suddenly two months after the wedding.




    This Mopar Marriage continues to grow as now, Tom & Deb are going to be grandparents. Perhaps, their grandchild's first words will be "Hemi" or "Mopar" but then again, we don't live in a perfect world now do we....



(What a great story! The wedding, the history, and or course…the cars!) Pete







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What a great Newsletter! I am really proud of this one. LARGE to say the least! And it all came out nice.

What are your thoughts on the Newsletters when they get this big? Ya’ like ‘em? Please let us know.

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A BIG thank you to all my writers this month. Grrreat stuff fellas!! (And lady too!)


….and a good springtime to all of you readers!


It’s great weather, and as Fat Albert said; “Hey, hey, hey!!! Lets all go out to play!”


See you out there!


Pete Giordano

Long Island Classic