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Episode Transcript

(Marc)>> You're watching Powernation!

(Tommy)>> Today on Detroit Muscle I find another gem to surprise Marc. Then we'll take this clapped out hearse for a spin down the eighth mile. Get it back in the shop so we can transform this hauler into a mauler, adding some performance upgrades to make it scream down the track. [ MUSIC } [ engines revving ] [ MUSIC }

(Tommy)>> Well it's time for us to kick off another build. On this next project I had to do a bit of some soul searching but that's okay. The question is do we do Ford, Mopar, or even a GM? What I have up my sleeve a few of you guys may have a bit of some cold feet to ride in one. I wanted something just to have some fun with it and I wanted it to have a big power plant cause you know the old saying, there's no replacement for displacement. Plus it needed to get noticed. With the name Detroit Muscle picking what I like to call a top shelf muscle car is usually a no brainer. Kinda like a '69 Charger. Who doesn't like one of those? Some people consider them the sexiest Mopar ever with its smooth and flowing coke bottle lines, a roof line that screams speed, an aggressive grille with those hideaway headlights. Plus a handful of that iconic piston grip shifter that's just begging for a person to run through the gears. Or maybe what you're looking for needs to be a little bit more refined. A Chevelle with plenty of power under the hood would definitely be a great choice. It's got to have those cool racing stripes and a stance that lets everyone know that you mean business by wearing a classy bow tie, but those are expensive. What I'm digging on won't cost you your life savings, will definitely get you some attention, and normally people are dying to take a ride. [ MUSIC } A hearse, I wouldn't say it's for everybody. There's a lot of people out there that's kinda creeped out by them because we all know what they have a purpose to do. It's like my old man used to say. It ain't the dead ones you gotta worry about, it's the live ones, and when we're done with this thing it's gonna have plenty more life in it than it's got right now. There's not a whole lot of aftermarket support for it but there are a few items that you can kinda put together. Kind of a secret recipe and make this thing really a powerhouse. Now the transmission in this thing is just a standard ole 400 turbo, and you can doctor on them things on the cheap as well to make it be a performer. I know from where you're probably sitting this thing ain't a whole lot to look at but one thing I really like about it is love them or hate them you know exactly what this car is. It's highly recognizable to say the least. Yeah I know it's got a lot of size to it and with that it's a heavy car, and you'll probably notice that as I drive this thing along. Each bump it goes over it almost kinda bulldozes it down. It just kinda goes across it. You'll see the car not shake much but the wheels will bounce around, and how could you not like it? I mean one it's a Cadillac. I know this car isn't much of a driving car. It's far more of a riding type of car but that's okay too. [ MUSIC } Now with this thing it isn't gonna win any races per se because of speed, but it's ate up with cool factor. It's definitely a cruiser. I mean you can just lay back, ride in it. There's plenty of room, heck even if you wanted to lay down. I know that overland thing is kinda a big deal. You could camp out with a small family in this thing. Have room to play racquet ball, hide and go seek, wherever you wanted. I'll tell you one thing you ain't gonna do a whole lot of though and that's pass a fuel station. There's some buzzards flying around. I don't know if they can sense this thing coming down the road or not. We may have to shampoo the carpet, at least pull it out. It stinks in here. I know nothing died in it or nothing like that but it does stink, kinda musky. Windows are down. [ MUSIC } I'm really curious of what Marc's words are gonna be about this thing. I don't know if he's gonna love it or hate it. I know the first time I threw a curveball at him with that Crown Victoria he wasn't all about it at all, but after getting it finished I guess you could say he enjoyed his self. I know I sure did, and either way if he don't I had enough fun for both of us, but I'm sure he's gonna like it. I didn't say love it, I said like it. There is kinda this vibe that comes along with it. A lot of people like these things one time of the year, around Halloween as kind of a prop. Me and myself I've owned a couple of these things and yeah, I know, they're not really nothing to brag about in the stock form, but whenever we're all said and done with this thing I would definitely be proud to have it in my driveway. Just like size matters so does weight, and this old big thing to say it's heavy is an understatement. So I'm probably gonna have to put it on a pretty serious diet in trying to chunk out some of this thing to lighten it up a bit. I don't know exactly what this thing weighs but we're gonna swing by and put this thing on a set of scales just to see what the number really is, and I'm gonna guess it's probably 7,000, 7,500 pounds. We gonna put this thing up on the scales and I bet it's gonna weigh basically like two Challenger, probably three Vegas, probably two and a half Mustangs. It's gonna be heavy regardless. Got the light. Need to move on up, go grab my ticket. [ MUSIC } It's better than I thought. 6,340, that ain't bad. [ MUSIC } That kinda makes me a little more excited. Well I guess that all depends on how slow it is on the drag strip. I surprise Marc with our new Caddy and we'll see how fast three tons of fun can get down the drag strip.


(Marc)>> I'm down here at US 43 Dragway. Tommy told me he was gonna meet me here. He's got a big surprise for me. I'm thinking it's a new project car and I'm hoping it's this one right here, '61 Falcon two door sedan. I actually had a car very similar to this. Same year, same body, it wasn't this nice though. It was kind of a project and Tommy knows I love Fords, and I love Falcons, and I wish I hadn't sold that one. So I'm hoping this is his big surprise for me.

(Tommy)>> Surprise boss man! Check out what I got a killer deal on.

(Marc)>> I'm laughing just because I don't know what else to do.

(Tommy)>> You've got to love it. I mean this is an excellent opportunity for you to make wise jokes, something as beautiful as this thing.

(Marc)>> I just don't know what to say right now. I'll think of something.

(Tommy)>> It should leave you speechless.

(Marc)>> Why?

(Tommy)>> Think about it.

(Marc)>> Just think about that and answer me later, why?

(Tommy)>> Let's see what it'll do out there. You want to ride? Can't ride, they don't put seatbelts in pine boxes. Man I hope them people from the stands can hear the cam in that dude, and by cam I mean it probably just needs a tune-up. The choke's about half stopped up. [ MUSIC } I'm for sure on one thing and that is this run down the track is not gonna be impressive at all! No sir, but what that means it just gives us plenty of room for improvement.

(Marc)>> You know I really thought this was a joke at first, and even though he's serious it's still a joke.

(Tommy)>> Now one thing's for sure. I sure hope I impress Marc.

(Marc)>> I guess I should just embrace it cause there's no way you're gonna make this car fast. I don't care what you do to it. It's got to weigh 7,500 pounds.

(Tommy)>> The track's sticky. This ole girl's probably gonna make fun of herself. Uh-oh, we're gonna roll up here.

(Marc)>> Don't choke!

(Tommy)>> I don't want to kill it. Here we go! Oh we red lighted.

(Marc)>> I've got to think of something funny to tell him when he gets back.

(Tommy)>> Woo, we are cooking. We can get better than that, it shifted.

(Marc)>> It's actually a little quicker than I thought it was gonna be. I know that thing's got a 500 in it. It's got to.

(Tommy)>> I bet on that run they could put a commercial on it. I'm glad there's nobody in that right lane either cause I'm probably gonna need both lanes to turn this big son of a gun around. Now I know that wasn't all that impressive but this thing's got that big ole Quadrajet under the hood. If you would take the air cleaner off cause I think it's choking it and could be killing it.

(Marc)>> I can't tell if you're serious.

(Tommy)>> Nah I'm serious. Go ahead and get that off there. That's cheap power. Don't scratch the paint. [ MUSIC } Don't worry, I ain't gonna rev it up. It'd scare you.

(Marc)>> You want to leave it out here so it doesn't weigh you down?

(Tommy)>> We probably, a second or so right there. I can tell it's better. [ MUSIC } [ engine revving ]

(Tommy)>> Woo, man that Quadrajet's squalling. [ engine revving ] [ Tommy whistles ]

(Tommy)>> That's still not impressive. It sounded better though.

(Marc)>> It's quicker than I thought it was gonna be and ran smooth. I've got high hopes for it.

(Tommy)>> You know I have to say it wasn't the fastest but just like a Cadillac this old thing is plenty smooth and stylish. I don't know if that air cleaner was that restrictive or just weighed that much.

(Marc)>> I think it was that restrictive cause it sounded a lot different. What'd you run?

(Tommy)>> It's not impressive. We don't need to talk about it.

(Marc)>> Well whatever it was can I just tell you what I was gonna say?

(Tommy)>> Yeah.

(Marc)>> That number would be impressive if this was the quarter mile.

(Tommy)>> One last run! [ MUSIC } [ engine revving ] [ MUSIC }

(Tommy)>> I didn't know the slower you went.

(Marc)>> Made you pit way out here, they were that embarrassed?

(Tommy)>> Nah they just said park out here close to the daisies and I thought this is what they meant.

(Marc)>> So are we gonna come up with a project name or what?

(Tommy)>> We're gonna have to come up with something, and it can be plenty of syllables and all that stuff.

(Marc)>> I'm embracing it.

(Tommy)>> Dude you should. This car is something to be dealt with.

(Marc)>> So we've got "better place" but it's not a place. How about "Dead Weight"?

(Tommy)>> That ain't too bad.

(Marc)>> Wait, "The Overtaker".

(Tommy)>> People will recognize that for sure buddy.

(Marc)>> You got one?

(Tommy)>> Overtaker? Nah that works for me. I'll tell you I'm just about speechless cause I am ready to dive into this thing, rip it apart, and come back and play with it. I have to say this is the funnest car I've drove down the track. It ain't the fastest, it's the smoothest.

(Marc)>> Well I can't wait to see what you're brewing up.

(Tommy)>> It's gonna be awesome.

(Marc)>> See you at the shop.

(Tommy)>> You sure you don't want a ride? I've got room for you. [ MUSIC } And she cranks right up. Look at this, bump the key. Don't hate that!

(Marc)>> To make it fast we'll need to shed some weight beginning with the drivetrain. We start tearing into our Caddy hearse.

(Tommy)>> I bet a few of you all are thinking I've done lost my mind dragging this big thing into the shop, and that could be the case but I have to say normally if it's a big body I'm all about it. Now with this grave side delivery vehicle we have one plan, one chore, and that is make it perform and have a whole lot of fun doing it, and if you look at it, well we've got plenty of fun to have. This thing doesn't cost you a whole lot to buy, and up under the hood it's got a 500 cubic inch engine. So making that much engine perform usually isn't all that difficult. Now with the design of this particular chassis it's pretty straight forward as well. It's got disc brakes on the front, coil spring suspension, leaf springs in the back. So doing some performance upgrades isn't gonna take a lot of work. Now what we are gonna do is make this thing have about 500 horse, 700 foot pounds of torque. Take it back to the track and build one car that everybody's gonna recognize when they see it. To kick it off we're gonna get busy up under the hood. The power plant is gonna get several components like heads, cam, intake, and carb to resurrect plenty of horsepower. Also the trans is gonna need a bit of some attention. So a new converter and a shift kit is a must. With the factory exhaust manifolds and tiny pipes it's easy to say they have a choke hold on us. So we'll 86 them and install headers and fab up some side pipes that will rattle your bones. Those loud pipes are gonna give the outside a bit of a sinister look but we're not stopping there. We're gonna doctor on the suspension to give our creepy hauler a bad attitude. Lose those classy caps and spray on a fresh coat of gloss black to the wheels, and fit them with some slicks out back to have a death grip on the pavement. We really want our hearse to move down the track and a good way to do that without breaking the bank is to lighten the load. So the plan is to attack the interior and shed some dead weight, like the couch that GM used for a front seat. It's gotta be heavy. So swapping in some buckets should help out. When we're all said and done Overtaker's gonna be a ride that will grab the attention of your soul no matter your status or existence. To get our engine out we're gonna have to drain the fluids. [ MUSIC } Then we can start disassembly of the engine bay making sure to get rid of that clunky radiator. Man that copper radiator is heavy. Jeez Louise! [ MUSIC } Dropped that one too! [ mechanical humming ]

(Tommy)>> Man we get some power in this thing it's gonna raise my spirit for sure. We're not using the factory exhaust. So it can go. Man this thing's heavy too. [ metal clanging ]

(Tommy)>> Jeez Louise! [ MUSIC } Then we'll remove the driveshaft. One thing that's kinda unique to a Cadillac is it has a metal fan shroud that's made into the core support of the car. Now with the performance mods that we're planning to make we're not gonna be using that mechanical fan that this thing came with from the factory. So I'm gonna do a bit of trimming, get this big hunk of metal out of the way. [ saw buzzing ] [ MUSIC }

(Tommy)>> And yeah! That probably saved us at least 8 grams. [ MUSIC } One cool thing about taking this old ugly motor out of this ugly hearse is you don't really have to be too bashful with it. Not really worried about bumping into stuff. You don't want break nothing but. It's alright if you scratch something. I guess we've got to get that transmission off. We'll need a firmer shift at the track. So we'll upgrade the tranny.

(Tommy)>> Well we just snatched the engine and transmission out of our old hearse here and the first thing we're gonna get dirty with is gonna be our transmission. Now this is just a 400 turbo just like they put in pickup trucks, and big block cars, and so on, and so forth, and what we're gonna do on this thing is make it shift a whole lot better than it did when it was in this ole big black car because riding in a Cadillac you now it's kind of a soft shifting thing. Whenever we were out making those hot laps in our hauler this thing performed just like it should, nice and comfy, but that's not what we're after. We're going for a performance minded shift, and with that we're gonna be installing a B&M shift improver kit. Now the kit isn't all that complicated. It comes with some gaskets, a mid-plate, and a couple of drill bits that we have to make the decision. Do we want to go down the r/v and towing path or street and strip, and I bet you guys already know the answer to that. Now before you go to install one of these on your ride you need to make sure that the transmission itself is in good condition. Now ours acted just fine but we're gonna get that pan off to make sure there isn't a whole bunch of shavings and clutches down off in there. So it's time to get greasy. [ drill humming ]

(Tommy)>> That's all of them. [ MUSIC } I mounted that transmission on a stand like it is for a reason. I wanted all the settlement in the pan to stay in the pan. If you'd flip that transmission over well sometimes all that stuff falls back into the tranny. Now looking in our pan the fluid looks nice. It's all red. You don't want your fluid to be burnt or brown, that kinda stuff, and with it we also have some settlement in the bottom of here but that's normal. It's time for us to snatch that valve body off. [ MUSIC } [ drill humming ]

(Tommy)>> If we would have found far more gunk we would be looking at a complete overhaul. This modification will not only improve the performance but it also helps to extend our tranny's life by reducing clutch slippage. [ MUSIC } If you're tearing into a transmission and it hasn't been doctored on there should be six check balls. If you only find three somebody's already installed a street and strip kit. The object here is not to remove all the transmission fluid but you just want to check all the gasket surface to make sure it's clean. We're in pretty good shape. We'll slap our valve body in the vice so that we can compress this piston, remove the e-clip, take out that spring for our street and strip setup. The next thing we're gonna have to do is take this three-sixteenths bit that's supplied in the kit and enlarge two holes here on our plate. It's no big deal but it's gonna wake up that transmission for sure. Since we're looking for a firm shift we're only gonna be using three of the six check balls. Now I know doing something like this can be a bit intimidating but if you take your time and follow the instructions you'll be chirping tires in no time. [ MUSIC } Basically how these few modifications work it increase the fluid volume to the clutch packs and modifies the timing for less overlap between shifts. Well that's just one of the many modifications that we're gonna be doing to this old Cadillac back here. Now I know a few of you guys probably aren't really into hearses but you will be eventually.
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