Piston Slap: What Would Ed Lister Do?
I’m faced with a problem that’s hard to solve: the problem of being 21 years old and stuck with a grandma car. I drive a 1995 Buick Skylark coupe with the GM 60 degree V6 (3.1 liter) and a four speed automatic transmission. It handles rather decently for a pedestrian GM product, but as you would expect from a lower-RPM pushrod V6 hooked to a 4-speed slushbox, it has about as much power as Queen Elizabeth II.
I tried to sell my car and upgrade to something more speed freak 21-year-old friendly, but gave up after not even getting close to a sale. My question is…should I sell the car at a rock bottom price just to get a more lively set of wheels, or invest a couple of bucks trying to make the old Buick a bit less of a snoozer?
Were you expecting a level-headed discussion on the merits of Hot-Rodding a potential Sleeper Skylark versus Not-Rodding a better vehicle? From a TTAC writer with two resto-mod Fox Body Lincoln-Mercury vehicles? Here’s the thing…
You didn’t mention a budget, so I’ll assume you’re a typical broke 21-year-old (no hate, we were all there) with far more time than money. And you own a seriously cool car (stay with me here) with a star crossed history. The 1992+ Skylark was such a radical design that it deserved better, but it was a product of a fundamentally flawed General Motors. And, OMG SON will you peep that interior???
Who wouldn’t want to beat the living snot out of some poor soul in a Civic/GTI/ST Ford/FR-S or get the jump on a careless driver in a Mustang/Corvette/Ferrari in a car this…well, this unbelievably, obscurely radical looking?
You think I’m nuts for saying you could shock a Ferrari? Hear me out…
Just like my precious Fox Bodies, the GM N-body accepts a host of superior parts from other GM products, some will be easier than others. Assuming you are good with wrenches and actually want to be a Hot-Rodder, let’s see what we can Google:
- Suspension: Performance springs, shocks and sway bars ( Addco and from an FE3 Oldsmobile) will be easy to find. This thread has even more fun stuff, and this shows the independent rear suspension available on 1997+ versions. There’s a good chance the IRS bolts-in with minor modifications, from N-body to N-body. I also really, really like this thread.
- Brakes: Camaro front calipers sound like a nice upgrade from the forums. And the IRS swap nets you rear disc brakes too, supposedly.
- Wheels/Tires: Larger wheels from W-bodies look like a no-brainer. Who knows, maybe the big, common and cheap 17×8″ wheels from a 1994-present Mustang fit.
- Powertrain: A manual transmission swap and an upgrade to a better 60-degree V6 (3.4L, 3.5L or the big bore 3.9L, way-hey!) makes perfect sense when the right donor car(s) show up.
- Education: Learn how to drive your Frankenstein-d machine at a drag strip and a road course. Talent makes up for a premium car badge: believe that!
But wait Sanjeev…how the heck can you get the jump on a Ferrari? You gone crazy?
Maybe this link will inspire you. Or this video:
You are driving the future, so make YOUR future a better one. Can you do an all-wheel drive, fully independently sprung, turbocharged LS4-FTW in your Skylark? In time, I think you can. What are you gonna be driving when you’re thirty…and is it gonna top this?
Ain’t nothing gonna top this, son! I can see it, and it’s been done before.
Send your queries to email@example.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.
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