Polymer Power

poliengine

 

For the past century automobile engines have mostly been made of iron, aluminum and steel. However, these days, many new lightweight materials like carbon fiber and thermoplastics are finding their way into new cars. For some, the ultimate use of those weight-saving, yet strong plastic materials would be the ability to build an internal combustion engine almost entirely out of plastic. Now, it looks like that milestone may be rapidly approaching.


Composite Castings LLC and Solvay Specialty Polymers have teamed up to build a functional engine with plastic and carbon-fiber composite components, and they have big plans for it. To say it has taken a long time to develop a durable plastic engine would be an understatement, as Composite Castings along with the AMOCO oil company began working on the project back in 1980. They were able to develop the first composite/plastic engine at that time and it was called the “Polimotor,” or Polymer Motor.


The original Polimotor of the early 80’s incorporated reinforced plastic for the block walls, piston skirts, connecting rods, oil pan and portions of the cylinder head. Of course, the crankshaft, camshaft, piston crowns and combustion chambers still had to be made of iron or aluminum. Matti Holtzberg, president of Composite Castings, wanted to prove the concept worked and purchased a Lola T-616 GT Championship car and went racing with the first Polimotor. The car not only ran well, it scored two third place finishes during the 1984 and 1985 seasons, with only one breakdown recorded. Although the Polimotor generated interest from engineers and the media, the US market was more interested in big V8 engines at the time, and interest (and funding) for the Polimotor faded.


Fast forward to 2016 and Composite Castings along with Solvay Specialty Polymers have declared a renewed interest in the plastic engine project. Holtzberg says the time is right for a plastic engine that offers increased corrosion resistance, less noise and vibration, and of course, a lot less weight. He also claims there is now growing interest from several large automakers. “Our goal is to demonstrate the durability and performance of a plastic engine by using the latest in thermoplastics technology,” says Holtzberg. “At the same time, we want to showcase CO2 reduction technologies, such as turbocharging and electronic water pumps.”


Holtzberg says the new “Polimotor 2” engine will be a turbocharged four-cylinder, double overhead camshaft design that will produce 350 hp at 7,000 rpm. It will also weigh 90 pounds less than a similar metal engine. The polymer chemistries used in Polimotor 2 were not available 30 years ago and today’s new plastics allow many more metal engine components to be replaced with plastic ones.


Along with a reinforced plastic block, the water pump, oil pump, water inlet, throttle body, fuel rail, cam sprockets and other parts will be made of thermoplastic materials in Polimotor 2. Polimotor 2 will not be completely made of plastic of course, as current technology dictates that metal is still used for the combustion chambers, cylinder bores, crankshaft and flywheel. Interestingly, the use of plastic allows epoxies and other types of adhesives to be used to assemble many of the components and Holtzberg says “I see a day in the near future when cylinder heads will be bonded onto engine blocks.”


Currently, Composite Castings and Solvay Specialty Polymers have plans to install the Polimotor 2 into a road racing-style car and compete at Daytona, Sebring and other road racing circuits later this year. If all goes well, the team hopes to participate in the LeMans 24-hour race in 2017 or 2018. If the lightweight plastic engine concept proves viable on the racetrack, it is probably only a matter of time before thermoplastic engine blocks and other plastic engine components begin appearing on production cars.

 

 

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Posted in industry news, motor

Chevrolet’s Small Plans

ChevySmallCars

It is no secret that General Motors (GM) recognizes the need to cultivate the next generation of automotive enthusiasts as covered previously in this blog (GM Works to Ensure the Future of Restoration), now the Chevrolet arm of the company is directly engaging those younger buyers with the launch of a new website focused on the three smallest cars it offers. The website is called ChevySmallCars.com, and it highlights the virtues of the Spark, Sonic and Trax subcompact cars while presenting them in a variety of content aimed at first-time buyers.

The ChevySmallCars site offers videos for each vehicle as well as web-episodes featuring the Sonic, Spark, and Trax produced by “Funny or Die” comedian Al Madrigal. The site also includes a feature called “Sonic Sessions,” consisting of various musical acts performing inside a Sonic (sounds cramped). Another feature is a quiz called “Find Your Smallmate” that attempts to match cars to visitors’ personalities based on their quiz answers. Chevy has plans to add more content throughout the year, including a “Car Customizer” that displays customization ideas, as well as custom podcasts and other content described as “A celebration of everything small.” Chevrolet is obviously hoping the new website will engage younger consumers and help them discover the brand’s smallest vehicles on their own terms.

Chevrolet’s director of cars and crossovers, Steve Majoros, said in a press release that ChevySmallCars.com is aimed at “a younger, more socially savvy buyer… and the new website is a great way to expose a portion of our portfolio that not everyone knows about.” Majoros added “Sonic, Spark and Trax customers are most likely to be first-time new automobile purchasers and typically are more likely to stick with the brand as their needs and way of life changes and they have to go up to a larger sedan or SUV.”

Whether or not GM will actually sell small cars in big numbers this year remains to be seen. Gas prices have been low and more people of all ages bought SUVs last year. Just last month the supplies of small cars on dealer lots were at their highest level in seven years and some manufacturers have begun discounting prices and improving lease deals in order to move their small cars. Time will tell whether sales of the Spark, Sonic and Trax improve for Chevy this year. In the meantime, the new website sounds like it will be quite entertaining, if only for the younger demographic.

 

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Posted in Articles, industry news

2016 edition 1963-76 Riviera Restoration Parts Catalog

2016-Riviera

The Original Parts Group Inc. (OPGI), 2016 edition of the 1963-76 Riviera restoration parts catalog is now available and contains everything you’ll need to restore your Buick classic. From interior and body parts to engine parts, sheet metal, bright trim and everything in between, it’s all inside this 184-page free catalog. Remember that all OPGI restoration parts catalogs are comprehensive automotive resources. Each catalog is packed full of valuable information, helpful tips and insights that help make it a valuable restoration tool in its own right.

Enthusiasts who already have an earlier Riviera catalog will still need the 2016t edition to keep up with all of the new parts and accessories added within the last year. Order your new 2016 catalog today and don’t forget there are also many more great catalogs to choose from! OPGI also offers free restoration parts catalogs for the following classic GM cars:

1954-76 Cadillac

1964-77 Chevelle & El Camino

1978-88 El Camino, Monte Carlo & Malibu

1961-72 Skylark, Special, GS & GSX

1964-73 GTO, 1961-73 Tempest & LeMans

1961-77 Cutlass, F-85 & 4-4-2

1970-77 Monte Carlo

1962-77 Pontiac Grand Prix and 1959-76 Bonneville/Catalina

As always – All OPGI catalogs are completely free and available by mail, phone (1-800-243-8355) or through the OPGI website at OPGI.com.

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Posted in New Products, Parts Catalog

OPGI Customer Car Spotlight: 1965 Chevelle Malibu

Eytchison

1965 Chevelle Malibu 4DR

Dick Eytchison, Cortez, Colorado

Engine: Chevrolet ZZ383 Crate Motor with Holley 670 CFM Avenger, Hydraulic Roller, Stock Chevy rotating assembly, Hooker Super comp 1 3/4″ headers

Transmission:  Muncie 4-speed wide ratio M21

Wheels: CCW – 9 x 17 – 9 1/2 x 17

Tires: Bridgestone Potenza RE71R – 255/40 x 17 front and rear

Interior: New reproduction interior with Kirkey aluminum driver’s seat, roll cage and 5 point Crow 3″ harnesses

Paint: Mist Blue

Original Parts Group Inc. (OPGI), Customer Dick Eytchison of Cortez, Colorado is the proud owner of this 1965 Chevelle Malibu that he has restored and modified as a purpose-built autocross competition car. Born in Indiana and raised in California prior to moving to Colorado, Dick always had a passion for Chevrolet vehicles.

After restoring several classic Chevys (with parts from OPGI) over the years, Dick met John Hotchkis of Hotchkis Suspension fame in 1990 and a friendship developed. Dick quickly became very interested in Pro-Touring car setups and modified the suspension of his ‘65 Chevelle to improve the handling. One thing led to another, and ten years later in 2010 Dick and his Chevelle entered an autocross event at a Goodguys show in Del Mar, California.

By 2012 Dick was an accomplished autocrosser and was entering (and winning) events across the country. His current goal is to be able to move up into the Pro Class for the 2016 race season. Although the definition of the term “Pro-Touring” is evolving and open to interpretation, we’d say Dick Eytchison’s street-driven Chevelle that he races on the weekends definitely meets the spirit of the genre.

*Be sure to click on the video below to see Dick’s Chevelle in action at the Goodguys 16th Meguiar’s Del Mar Nationals last month where he took 2nd place in the Street Machine Class.

 

Posted in Articles, Car Shows, Customer Car Spotlight, OPGI Customer Car Spotlight

2016 edition 1970-77 Monte Carlo Restoration Parts Catalog

2016-Monte-Carlo

The much anticipated Original Parts Group Inc. (OPGI), 2016 edition of the 1970-77 Monte Carlo restoration parts catalog is now available. This 320-page free catalog contains everything you’ll need to restore your classic Chevy. From interior and body parts to engine parts, sheet metal, bright trim and everything in between, it’s all in this catalog. Remember that all OPGI restoration parts catalogs are comprehensive automotive resources. Each one is packed full of valuable information, helpful tips and insights, making it a valuable restoration tool on its own.

Enthusiasts who already have an earlier Monte Carlo catalog will still need the latest edition to keep up with all of the new parts and accessories added within the last year. Order your new 2016 catalog today and don’t forget there are also many more great catalogs to choose from! OPGI also offers free restoration parts catalogs for the following classic GM cars:

1954-76 Cadillac

1964-77 Chevelle & El Camino

1978-88 El Camino, Monte Carlo & Malibu

1961-72 Skylark, Special, GS & GSX

1964-73 GTO, 1961-73 Tempest & LeMans

1961-77 Cutlass, F-85 & 4-4-2

1963-76 Rivera

1962-77 Pontiac Grand Prix and 1959-76 Bonneville/Catalina

All OPGI catalogs are completely free and available by mail, phone (1-800-243-8355) or through the OPGI website at OPGI.com.

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Posted in New Products, Parts Catalog

Fresh 1972 El Camino and Olds 442 Convertible Restorations from OPGI at SEMA 2015

Check out this video from V8TV depicting two expertly restored GM “A” bodies that OPGI brought to the 2015 SEMA show. Learn all about the 1972 El Camino and 1970 Olds 4-4-2 convertible, as well as the OPGI parts that make these cars better than new.

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Posted in Car Shows, New Products, OPGI Product Spotlight

2016 edition 1961-72 Skylark, Special, GS & GSX Restoration Parts Catalog

2016-Skylark

The Original Parts Group Inc. (OPGI), 2016 edition of the 1961-72 Skylark, Special, GS & GSX restoration parts catalog is now available. This 312-page free catalog contains needed everything to restore your classic Buick. From interior and body parts to engine parts, sheet metal, bright trim and everything else in between, everything you’ll need is in this catalog. All OPGI Restoration Parts Catalogs are comprehensive automotive resources, and are packed full of valuable information, helpful tips and insights, making each one a valuable restoration tool on its own.

Enthusiasts with an earlier Skylark, Special, GS and GSX catalog will still need the latest edition to keep up with all of the new parts and accessories added within the last year. Order your new 2016 catalog today and don’t forget there are also many more great catalogs to choose from! OPGI also offers free restoration parts catalogs for the following classic GM cars:

1954-76 Cadillac

1964-77 Chevelle & El Camino

1978-88 El Camino, Monte Carlo & Malibu

1970-77 Monte Carlo

1964-73 GTO, 1961-73 Tempest & LeMans

1961-77 Cutlass, F-85 & 4-4-2

1963-76 Rivera

1962-77 Pontiac Grand Prix and 1959-76 Bonneville/Catalina

All OPGI catalogs are completely free and available by mail, phone (1-800-243-8355) or through the OPGI website at OPGI.com.

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Posted in New Products, Parts Catalog

2016 edition 1961-77 Cutlass, F-85 & 4-4-2 Restoration Parts Catalog

2016-Cutlass

The Original Parts Group Inc. (OPGI), 2016 edition of the 1961-77 Cutlass, F-85 & 4-4-2 restoration parts catalog is now available. This 368-page free catalog contains needed everything to restore your classic Oldsmobile. From interior and body parts to engine parts, sheet metal, bright trim and everything else in between, everything you’ll need is in this catalog. All OPGI Restoration Parts Catalogs are comprehensive automotive resources, and are packed full of valuable information, helpful tips and insights, making each one a valuable restoration tool on its own.

Enthusiasts with an earlier Cutlass/F-85/ 4-4-2 catalog will still need the latest edition to keep up with all of the new parts and accessories added within the last year. Order your new 2016 catalog today and don’t forget there are also many more great catalogs to choose from! OPGI also offers free restoration parts catalogs for the following classic GM cars:

1954-76 Cadillac

1964-77 Chevelle & El Camino

1978-88 El Camino, Monte Carlo & Malibu

1970-77 Monte Carlo

1964-73 GTO, 1961-73 Tempest & LeMans

1961-72 Skylark, Special, GS/GSX

1963-76 Rivera

1962-77 Pontiac Grand Prix and 1959-76 Bonneville/Catalina

All OPGI catalogs are completely free and available by mail, phone (1-800-243-8355) or through the OPGI website at OPGI.com.

Posted in Uncategorized

Add Some Class to Your Buick or Cadillac

CE15563_CE15562_BR06140_CRS0029

Original Parts Group, Inc. (OPGI) has just added four new custom license plate frames for Buicks and Cadillacs to its gigantic inventory of classic GM restoration parts and accessories. The new Buick frames come in Riviera and Skylark models. The latest Caddy frames are for Eldorados and Devilles. Add some class to your ride with these die-cast, triple chrome-plated frames that feature a baked-on enamel blue background with raised lettering. Sold in pairs for $15.99, the Eldorado frames are part number CE15562, CE15563 is for the Deville, Riviera is #BRO6140 and Skylark is #CRS0029. For more information on these new frames (along with many other styles) visit OPGI.com or call toll free: 1-800-243-8355.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

2016 edition 1964-73 GTO, 1961-73 Tempest & LeMans Restoration Parts Catalog

2016-GTO

The Original Parts Group Inc. (OPGI), 2016 edition of the 1964-73 GTO, 1961-73 Tempest & LeMans restoration parts catalog is now available. The fifth in the series of new restoration parts catalogs for 2016, this new 400-page free catalog contains everything needed to restore your GM classic from interior and body parts to engine parts, sheet metal, bright trim and everything else in between. All OPGI Restoration Parts Catalogs are very useful comprehensive automotive resources, and are packed full of valuable information, helpful tips and insights, making each one a valuable restoration tool on its own.

Even if you already have an earlier 2015 OPGI GTO/Tempest/Le Mans catalog, you will still need the latest 2016 edition to keep up with all of the new parts and accessories that have been added within the last year. Order your new 2016 catalog today!

Don’t forget there are also many more great catalogs to choose from! OPGI also offers free restoration parts catalogs for the following classic GM cars:

1954-76 Cadillac

1964-77 Chevelle & El Camino

1978-88 El Camino, Monte Carlo & Malibu

1970-77 Monte Carlo

1961-77 Cutlass, F-85/4-4-2

1961-72 Skylark, Special, GS/GSX

1963-76 Rivera

1962-77 Pontiac Grand Prix and 1959-76 Bonneville/Catalina

All OPGI catalogs are completely free and available by mail, phone (1-800-243-8355) or through the OPGI website at OPGI.com.

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Posted in New Products, Parts Catalog