OPGI Employee Car Spotlight: 1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo







It is time to take a look at another Original Parts Group Inc. (OPGI) employee–owned GM classic car. This 1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo belongs to OPGI Customer Service Representative Robert Fernandez. When Robert is not spending his time working at OPGI, he calls Anaheim, California home, and that’s where he found his Monte back in 1989. Because we know that Robert has about a half-dozen nice cars in total, it is not surprising that his Monte Carlo would be such a clean example. What is a bit surprising however, is that despite owning the car for over a quarter of a century, Robert really didn’t have a lot to say when we asked him about the history of it. As Robert told us, “My car has led a boring and unremarkable life.”

What we did learn about it was that the car was in good shape when he purchased it and Robert spent about $5000 over five years working on it to get it in even better shape. He only drives the car occasionally today. Robert said his car still has the stock 245hp 350 Chevy motor in it, backed by the standard TH350 automatic transmission. The stock drivetrain does breathe and sound a bit better than stock thanks to a MagnaFlow dual exhaust.

The car was already optioned with power windows, power seats, power steering and factory air conditioning, so none of those features had to be added during the restoration. The interior was kept in mostly stock configuration, although it did receive a full refresh and restoration performed by Krystal Koach Inc., an Anaheim-based manufacturer of limousines back in the ’90s when that business still existed (now closed). Robert’s Monte did require some new restoration parts including new trim and moldings, a new vinyl top and new weather stripping all around prior to paint and body work. To complete his Monte Carlo build, Robert sent the car to RJ’s Customs (now in San Diego) for the final body prep and silver paint job. For a car that Robert said “has led a boring life,” it looks like it could be a pretty exciting ride for most fans of classic Chevy iron.

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Posted in Articles, OPGI Employee Car Spotlight

Decoding General Motors Body Style Designations

*Back by popular demand: This article is a re-post from May of 2013. It seems that some of our readers are confused by General Motors’ use of alphabetic codes to designate the many different GM vehicle “families,” so we thought it would be a good time to present this information once again.

General Motors vehicles have long been produced on shared platforms with each platform or body type fitting into designated GM vehicle “families” that use alphabet letters to separate them. The alphabetic codes used were always single letters and way back in 1946 GM began using a standard set of body style codes consisting of just the four letters A, B, C and D. Four different letter designations were all that was needed at the time because GM’s assortment of vehicles was relatively small in the years prior to World War II. At that time, the alphabet letter codes also corresponded to the 4th letter of each car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). In those early years, GM also began using the standardized alphabetic body style designations to identify parts and accessories for each body style as well as applying the codes to service manuals, owner manuals, and other vehicle-specific publications.

The simple, four body style codes worked as intended, and GM continued to use the A,B,C and D designation system all the way up until 1960 when things started to get more complicated. At that time, GM began creating new cars with many different body styles and the alphabetic code system had to grow and change with the passage of time. What began as a simple four letter code system eventually grew to contain many different alphabet letters and it became increasingly difficult to identify the different GM body styles correctly. In the years following 1960, the year of a vehicle’s production started influencing the alphabetic body style codes and some cars changed designations from one letter to another, making both year and body style interdependent when attempting to identify a GM body style correctly. From 1961 to 1965, GM added three more letter designations (E, X and Y) and some cars, like the Buick Special, that were “B body” prior to 1961, became “A body” cars in the mid ‘60s.

In the years that followed, the once simple alphabet codes became far less simple and some cars changed codes after major redesigns, and some did not, like the “E-body” Oldsmobile Toronado that retained the “E” letter designation even though it was heavily redesigned four times from 1966 to 1992. In the years from 1966 to 1970 GM kept the codes to eight letters, but the letters changed. The “Y” code was dropped and “F” and “G” were added, transforming the code letters to A, B, C, D, E, F, G and X. In the period between 1971 and 1975, GM added an “H” code as well as a new “K’ code.

The code continued to grow and between ’76 and ’80 GM added a “T” code for the Chevy Chevette compact. Things got more complex in the first half of the ‘80s when GM added the letters J, K, N, R, S, and T. More confusion came in 1982 when GM transformed the entire “A body” line from rear-wheel drive cars to front-wheel drive versions. At that time GM also decided to re-designate the remaining rear-wheel drive cars to the “G” code.

For those GM car owners who are uncertain as to exactly which code matches their classic car, the individual models are listed by year and body code up to the year 1985 below:

From 1946 to 1960 –
The “A-Body” cars include – Chevrolet: 150, 210, Bel Air, Del Ray, Biscayne, Impala, El Camino. Pontiac: Chieftain, Star Chief, Super Chief, Bonneville, Catalina, Ventura.
The “B-Body” cars include – Buick: Special, Century, LeSabre, Invicta. Oldsmobile: Eighty-Eight, Ninety-Eight, Starfire Ninety-Eight.
“C-Body” cars include – Cadillac: Series 60 Special Fleetwood, Series 62, Eldorado, Deville. Buick: Super, Roadmaster, Limited, Electra, Electra 225.
“D-Body” cars include – Cadillac: Series 75 Fleetwood, Series 6700 Fleetwood.

From 1961 to 1965 –
“A-Body” cars include – Chevrolet: Chevelle, Malibu, Malibu SS, El Camino. Buick: Special, Skylark, Sportwagon. Oldsmobile: F-85 Cutlass, Vista Cruiser. Pontiac: Tempest, LeMans, GTO (’64-’65).
“B-Body” cars include – Chevrolet: Biscayne, Bel Air, Impala, Impala SS. Buick: LeSabre, LeSabre Custom, Invicta, Wildcat. Oldsmobile: Eighty-Eight, Starfire, Jetstar.  Pontiac: Catalina, Star Chief, Bonneville, Ventura, Grand Prix.
“C-Body” cars include – Cadillac: Series 60 Special, Fleetwood, Fleetwood 60 Special, Deville, Calais, Eldorado, Series 6200. Oldsmobile: Ninety-Eight. Buick: Electra, Electra 225.
“D-Body” cars include – Cadillac: Fleetwood 75, Series 6700.
“E-Body” cars include – Buick: Riviera.
“X-Body” cars include – Chevrolet: Chevy II, Nova, Nova SS.
“Y-Body” cars include – Pontiac: Tempest (’61-’63), LeMans. Buick: Special (’61-’63), Skylark (’61-’63). Oldsmobile: F-85 (’61-’63), Jetfire (’62-’63).

From 1966 to 1970 –
“A-Body” cars include – Chevrolet: Chevelle, Malibu, Malibu SS, Monte Carlo, El Camino. Buick: Special, Skylark, Sportwagon. Oldsmobile: F-85, Cutlass, Vista Cruiser. Pontiac: Tempest, LeMans, GTO.
“B-Body” cars include – Chevrolet: Biscayne, Bel Air, Impala, Impala SS, Caprice.  Buick: LeSabre, Wildcat. Oldsmobile: Eighty-Eight, Starfire, Jetstar. Pontiac: Catalina, Star Chief Executive, Bonneville, Grand Prix (’66-’68).
“C-Body” cars include – Buick: Electra, Electra 225. Cadillac: Fleetwood, Fleetwood 60 Special, Deville, Calais. Oldsmobile: Ninety-Eight.
“D-Body” cars include – Cadillac: Fleetwood 75.
“E-Body” cars include – Buick: Riviera. Cadillac: Eldorado. Oldsmobile: Toronado.
“F-Body” cars include – Chevrolet: Camaro. Pontiac: Firebird.
“G-Body” cars include –  Pontiac: Grand Prix (’69-’70).
“X-Body” cars include – Chevrolet: Chevy II, Nova, Nova SS.

From 1971 to 1975 –
“A Body” cars include – Chevrolet: Chevelle, Malibu, Laguna, Monte Carlo. Buick: Skylark and Century, Regal, Sportwagon. Oldsmobile: F-85, Cutlass. Pontiac: Tempest, LeMans, Grand Am, GTO (’71-’73), Grand Prix.
“B-Body” cars include – Chevrolet: Biscayne, Bel Air, Impala, Caprice.  Buick: LeSabre and Centurion. Oldsmobile: Delta Eighty-Eight, Pontiac: Catalina, Bonneville, Grand Ville.
“C-Body” cars include – Buick: Electra 225. Cadillac: Fleetwood, Deville, Calais. Oldsmobile: Ninety-Eight.
“D-Body” cars include – Cadillac: Fleetwood 75.
“E-Body” cars include – Buick: Riviera. Cadillac: Eldorado. Oldsmobile: Toronado.
“F-Body” cars include – Chevrolet: Camaro. Pontiac: Firebird.
“H-Body” cars include – Buick: Skyhawk. Chevrolet: Vega, Monza. Oldsmobile: Starfire. Pontiac: Astre. Cadillac: Seville.
“K-Body” cars include – Cadillac: Seville.
“X-Body” cars include – Chevrolet: Nova. Pontiac: GTO (’74).

From 1976 to 1980 –
“A-Body” cars include – Buick: Century, Regal. Chevrolet: Malibu and Laguna, Monte Carlo. Oldsmobile: Cutlass. Pontiac: LeMans and Grand Am, Grand Prix.
“B-Body” cars include – Buick: LeSabre, Riviera (’77-’78). Chevrolet: Impala, Caprice.  Oldsmobile: Delta Eighty-Eight. Pontiac: Catalina, Bonneville, Grand Ville.
“C-Body” cars include – Buick: Electra 225. Cadillac: Fleetwood Brougham, Deville, Calais. Oldsmobile: Ninety-Eight.
“D-Body” cars include – Cadillac: Fleetwood 75, Fleetwood Limousine (’77-’80).
“E-Body” cars include – Buick: Riviera. Cadillac: Eldorado. Oldsmobile: Toronado.
“F-Body” cars include – Chevrolet: Camaro. Pontiac: Firebird.
“H-Body” cars include – Buick: Skyhawk. Chevrolet: Vega, Monza. Oldsmobile: Starfire. Pontiac: Astre, Sunbird.
“K-Body” cars include – Cadillac: Seville.
“T-Body” cars include – Chevrolet: Chevette.
“X-Body” cars include – Buick: Skylark. Chevrolet: Nova, Citation. Oldsmobile: Omega. Pontiac: Ventura, Phoenix.

From 1981 to 1985 –
“A-Body” cars include – Buick: Century, Regal. Chevrolet: Malibu, El Camino, Monte Carlo, Celebrity. Oldsmobile: Cutlass, Ciera. Pontiac: LeMans, Grand Prix.
“B-Body” cars include – Buick: LeSabre. Chevrolet: Impala, Caprice Classic. Oldsmobile: Delta Eighty-Eight. Pontiac: Catalina, Bonneville, Grand Safari, Parisenne.
“C-Body” cars include – Buick: Electra. Cadillac: Fleetwood, Fleetwood Brougham, Deville, Fleetwood Limousine. Oldsmobile: Ninety-Eight.
“D-Body” cars include – Cadillac: Deville, Fleetwood Brougham, Fleetwood Limousine.
“E-Body” cars include – Buick: Riviera. Cadillac: Eldorado. Oldsmobile: Toronado.
“F-Body” cars include – Chevrolet: Camaro. Pontiac: Firebird.
“G-Body” cars include – Buick: Regal. Chevrolet: Malibu, El Camino, Monte Carlo. Oldsmobile: Cutlass. Pontiac: Bonneville, Grand Prix (’82-’85 all).
“J-Body” cars include – Buick: Skyhawk. Cadillac: Cimarron. Chevrolet: Cavalier. Oldsmobile: Firenza. Pontiac: J2000, Sunbird.
“K-Body” cars include – Cadillac: Seville.
“N-Body” cars include – Buick: Somerset, Somerset Regal. Oldsmobile: Calais, Calais Supreme. Pontiac: Grand Am.
“R-Body” cars include – Chevrolet: Spectrum.
“S-Body” cars include – Chevrolet: Nova.
“T-Body” cars include – Chevrolet: Camaro. Pontiac: T-1000.
“X-Body” cars include – Buick: Skylark. Chevrolet: Citation. Oldsmobile: Omega. Pontiac: Phoenix

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OPGI Employee Car Spotlight: 1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Holiday Coupe







Although we usually feature Original Parts Group Inc. (OPGI) customer–owned cars in these “spotlight” blog posts, many of OPGI’s employees also own, work on, and drive some really nice classic cars too. Many of the interesting classics in our parking lot are daily-driven by employees and yet are also nice enough to be on display at a cruise or a show. They are nice enough that we thought you might like to see a few of them too.

The car you see here today is a 1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Holiday Coupe owned by OPGI employee Keith Scovil of Anaheim, California. Keith drives his classic Cutlass to work every day and after 16 years of ownership he is still in the process of restoring and improving it. Although his Olds is obviously a clean classic muscle car, Keith says “It is not a show car by any means, it’s a driver with personality.” It is also a car with a pretty cool back story, but we’ll let Keith tell you that part in his own words:

“After I first got my driver’s permit at age 15 back in 2005, it didn’t take but a few weeks before I began searching for a suitable candidate car to become the basis of my long-dreamed-of classic car restoration project. I found a decent 1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Holiday Coupe that I really liked on Cardomain.com and quickly called about it, but unfortunately the seller lived in Lancaster, California (which is a long way from Anaheim when you’re only 15 years old). Needless to say, I was disappointed that we were not able to meet due to the distance.

I next learned that there would be a car/parts swap meet held in Pomona the following Saturday, so I enlisted my father and older brother to help me get there to see what might be available. At the swap meet we quickly came across another nice 1969 Cutlass S that I liked very much. The car was in very good shape and had a 2 barrel 350, auto trans, power steering, power brakes, A/C, and a vinyl top. Although the car was advertised at $3600, we were able to strike a deal at $2500 and on August 28, 2005, I became the new owner. While we were finishing up with the sale paper work at the meet, the owner stated that he thought my voice sounded familiar. In a bit of a nice coincidence, I learned that the guy I had first called about the ’69 Cutlass on Cardomain.com was the same gentleman that was standing in front of me at the swap meet. It was the same car!

Once we got home and had the new steed in the stable, a father and son restoration project began. The first objective was to get the chassis cleaned up and squared away. As a result, new front and rear suspension was installed along with all new steering components as well as a CPP disc brake conversion kit. Back at school, my auto shop teacher was also an Oldsmobile enthusiast and he ended up giving me a W-31 spec camshaft to use in the car.  We did install that camshaft, but with the stock low compression heads, it wasn’t as aggressive as it could have been. I knew the previous owner had performed a budget rebuild and the block was bored out .030” for a typical 355 ci engine. It also had standard cast dish pistons and factory connecting rods along with a stock “N” crankshaft. Initially we left the stock #5 heads alone, but it wasn’t long before the valve guides started showing wear and we had the heads serviced.  During this time, my father and I decided it was time to change the camshaft to a more modern profile as well as a more street-able grind. We decided on a Comp Cams XE268 and went with full, roller pedestal mount rocker arms. As the car sits today, the engine has roughly 9.25:1 compression, along with the mild cam, headers, 2.5” exhaust, 650cfm carb, and an RPM Performer intake manifold.  The engine has never been dyno’ed, but I imagine it’s good for 330hp and maybe 380-400 ft. lbs. of torque. Behind the engine we installed a 2004-R Overdrive transmission and 10” non-lockup torque converter. The rear end is a Chevy 12 bolt unit with Eaton limited slip differential and 3.42 gears.

Moving inside the car, the entire interior (along with a lot of R-Blox sound deadener) was purchased from OPGI.  The majority of the interior work was performed in our home garage aside from the unassembled rear side panels and rear seat upholstery. I also went with Pro Car bucket seats up front. These days I am in the process of restoring a factory ’67 to ‘69 center console and shifter, along with upgrading the carpet from standard 80/20 Raylon Loop to the more modern Essex style of carpet.

Believe it or not, the exterior of my Olds was painted by Earl Scheib near my home in Anaheim. The paint is of the California-friendly, water-based variety. It has 3 coats of base color white along with 3 coats of clear. The vehicle was color sanded to a smooth 1500 grit prior to buffing and I think it turned out very well. Remember that this car received a body-on restoration, not a body-off.  It’s a daily street car and is the only vehicle registered in my name. The car was involved in one accident a few years back when another driver attempted to make a right turn from the center lane and put me into the curb (see “Oldspowered69” on YouTube for a video/slideshow depicting the damage of said accident), but it’s a driver, not a show car. It did win a plaque from the one and only show I have ever entered it in (Main Street Car Show of Garden Grove, California), but its true purpose is be utilized and enjoyed as my daily-driver.” – Keith Scovil

Shop for Oldsmobile parts at www.opgi.com

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Posted in OPGI Employee Car Spotlight

OPGI Customer Car Spotlight: 1970-72? Chevrolet Chevelle

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1972 Chevrolet Chevelle

Luis Galeana, Pico Rivera, California

Engine: LS2 6.0L

Paint: Red w/ black SS stripes

Interior Color: Black

Original Parts Group Inc. (OPGI), Customer Luis Galeana of Pico Rivera, California is the proud owner of this clean 1972 Chevelle. Our staff first spotted Luis’ car parked at OPGI’s Seal Beach headquarters building, and once they got a better look up close and saw just how nice the Chevelle really was, the decision was made to share the car here on the OPGI Blog.

In the beginning it seems Luis had some decisions to make regarding whether he wanted to own a restored original Chevelle or a modified resto-mod car. Looking at the photos you can quickly see that Luis chose the restomod route. In fact, Luis’ car is very similar to the 1970 Chevelle SS 454 tribute car that OPGI is currently building for display at the upcoming SEMA Show in Las Vegas. A fuel-injected, big-block powered Chevelle riding on Hotchkis Suspension components and wrapped up in a red and black SS paint scheme sounds like a good plan to us.

Of the many nice cars that visit OPGI, this red Chevelle is one of the nicer ones. Take a look at the photos and see if you don’t agree. As for the story behind the car, we’ll let Luis relate the facts in his own words:

“My family and I had been looking for a good 1970 Chevelle for quite some time, however I could not decide if I wanted a 100 % original car or a resto-mod version.  After some thought, we decided to go with a resto-mod since our overall plan for the car was to be able to drive it often as well as take it on occasional long drives.  After some searching, I came across this 1972 Chevelle that was going to cross an auction block back in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Even though the Chevelle was not the exact year I had been looking for, the previous owner had modified the front and rear end a bit to give it more of a 1970 look. The car had the right look, drivetrain and powertrain, so I pulled the trigger on the auction.

Under the hood this Chevelle has a 6.0L LS2 engine with an Edelbrock manifold and a FAST Fuel setup coupled with a 6-speed automatic transmission. It has a 12 bolt posi rear end with an aluminum Perfect Launch cover and has been upgraded to 4-wheel disc brakes with Wilwood components. The stock wheels and tires have been replaced with big Boss wheels fitted with Nitto tires (245/40 ZR 18’s in the front and 285/40 ZR18’s in the rear). Power steering and brakes help make driving this beauty easy work and the Hotchkis suspension components help it handle all types of roads.

The restored original interior is lightly modified with custom Pro-Comp Ultra-Lite white gauges and an upgraded sound system that includes a separate power amp and two 10” subwoofers. The Chevelle has an SS steering wheel, an SS console and a stock shifter between the bucket seats. Perhaps best of all, this Chevelle has a Vintage Air A/C system that should help keep the whole family cool during long drives on hot summer days.” -Luis Galeana

Shop for Chevelle parts at www.opgi.com

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Posted in Customer Car Spotlight, OPGI Customer Car Spotlight

1968-72 Chevelle & El Camino Horseshoe Shifter Assembly


If you are the owner of a classic 1968-72 Chevelle or El Camino (or a 1970-72 Monte Carlo) equipped with a console-mounted automatic transmission shifter assembly, you know just how important that piece of equipment is. The horseshoe-shaped handle falls right to hand every time you drive your car and being located right in the center of the interior, it is clearly visible at all times. If your shifter assembly is loose, damaged or broken, you will be aware of that annoying fact every time you drive as well. Most Chevy fans also know that they won’t find a new shifter assembly at their Chevy dealer these days, and scouring the salvage yards for a decent 1968-72 shifter assembly is not likely to be very rewarding either. Thankfully, there is a solution to this problem.

Enthusiasts needing a new assembly or those desiring to upgrade a column-mounted shifter to a console unit can now get a brand new reproduction “horseshoe” shifter assembly directly from Original Parts Group Inc. (OPGI).  The OPGI console-mounted shifter assembly is factory-exact in every detail and it is priced very affordably as well. The lockout button and springs are pre-installed for convenience and the assembly comes complete with all the features needed for a trouble-free installation in your car. The handle is triple chrome-plated and the injection-molded black plastic grip is indistinguishable from the original GM product. Because the assembly is a RESTOPARTS® brand product, no expense has been spared in making this the finest reproduction on the market. Sold under OPGI part number C210900, the console-mounted shifter assembly is priced at $139.99.

Original Parts Group, Inc. is the nation’s number one supplier and manufacturer of classic GM parts and accessories and is committed to maintaining that reputation. For more information, visit OPGI.com or call toll free: 1-800-243-8355.


Posted in Interior Accessories, Interior Trim

Mid-Engine Corvette in 2018?


Although the rumors of a mid-engine Corvette have been circulating for years, General Motors (GM) has recently let new clues slip that point more directly to the possibility of seeing the rumored car become an actual production vehicle by 2018. With the recent revival of Ford’s GT supercar at Le Mans, it makes sense that GM would want to have something that would be able to compete with it in their lineup. Given the Corvette’s very successful racing history so far, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to imagine that GM would want to continue that tradition with a new, faster, and better Corvette.

Just last month the folks at the GM Inside News website (www.gminsidenews.com) noticed that the “Katech Engines website has already made provisions for the “2018+ Corvette ZR1/Zora LT5.” Katech is the performance engine specialist company that used to back the Corvette racing program before GM brought all competition engine development back in-house several years ago.

The “LT5” that Katech references would be a new version of the DOHC aluminum-block V8 developed by Lotus Engineering and built by Mercury Marine. The LT5 was used for a few years in the C4 Corvette platform, yet never made it into production on the C5 platform. Now it appears a Gen III version of the engine is being developed for use in the next generation of Corvettes. Mid-engine Corvettes if the speculation is correct.

The GM-watchers over at MotorAuthority.com also noticed the new landing page for the 2018+ Corvette ZR1/Zora LT5 over at Katech, but the page was quickly removed from the Web after the discovery. Even though the “Corvette ZR1/Zora LT5” page has disappeared, many Corvette enthusiasts are beginning to wonder “What does Katech know that we don’t?”  Some are speculating that the C8 mid-engine Corvette will likely make its debut at the 2018 Detroit auto show, a date that is coincidentally exactly five years after the C7 Stingray made its debut at the same show.

Combine that with the fact that some GM engineers have stated that more power won’t make a better Corvette because they’ve reached the limit of what a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive Corvette can do, and you’ve got a good case for a new mid-engine car on the way. Looking at the many clues supporting the existence of plans for a mid-engine ‘Vette only seems to increase the likelihood that the rumors are true:

* The media has already spotted prototype C8s in testing and they appeared to be mid-engine designs.

* GM’s Bowling Green, Corvette plant has recently doubled in size. The company has also dumped $290 million into the same plant for “upgrades.”

* GM recently trademarked the ZR1 name again.

* GM recently trademarked the Zora name for the first time.

Taking a not-so-wild guess, we would bet that the new 2018 C8 Corvette will be named the ZR1 or Zora (or a combination of both) and it will be powered by a new Gen III DOHC LT5 V-8.

Posted in Industry News

Just Arrived: 1970-72 El Camino & Wagon Tail Lamp Lens

elky rr lens

Everyone knows that a worn or damaged tail lamp lens can really detract from a restoration project, especially if the rest of the car is in near perfect shape. Dull or cracked tail lamp lenses are not easily restored and they aren’t easily replaced, as new factory parts have not been available for a long time. That’s why Original Parts Group, Inc. (OPGI) is pleased to announce the availability of new RESTOPARTS® brand exact reproductions of the original GM factory tail lamp lenses for 1970 through 1972 El Caminos and Chevelle station wagons from those same years that share the El Camino tailgate and tail lamp configuration. (RESTOPARTS® is OPGI’s proprietary manufactured line of ultra-high quality restoration parts).

These new tail lamp lenses are injection-molded on brand new tooling developed from genuine NOS parts. Made of red acrylic for a totally authentic appearance, each lens also features the correct GUIDE, SAE and LH/RH markings on the lens face just like the original equipment from General Motors (GM). Built to exact GM contours and dimensions to assure a perfect fit, the 1970-72 El Camino and Wagon Tail Lamp Lenses are currently sold in pairs under OPGI part # C210038 for $69.99. Original Parts Group, Inc. is the nation’s number one supplier and manufacturer of classic GM parts and accessories and is committed to maintaining that reputation. For more information, visit OPGI.com or call toll free: 1-800-243-8355.


Posted in Body - Electrical, New Products, Tail Lamps

Just Arrived: 1980-1987 Chevrolet El Camino & 1970-1972 Buick Skylark GS Rocker Panel Moldings



Original Parts Group Inc. (OPGI) is pleased to announce the availability of new RESTOPARTS® brand Rocker Panel Molding sets for the 1980-1987 Chevrolet El Camino and 1970-1972 Buick Skylark GS. Dented, scuffed or damaged rocker panel moldings that are clearly visible on the lower side of your GM classic can really detract from an otherwise excellent restoration. OPGI has addressed this problem with brand new, bright rocker panel sets reproduced to original GM factory specifications.

The 1980-1987 El Camino rocker panel moldings are beautifully crafted reproductions made to exact GM specifications and appearance. Sold in pairs for $163.99 under OPGI Part Number # KMR0873, each set is made from bright, anodized aluminum just like the originals. Installation requires ten GM-specific rocker molding clips sold separately for $14.99 under OPGI Part # L24004.

The 1970-1972 Skylark GS rocker panel moldings are precisely manufactured of bright anodized stainless steel and feature the correct red pinstripe across the entire length just like the original Buick GS components. However, these moldings can also be used on 1970-72 Skylark and GSX cars (that came from the factory with black stripes on the rocker panels) if the red stripe is sanded off (carefully!) and repainted black before installation. Sold in pairs, the Skylark GS moldings also include all of the hardware necessary for installation. The Skylark GS rocker panel moldings are sold for $242.99 under OPGI Part Number # S240649.

Original Parts Group, Inc. is the nation’s number one supplier and manufacturer of classic GM parts and accessories and remains committed to maintaining that reputation. For more information on these new RESTOPARTS® brand rocker panel moldings visit OPGI.com or call toll free: 1-800-243-8355.





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Posted in Body Moldings & Trim, New Products

Polymer Power



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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Chevrolet’s Small Plans


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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