In this edition of the Original Parts Group Inc. (OPGI) blog, we are featuring an ultra-clean 1972 big-block El Camino SS. This vehicle is owned by OPGI and is part of an in-house fleet of classic GM cars built by OPGI for advertising and testing purposes, as well as for use at trade shows, car shows and other special events. All of OPGI’s classic cars have been completely restored to the highest degree of original authenticity (using OPGI parts of course) and this El Camino is no exception.
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As one of the most iconic muscle cars ever produced, the immense popularity of the Pontiac GTO has made it one of the most-likely-to-be-restored classic GM cars today. Rising values have made nearly any GTO in reasonable condition a good candidate for restoration. However, even the best paint and body work won’t look correct if the original window trim and molding pieces are scratched, rusted and dented. Worn or damaged window moldings will stand out like a sore thumb on an otherwise perfect car.
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A broken or damaged tail lamp lens can really detract from an otherwise excellent restoration on a classic like the 1970 Chevelle. Tail lamp lenses are not easily restored and they aren’t easily replaced either, as factory parts are not available. Original Parts Group, Inc. (OPGI) offers thousands of brand new restoration parts and accessories for classic Chevelles, and one of the newest parts added to the ever expanding OPGI Chevelle line is a new RESTOPARTS® brand exact reproduction of the original GM factory tail lamp lenses for the 1970 Chevelle (RESTOPARTS® is OPGI’s own proprietary manufactured line of ultra-high quality restoration parts).
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Original Parts Group Inc. (OPGI) has been named 2015 Business of the Year by the Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO), a council of the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA).
The ARMO Business of the Year award is presented annually to one company who has demonstrated exceptional contributions to the restoration industry and has sought to make a difference and improve the automotive hobby and industry during the past year. Award winners are selected by votes from the SEMA membership council members, all of whom are a part of ARMO. This year’s winner was announced during the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association industry show held in Las Vegas.
Original Parts Group Inc. was chosen for its service, integrity and business ethics demonstrated as a company in 2015. Dave Leonard, OPGI President and Founder, said “We are honored to be the proud recipient of the ARMO Business of the Year Award. Not only does this award recognize OPGI’s many contributions to the restoration industry, it also highlights the important role our company plays within the industry as well. We appreciate the restoration community’s support.”
Celebrating over 33 years of manufacturing and retailing the highest quality restoration parts and accessories, OPGI is recognized as the nation’s number one supplier and manufacturer of classic GM parts and is committed to maintaining that reputation and serving the needs of its customers for years to come. For more information, visit OPGI.com or call toll free: 1-800-243-8355. Read more ›
About twenty-five years ago the era of modern crate engines began with General Motors (GM) release of the “H.O. 350,” an all-new, high-performance small-block engine assembly that blended the best of old and new technologies through the use of hydraulic-roller cams and aluminum cylinder-heads. For perhaps the first time, the “ZZZ” stamped blocks made it as cost-effective to buy a fully assembled crate engine as to build an equivalent engine from speed shop parts. In 1990, those first ZZZ crate engines had four-bolt mains, a forged one-piece rear main seal crankshaft, L98 Corvette aluminum cylinder heads, and a 9.8:1 compression ratio that produced 345 hp at 5,600 rpm and 370 lb-ft of torque at 3,600.
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1967 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu
Jim Meyer, Windsor, Colorado
Engine: GM Performance ZZ427
Transmission: Tremec TKO 600 5 Speed
Paint: Custom PPG Color –Bourbon “N” Ice
Original Parts Group Inc. (OPGI), customer Jim Meyer of Windsor, Colorado is the man responsible for the unique 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu seen here. Jim obviously lives a bit farther away from OPGI Headquarters than most of the customers we see in person, and his ’67 Malibu is a bit different compared to most of the restored vehicles we usually feature in this blog. Jim spent the last several years building his one-off custom creation and in that time he ordered so many parts from OPGI that we became quite interested in his project too. When we finally received photos of the completed vehicle, we felt we had to share them here.
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1987 Chevrolet El Camino
Wade Pearson, Orange, California
Engine: 305 V8
Interior Color: Saddle Tan
Transmission: 4 speed auto
Paint: Autumn Gold/Lite Chestnut w/ Pinstripes
Although Original Parts Group Inc. (OPGI), Customer Wade Pearson is the owner of this super nice 1987 El Camino, that relationship may soon change, as the car is currently up for sale. We’d have to guess that it must be with some sadness that Wade will part company with his prized (and prize-winning) El Camino. We’d also venture to guess that he’s not likely to find another one as clean as this if he ever changes his mind and wants to build another El Camino at a later date. Read more ›
1970 Chevelle SS 454 LS5
Dan Bishop, Riverside, California
Engine: LS5 454
Transmission: THM 400
Paint: Astro Blue
Interior Color: Ivory
Original Parts Group Inc. (OPGI), Customer Dan Bishop of Riverside, California is the proud owner of this super nice 1970 Chevelle Super Sport LS5. Dan should be proud of his car, as it’s obviously a beauty, and probably one of the two most coveted Chevelles ever made (the 1970 LS5 and LS6 Super Sport Chevelles). Although the LS5 Chevelle did not match the 450 horsepower rating of the solid lifter equipped LS6, the LS5 with its hydraulic lifters and Rochester Quadrajet carburetor put out a respectable 360 horsepower in stock trim, making it one of the most powerful muscle cars on the street back in 1970.
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Classic Chevelles and El Caminos with worn-out or damaged center consoles as well as those that came from the factory without center consoles at all, will benefit from a new reproduction center console base. That’s why Original Parts Group, Inc. (OPGI), is pleased to announce the availability of reproduction center console bases for 1966-67 Chevelles and El Caminos. Each OPGI shifter console base is an injection-molded factory reproduction that meets or exceeds all OEM specifications for fit, finish and functionality.
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High-performance automotive developer Jack “Doc” Watson passed away this August leaving behind a huge legacy from his days at Hurst Performance. Watson worked alongside the great George Hurst at Hurst Performance, the company that literally owned the aftermarket shifter business in the 60’s. Watson helped develop the world-famous Hurst shifter, the Jaws of Life EMT rescue tool, and other innovations including the Hurst/Olds 4-4-2 and Hurst Hairy Olds Cutlass drag/exhibition cars.
Jack “Doc “ Watson had a significant impact on the automotive world where he was also known as the original Hurst “Shifty Doctor,” as he often traveled to various racetracks with a Hurst shifter repair trailer in tow. Prior to his Hurst days, Doc had worked with Corvette engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov at General Motors where he experimented with putting larger engines in intermediate body Tempests, Skylarks and Cutlasses for weight evaluation testing. His work at GM led to a relationship with Hurst Performance and subsequent employment at Hurst as president of Hurst Performance Research.
Working as George Hurst’s right-hand man, Watson is credited with being the creator of the first Hurst/Oldsmobile 4-4-2 drag cars. The early Hurst Olds 4-4-2’s were equipped with 455 cu.in. engines borrowed from the Toronado and their performance made them some of the most recognizable muscle cars in the country at the time. Doc Watson is also responsible for creating the Hurst’s Hairy Olds Cutlass, a wild exhibition car known for its 4-wheel burnouts thanks to dual blown, 1,000-plus horsepower Oldsmobile V-8s set-up in four-wheel drive mode.
The Hurst Hairy Oldsmobile project was the brainchild of Jack Watson and constructed at Hurst by in-house technicians. The project was also supported by some of the biggest names in the performance marketplace at the time and included camshafts made by Ed Iskenderian, custom-made rods and main bearings by Don Alderson of Milodon, intake manifolds and rocker arm covers by Al Sharp, and forged pistons and roller rockers by Mickey Thompson. The four -tire-smoking beast was driven at racetracks across the country by Joe Schubeck until a crash at Niagara Dragstrip in New York ended its touring life in 1967.
Doc Watson built a reputation for safety, performance and continuous improvement in his lifetime. In addition to his success with Hurst drag cars, one of Doc’s proudest accomplishments was his involvement with the Hurst-developed, JAWS of Life Rescue Tool that took its name from his initials (Jack A. Watson). The automotive performance industry mourns his passing and owes a debt to Mr. Watson’s spirit of innovation and passion for motorsports.