Where did you find that part ???

The two top questions I most often hear – and ask – at cruise-ins and car shows are “Where did you find that part?” and “How hard was that to install?”

The age of the Internet has revolutionized how the shade tree mechanic operates, and made car modification an option for even the most mechanically challenged.  I do not consider myself a mechanic by any stretch of the imagination, but I can follow directions.  And thanks to the Internet, I can find information and directions on almost anything I want to add to my vehicles.  Many vendor websites provide outstanding support on their own products, but for an unbiased User perspective, my Internet resource of choice is the car forum.

As soon as I had my Camaro on order, I was out there goggling every Camaro site I could find and saving them to my Favorites.  Aftermarket parts, installers, and forums…save, save, save.  Then it was research time.  Which forum seemed to have it all?  I have been a member of several Harley and Corvette forums in the past, and had a very good idea of what was expected of a strong forum, one that was a true resource.  All too often a forum becomes just another place to complain or badger the new guy.   I was lucky enough to get turned on to one specific forum by a buddy who just purchased his own Camaro – the Camaro5 forum.  Camaro5 has it all – a great selection of technical topics and many knowledgeable members and sponsors.

Within a couple weeks of ordering my car, I was pouring through pages of parts Camaro5 members had purchased, reviewing pros and cons of certain modifications, vendor recommendations, cost comparisons, and best of all – learning how to do it myself.  The DIY section is a wealth of information.

Before my car had even arrived, I was ordering mods from vendors and had subscribed to all the threads I needed to do the installs.  All the members’ pictures and YouTube links made the modification process less scary.  Soon I had new parts and tools stacked up all over the garage floor, and was absolutely ready to go – I just needed my car.

It was perfect.

Camaro5 Forum

Camaro5 Forum

For example, take installing ZL1 rockers on my 1LE.  I knew I wanted the look after seeing other pics on the forum.  I did a little research and found a vendor in the sponsor’s classified marketplace that had the rockers.  Then I looked for a DIY on the install that included a YouTube link, and I found that too.  What seemed like a difficult mod, maybe something that really should be left to a body shop, turned in to a 45-minute project in my garage.  I saved $$ and most importantly, I had a really good time using my tools on my new car.  And it was too easy, because of the resources provided on the Camaro5 forum.  I then switched out the side markers, and swapped out the stock center console for a custom leather-wrapped replacement.  Again, cost-savings, and a whole lot of fun making my car mine.

If you are a Camaro guy, and haven’t found the Camaro5 Forum, take a look inside.  You won’t be disappointed, I wasn’t.  Other great forums include HDForums.com and V-TwinForum.com for Harley Davidson and CorvetteForum.com for the Corvette.

What are you all following?

Why Horsepower Therapy?

I have been asked a few times, “What does the name mean?  Why call your car Horsepower Therapy?”  For me, it’s not simply a catchy phrase or a cool sounding name.   My better half would tell you that my cars, and the current Camaro is no exception, have always provided me with the comfort of horsepower therapy.  It’s what a car means and does for me.  I can put it a little more simply – it’s fun to go fast and it’s fun to make stuff go faster.

I am a retired Army helicopter pilot and spent most of my 23 year career flying with the great soldiers and aviators of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.  I love flying and I loved flying with the 160th.  There is a reason it’s called Special Ops – accomplishing the mission often required pushing the envelope – or ignoring it altogether.  The flying was exciting, cutting edge, tip of the spear, and yes… occasionally a little crazy, and crazy fun.

I was never one for peace and quiet, which is probably why I was attracted to flying in the first place.  Looking back over my career, although I know I had other responsibilities, flying was the very best part of the job, and I quickly became accustomed to living and then thriving on adrenaline.

So what does a career pilot do when you are back home – and no 47 in sight?  If you are me, and most of my buddies, your down time involves just as much speed as your up time.  We come home and sooner or later we head for the garage to pull out our Harleys and muscle cars.  Yep – typical “pilot” vehicles, built to show off our overflowing testosterone and type A++ personalities.

I usually had a Harley in the garage and a Corvette parked right next to it.  But nothing was left stock.  For me, stock was the starting point, the blank canvas.  Add a little chrome, modify the stereo system or body panels.  Make it mine, make it look better, and make it something special.  And of course, make it go faster and faster and faster…   Modify the intake system, modify the exhaust…let the engines breathe!  Whether it was my motorcycles, or my cars… I always wanted to pull more and more horsepower out of them, however I could.    I wanted to make these ground-based vehicles feel like flying.

With Guns-a-GoGo

Next up: My Vehicles