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Pontiac Firebird KITT – Fuel system overhaul

What some could consider as being part of the basic maintenance, I decided to make it a separate video. Whereas changing the fuel filter is fairly easy on these thirdgens, getting to the fuel pump is a bit more tricky. Not super hard but it requires you to lift the car and drop the tank, as there is no fuel trap door to access to it from the inside of the car…at least not from the factory. Enjoy the video!

 

Changing Oil & Oil Filter – Peugeot RCZ

Fresh oil on the dipstick

Doing an oil change on an internal combustion engine is probably the most commonly known and most frequently conducted service element in all car maintenance history. So guess what, even my RCZ needs it every 30’000 km or every two years. The procedure is quite simple: (1) Open up the oil cap on top of the engine block, (2) unscrew the drain plug and let the old oil flow out into an appropriate catch pan. (3) Put a new crush washer on the drain plug and screw it back on. (4) Now replace the oil filter before (5) filling in 4.25l of fresh synthetic SAE 5W30 engine oil.

NOTICE: Safety first, environment second! Make sure the car is safely positioned on a car lift or on ramps when you are working underneath a car, especially when your are applying force to unbolt / bolt parts! The engine, exhaust and the oil might be hot if you warmed the car up just before, hence protect your hands, skin in general and your eyes accordingly. Always dispose of used oil properly – bring it to your local waste disposal service station.

Here’s how to do it! 🙂

1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan “Bluesmobile” – 1/18 RC2 model car

History of the car

1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan "Bluesmobile"
1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan “Bluesmobile”

The third generation Dodge Monaco was sold from 1974 to 1976. It was a complete redesign compared to the previous generation with an all-new unibody platform and all-new sheet metal. It came with three different engines, all of them being V8s: a 360 cu in (5.9 L), a 400 cu in (6.6 L) and a a 440 cu in (7.2 L) V8. The latter of them was the one being used in the “Bluesmobile”.

Exterior

This metal example comes with the the classic, slightly tarnished Mount Prospect, Illinois police livery painting. It has the the black push-bar, standard for a US police car, the correct license plate “Illinois BDR 529” and the steel wheels without hubcabs. They did a nice job installing the left rear view mirror only, as well the police searchlight on the left A-pillar. However, there is no handle on the inside to operate it, but that would probably have been more difficult to make the searchlight stay at a fixed position.

Searchlight & rear view mirror, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan "Bluesmobile"
Searchlight & rear view mirror, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan “Bluesmobile”
Searchlight & rear view mirror, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan "Bluesmobile"
Searchlight & rear view mirror, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan “Bluesmobile”

The original police letterings and symbols, such as the “to serve and to protect” are visible on both front fenders and so is the star on either front doors, as well as the “P1” on the back doors – just as in the movie. RC2 did well adding all of these elements while still making the entire paint job look old. The big thing that caught my attention was the spray painted dirt cover all over the car – just like a car looks like after “106 miles to Chicago”. Like the front license plate, the rear one is obviously accurate as well, but in a very special way; although it has four holes to put screws in, it’s only attached by the lower two, which is equivalent to the movie version. Furthermore, RC2 deleted the middle “D” of the Dodge lettering on the back. I’m glad they did that despite the fact that it is a Dodge license product and that the car brand might have wanted its name to be branded properly on its merchandising article.

1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan "Bluesmobile"
1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan “Bluesmobile”
1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan "Bluesmobile"
1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan “Bluesmobile

The windshield whipers are very subtle and hide just behind the hood and don’t stick out as much as the ones of the 1969 Dodge Charger R/T “General Lee” I reviewed previously.

The running lights, doors handle and door locks clearly stick out and were not just painted on. They appear to be a part of the respective body panels and are not glued on them, which gives the entire car an even more solid appearance. They even put on the radio antenna. It was on the original car as well. However, that one was all twisted, whereas the one on the model is perfectly straight.

Windscreen whipers, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan "Bluesmobile"
Windscreen whipers & radio antenna, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan “Bluesmobile”
Twisted radio antenna, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan "Bluesmobile"
Twisted radio antenna, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan “Bluesmobile”

Elwood carried his handbag with him throughout the entire movie. This one is made out of slightly soft plastic and is attached to the floor of the trunk.

Elwood's handbag
Elwood’s handbag

I suppose the only way of disconnecting it would be to disassemble the car and to unbolt it from underneath. And then, looking at the dashboard you can’t miss all of the garbage imitations they replicated – cigarettes, pack of cigarettes, crushed coke cans and so on. The attention to details just shows how much respect RC2 had with regards to the Blues Brothers franchise.

Garbage on the dashboard, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan "Bluesmobile"
Garbage on the dashboard, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan “Bluesmobile”

With all that praise given to this model car, there are still a few things that are not quite accurate to the actual movie car. First of all, the two bumpers. On the model, you’ll find two vertical bars on either bumper. Which are correct, when you look at it from a factory point of view. On the Bluesmobile however, for whatever reason, they were removed. If you look closely at the bumpers in the movie, you can spot the respective holes where those bars are supposed to be mounted.

1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan "Bluesmobile"
1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan “Bluesmobile”
1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan "Bluesmobile"
1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan “Bluesmobile”

By now, any true Blues Brothers fan will ask himself where they iconic loudspeaker is they carried on the roof of the car. Obviously, this model came complete with that loudspeaker on a wood imitation frame and four robes to attach it to the car.

Loudspeaker, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan "Bluesmobile"
Loudspeaker with frame, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan “Bluesmobile”

Obviously, the loudspeaker and the frame are both made of plastic, but once again they put on a very nice paint job: It could have been painted in a slightly lighter grey to match better to the actual one of the movie, but it’s very well made, nevertheless. And so is the frame holding the loudspeaker. I especially like the slightly elastic ropes that attach the frame to the car.

1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan "Bluesmobile" - RC2 model car
1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan “Bluesmobile” – RC2 model car

Engine bay

Engine bay, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan "Bluesmobile"
Engine bay, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan “Bluesmobile”

At first glance, I’m happy to announce that the dirt cover story continues in here. As mentioned in the introduction, this car is equipped with the 440 cui V8 and is producing a total of 280 hp. It’s just beautiful to see how much attention they’ve paid to details – every part of it is clearly visible and painted accordingly: air filter, the blue valve covers, power steering, alternator, and what appears to be the cooling fluid container – even the clamps of the battery plugs are visible.

Hood, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan "Bluesmobile"
Hood, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan “Bluesmobile”

Moreover, the solid metal hood has been given the actual shape on the interior as well and it closes nicely and fits perfectly. I assume I can quote Elwood Blues to sum up the mechanical part of this car: “It’s got a cop motor, a 440-cubic-inch plant. It’s got cop tires, cop suspension, cop shocks. It’s a model made before catalytic converters so it’ll run good on regular gas”.

Undercarriage

Undercarriage, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan "Bluesmobile"
Undercarriage, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan “Bluesmobile”

I’m pleased to note that the same attention to details has been carried on underneath the car. First off, the entire undercarriage is covered with the same coat of dirt as the rest of the car. The different elements of the engine, oilpan, steering, exhaust system and suspensions have been molded and painted with precision. We can see the screws that attach the chassis to the body: two in the front, four in the middle and two in the back. Evidently, the four big holes in the middle are the mountings for the stand in the box. Another valuable detail is the fact that this car is an official license product of the then Chrysler Corporation, Universal Studios and the Blues Brothers’ movie merchandising department.

Undercarriage, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan "Bluesmobile"
Undercarriage, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan “Bluesmobile”
Undercarriage, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan "Bluesmobile"
Undercarriage, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan “Bluesmobile”

Interior

Interior, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan "Bluesmobile"
Interior, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan “Bluesmobile”

Although it looks very upscale to have a black & brown steering wheel and a black steering column in contrast to the rest of the dashboard, the actual car had a complete brown interior. As mentioned in the beginning, the handle of the search light mounted on the left side A-pillar is missing – only the insert place is visible from the inside. The seatbelts, however, are missing. Not that the Blues Brothers would ever have used them. Because remember their slogan: they were on a “Mission from God”.

Front seat bench, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan "Bluesmobile"
Front seat bench, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan “Bluesmobile”
Sunshades, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan "Bluesmobile"
Sunshades, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan “Bluesmobile”

If we look up, we can see the interior rear view mirror and the sunshades, but there is no headline. But it would have to be the absolute deluxe version for it to be in. Seats are correct as well; one seat bench including the head-rests in the front and one in the back.

Front door, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan "Bluesmobile"
Front door, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan “Bluesmobile”
Rear door, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan "Bluesmobile"
Rear door, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan “Bluesmobile”

The door trims match the one of the real size car: All beige with the chrome window handle. I like the fact that the windows are rolled down in the front – probably because the Blues Brothers always reach out their arms to indicate a turn, rather than switching on the turn signal.First of all, the quality of the steering wheel, instruments and dashboard is very good. Everything from the indicator and gear lever, to the gages and the police radio in the lower center is there. They integrated the accelerator and brake pedals, as well as the parking brake on the far left.

Dashboard, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan "Bluesmobile"
Dashboard, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan “Bluesmobile”

Packaging

The packaging box comes a white brick imitation with of course, the Blues Brothers in the front and a detailed description in English and French in the back. In addition to the standard stand on which the car in mounted with four screws, there is an additional transparent container to put the loudspeaker & frame in.

In the box, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan "Bluesmobile"
In the box, 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan “Bluesmobile”

Back on the road

Overall, this metal model car of the 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan “Bluesmobile” is a very detailed example. It’s a real pleasure to see, touch and feel with how much respect RC2 made this car. Obviously, one can always to an even better job, but this one already is top notch.

1969 Dodge Charger R/T “General Lee” – 1/18 ERTL model car

1969 Dodge Charger R/T "General Lee"
1969 Dodge Charger R/T “General Lee” ERTL

With this article I’m starting a series of model car reviews, with a special focus on movie and TV show cars. What better way to start with the iconic 1969 Dodge Charger R/TGeneral Lee” of the Dukes of Hazzard TV show. Since I’m lucky to have two seemingly identical General Lees, they will also be compared and checked whether or not they are identical twins.

History of the car

The second generation Dodge Charger was launched in 1968 and was replaced after the 1970 model year. Nevertheless, to this date it is still a very famous and highly desirable American Muscle car. Partly because Muscle cars of the 1960’s and 70’s in general have always been symbols of the American way of life, and also because the second generation Dodge Charger has been the star of several TV shows and movies, such as Bullitt, The Dukes of Hazzard obviously, and more recently the Fast & Furious franchise.

1969 Dodge Charger R/T "General Lee"
1969 Dodge Charger R/T “General Lee” ERTL

It came with a plethora of engines, from the 3.7L inline 6 cylinder, all the way to the 7.2L V8. The 1969 model showcased in the Dukes of Hazzard had the 380 hp, 383, four barrel, 6.3L V8. The model cars reviewed here were made by ERTL. They don’t have functioning engines, but that won’t stop me from having a look under the hood.

Exterior

1969 Dodge Charger R/T "General Lee"
1969 Dodge Charger R/T “General Lee” ERTL

The Charger R/T comes complete with the signature orange paint, the black push-bar in the front and the American Racing Vector cast aluminum wheels. ERTL even put a sticker placement on the left side of the grill for the “Charger” and “R/T” (road & track) lettering. However, of the two cars reviewed here, only one has the “R/T” sticker on, but not the “Charger” one. The second car is missing both stickers. Speaking of missing stickers, the second car also lacks the front and rear license plate stickers, as well as the “R/T” badge on the back of the car. Funnily enough, the confederate flag depicted on the front license plate plaque of the first car to my knowledge was never present in the TV show.

1969 Dodge Charger R/T "General Lee"
1969 Dodge Charger R/T “General Lee” ERTL

Moving on to the doors of the car, where we can clearly see the iconic “01” on either side painted in black with white contouring. A nice touch is the fact that the doors don’t open. Yes, any Dukes of Hazzard aficionado will be pleased about that, because that’s just the way it was on the show – the doors were welded shut, so that the main characters, Bo and Luke Duke had to jump into the car to get in. However, if you really want to open them, you can do so by disassembling the car and remove the little piece of black plastic that prevents the door mechanism from moving.

1969 Dodge Charger R/T "General Lee"
Inside the body, 1969 Dodge Charger R/T “General Lee” ERTL

Look at the roof of the car, and you’ll see the “General Lee” decals on either side, as well as the confederate flag between the letterings, which is accurate as such. Nevertheless, the “General Lee” lettering of the real car of the TV show, as well as on the more recent remake movie of 2005, covered the length from the A-pillar to the beginning of the C-pillar. On these model cars it goes all the way back until the middle of the C-pillar.

1969 Dodge Charger R/T "General Lee"
1969 Dodge Charger R/T “General Lee” ERTL
1969 Dodge Charger R/T "General Lee", The Dukes of Hazzard, 1976
1969 Dodge Charger R/T “General Lee”, The Dukes of Hazzard TV show, 1976
1969 Dodge Charger R/T "General Lee", The Dukes of Hazzard, 2005
1969 Dodge Charger R/T “General Lee”, The Dukes of Hazzard movie, 2005

As mentioned before, only one of the cars features the correct rear license plate sticker “Hazzard County CNH320” of 1976, as well as the “R/T” badge.

Another nice feature is the left rearview mirror only, as well as the chrome fuel filler cap with the “FUEL” lettering on it. Unfortunately, the trunk does not open. The shut lines are clearly visible, but they are fake – the trunk lid is a solid part of the car body. It has been molded to show the lines. Speaking of the trunk of the car, the Dukes of Hazzard’s original car had a radio antenna mounted between the rear window and the trunk. Furthermore, there were two little flags, one checkered and one confederate between the antenna and the rear window. These items are missing on the ERTL model cars.

1969 Dodge Charger R/T "General Lee"
1969 Dodge Charger R/T “General Lee” ERTL

Oddly, the models have silver painted stripes around all wheel arches. There was never anything like that on the actual car. Funnily enough, where ERTL should have painted a chrome line was on the lower edge of the C-pillars, in order to imitate the ones shown in the TV series. Furthermore, the model cars feature a little Chrysler pentastar logo on either front right fender only. These were probably added due to the fact that the cars arre Chrysler licensed products. These logos were not on the actual show cars. Overall, they are very solid metal model cars. The shut-lines are generally very good and the trim finish, such as mirrors, door handles, bumbers and everything with an actual three dimensional shape are well built. The only significant negative thing I have to mention about the exterior of one of the cars, is the alignment of the hood and its shape at the front end. It doesn’t really align nicely with the fenders on the rear half part and it’s clearly a little too long on the front left side. It looks as though the factory didn’t shape and cut it correctly but passed quality control anyway.

1969 Dodge Charger R/T "General Lee"
1969 Dodge Charger R/T “General Lee” ERTL
1969 Dodge Charger R/T "General Lee"
1969 Dodge Charger R/T “General Lee” ERTL

Engine bay

Pop the hood and you’ll find a mighty V8 engine. The most important items like the engine block, headers, air filter, battery and radiator are there, but it’s a pretty simple finish. ERTL didn’t seem like they thought it would be important to build the car as accurate as possible in there. On the flip side, as I mentioned in the video review (see below), it comes down to the price of the vehicle; if they’d made it super expensive, I would have expected it to look like the actual car in every detail.

Engine bay, 1969 Dodge Charger R/T "General Lee"
Engine bay, 1969 Dodge Charger R/T “General Lee” ERTL

Undercarriage

Undercarriage, 1969 Dodge Charger R/T "General Lee" ERTL
Undercarriage, 1969 Dodge Charger R/T “General Lee” ERTL

A look underneath the car shows the continuation of what’s visible in the engine bay. ERTL did a nice job with the pear grey exhaust pipes and silencers all the way back to the chrome finished mufflers. However, the transmission is sort of cut in the middle: the visible grey part is attached to the red part, which appears to be a single unit with the engine block. The rest of the undecarriage is quite alright: Yes it’s all plastic, but the entire steering, control arms, etc. are all functioning and linked to the steering wheel. The push-bar is firmly attached to the car with two of the total six screws that bold the chassis to the body. The rear leaf spring suspension have no give at all but are nicely molded – even the shock absorbers are in place.

Interior

1969 Dodge Charger R/T "General Lee"
Engine and interior, 1969 Dodge Charger R/T “General Lee” ERTL

The interior follows a similar quality philosophy as the exterior. It’s accurately painted in beige, there is a roll cage, although it’s missing a diagonal bar for increased stiffness, like in the TV show car. The seats are partly accurate, meaning that the front seats have the correct shape, including the head-rests. However, the back seats are completely missing, which is pretty odd. The General Lee used to jump over obstacles a lot, but it was still meant to be a race car, not a stunt car. Over the series, many people drove with the Duke cousins. Hence, it’s strange to have the seats missing.

1969 Dodge Charger R/T "General Lee"
Interior, 1969 Dodge Charger R/T “General Lee” ERTL

On the plus side, the door trims are very detailed and elements such as the window lever are in chrome color. The dashboard dials are also all present. The main dials are meticulously replicated in black color and are contured  by a touch of grey.

1969 Dodge Charger R/T "General Lee"
Dashboard, 1969 Dodge Charger R/T “General Lee” ERTL

The steering wheel with the beige center and circle, as well as the three metal spokes is a precise replica of the real one. On the flip side, the gear lever is L-shaped and comes out of what appears to be a black soft cloth cover. In the TV show, the gear lever came out straight and there was no additional cover to the existing housing.

1969 Dodge Charger R/T "General Lee"
Interior, 1969 Dodge Charger R/T “General Lee” ERTL

Back on the road

Even though these ERTL version of the famous 1969 Dodge Charger R/T “General Lee” is not perfect in every detail, it is a very pleasant example of one of the most iconic TV show cars ever. Any fan who can name one of these it’s own should simply keep it.

2012 Peugeot RCZ

The concept

The RCZ started its life as one of many beautiful concept cars of Peugeot at the 2007 International Motor Show Germany – the IAA (Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung). Most of those concept cars never make it into production, but this one got such a good feedback and looked already production ready. So Peugeot made the brave decision and put it into production.

2007 Peugeot 308 RCZ
2007 Peugeot 308 RCZ

Anyway, the moment I saw this car on the internet I wanted it. Growing up in a family that had always had at least one Peugeot at a time (505, 406, 406 coupé, 307 SW) I always had somewhat of an emotional connection with the brand, but most of them were more appealing to the sensible driver rather to the passionate gearhead / petrolhead.

2007 Peugeot 308 RCZ
2007 Peugeot 308 RCZ

Then, two years later, Peugeot presented the production version of the RCZ. They dropped the “308” in order not to have people remind it of the the more functional model it is technically based on, making it the first Peugeot road car to have a model type name consisting of letters, rather than the typical three digits with the “0” in the middle.

The real deal

2012 Peugeot RCZ
2012 Peugeot RCZ

After the presentation of the road going version in the fall of 2009, production started in 2010 at the Magna Steyr plant in Graz, Austria. I knew that one day I would have to own one. Little did I know that that day would already come by the end of 2012. Yes, I’m fortunate enought to call the nacre white one you see on the left my own. By the way, you might already have noticed that I used this car as the official MotorScotti logo. 🙂

2012 Peugeot RCZ
2012 Peugeot RCZ

This one is the 200 hp (147kW) version. I’ve had it since November 2012 and I’m absolutely delighted! Being the GT version it comes with the improved suspension and smaller steering wheel compared to the base 156 hp model.

2012 Peugeot RCZ
2012 Peugeot RCZ

The main reason why I wanted the RCZ is obvious: the look. I could spend hours just looking at it!! The double bubble glass roof and the two aluminum side rails are without a doubt the trade marks of this car, that add to the overall curvaceous and nicely balanced proportions.

2012 Peugeot RCZ
2012 Peugeot RCZ

The 19” Solstice wheels, the full leather interior (although I believe this one’s dashboard is not covered in real leather) and all of the equipment; electric and three way heated driver & passenger seats, bluetooth connectivity, front and rear parking sensors, automatically dimming interior mirror, xenon directional headlamps, hill assist etc.

Solstice 19'' Matt Black Onyx wheel, 2012 Peugeot RCZ
Solstice 19” Matt Black Onyx wheel, 2012 Peugeot RCZ

A part from the equipment, the inside is just as nice to look at as the exterior – just look for yourself.

Optional aluminum gear lever, 2012 Peugeot RCZ
Optional aluminum gear lever, 2012 Peugeot RCZ
Full leather dashboard, 2012 Peugeot RCZ
Full leather dashboard, 2012 Peugeot RCZ
First generation Peugeot 308 interior
First generation Peugeot 308 interior

Okay, the dashboard looks very similar to the one of the 308. However, it’s not the same. It differs from the 308’s in the back and instead of having three central vents, the middle one is replaced with a very classy analog clock.

Full leather front seat, 2012 Peugeot RCZ
Full leather front seat, 2012 Peugeot RCZ

My car is pretty much stock. The only thing I changed was the gear lever. The original fake leather was not bad, but this optional full aluminum one looks so much more premium and sportier and makes the whole driving experience even more engaging. Being metal, it heats up quickly in the summer, so just be aware of it as you park the car in the sun for a couple of hours.

2012 Peugeot RCZ
2012 Peugeot RCZ

I’ve read and watched many reviews on this car and to it’s main competitor; the second generation Audi TT. In most cases, the Audi won, but were they (1) really comparable and (2) really objective about what the journalists said? I don’t care, I love the RCZ for its style, performance, ride and build quality. Yes, it everything inside is well put together and solid.

Passenger door, 2012 Peugeot RCZ
Passenger door, 2012 Peugeot RCZ

The only thing that is left for me to improve the style are the center elements of the door trim. On this pre-facelift models, it’s simply plastic, despite all the parts around it are wrapped in leather. The facelifted model has this part covered in stitched leather…Peugeot could have done that right away, don’t you agree? My plan is to have that wrapped in leather, too. So stay tuned. ;-).

Instrument cluster, 2012 Peugeot RCZ
Instrument cluster, 2012 Peugeot RCZ

Furthermore, this car is surprisingly practical. The trunk space is huge (321 l). You can even fold down the rear seats and have even more space (639 l). Obvisously, this car wasn’t build to compete with Peterbilt and Freightliner. However, I like to cool it the station wagon of the coupés.

Anyway, the important thing is to look at the entire package. The ride is a little jittery in town, but excellent everywhere else. The chassis keeps the car nicely on track with just very little understeer, the sports seats also hold you firmly in place. I did four laps of the infamous Nürburgring Nordschleife this April. Obvisously, I’m far from being an amateur race driver. But still, this car sticks to the road like glue. Finally, dressed up in that silhouette, this car is already a collector car. This is accentuated by the fact that it went out of production on 18 September this year. Peugeot say they won’t replace it anytime soon. But you know what? It doesn’t need to – although it starts to show its age in terms of connectivity and other infotainment gadgets, this car is at least as desirable today as it was the day it was first presented to the public.

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