Maybe A Couple Bolt-Ons…

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After buying the G8, I promised myself that I would never modify it. I’m pretty sure this is something that happens to everyone immediately after buying their first nice car. (Right?) After spending that much money, the last thing anyone wants to do is ruin their investment. And besides, the G8 already was a respectable performer. As I drove it off the dealer’s lot, I told myself the car would be perfectly fine the way it was. And it really was! For about a month anyway.

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The mod bug started with the cheapest and easiest of them all – losing the whip antenna in favor of a color matched sharkfin. $70 spent, minor improvement in looks, made the radio a little temperamental, but hey, the car came with an auxiliary input jack for a reason.

Sharkfin Antenna

So far so good, right? Well now is when the mod bug gets a hold of me. Time to go for performance! Next in line was a Roto-Fab cold air intake. There were a few options out there, but the Roto-Fab had the cleanest, most OEM appearance. And I loved the fact that there was a radiator cover available to fill the void that was left by removing the stock airbox.

Stock Airbox

Roto-Fab Intake

Roto-Fab Radiator Cover

The Roto-Fab and matching radiator cover installed beautifully. The performance increase was very obvious to the “butt dyno” and the sound increase in the interior of the car made the purchase worth every penny. I was happy leaving the car in this condition for awhile. But ultimately, the sound of full throttle acceleration with the CAI made me want to get rid of as much of the restrictive G8 exhaust as possible.

The car had a very low, quiet V8 rumble out of the box. It was more than enough to catch my attention at the dealer, but it had room for improvement. I started to study catbacks, axlebacks, and full exhausts. The prices of catbacks instantly intimidated me, so I decided to go with a nice set of SOLO axlebacks. I had no idea how big of a difference in sound there would be just by replacing the huge stock mufflers with a straight section of pipe. But again, it was a mod that was worth every penny.

Old mufflers … I just had to polish them

SOLO Axlebacks

Now I absolutely loved the axlebacks, but unfortunately no sound clips ever made it to YouTube in the months that I had them on. The axleback was its own worst enemy because I enjoyed the sound too much … I wanted more. It was just a matter of time until I graduated to a big boy exhaust.

Operation: Cat-back was a two part project. I first swapped out the G8 GT rear diffuser for a G8 GXP diffuser. The GXP exhaust cutouts are slightly larger, and are required to fit the optional “Big Tips” that come with a SOLO catback exhaust.

Old Exhaust, Old Diffuser

Diffuser and Exhaust Tips

The improvement in appearance was more than enough for me. The improvement in performance was unbelievable – more on that in the next post. As for the improvement in sound, you can decide for yourself:

 

As much as the less restrictive exhaust improved gas mileage, I think the net gas mileage decreased because I can no longer keep my foot out of it. It’s not without its share of problems though, there was a pesky leak at first that is now 99% gone. Still chasing down that 1%. The key is to keep the exhaust tone itself louder than the leak.

The FINAL modification as of this posting, and hopefully for awhile, is now my favorite. A tune! Now that the car has high flow cats, a simple superchips boxed tune wasn’t going to cut it. I decided to go with a custom “mail order” Livernois 93-octane tune. For $600, I received a CD and a OBD-II cord in the mail. I downloaded the car’s current data onto my laptop, emailed it to the experts at Livernois so they could work their magic, received the modified tune in another email, and flashed it into my car. The results were instantly amazing, and I can’t think of an aspect of the car that wasn’t improved. MUCH crisper shifts, optimized fuel / timing for my exact setup, altered rev limiter, removed speed limiter, new shift points … the list goes on and on. But my favorite feature is the smack-in-the-face shift into second gear. When in the gas hard enough the car will chirp second and sometimes third. The video below shows my first test on some wet roads. (TPMS warning is because of the snow tires, that has since gone away, no worries.)

 

Also, now that springtime is here, new rubber has been installed – Hankook Ventus V12’s. So far I’m enjoying them, pics to come soon. It seems like they have less initial “feel” than the stock potenza’s, but their maximum grip is much much higher.

Ventus V12

More updates soon!

Project: G8 April 10th 2013

The Liquid Red Carpet

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Post number one of the G8 story should begin before there was a G8 in my driveway. My first couple of daily drivers were Chevy Cavaliers … though they were not overall champions at most things, they certainly had their talents. Killing deer, specifically, was their number one talent. They always had a way of getting some sort of attention, whether it be good or bad. I guess you can attribute it to having a big attitude in a little car.

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My first car was a black 2002 Cavalier LS Sport Coupe, dubbed the ‘Black Assassin’. It sported a 2.2 EcoTec and an automatic transmission. It never really saw very much as far as modifications, just an Eibach Pro-Kit 2″ drop. This particular car earned its nickname when it exterminated a deer while sustaining no damage whatsoever. The Assassin was the first car that I ever took down a drag strip, with a mid-16 second run at New England Dragway.

The Black Assassin met its demise on an icy day in Eastford, where a guy a few hundred feet in front of me slid past his turn, stopped, and put his car into reverse while still in my lane. Which brings us to Part 2 of the story…

After the Black Assassin was unable to back itself out of the other driver’s trunk, it was time to look for a new daily. I found the next Cavalier at Carter Chevrolet in Manchester. This one was a 2002 LS Sport Coupe in white. Same 2.2 EcoTec, same Eibach Pro-Kit drop, same luck with deer. However this was the car that got me addicted to autocross, as seen in the video below. The video is a fun-run with Dylan in the passenger seat, shortly after aquiring my first CARTCT class win at Thompson Speedway.

 

Cavalier #2 was a great car that took me the rest of the way through college, definitely living through its share of adventures along the way. But finally graduation came, which could mean only one thing – getting myself a graduation present! And thats where Project: G8 begins.

Here it sits, waiting at the dealership.

Upon purchasing the G8 I promised myself I wouldn’t significantly modify it, and that I would be content showing it along with Project: Deja-Bu like in the picture below. But as can be seen in the following posts, that didn’t turn out to be the case.

Project: G8 February 25th 2013