Saturday, February 19, 2011

New Old Stock

I am sure most of you have heard the acronym "NOS". To some folks it stands for the popular power adder Nitrous Oxide Systems while others know it as New Old Stock, as referenced in auto parts. The only difference is you say the letters individually instead of as a word. NOS parts are old, original parts that happen to still be new. New is a relative term here because with NOS, it just means that is was new back when it was originally made. In the case of, lets say a Pontiac, this means a GM badged part ( Delco, AC, PMD, Harrision, etc.) that has a GM part number on the box. In spite of being brand new and unused, a NOS part could be in any condition, due to shelf wear, age, weather damage, poor original quality, or other circumstances. As we all know, not all parts stay "new" with age. Some deteriorate and others are replaced with superior, and sometimes safer, designs. NOS also has a little brother named NORS, otherwise known as New Old Replacement Stock. This is a brand new, unused part made by (or boxed as) someone other than the vehicle's original manufacturer. For the Pontiac example, this would mean a non-GM part. Having worked as a parts store counterman for over 15 years back in the day, I am very familiar with aftermarket replacment parts. From time to time I would even find an OEM part in the box! This was because the aftermarket companies would buy their parts from the OEMs when they were unable to get it from their regular supplier. In some instances, the replacement part may be of higher quality than the original GM part due to more modern materials or a superior design. Old merchandise from the attic or back room of the local auto parts store (such as Moog, TRW, Fram, etc.) is considered NORS.

Imagine if you could buy your favorite classic car as NOS. Yeah, I know, you probably have a better chance of winning the lottery then finding an NOS vehicle. Sure, there have been "time capsule" cars go across the auction block with a few hundred miles on them, but how many of those rare finds would qualify as "new old stock"? Most of these cars have hundreds if not thousands of miles on them and obviously have been sitting a very long time in who knows what kind of conditions.

Here is an example of a "time capsule" car discovered recently by the auction house Gooding & Co. I think this would also qualify as a barn find, albeit probably the last all original, un-restored 1964 Shelby Cobra literally sitting in a barn!

Photo: Gooding & Co

Yes, I would have love to discovered that Cobra, even though it's not NOS. Although it is pretty darn close, with less then 1000 original miles purported to be on it. I'm leaning toward barn find on this one because when I think of a "time capsule", I feel that the object should be in a sealed container or sarcophagus or something. While on the subject, undoubtedly the most famous time capsule car was the '57 Plymouth Belvedere that was buried in a concrete tomb back in 1957 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Unfortunately, when the car was unearthed, it looked like the stearn section off of the Titanic. Apparently, the lid of the concrete tomb that was built for the Plymouth was porous concrete instead of structural concrete. This makes a big difference when it comes to keeping the inner contents dry. My guess is they were trying to save weight because the lid had to be hoisted into place. Gee, a couple 5 gallon buckets of Henry Roof Cement would have done a world of good here.

The same car.... only rustier!

(AP Photo)

See, what did I tell you? Titanicville! The only thing this boat is missing is coral.
(AP Photo)

It seems to me that time capsule vehicles don't exactly live up to their name, unless the final objective is dirt and rust! I doubt that I will ever find a true NOS vehicle, so I guess I'll have to settle for the next best thing. What's that you ask? Well, it's what I call "NOD", as in New Old Design. Currently, there are three NOD cars being made, and unless you have just landed on this planet, you have either heard of or seen all three.

First on the list of NOD vehicles is the 2011 Ford Mustang. Way cool retro styling combined with high horsepower and good gas mileage make for a great combination. I'm talking 19 city / 29 highway miles per gallon from a 3.7L V-6! 305 horsepower is nothing to sneeze at and the 6 speed automatic gives you the best of both an automatic and manual trans. Want a 5.0? It's back and meaner then ever with double overhead cams, 32 valves and 412 horsepower. When you sit in the drivers seat the view of the instrument panel is pure 1967. Totally classic.

NOD vehicle number two is the Chevrolet Camaro. Chevy started the horsepower war last year with their 300 horse V-6. Not to be outdone by Ford in 2011, Chevy upped the ante of their 3.6L V-6 to 312 horsepower. MPG is rated at 17 city and 28 highway. A 6.2L 16 valve V-8 is also available with 426 horsepower. Ironic horsepower number, isn't it? Unfortunately, when you sit in the drivers seat the first item that you seem to notice is the overly chunky steering wheel and then the squarish instrument pods that look somewhat like a 1969's dash, only throughly more modern. To me, the new Camaro looks only vaguely like the '69 model that inspired it.

NOD number three is none other then the Dodge Challenger. Dodge has done an incredible job designing (or should I say coping) the new Challenger. Out of all the NOD vehicles, the Challenger looks the most like the '70 model that it was designed after. This car is so close to the original that it could almost pass for a time capsule car. V-6 engine specs are almost identical to the Mustangs, but the claim to fame here is the legendary Hemi engine. None of the other production V-8's even come close to the optional 6.4L Hemi's 470 horsepower and 470 foot pounds of torque. Out of all three cars, the Challenger is the most expensive, but nobody said horsepower was cheap.

As you can tell, I did a bit of research on today's modern muscle cars. Partially for fun but mainly because I was in the market for a new vehicle. With the kids now being young adults, I felt like it was time for a sportier car, and I managed to narrow my choices down to the three aformentioned vehicles. I guess I was a little burned out on SUVs and four doors. Like all of my vehicle purchases, I throughly investigated my potential acquisition, although this time I had to factor in that my better half would be driving this new car the majority of the time. So which NOD muscle car won out?

Behold the new 2011 Ford Mustang

This car totally reminds me of my red '67 Mustang fastback that I use to own many years ago...

My 1967 looked just like this one except mine was a 390, 4 speed car. It's total déjà vu when I drive the 2011 Mustang, maybe not so much on the torque side, but the horsepower is about the same! You gotta love technology.

Ford sure has done their homework on this one. My only complaint about the Mustang is that I don't get to drive it enough. If I'm lucky enough I will remedy that situation later this year with the addition of another Mustang. That's right, I am so impressed with the new Mustang that I would buy another one! Or maybe I'll buy a restored '67 fastback just like the one I use to have. Or maybe I can find an NOS Mustang that has been buried with a dehumidifier in a time capsule that was coated in roofing tar. Hey, you never know, it could happen. They found a Shelby Cobra buried in a barn, right? I better go check my lottery tickets...