Welcome to Mind Over Throttle, an interview series where we reach out to our favorite automotive content creators from all over the internet to pick their brains about what they do and why they do it.
Ever wonder what the parts the Pontiac Solstice shares with a GMC Envoy?
I don’t know why you’d be wondering that, but Bozi can tell you. Turns out the Pontiac Solstice is quite the parts bin special (big surprise coming from 2000s era GM), and the Solstice got it’s reverse lights from a GMC Envoy of all things. That sort of thing is something of a specialty for Bozi, cross referencing part numbers to see what parts are shared across what platforms, and man is it eye opening.
He’s also a writer, crew chief, and one hell of a mechanic. That’s a lot of hats to wear!
For our readers that don’t know you, who are you and what is your content primarily about?
- My background is automotive repair and upgrades so I focus a lot on the parts that go into cars whether that is analyzing how a new model might be better or writing about how certain upgrades might make a car better or worse. I write for a few different outlets (http://bozi.pressfolios.com/) and occasionally do YouTube videos (https://www.youtube.com/
boostbrothers) with my brother. I’m also involved in racing so I occasionally analyze race cars.
You’ve become the master of dissecting cars part number by part number and demystifying how many new cars across the industry pool from the same parts bin. Besides the Supra, does any car stand out to you as a particularly egregious parts bin special?
- As manufacturers try to make their production more efficient, many new cars share a lot of parts. The Supra suspension I analyzed for Hagerty was a good example and BMW has been doing similar things for decades but more recently, they are sharing a lot parts even across their lines. The 348 millimeter rotor (BMW Part no: 34116860911, EBC Part Number:RK1821, AutoAnything SKU: 4179312) used on the Supra and Z4 is also used on the 3-series, 5-series, and 7-series among many others.
While some may see this as undesirable, it actually works to keep the price of the car lower and makes replacement costs in the future cheaper for owners as the part will be produced in bigger volume. For a truly egregious example from the past, I always like to pick on the Pontiac Solstice which had lights from a GMC Envoy, a Colorado transmission, Cobalt steering wheel, Hummer manual transmission and HVAC among many other parts from the GM bin.
A lot of people who read your articles might not realize you’ve been a crew chief in a few different series. What does the life of a crew chief look like?
- It really depends on where I’m working. I do some work in American Endurance Racing and in World Challenge/TC America as a crew chief and do race mechanic work in IMSA. In AER, it is a lower budget series that I do with friends so while the races are long it is pretty easy going. It mostly involves making sure that the car is reliable and making changes as requested by the drivers.
In TC America, we do sprint races so a lot of it is preparing the car and then getting feedback from the driver and making setup changes to the suspension to suit the track and driver along with any changes that we may do based on what the series requests for Balance of Performance.
From listening to you on The Smoking Tire Podcast, you talked about a love of 90’s Mitsubishis. Given the state of the company now, what do you think they could do to come back to their former glory in the US?
- I’ve always been a fan of their cars and it is a shame to see where they stand now. I believe that their recent entry into the Nissan-Renault alliance could bring some good. Crossovers and SUVs are wildly popular so maybe doing something like building their own version of the Nissan Kicks as a new Montero Sport might be a good idea to get some cash flowing and have an updated vehicle in their lineup.
What car do you think is underrated as a platform? Something you’d like to see more of on the road?
- I mentioned the Pontiac Solstice above as a parts bin special but I do think that they are somewhat underappreciated. You can find them for as low as $5,000 in some areas and while they do not have amazing handling out of the box, there are so many inexpensive options to make them better.
GM even offered a factory handling package called ZOK and many of those parts are still available. ZOK Anti-Roll Bars are something like $350 a set. In addition to that, LS swaps are not terribly hard and the factory manual transmission in those will bolt up directly to a 2JZ with some minor modifications.
How do you feel about this trend towards automatic driving and electric cars? Are you sad about the move away from internal combustion engines?
- As someone that likes to win races, I embrace anything that will make a car faster so I am all for stuff like automated gearboxes. Even though I embrace the future I still enjoying rowing my own occasionally so my daily is a traditional manual. It’s just about keeping a balance and being realistic on what the market can handle.
As far as electric cars are concerned, I love that the technology is advancing and that we have cleaner options available that can also be sporty and produce mega torque but I am also realistic in knowing that EVs are a tiny sliver of the market and ICE won’t be going away anytime soon.
Any car coming up that you’re looking forward to seeing? We’re cautiously optimistic about the new Bronco, hoping it’s going to be true to its heritage.
- I am also looking forward to the Bronco. I have been following it closely for some time and am interested to see how they pull it off. What I’m really looking forward to is the higher level trims of the new mid-engine Corvette.
They are cooking up some hybrid powertrains and will offer a DOHC engine for the first time since the C4 ZR1 so there is some very cool stuff coming.
Do you have any brands you’d like to give a shoutout too?
- No brand affiliations for me.
What are your social profiles so our readers can easily find your content?
- I am most active on twitter @hoonable and post a lot of my ramblings about parts there: https://twitter.com/hoonable
- I also post pictures of cool cars and parts on my @thebozi instagram: https://www.instagram.com/