What It Is: Swivel Storage Solutions' line of toolboxes
Why You Care: This innovative group of guys blew us away with an elegantly different toolbox. Originally designed with machinists in mind, the drawers of these boxes pivot open with none of the binding you sometimes get with a sliding drawer. The boxes are made with a 12-gauge steel frame and 14-gauge drawers, making them sturdy enough to hold hundreds of pounds of tools, and the lockable drawers come with greasable hinges and antiskid mats. The workbench-style boxes also come equipped with a 1/4-inch-thick steel top that doubles as a work surface. Several configurations are available, including a cabinet that fits in the corner of a room.
How Much: Prices range from $1,300.00 up to $5,170.00, though dealers may offer better prices.
We Say: Check out all the company's configurations online.
Learn More: Swivel Storage Solutions; Tulsa, OK; 888/979-4835; Swivel.pro
What It Is: Performance Automatic's new transmission controller
Why You Care: An electronically controlled transmission can be overly complex, expensive, and hard to tune. Here's a simple solution: Performance Automatic has just released its Smart Shift transmission controller. It offers no-laptop-required control of most GM and Ford four- and five-speed automatics. Just dial your way to a better shift. It comes with a wiring harness specific to your application and has built-in diagnostics if something goes wrong.
How Much: Look for prices in the $1,100.00 range.
We Say: Ours would be set on firm.
Learn More: Performance Automatic; Gaithersburg, MD; 301/963-8078; PerformanceAutomatic.com
What It Is: Ingersoll Rand's Hammerhead impact wrenches
Why You Care: These are cool. They combine the low-profile accessibility of a ratchet with the strength of an impact wrench. Available in 1/2- and 3/8-inch drive, both versions of the Hammerhead deliver 180 ft-lb of rusty-fastener-busting torque at 7,100 rpm, yet need just over 2 inches of clearance. You'll be able to power off crank balancer bolts without breaking a sweat.
How Much: These are sold through distributors, and we're seeing prices around $300.00 online.
We Say: The hammer is in the body. It drives the arbor through a series of bevel gears.
Learn More: Ingersoll Rand; Annandale, NJ; 800/376-8665; IngersollRandProducts.com
Air On Board
What It Is: Lincoln Electric's Tomahawk 375 Air plasma cutter
Why You Care: This plasma cutter has a built-in air supply, and no, we don't means it plays eight-track tapes. For those of you who may not be familiar with the process, plasma cutting uses an electric arc to cut through steel, but the arc is supplemented with a constant blast of highly directed compressed air that blows away the slag. If you didn't have air, the steel would just melt back together behind the cutting head. What's the point? You need shop air to run a plasma cutter. Until now, that is. The Tomahawk 375 Air has a built-in compressor. All you need is a 220V single-phase power source, and you're good to go. This plasma cutter delivers the goods, too. It will cut up to 3/8-inch-thick steel but will make quick work of stainless and aluminum, too.
How Much: Shopping around, we saw prices in the neighborhood of $1,300.00.
We Say: Air Supply is an Australian soft-rock duo consisting of Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock (paraphrased from Wikipedia). They don't live inside the Tomahawk 375 Air.
Learn More: The Lincoln Electric Company; Cleveland, OH; 216/481-8100; LincolnElectric.com
What It Is: McLeod's hydraulic clutch retrofit for '78 to '04 Mustangs
Why You Care: We don't have firsthand knowledge about replacing the clutch cable on a Fox-body or SN-95 Mustang, but the job doesn't sound very fun. If you're sick of cable adjustments or replacements, you may want to consider fronting the cash for McLeod's hydraulic clutch retrofit kit. Two versions are available-one with a hydraulic throwout bearing, and one with an externally mounted slave cylinder that actuates the clutch fork. The former requires you to remove the trans and would therefore be a great upgrade when you replace your clutch disc. With either version, you will be rewarded with a bolt-in kit that has less pedal effort and self adjusts as the clutch disc wears.
How Much: Look for these to be sold somewhere around $600.00.
We Say: McLeod won the SEMA award for Best Street Performance Product with this.
Learn More: McLeod Racing; Placentia, CA; 714/630-2764; McLeodRacing.com
What It Is: Truck boxes from Snap-on
Why You Care: Car guys are a brand-loyal bunch, so we weren't surprised by Snap-on's announcement that it is now selling toolboxes for truck beds. A technician with a chest full of Snap-on tools would absolutely buy one of these for his pickup. These boxes are available in either 12.8ci or 8.4ci sizes, are made of diamond-plate aluminum, and come with a clearcoat or textured black finish. The lids are sealed weather tight and damped with a pair of gas shocks.
How Much: There's no pricing info yet, but look for them at some of the bigger parts stores in a couple of months.
We Say: We'd even consider buying a Snap-on kitchen table.
Learn More: Snap-on; Kenosha, WI; 262/656-1410; SnapOn.com
What It Is: Mahle's pistons for Hemis and 5.0L Mustangs
Why You Care: We were excited to see Mahle's new pistons for the 5.7L and 6.1L Hemi and even Ford's new 5.0L Coyote engine. They have several compression options for forced induction or N.A. applications. Stroker pistons are available for the Hemis, too.
How Much: Available through dealers. Check your local speed shop.
We Say: Build one and send us pictures.
Learn More: Mahle Motorsports Inc.; Fletcher, NC; 888/255-1942; MahleMotorsports.com