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The 64 story (in a nutshell)

I bought this car my freshman year of high school. Just as the internet was really coming into its own, I found this car over the web here in San Jose. With no license, no permit, and no experience, just $1800 cash in my pocket from a summer job, I drove this bad boy home. I was pulling the car out of the parking spot and I "goosed" the throttle. I didn't know that the wheel was turned, and within 30 seconds I had already hit the waist high pole by the driver door. What a buzz kill.

Anyhow, we got it back to the shop and the wheels in my head were turning. Over the next year I would dream about more power, more smoke from the tires and bigger wheelies at the track. You see, I grew up around the track, back when Baylands was still open and drag racing was an option in Fremont. My step dad raced the famous "Olds Yeller" down there and I always loved the noise, the commotion, the smell of the exhausted gas and the burnt rubber. The atmosphere is surreal when you're 5 years old. Ever since I was a kid I had wanted to build my own race car.

The project progressed and became far more complex than the original idea. But with the help and support of my step dad, there was no limit to what we could do. Over the next 3 years, with the help of my step brothers, the machinist ("Davo"), and my mother’s blessing, we fabricated this monster. I sat down for hours and days to learn the Engine Analyzer software to simulate power/torque curves. This is where I first learned about engineering trade-offs. I quickly realized that you could produce substantial power gains by just increasing compression. At the shop we had tooling to shave the heads and do that for near zero cost. SWEET!!! But when I told my step dad I wanted 14:1 compression he laughed and asked "is this a street car?" I replied yes. He then proceeded to burst my bubble and scale back my 800 horsepower engine design to 500. He explained the theory of "detonation" and how octane affected the phenomenon.

That was a sobering moment because I realized that the constraints of the project were not only money, but were also dependent on the laws of nature. From that moment on I vowed to make it a street car with as much power as "street ably" possible on a high-schooler budget. That is a daunting task! From there I put the compression at 10:1 and began manipulating the Cam profile which really shapes the power curves more than it amplifies them like compression. To make a long story short, I had an engine that could produce about 630 horsepower at 5900 RPM and produce 658 ft-lbs of torque at 4600 RPM.

With all that power at the flywheel, I needed to find a way to get it to the ground. I looked up the Chassis Works back half and jumped into whole other can of worms. The pictures below are just a synopsis of the project. I will add much more detail in the future. Until the check out the pictures on this page.

Pictures: (before the digital camera days)

Cutlass Before

Starting point... Note to self, measure twice, cut once.


Front End

The front end. I converted it to disc brakes and moved the motor mounts back about an inch to make room for the big block.



This is the cross member for ladder bar suspension. It also has an integrated drive shaft loop and 3.5 inch exhaust holes


Crossmember Mounting

This shows how the new (narrower) frame rails and ladder bars are mounted.


Roll Bar

Fresh paint and some rigidity provided with the roll bar and some strategic bracing.


Back Half

Test fitting the rear end and the coil-over suspension.


Rear End (Disc Brake Conversion)

I have a whole segment to describe this disc brake conversion. Looks pretty sweet.


Cardboard Templates

Ever wonder how the sheet metal guys do it??? CARDBOARD!!! Measure twice ;-)


Sheet-metal Tub Work

Beautiful... (Tub section coming soon)


468 Big Block Olds

From the engine analyzer to the engine stand. (Engine section coming soon)


Fuel Injection

Can you say "Fuel Injection" I had to stay true to my electrical engineering side. (Section coming soon)



The cockpit.


Preparing for Primer



Finished in Primer

The street machine in primer



Ready for race day


Finished Cutlass
Finally... The bumper sticker says "YES it's fast, NO you can't drive it"


I will prepare tons of information for this project. I have a lot of pictures to show all the sub-system fabrication from the back half to the brake conversions and everything in between. If you enjoy this stuff or are an Oldsmobile enthusiast, I encourage you to check out oldsmobileonly.com, a site I'm putting together for my step dad. The site highlights his Oldmobile facination, the shop, where all the monsters can come to life and provides contact information to The Oldsmobile GURU.