John Edelstein's '69 Cutlass


Living in San Diego and driving a dark brown gutless Jap pick-up ("The Turd Utility") was not cutting it. Couldn't catch a babe going down hill with a tail wind. I lusted after every V8 muscle car built in the late 60's, so I placed an ad in the local bird cage liner for a trade - "Trade my turd ute. + $ for a V8 muscle car." As luck would have it, an old guy calls and takes the turd + $300 and leaves me with a semi clean 1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Convertible and a pile of paperwork. Seems this old guy was the original owner (ordered it new from Detroit) and he babied the car like his granddaughter. I should note this is early 1980s and I surfed, so the poor Olds got its share of abuse once I popped the top. Years of sand, salt air, and sea water ate into it like acid in a hippies brain. I poisoned the engine with Tijuana gasoline and let the paint fade from forest green to flat army green. I even put huge white crosses on the doors so it looked like a M*A*S*H* limousine. I finally parked it in my garage to gather dust while I got some other "more respectable" ride. Hey, I was in my 20Ős and had other priorities, but now looking back I probably should have been assassinated by one of you hard-core Oldsmobile fanatics.


Well, here the story does take a turn for the better. I kept that poor old car under the tarp for a half dozen years and then one weekend I yanked the engine and tranny. I rebuilt the "Jet-a-Way" transmission and took the stock 2 barrel V-8 350 engine and rebuilt it with a few minor "additives," such as an RV cam, racing pistons & sleeves, electronic ignition, 4 barrel intake and a Holley "Oh my God" carburetor. Also slipped on a throaty dual exhaust system to augment the 350 Hp at the rear tires. Only problem was it was still butt ugly and the wheels were so thin it mostly burned rubber (impossible to start moving up hill on wet roads). So I bought some 18 & 22 inch wide Centerline rims and meats to go grab the road. I decided I like it quick and ugly. Over the years I got hundreds of offers to buy it and won heaps of street races too, but still had trouble with the babes. I drove it ugly for over 8 years, but I took great care of that engine.


Finally at age 35 I took a wife - she hated the Cutlass for it reeked of my bachelorhood, (seems only men saw the car's real potential). After a few years of blissful marriage I struck a dealÉ I bought her a Mazda Miata and she granted me Cutlass restoration privileges. I gave it a new interior first, then a new rag top (with glass back window), and finally the paint job - dark forest metallic green with dual whites racing stripes. I'm a few grand low in the bank now, but what the hell - I'm sold on my Olds. Reckon I'm now an Olds fanatic like you. A little credit to my Ricoh RDC-300Z digital camera and the software that came with it. Mighty fine little camera, especially good for close-ups {as close as a half inch from your subject}, also has a decent zoom feature and all the expected bells and whistles. At around $400, I highly recommend it to anyone considering a digital camera purchase.

John's Email: amphipoda@yahoo.com

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