Old Yeller


Upon arrival in California in 1998, I started looking for a cool old car. Not just any old car, mind you. I've been a fan of Oldsmobiles since I was a kid. My first car, back in New York, was a 1986 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser station wagon - light blue, fake wood, wire wheels, and a 307 V8. It left an impression on me.

I set my sights on a late sixties Cutlass, and found this 1968 Cutlass S convertible in Arkansas. It was a low mileage original, saffron yellow exterior, black interior and a white top, with a 350 V8, 2 bbl carb, Jetaway 2 speed auto, bucket seats and a console shifter. It had spent ten years parked in a garage in Texas prior to the previous owner. I asked him if the car had a name, and he told me that on occassion he called the car "Old Yeller." The name stuck. Here is she is now:


Old Yeller

The 1968 Cutlass was the first year of the new A-body style that lasted through 1972. It turned out to be something of a transitional model as it carries styling features forward from the previous models that would not be seen in later years. The 68's have the earlier grille style used in 66 and 67, as opposed to the famous Oldsmobile split grille introduced in 69. 68 was the last year for vent windows in the convertibles and hardtops. It was also the last year that the ignition was on the dash instead of the steeling column, and the last year before head rests were standard.

Under the hood, the 68s were the first year for the Rocket 350, replacing the 330 used in previous years. The early 350s (1968-1970) are considered to be the best small block V8s Oldsmobile made. They sport higher quality alloys, higher flow heads, and higher compression ratios than used in ensuing years.
I've done some work on the car in the time I've had it, upgrading it in the spirit of the original design. The 350 motor now sports an Edelbrock Performer intake and 600 cfm carb. The transmission is a 700R4 4 speed auto, and out back there's a positraction 3.42:1 rear end. I've also installed the rallye pac, and a tape deck. In the future, I hope to rebuild the motor with a performance oriented cam, ported heads, 10.5:1 compression ratio, and dual exhaust.

Here's another look at Old Yeller, copping a pose from a 1967 Olds 442 ad:


Old Yeller

In September of 2000, Old Yeller stood by as the getaway car when I married my wife, Jessica. It was amazing how many people honked and waved as we drove down the California coast with a big "Just Married" sign strapped to the trunklid!
Some of you may already be lucky enough to know, but I can attest -
There is a special feel in an Oldsmobile.