Mike Johnson's '80 Calais 442

This story starts back in the summer of 1992. That was when I first saw my 1980 Olds 442. My father was the owner of an automotive shop in which this car was in for repair. It seems that the owner at that time had attempted rebuilding the Olds 350 himself along with the tranny. And that is how it ended up in my father's shop. It seems that somewhere along the line in the rebuilding process a step had been missed or something had happened because after the supposed rebuild was done the car would only run on about three, sometimes four cylinders and had no power at all. And when it would shift it would take what seemed to be about two minutes to go from one gear to another. My father told the owner what was wrong and what it would take to make it right again and I guess the owner at that point didn't like what he heard and took the car and parked it.
I had just turned 16 and was looking for my first car. Since my father was a mechanic and he owned his own shop I was going to get a car that would ideally need mechanical work done to it so I could by it cheap. I really liked the Olds Cutlass and told my dad that. He then remembered the 442 he had seen earlier in the year proceeded to contact the gentleman to see if he still had the car. We got a hold of the guy and found out that he had parked the car and that was still sitting at the time. We went and looked at the car and the paint was in terrible condition, the windshield cracked, the doors were starting to rust out, and the interior was filthy, along with all the original problems it had. Dad offered the owner $200.00 and he took it. We towed the car home and started the resto process.
It was a two year process that included a complete overhaul on every moving component of the car. We took the frame and completely disassembled it,the whole front suspension was dropped and cleaned , painted, and reworked with all new components. The rest of the frame was thoroughly scoured and repainted along with the underside of the car, in semi-gloss black paint. I then proceeded to install all urethane bushings through out the frame with all new components in the suspension such as shocks, springs, and steering components. After the frame was done my father built the original olds 350 up.

We had the block bored over to make a 355 and had the heads reworked before being put back on it. The motor was redone in traditional Oldsmobile engine blue. (Probably not original for the year but none the less it still looked great). While the motor was out the whole engine bay was scoured and repainted in semi-gloss black. Modifications included taking out the radiator support and reworking it for a 4 core radiator for those hot summer days. That to was recoated in new paint. For easier breathing I elected to find a set of true dual exhaust manifolds and I also ordered a dual snorkel, cold air induction system out of the GM performance parts catalog that utilized a dual snorkel air cleaner with outside air scopes.
The transmission that I used was a turbo 350 that I had sent to a well known shop here in town to be completely gone through. Modifications included a B&M shift kit and a new stall converter to take advantage of the Olds torque and horse power curve.
While all this drive train work was going on we had the buckets and back seat cleaned along with the headliner reworked. New carpet was installed along with new rust free doors from Texas and reworked interior door panels. The dash was taken out and fixed for all any possible cracks and the gauges were tweaked and reworked were necessary to ensure accuracy. The rest of the interior was in good shape, it didn't have any sun or discoloration damage so it was all reused. Resurrection on the body itself included new doors along with a few fixes for dings and dents here and there, all body work at the time was performed in my father's shop. That was it for any and all rust repair in the car. We then proceeded to prep and primer the body. The hood was bit of a challenge, do to the fact that it was aluminum and would not with stand a lot sanding heat/prep heat. All chrome that was still available was ordered new and any that wasn't available new we scoured the savage yards for. In fact, some of the chrome was so hard to come by that the 442 grills that I bought new were of the last ones available from GM. One grill came from Puerto Rico and the other from New Jersey. My local GM parts store found them on the locator service.

The car was then sent to the exhaust shop for a mandrel bent, true dual exhaust system that used a set of Borla mufflers and equalizer tube, none of that catalytic converter garbage was put back on. (I know, its against the law, but this car only gets driven probably 2,000 miles a year). Tubing was made of 2.5" I.D. stainless, which polished up pretty nice.
From the muffler shop we go to the paint shop. Here I had a new windshield installed with any and all necessary prep work completed. The rims were bead blasted and repainted to match the color of the car. The car was repainted in its factory original color, the only difference is now is it is two stage base/clear were as the original was single stage. Custom Auto Rebiulders in Marion, IA did the paint work on the car and all necessary touching up to make it perfect.
The car was almost complete. All I had to do now was to install all my new and used chrome on the new paint job. The only change I made to the body was the addition of 1978 olds cutlass taillights because I liked the rocket that lit up in them. I do have the original that I plan on putting back in. The final product is what you see now. I have yet to run it in the quarter but I know from past Saturday nights it can hold up to the 442 legend and then some.
Options on the car include: Factory power moon roof, electric windows, electric locks, power drivers bucket seat, rear window defrost, rally steering wheel, performance sound (which included the rare 6x9 speaker conversion in the rear console done by GM), cruise control, analog gauges in dash, clock in dash, wiper delay, floor shift, 4-core radiator, the olds 350 cid, A/C, P/B, urethane bushings throughout, front and rear sway bars, aluminum hood, rally wheels, bumper guards on both bumpers, extended chrome package (chrome bar over roof), body color matched taillights (which are not on it right now), and factory tinted softray windows.
Truly one of a kind car. This car has won first place in almost every car show it has been in in the last 1.5 years. My brother is currently doing the same thing with a 1986 Olds. I will post pictures and info when he is done.

Mike's Email: mljohns1@cacd.rockwell.com