Clayton Pierce and Lucille

Clayton Pierce
& Lucille

Well, this story goes back to the early part of the summer of 1996 (before my Oldsmobile enlightenment when I still owned only "OTHER" cars). My old Chrysler (affectionately known as the "Crisper") had started getting worn out (the body, not the motor, those slant sixes are indestructable). I was out looking for, actually, a newer, low maitenance car. I had actually been introduced about 3 years earlier to Oldsmobiles by a friend with an '83 Cutlass with a "hopped up" 231 V6. I liked his car, a lot, and it had put me to looking for a Cutlass for myself; they were nice cars, and my friend's car's reliability was good. I found several possibilities, one of which was a rare 1988 Cutlass Supreme Classic (G-body style) all of which were in the 2k to 3.5k dollar range, and all of which had low miles. I had been going under the assumption that I could get a loan from the bank with my parents cosigning (they had just finished payments on my mother's SAAB, and their credit was very good). When I went to the bank to see about getting a loan on that '88 though, even with my parents cosigning I was only able to get $2200 on that $3300 car. I was dissapointed because it was a very nice car; 307, only 40k miles, all options.

So there it was; I couldn't get a bank loan. I was still in need of another car, though. I had to look for a cheaper car, and, unfortunately, the cheaper the price, the more one has to lower one's standards... normally. I tried getting a loan on a Nissan I found for $2000, but couldn't even get that much. By this point, I was getting very p*ssed off! I went to Wal-Mart after some items, and there, lo and behold, was a '74 Delta 88 4-door, blue, with a sign that said $500 on the front window. It was parked right next to the owner's motorhome (he lived there at the Wal-Mart, yes, the Wal-Mart). As I said, I was p*ssed off at the bank, and didn't relish the though of making payments anyway, so I walked up to the motorhome, knocked on the door and told the owner that I was interested. He tossed a set of keys out the door and told me to crank it up and see what I thought. He said it hadn't been started in about 2 weeks so I might have to pump the gas a couple of times. The motor fired right up and sat there running stunningly. After listening to it run (and looking at the mere 60,000 miles on the odometer, I decided to buy the car. It was a bit rusty, formerly a New York car, but it ran wonderfully, and handled well (in New York, keeping a good suspension and good exhaust on a car is essential to get a liscense tag). I offered the man $250 (thinking he probably wouldn't take less than his $500) and to my suprise, he took the offer. He said he hadn't had any "bites" on the car, and I was the first person to enquire about it except for two groups of Mexicans who couldn't come up with the money for him. I wrote him a check and drove home.

Some of you on the Olds list might remember me from when I first joined while I still had this car. I enjoyed several months of really wonderful driving in this lovely, but ugly, car. It would, however, not last. On a Saturday evening, late, in early fall, I was at work delivering pizzas, (Believe it or not, I was not the only person at this particular establishment that was delivering in a Delta 88!). I was beginning to turn left in Greeneville, Tennesee onto Mout Bethel Road from a side street. BAMMMM CHHHHKK CRUNCH!!!!!!!!! A Pontiac Sunfire came flying around a corner at what was later determined to be 70 mph and, without even trying to stop, crashed straight into the brace between my driverside door and the fender. Now, imagine the scene, a 1992 Pontiac Sunfire vs. 1974 American Steel; not only was my car still running after the accident, but the driverside door still opened and shut! My window, however, was completely shattered, and the frame had been warped.

I would have called the car "fixable" if it hadn't been for the warped frame. In the last few days, I had noticed an '84 Cutlass that was sitting out in front of a former gas station. I enquired about it, and found out that it had most of a non-original Chevy 305 in it, and no transmission, had body damage in the driverside 1/4 panel and door, and could be bought for $150. Now this got me thinking. Here I was, with a spare 350/4bbl. and TH375 (at the time I thought it was a TH400) a la the Delta 88, but without a car to drive. Here was a motorless (as far as I'm concerned) and transmissionless car for an affordable price. Needless to say, I snatched that'n up quick! I used the list for advice on doing this motor swap, but basically, the motor/tranny just literally "fell" into place!

I came up with a name for my creation (I name all my cars, the Delta 88 was "Anti' Emmma"); Lucille. Lucille because the name is almost a contradiction; elegant, but one that you have to "watch out for"; the name makes me think of reserved and restrained, but one that raises h*ll all at the same time. This is evidence by characters like Lucille Ball, and songs like that country song "you picked a fine time to leave me Lucille" etc.

I've done a lot, but still have much to do in getting the car into restored condition. I need to fix a little "well plug" problem with the carburretor, need to do quite a bit of bodywork and then paint her, need to replace the windshield (I have a spare), and eventually, I'd like to get together an air conditioning system for her. Currently I'm replacing the stock manifolds (one cracked) with headers and flowmaster mufflers (I love that deep yet almost "tinny" sound). Soon I'll be finally getting to the body work. The interior is in quite good shape, except for the headliner which I am planning on fixing myself very soon and a few small holes in the driverside seat. Oh, that reminds me of one other rare thing about the car, it is a Cutlass Supreme, not a Calais, and yet it has buckets and a center console shifter!

The only mods. so far are a Pioneer CD player, Pioneer 3-way 6X9 speakers, tinted rear windows (did them myself), wheels (factory Cutlass wheels, painted black rather than body color because I liked them that way), 1981 grills (I had to replace the header panel on the car), dual exhausts and of course the motor and tranny! I've currently got about $800 in her including the Cutlass body, the Delta 88, a spare Cutlass parts car (that got stripped and sent away to make new Cutlii from), and a few other thing...

Here is a lovely view of Lucille from the back taken in my driveway with the mountains in the background.

Here is Lucille's interior (sorry for the dark scan). Yes, those ARE bright pink (purple IMHO) fuzzy dice! :-)

Here is a side view with her hood up.

Here is a closeup of the engine compartment with the breather removed after a nice wash and after having the carburretor rebuilt.

Here is a side view with the mountains in the background, again, in my driveway.

For those of you who have been wondering what I look like, here is a picture, albeit one that's a year and a half old. I now have a goatee and moustache, and am in desperate need of a haircut :-).
E-mail me at zcwp11@Access.ETSU-Tn.Edu