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'83 Cutlass Cruiser Build Thread

Discussion in 'G-Body Build Threads' started by Blake442, Jan 2, 2009.

?

Been debating adding the vinyl woodgrain trim around the car once it's painted. Should I do it?

Poll closed May 1, 2011.
  1. Yes, that wagon needs woodgrain

    12 vote(s)
    35.3%
  2. No, leave that wagon smooth and simple.

    22 vote(s)
    64.7%
  1. Blake442

    Blake442 Geezer

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    Well, I figure that since my 442 was already complete when I joined up here, and I didn't do a good job of taking in progress pictures, I'd try and do better with my new project, my saved from the wrecking yard 1983 Olds Cutlass Cruiser.

    It all started in February of '08 when I saw the tail end of this wagon in the background of a picture of a '66 Nova wagon a guy in Texas had for sale on ebay. I decided to email him about it and he sent me a picture and said it's an '83 with 81K miles, a bad 3.8, no rust at all, $500. After weighing the cost of shipping the car to MN or going to get it, I decided that I just couldn't swing it, and moved on.

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    Well a couple months went by, and in May he sent me a message. He said that he would be going to visit his parents in Wisconsin for the summer, and was wondering if I wanted the car. Well I couldn't pass up the convienience, and after a couple payments, he delivered the car right to the parking lot behind the shop I worked at. Here's how it looked after it arrived in MN in late June.

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    He said the previous owner had started to disassemble the engine in an effort to repair it, but lost interest and junked the car in the spring of '01. I told him I didn't need the drivetrain since I had a Chevy 350/Th350 laying in the corner of my garage. So he pulled the original engine and trans.
     
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  2. Blake442

    Blake442 Geezer

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    The first thing I had to do was to replace the heater box assembly. Mice had chewed holes in it and packed the vents full of nutshells, chewed up paper, and crap. I removed the dash and removed all the unused wiring for the a/c and computer that I would no longer need. I found a complete non a/c heater set up on ebay that came from a '78 Cutlass. Here the car is with the new box in place.

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    And here it is with the new ducts installed, all old wiring removed, and the dash about to go back in.

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    Now the dash is back together.

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    I have a rallye gauge cluster out of my '87 that I parted out that I should've put in before I reassembled everything, but I guess it'll have to wait until spring.
     
  3. Blake442

    Blake442 Geezer

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    Here we have the motor and transmission in, and almost done. The motor and trans came out of a well worn '81 El Camino that I bought for $500 in October of '04. I drove the car as a winter beater until April of '05, when the starter failed. The gas tank was almost empty, so I parted the car out. The core support went into my friends tubbed '78 Malibu, the non a/c set up was restored and put in my 442, and the motor and trans went in the corner of the garage.
    This picture was taken right as I realized that my 350 had truck mounts on it and was hitting the top of the fan shroud. After I got a correct set from a fellow forum member, I was back in business.
    The headers I had laying around, they were on my 442 when it had a 350 in it for a couple years after I blew up the 307 and before the 455 went in. I bought a used, but never installed G-force crossmember on ebay so I can run true duals. The fan shroud was purchased on ebay for the 442, but was incorrect, so I just had it laying around. And the radiator was a new H.D. unit that couldn't keep up with the 455, so an aluminum one was ordered for the 442, and this one was put on the shelf, and now in the wagon.

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    All I did to the motor before I put it in was clean all the grease and grunge off, and replace one of the valve cover gaskets. I got an original fuel pump to carb line from the Monte SS at work, and installed that to replace the junk that was on there, but it required me to change to the bigger high output fuel pump. Now I have to run a return...

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    I got all the wiring sorted out under the hood, and got everything hooked up. I had to jerry rig the fuel line to the pump, since the fuel line comes out the driver side on V6 cars. I bent up a piece of hard line to run across to the pump, but it's just temporary to get it moving, I plan on redoing it in the spring the right way and running new lines up the passenger side of the car. The power steering return on the back of the pump was also pointed in the wrong direction, but a quick shot with the torch and a socket over the end repositioned it to the right spot. I may eventually switch to a manual S-10 box, but we'll see. The car runs now, but I need to get my old dual exhaust from my Malibu wagon hooked up to my headers.
     
  4. Blake442

    Blake442 Geezer

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    The body of the car is extremely clean. Sure, the paint is baked, but it's worth it to have such nice sheet metal to work with. There is a small spot of scale about the size of a nickel on the driver side C pillar. That's it. If you wiped off the spider webs underneath, you could eat off of it. I also decided to take off the roof rack. I've never been a fan of them, and I'll be welding up all the holes when I repaint the car. The burgundy wheel is a left over from my '87 Cutlass I parted out in '03. While I was putting the dash back in, the dried old tire peeled itself apart and failed. I can't decide whether to keep the SSII's or to put on the set of slotted mags I have...

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    When I went out to the bone yard in October, I scored a perfect set of rear bumper fillers, they're even the same color, although not quite as faded. I also got a set of radiator opening braces as well as a set of the big fender to core support braces.

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    And here is where the car will sit until spring...

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  5. Blake442

    Blake442 Geezer

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    Here's what I've had to buy so far, the guys at CarQuest love me... But not as much as when I was building the 442...
    One new frame mount (had a good one from the 442)
    Block mounts (from forum member)
    Heater hoses and lower rad. hose.
    4 ft. of 3/8 hard line
    4 ft. of 3/8 rubber hose
    Fuel pump
    Starter
    Plugs and wires
    Oil and filter, ATF, PSF, and coolant
    Trans mount
    G-force crossmember (ebay)
    Non A/C set up (ebay)
    A few light bulbs
    Header gaskets
    Lots of hose clamps
    Battery cable from battery to starter

    And here's what I had laying around:
    One motor mount (one was bad)
    Upper rad. hose (bought for the 'bu but never used)
    Headers (on the 442 when it had the 350)
    Motor & trans (from '81 Elky)
    H.D. Radiator with only 600 miles on it(from the 442)
    Radiator top plate (from '87 Cutlass I parted out)
    Fan shroud (bought without picture, finally found a use for it)
    Pump to carb fuel line (from monte ss)
    Battery (from malibu wagon)
    Exhaust pipes and flowmasters (pipes and mufflers were on the wagon, before that, the mufflers were on the 442 when I bought it)
    Cd player and front speakers (out of malibu wagon)
    Perfect headliner (still in the malibu wagon)
    Rallye gauge cluster, not installed yet (from parted out '87)
    F41 front springs, not installed yet (from monte SS)

    All I really have left to buy is new belts, new shocks, and new fuel lines up the right side of the car. The hood is kinda messed up, and I'd like to get an aluminum one to replace it. I'll also have to go through the brakes, and whether I use the SSII's or my slotted mags, I'll need four tires either way.

    I'm open to all suggestions and comments...
    So what do you think?
     
  6. axisg

    axisg Royal Smart Person

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    wow, looks like a clean, clean, great little runner. Never been a fan of the wagons or 4 doors ( I hate that the back windows do not roll down ! ).

    If it were mine I would clean up and paint the steel wheels you have and put some white letter tires on it. Maybe a coat of satin black or satin white paint and you are good to go with an old school look.

    Good luck !!
     
  7. 3XBrownCutty

    3XBrownCutty Royal Smart Person

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    Nice project!! Wish I had a car like that for winter.

    If I were you, I'd try to score some used bigger wheels or something. Then a cheap satin black or flat black paint job. Then cut the springs a little :twisted:
     
  8. Blake442

    Blake442 Geezer

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    Thanks guys!

    I also have a factory 4 speed set up that will probably find it's way into the car, I just need to decide on a trans. But that won't be for a while.

    No cheapy or satin paint jobs for me. I do bodywork/restoration for a living, so I'll be doing it up nice. This is the color I think I'm going with.

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    I haven't decided for sure whether or not I'm going to woodgrain the sides.

    I'm more partial to the stock ride height. I have a set of F41 V8 springs for the front, and it already has some replacement cargo springs in the rear.

    As for the wheels, If I do use the SSII's, I'll paint them to match the green I selected for the body. 14's are fine with me, as they're much cheaper to buy tires for, and 15x7's are too hard to find. I think I'll end up polishing my slots and throwing new tires on them. They're 15x7 and 15x8.5. Here they are on my Malibu wagon...
    The Malibu was perfect for winter, however it started to get too worn out for comfort... The Cutlass is just too clean to drive out in the salt.

    [​IMG]

    Keep the comments and suggestions coming!
     
  9. Blake442

    Blake442 Geezer

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    So I added a poll question...

    Do you think I should woodgrain the sides and back of the car once it's painted? Or should I just paint it and leave it alone?

    I'm still undecided about this, but I'm leaning towards doing it. What do you guys think?
     
  10. Peter

    Peter Royal Smart Person

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    i'd say paint the car and leave it alone, i think the woodgrain would probably be taking it too far...
     
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