85 Cutlass Supreme Redemption build

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CharlzO2k

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Oct 8, 2018
21
54
13
Upstate NY
#1
Since I officially will be taking possession of this soon, I figured I'd start what is sure to be a slowly updated half-build, half-progress thread. There's a story behind it that I won't share here for clarity sake, but if anyone wants to read and/or form an opinion on my intellect in this path, here ya go:

https://gbodyforum.com/threads/new-guy-with-a-lost-and-found.70570/

Now, onto the car itself. First, a little history. It's a 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Broughman. It was previously owned by a girlfriend I had years back from Florida, having been passed down from her grandmother, and was her first car. She moved up to NY and brought it with her, and due to some improper winterizing (my guess anyway), it popped a gasket in the winter cold. Car was parked for the remainder of the winter. We replaced the intake manifold gasket which was obviously toast at that point, and thought we had it - we didn't. Even though it seemed to be fixed, when we went to move back to FL together, it overheated again on the way out of state. Was "repaired" by a place that I won't even call a garage at this point, and up in smoke a mile later. Back in storage it went, and that was in late 2009, if memory serves. That was the last time I saw it. Here's a couple old pictures from just before it came up from FL:

25572680001_large-jpg.97702

25572680004_large-jpg.97703


So it was parked in a storage unit and I never saw it again. Until now.

A little over a month ago, I was alerted with the following photo:

35168744_1713219562132987_8890436643199123456_n-jpg.97704


The ad stated that the car was purchased out of a storage unit in 2010, had no title, but no rust. With almost no doubt in my mind that it was the same car, I went and looked at it last Saturday (Oct 13), and even though I can't speak to the VIN number, I can say that the janky thermostat repair looks identical, the driver's side grill is cockeyed just like the other, and given the other criteria, I'm 99.9% sure it's the same car. He had purchased it, parked it, and hadn't touched it since. I agreed to purchase it from him, and it's being delivered at the end of this week.

That's the story in a nutshell, and this thread will serve to document my process as I slowly get it back into shape and see where it goes from there. Next post will be my initial plans for it, as well as my first observations.
 
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CharlzO2k

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Oct 8, 2018
21
54
13
Upstate NY
#2
Looking at the car for the first time since all those years ago, I have the immediate short list of things I notice, and then there's the unknown.

First, the ignition cylinder was busted off, and the horn pad on the steering wheel is pried off. This is because when the car was sold at the auctioning off of the storage unit all those years ago (yeah yeah, I was younger and dumber and a whole lotta broke once I got to FL), in order to get it out and unlocked and blah blah, you get the idea. Was sort of expecting that. So that needs to be addressed. The rest of the interior though is very clean. Well, needs a hoover treatment, but the headliner isn't even the slightest bit out of shape. Doors aren't sagging, no rips anywhere that I remember seeing. Good starting point.

What I wasn't expecting originally, was they also popped the trunk open. Did they drill through the cylinder like a normal person would? Of course not. They jammed a prybar into it and twisted and bent and pulled until it broke out. This has resulted in slight damage around the cylinder hole. It looks repairable just by some massaging, but really, people?

The rear tires are off the car in the picture, since the gent didn't want the tires to go soft and leave the car sitting on the wheels, so he jacked up the rear end and pulled the wheels. They are obviously included with the car. However, it also meant looking up underneath the rear, to a very nice, not-rusted undercarriage and mounts. it was a FL car after all, and only saw snow up here one season, most of which was actually parked indoors, so maybe a month's worth in actual icky weather? And since then, has been in his garage. Could be far worse.

Obviously there will be other issues that have come up over time, not necessarily mileage. The body and all are rust free, but that doesn't mean there might not be weak links, brake hoses and such for example. And I still don't know what let go in the 307 the last time it smoked up, so that's an unknown too. Which brings me to my planning stages:

There's one of two ways this rebuild can go, depending on the ultimate end destination for the car. It might end up going back to their family in FL, to keep it in the family. Which will mean looking at the 307 and cleaning it up if it's salvageable, make it able to be driven safely, cleaned up, and sent on it's way back down. If it's beyond saving, or if the car will be staying here with me, then I'm aiming for a mild Olds 350 build, ditch the ccc and smog, and just go nice and simple. Yes, I'm aware of countless posts that caution that ditching the CCC can make things harder in many cases. But my reasoning is that if I'm going to go for a good power bump, then it would be harder to get that to place nicely than it would be to just go full old-school.

It's been a long time since I've worked on something without electronic brains everywhere. My latest cars have been a 3-Series and an XJR (2003 - before they got bloated). Something to be said for the lack of rattling interiors in a car with 200k miles on it. So it'll be refreshing to get back to simpler times, even though I don't have much history and knowledge. But from what I've found, this forum is a wealth of knowledge, and everything I'm looking to do has been likely answered countless dozens of times. That said, I'm always open to comments, and constructive criticism as I go.

I'll post more pictures once it gets home this weekend.
 
olds307 and 403

olds307 and 403

Comic Book Super Hero
Oct 14, 2008
4,380
2,160
113
Melville,Saskatchewan
#3
Looks very salvageable. I say go Olds 350 and don't look back. What trans is in it?
 
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CharlzO2k

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Oct 8, 2018
21
54
13
Upstate NY
#4
Looks very salvageable. I say go Olds 350 and don't look back. What trans is in it?
Not sure. It'd been so long since I had driven it, and to be honest, I didn't even look down at the dash when I was looking around it on Saturday since I already had made up my mind that I wanted it either way. Definitely one of the check boxes to figure out and address once things get underway. I'm thinking it must have OD, just seemed like it would've when they drove it up. I can't imagine her mom (who drove the car behind the moving truck the whole way) wouldn't have complained somewhere along the way about gas guzzling, if it hadn't. But we'll see soon.

Funny, looking at the pictures, you can see the chrome trim on the lower front driver's corner is still in the exact same shape and slight pulling away as it was way back then. Funny stuff.
 
olds307 and 403

olds307 and 403

Comic Book Super Hero
Oct 14, 2008
4,380
2,160
113
Melville,Saskatchewan
#5
The overdrive TH2004R overdrive is worth keeping, a TH200C 3 spd auto is bush material. At least it was stored inside. Hell it may even be rot free under the vinyl top, rare indeed.
 
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CharlzO2k

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Oct 8, 2018
21
54
13
Upstate NY
#6
Yesterday wasn't a good day for getting it over here, but today, it finally happened.


Guy was right on time, and fully prepared. Even was very careful unloading it, making sure clearance was there and whatnot, even though he could've easily not cared about it either way. But once unloaded, I gave it a once-over.





As you can see by the pictures, it's got a decent journey ahead of itself. First thing is all the dust and vacuuming it needs. However, it's also 30 degrees outside at the moment, which puts washing it a bit down the list for the time being. Though if it rains, it'll at least get a rinse. Freebies, right? The inside has a lot more dust in it, and certainly needs a few things. A new ignition cylinder for starters, though I can reach in with a long-nose pair of pliers to get to the switch tab and "turn" the imaginary key. Battery is tres dead, and the connection rusty enough that my charger won't even recognize it being hooked up to charge.

The steering wheel will need to be replaced. It's cracked in one spot, the center horn pad is off and probably not worth saving, and the epoxy-looking trim line around it is long since cracked away. New will be better. The turn signal stalk, I had high hopes for. Initially, I tried the high beam switch and it's very nice and tight. Sweet! I remember many GM's that I've had where I had to tilt the wheel up or down, THEN trip the highs on or off, and then put the wheel back. So the satisfying CLICK into place was music to my ears - until I realized that the actual movement for the signals is busted. Short lived hopes I guess. The rest isn't bad though. Headliner is up and only the slightest hint of loosening in one spot. Once it's clean, it'll look a hundred times better just from that.

Did I mention I hate mud? Just throwing that out there.

I did manage to find a screwdriver that works perfect for the trunk, even though the trunk hole is painful to look at, seeing as how clean the rest of the car is. The rest was just dirty. But just for kicks, I decided to jump some cables to it, which was amusing, using my backup set of cables (My son has my better pair in his Mustang atm). Unfortunately it's so dead and the connections so weak that even after sitting for 15 minutes on it, The motor nudges forward and then the connection is lost again. So a new battery for sure is on the short-list. The radio works, that's something? I realized the hazard switch was broken off, and in the on position, so my pliers fixed that again. I have to also go through the fuses, since I don't know what is and isn't working. I think I need more battery juice before I sort that out though. The interior light works fine, and the radio does, but the seat and door locks seem to do nothing. Plenty of time ahead for that. I did decide though, that when it looked ALMOST warmer out, to brave a little and at least give a quick wash down to get the top layer of grime off. Far from perfect, but far from what it was too.



So now I have my starting point. It'll probably go pretty slow going, since it's getting to be winter and whatnot. I think first thing will be the new battery, probably next week or so. After that, who knows. I'd like to try to start it, just for kicks. But until then, at least it looks nice in the driveway.
 
565bbchevy

565bbchevy

Geezer
Aug 8, 2011
6,219
5,281
113
Michigan
#7
Regardless of the issues you have to fix it still looks far cleaner than what many on this forum have started with.
 
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CharlzO2k

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Oct 8, 2018
21
54
13
Upstate NY
#9
I did go out with a better set of cables, and the engine does turn over, not seized and nothing making a racket, just not fast enough to try to get any progress towards starting. Was just kind of a "hey, while I'm outside again" moment. I did also start to decode all the RPO codes. A few I couldn't find, but they've been mostly uneventful, since I already knew there wasn't anything special about the car. Of course it.s a 2.14 rear and a 200 transmission. Definitely on the books for replacement on both counts. Also the vinyl top has started to peel slightly on the passenger side, revealing a nice shiny coat of paint underneath. As there are some cracks elsewhere on the top, I'm leaning towards removing it altogether. The classic side of me doesn't mind the look, but it would have to be replaced. But I wouldn't be surprised if it's nice and solid underneath.
 
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GeezBod

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Oct 21, 2018
8
1
3
#10
any new updates?
 

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