Grandpa Car: 1979 Cutlass Thread

DRIVEN

DRIVEN

Geezer
Apr 25, 2009
5,736
5,485
113
Owyhee County
#1
Here is the formal introduction of my car and a little background to go along with it. It was purchased new by my grandfather in early 1980. Apparently it sat on the lot for a while. This was his "good" car that got the single spot in his one car garage. It was used primarily for long trips. He has always taken excellent care of his vehicles with a tendency to over-maintain. Now in his late eighties, he drives very little. Since my grandma's passing 6 years ago the car has seen very little use. I planted the seed several years ago that i would like to buy it when/if he decides to sell. He lives about 250 miles away so I don't get to see him as often as I'd like to. Last summer, at a family reunion, the subject of Cutlass came up. As (bad) luck would have it, my car burned a valve just a few miles from the event. I followed him the 30 miles to his home and we struck a deal. I ended up paying about twice what I wanted to but he need the money more than the car and, under the circumstances, I didn't mind. We checked the fluids and fired it up. I then made the uneventful 250 mile trip home.
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This car is ridiculously clean! It has 156K. There has never been a speck of rust. He had it repainted about 3 years ago. Thanks to plastic mats, there isn't a single stain or smudge in the original carpet. The trunk is flawless and the spare has never been mounted. It came with brand new tires, a set of mounted studs, and a new battery. The oil-change record revealed less than 200 miles driven in the previous 3 years.
It has a 305, TH200, 2.29 open gears, aluminum hood, bumper supports and drums. For a Supreme Brougham, it has very few options.
Over the last year I have collected a limited-slip, 3.42s, 200-4R, F41 sway bars and steering box, Monte Carlo firewall braces. My plans for the car are to add some of the things that could have been options, but didn't come on this car. The engine will probably remain stock with a set of wheels, lower stance, and tinted windows being the only visual changes.
 
beermonkey9417

beermonkey9417

Royal Smart Person
Apr 8, 2007
2,482
9
38
des plaines, il
#2
sounds good for both parties, what engine is in it and what are yer plans for it?
 
TURNA

TURNA

Geezer
Jul 24, 2009
7,472
10,079
113
Socialist NY
#3
awesome ride
 
DRIVEN

DRIVEN

Geezer
Apr 25, 2009
5,736
5,485
113
Owyhee County
#4
beermonkey9417 said:
sounds good for both parties, what engine is in it and what are yer plans for it?
Sorry, I was editing as you were asking. See bottom of original post.
 
DRIVEN

DRIVEN

Geezer
Apr 25, 2009
5,736
5,485
113
Owyhee County
#6
Here is my parts piles.
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Here is what I got done over the last couple of days:
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I used a factory limited-slip from an '87 Camaro and 3.42 ring and pinion from an '89 S10. I ordered a ring gear spacer and install kit from Speedway.
**NOTE** In the catalog the install kit was listed for 1980-1988. I found that the inner pinion bearing in my '79 was smaller and had to buy one at the parts store. I also replaced the axle seals. During the install/set-up I also found that I was unable to shim my pinion deep enough for a perfect pattern. I went as far as possible but ran into interference between the pinion and the carrier. See the pinion marks below the cross shaft hole? (BTW, the pattern you see isn't the final one -- It was a little better.) I found that there is a howl. I'm going to do some research and tear back into it.
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Also installed the quick box, front and rear sway bars.
Since I haven't been able to locate a "Grand Prix" bar -- I made one. I also made a rear tie bar.
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Another point to note; when at the wrecking yard -- grab everything. See the difference between brackets and bolts from stock (left) sway bar vs. F41 (right) bar?
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Y

yourownself

Master Mechanic
Sep 8, 2008
340
36
28
stoughton, ma
#7
i love that f'kin car. that thing's like a time machine!
 
7

78Calais

Apprentice
Feb 14, 2008
50
1
0
MN
#8
Good story and nice ride. My car belonged to a couple different grandpas before me but neither was mine!
 
TURNA

TURNA

Geezer
Jul 24, 2009
7,472
10,079
113
Socialist NY
#9
Does she have the original timming chain in it?

You better change it if she does.

Your Grandpa probally just cruised around 30 mph to the store and back.

Once you start racing around that chain is gonna stretch and jump that factory plastic gear.
 
DRIVEN

DRIVEN

Geezer
Apr 25, 2009
5,736
5,485
113
Owyhee County
#10
The engine has never been apart deeper than valve cover and oil pan gaskets. But it has been very well maintained. I won't be flogging on it. I have 7 other cars and a motorcycle. This is my cruiser. I expect the cam to go flat before the timing set fails. If I have to go into the engine, I'll probably start looking for a roller cam 305 and some Vortecs. My area has emissions testing so I need to be selective about a replacement. I don't need to go fast but I wouldn't mind a bit more power -- especially if I can get some more mileage.
 

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