How did you get started with your G-body obsession/restoration? Here's mine. Show me yours.

69hurstolds

69hurstolds

Comic Book Super Hero
Supporting Member
Jan 2, 2006
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Rktpwrd's build thread reply about "restoration" and "replacementification" got me to thinking. How did I get started with this G-body addiction? I guess for me, it actually got started with the 82 Calais. I was leaning to an 82 Calais, two tone, nonetheless, but I never pulled the trigger. No, they weren't fast. But the sleek body style was a big draw for me. Comfy seats too. T-tops. Nice cars. I ended up buying a new 82 Z28 instead. I always liked Camaros, too. I'm bi that way. :) That was a flip flop about 40 times until I landed on the Z28. It simply handled better. The power was about the same.

There was a day if I wanted to restore a car, it was junkyard/Hemming's searches for original or new GM parts/Dealership for new GM parts which were usually scarce/or lucked up and found someone with one. There were no interwebs forums or ebay. You had a phone (on the wall with push buttons at best, no touch screen or facetime) and a Drag Times want ads or Hemming's brown book and a small network of friends if you were lucky. Then if it was a hard to find part, you had to wait for pictures to be mailed (no interwebs) and then decide, if someone hadn't already snagged it by then. The car magazines MAYBE would have something you could use as far as articles. In the 80s, you pretty much HAD to restore an old car.

When was the last time you picked up a 70 W-30 rust/dent-free trunklid for $20 at the wrecking yard (they're special- have no insulation in them)? Or the matching OAI hood for another $75 and trade that for a tilt column? Was easy back then. Most of the time, you got to drag your tool bag around each car and take off the parts you wanted. I was always careful not to destroy stuff though while getting my parts for the next guy who might need that other part. Not happening today. When I started on restification of my semi-rare 72 442 3-on-the-floor back in 1983, it was that way. You dug it up, or you restored what you had. Granted, there was more out there for 70-72 2 door Cutlass back then, and if you wanted a new G-body, you could go down to the dealer and buy one. I learned then that crap was tough to get hold of, and I wish the dealerships had more new GM stuff to pick from.

The 83 H/O was such a sharp car. I was out to sea when they announced them, but caught up with them. Couldn't find one locally. Then the 84s were announced. Silver wasn't a happy color for me, but it wasn't bad. It's not like these cars were laying around everywhere in the day. I was hesitant to order, and my sea/shore rotation wouldn't get me the car in time anyway, so figured if I found one on the lot, I'd just do that. That didn't happen until the spring of 84, and my dad, who worked at Corvette at the time, told me about the 442's return. He had no specs, just that Olds was resurrecting the car for 1985. That really got me interested.

Dealer didn't know anything about it in the spring of 85. I still wanted one. They said if it was anything like the H/O, not every dealer would get one, and one may be the amount they got based on sales. I tried to put down a deposit. They wouldn't because they had nothing to go on. Later near summer, the Sales Manager called me and said I was right. They were unleashing it for 85. So when I got back from sea tour, I put 100 bucks down and ordered me an 85 442 when the dealership could first send in orders for the 85 model year. The dealership was only slated to receive 1 allocated unit. But somehow they traded for another dealer's allocation and ended up with 2 because someone else wanted one. Although I didn't get any discount, the dealership didn't do any market markups either. Wasn't their policy. This was good. I still spent nearly $17K for a $10K base price car. And in those days, car loans were high as heck.
 
69hurstolds

69hurstolds

Comic Book Super Hero
Supporting Member
Jan 2, 2006
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But the car took forever to come in. Nearing the Christmas '84 holiday period, home on leave from the Navy, the car still wasn't at the dealer. So for fun, I test drove 2 leftover '84 H/Os and a NEW 85 442 (white/blue) at the nearby dealership. Contrary to popular belief, not every limited edition car flew off car lots. I ALMOST bought one of those 84 H/Os because they were going to knock off plenty for me to take it home. It was tempting. I even put a very small deposit down to hold it until that Monday. But before I bit, I called Arlington plant to find out if my car would get built (thanks for the phone number and build plant information, Dad), got routed around until I finally talked to someone in scheduling, gave them my order number, and they said that car should have already been built but somehow didn't get in the system. WTF. Can you believe that crap? They estimated after the holidays it would be hard scheduled and she said she would make sure it got pushed through (maybe since I told her I was in the Navy home on leave and her son was in the Navy had something to do with it. I dunno). She asked me why the dealership didn't run a status request for outstanding orders report or whatever. I don't know. I didn't know how ordering cars worked. To me it was like this- I walk in, sit down with an option check off list, mark it up, hand it to the salesman, then pay my down payment, and pick up the car when it arrives. Simple. Anyway, I just let the deposit on the 84 go.

So when I finally received my 85 442 in February 1985, I already had contemplated its eventual restoration in the future (Back to the Future hadn't been released yet until July). Who the f**k does that? So what do you do? I decided that I wasn't going to go through that route of Hemming's, a phone call, and a prayer again. You start buying GM parts for it...and you could only do that at the dealership. The first parts I bought were the factory floor mats and the grilles. The grilles IIRC were around a whopping $35 each!!! Wasn't sure if I wanted to keep the original grilles though, as it was a lot of chrome, so I purchased a set of new 84 H/O grilles. They were actually a few bucks more than the 85 grilles. Never put those on, though, so I traded those for something else for the 72. Not sure what it was, but I needed it. Once I got hold of a microfiche parts book for it from the local dealership after the 85 model year, it was off to the races. I then had to find a fiche reader, which at the time, wasn't hard to do. But it didn't have a print feature. So that sucked. Those cost a lot of $$. And I was more than capable of writing down numbers.

Thus, it started me down the road of looking up GM part number and getting what I thought I was going to need. And now, I have a mountain of NOS GM G-body parts. Even the nuts/bolts. People thought I was an idiot for paying dealer prices (I did get a healthy discount, though) for parts when you could get the generic stuff from NAPA or whatever. I never listened to them. I told them one day this crap might turn into gold. And then a funny thing happened. G-body parts started drying up from the dealerships. Now some of the junk I've amassed is worth as much as 10X or more what I paid for it. And the paint job? I sold off some of the extra NOS parts I have and now there's $11K in the bank waiting to pay for a decent paint job. And although I can't ever say I have every part known to G-bodies, I can pretty much bet there's a very good chance I have it if it pertains to a black 85 442. If I stumbled on something that I thought I could use and I could get a fair price, I picked it up. For instance, I have two complete tail and backup lamp sets for it. Or 3 complete air shock setups. 2 sets of quarter windows. Got fistfuls of Olds emblems. A few ACDelco carburetors left after selling some. And a big box full of ACDelco V8 HEI distributor rotors I got for cheap. I may have went a bit overboard with the stripes/decals. I got enough to do 5 black cars. And all this crap in the GM boxes.

Over the years, the 85 accumulate 60K miles on it. I know. "That's a lot of miles!" But not really. The car isn't a low-mile queen. It was my only car for a while. So several trips from Charleston, SC to Illinois and back to see my parents got racked up fairly quickly so the miles did too. In 1986, though, the miles went on much slower, as the car was parked in the then-new father-in-law's garage while the Navy moved us around. When I got back to Charleston in 1987, I knew I would pretty much be there for a while, so I went and got the car in 1988. The car got limited use until 1995, where it pretty much got parked and seldom used. It's always been garaged and they put that underbody sealer crap underneath so I'm pretty confident there should be no surprise rust waiting for me. No guarantees, but nothing has shown me there's going to be a problem there. A few paint nicks here and there, but a straight body (as Oldsmobile sent it to me, anyway). Now it sits in the shop waiting for me to do the rebuild of it. It's all there, and ready to be dismantled and stuff replaced. And in due time.

So even doing "replacmentication" of a G-body still takes a lot of time and a lot of upfront work to get the parts you need, because they have to be specific for your car. If I added it all up, I've probably spent at least as much, maybe more, time hunting down the pile of parts for just one car as Donovan has done doing the body work on his car. I'm not minimizing his efforts at all because the results are fantastic. But regardless, as a G-body owner, you pick your path and it takes time no matter what you do. This is why I don't buy the line of customizing a car necessarily takes more time than restoring one to factory stock. I'll still be test fitting and ensuring the part going on is the exact replacement of the part coming off. And I can't simply choose another route if the factory stuff looks goofy. If there's an extra tab on there, I have to make it work and can't simply cut it off to fit because it looks better.

And I know some of the stuff I take off the car will still be better than most people's current parts they'd like to replace, so I'm sure I could sell the good, used parts to someone that needed it, or restore the part if possible and put it on the shelf for my own use. And just because I have a new one doesn't mean I'll swap out the old one if there's nothing wrong with it. Depends on each part. But most of the time, I think I'll have a choice. I'll figure it out when I get there. My goal is to have the most expensive G-body stock restoration out there. Not necessarily the best. Just the most expensive. But it's never about the money. Not on this body style. It can't be. Or you'll cry in disappointment. At this rate, I have a good chance of making that. I've never seen a straight up stock complete frame-off G-body resto before. Maybe 88hurstolds' white 85 was a close one. He did a great job on that but I think he did everything but take it off the frame. He's about the only other crazy person out there I know of that would do something like that. Hutch's 87 442 is coming along nicely as well, but not a whole lotta mechanical stock on that car when he's done.

So what's YOUR story?

Sorry, I digressed. Probably didn't need to tell the saga of the "Rise of 69hurstolds", but we all had to start somewhere. And this is how I started down the NOS parts stash path. And for the most part, we all started in different places, but we all still return back to the garage in the end.
 
fleming442

fleming442

Geezer
Dec 26, 2013
9,265
113
My dad bought an 87 442 brand new, then my first real car purchase after moving out of the house at 18 was an 81 LeMans 3.8, stripper model circa 1992. I traded it in on an 89 Calais S Quad4/Getrag more door because I had a weird obsession with the Quad4 (I am an Olds guy, afterall). I guess that's where it started.
 
Clone TIE Pilot

Clone TIE Pilot

Royal Smart Person
Aug 14, 2011
2,179
113
Galaxy far far away
My late grandmother gave me the Regal when she couldn't handle its barn doors anymore. This was back in 2001. It was a base n/a 231 V6 Regal Limited. Its a very different car today if you look at my sig.
 
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1320John$$$

1320John$$$

Master Mechanic
Sep 18, 2019
428
93
Pennsylvania
They were called Monte Carlos when I got started first one was a 1970 Then many 1976/77 model years before my 1985 that I still own today title shows I transferred it in 1993 looking back that has to be a milestone in my life
 
pontiacgp

pontiacgp

Canadian Prime Minister
Mar 31, 2006
27,205
113
Kitchener, Ontario
My dad bought a 1970 Tempest with a 350 Pontiac engine the first year they were available in Canada. I :love: that car and was pissed when he trade it in without telling me . I stayed with the Pontiiacs and had a 74 Grand Prix till it got wrecked in an accident while living in Florida. I drove a 2nd gen camaro after that was a 4 speed stick but it had 4.11 gears in it so it was no fun driving in the city and revved too high on the highway. A friend of mine had an 83 Monte Carlo with T-tops felt sorry for me so we traded cars and I really liked the G body with T tops. I had to get rid of the car due to getting booted from the US a second time. I looked for a G body GP when I got back here, drove a Parisienne for a while, then a G body Cutlass and finally found a GP with T-tops that got rear ended so that car was done but still drive able so I drove it till I found my current GP. The G body is a GM with rear wheel drive and easy to work on and can be modified/upgraded just about any way you want. I helped build and crew on a few G bodies that we raced on asphalt circle track so that taught me a few tricks with these cars.
 
79MaliCrazz

79MaliCrazz

G-Body Guru
Nov 6, 2010
574
28
Lake Wylie,SC
I got started really cause of the wife a coworker of hers husband had a built 80 malibu drag car without a motor so my wife saw how much I liked it and bought it from them for my bday which I had no idea she did. It was a great gift I was very surprised. Unfortunately I really didnt do anything with it cause I wanted a street car that I can take the family on cruises with so after a few years I traded it for a 85 Monte SS since the malibu would have cost plenty of money that I didnt have to be in that sport the monte was more of my thing. Then in 2013 I got in a major wreck with the monte most have seen my pics then 2 years later I bought a 79 malibu roller which I'm still working on so that's my story.
Screenshot_20200108-132120_Drive.jpg
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Gonzo1970

Gonzo1970

G-Body Guru
Supporting Member
Sep 30, 2018
811
93
The Obsession started when my next door neighbor bought a brand new 1986 Grand Prix LE. Two tone grey, buckets, console.
In 1986, I turned 16.
I fell in love with the car.
He never would let me dive it.

Fast Forward 15 years, I start looking for one. All I find is hoopdie sh*t, 28" Ugly assed Rims, and chicano paint jobs...

Until 2018, when I finally found one.

The rest, as they say, is history.

-Gonz
 
hangar401

hangar401

Apprentice
Supporting Member
Oct 3, 2019
93
33
e
Was always a Ford guy,had 60 TBird,67 Cougar,69Mach1,73TBird,76MustangII(302).Finally my 79 Calais,loved the style and I was 30 by that time and wanted some class.Bought my Calais new in Dec.78 and its my first child I have two others but its my first.Its out from April to Nov.and just do local shows and cruise nights,Heated storage all winter.Did Woodward Dream Cruise evey year for about 10 years.One time when the new Mustang was not even for sale yet,a Ford Rep.was beide me on Woodward yelled out"thats when cars had style".Made me understand that I had made a great choice.I have made a few appearance mods like chrome Chevy valve covers and air cleaner,single 3"in 2.5outs series 40 Flowmaster cat removed and some N.O.S. replacements like 78 taillights new headlight trim,Original numbers matcking drive trian(305Chevvy,TH200trans.I am 70years in 2020 and live with Primary Progressive M.S.and all my physical therapy is cocentrated on keeping driving using no aids.
Thats my story and I'm sticking to it.
 
69hurstolds

69hurstolds

Comic Book Super Hero
Supporting Member
Jan 2, 2006
3,639
113
e
Was always a Ford guy,had 60 TBird,67 Cougar,69Mach1,73TBird,76MustangII(302).Finally my 79 Calais,loved the style and I was 30 by that time and wanted some class.Bought my Calais new in Dec.78 and its my first child I have two others but its my first.Its out from April to Nov.and just do local shows and cruise nights,Heated storage all winter.Did Woodward Dream Cruise evey year for about 10 years.One time when the new Mustang was not even for sale yet,a Ford Rep.was beide me on Woodward yelled out"thats when cars had style".Made me understand that I had made a great choice.I have made a few appearance mods like chrome Chevy valve covers and air cleaner,single 3"in 2.5outs series 40 Flowmaster cat removed and some N.O.S. replacements like 78 taillights new headlight trim,Original numbers matcking drive trian(305Chevvy,TH200trans.I am 70years in 2020 and live with Primary Progressive M.S.and all my physical therapy is cocentrated on keeping driving using no aids.
Thats my story and I'm sticking to it.
Keep on keeping on. That’s awesome.
 

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