I’m new here, I have an 87 Cutlass Supreme…

Aug 4, 2022
2
3
I’m new here & I have an 87 Cutlass Supreme I bought when I was in High School. The last time it was cranked up was probably in 2005-2006. But it’s been sitting on a concrete slap ever since in the weather. It’s still in good condition to me but I want to restore it back to the original look. I just want to know what have you all spent or heard of someone spending to restore a decent cutlass from front to back. Just a ballpark figure…I’ve been wanting to fix it up for years. Any info would help, I just need an starting point!
 

Attachments

  • F13951A3-E6BF-4BB0-BAC2-4E9D098A2B8A.jpeg
    F13951A3-E6BF-4BB0-BAC2-4E9D098A2B8A.jpeg
    1 MB · Views: 36
  • 5D3463C0-BBEB-4A6F-A0C2-C8C5552F2464.jpeg
    5D3463C0-BBEB-4A6F-A0C2-C8C5552F2464.jpeg
    632.3 KB · Views: 37
  • 897CF3C9-F6E0-47E4-AEEB-4BB2234472D8.jpeg
    897CF3C9-F6E0-47E4-AEEB-4BB2234472D8.jpeg
    795.4 KB · Views: 37
  • 03F7FC14-7169-4550-915F-EC290596A44C.jpeg
    03F7FC14-7169-4550-915F-EC290596A44C.jpeg
    995.5 KB · Views: 34
  • 1D90871C-1961-4443-8A90-6FE9A65B1FDD.jpeg
    1D90871C-1961-4443-8A90-6FE9A65B1FDD.jpeg
    1 MB · Views: 34
  • D0E5D6A3-9EB9-4CC2-89C4-B1FA5662A5CA.jpeg
    D0E5D6A3-9EB9-4CC2-89C4-B1FA5662A5CA.jpeg
    788.8 KB · Views: 35
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

69hurstolds

Geezer
Supporting Member
Jan 2, 2006
6,633
113
87? Interior looks like 87, the third brake light looks like 87, but the front end/grilles appear to be from a 1985.

If you're going to restore it, how close to original are you going to go with it. First, get a plan, like if you're going to drive it and fix it as you go, or take it down to the frame and start building it up again.

In either case, get a wheelbarrow, fill it with money, then go get another one and fill it with money too. Again, restoration and restification are two different animals and you can spend until your pockets hurt in any direction you go. I've got about every NOS part you can get for a complete restoration, and set aside $13,000 for completing the restoration. I'm still thinking it won't be enough.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

SgtDarkness

n00b
Thread starter
Aug 4, 2022
2
3
87? Interior looks like 87, the third brake light looks like 87, but the front end/grilles appear to be from a 1985.

If you're going to restore it, how close to original are you going to go with it. First, get a plan, like if you're going to drive it and fix it as you go, or take it down to the frame and start building it up again.

In either case, get a wheelbarrow, fill it with money, then go get another one and fill it with money too. Again, restoration and restification are two different animals and you can spend until your pockets hurt in any direction you go. I've got about every NOS part you can get for a complete restoration, and set aside $13,000 for completing the restoration. I'm still thinking it won't be enough.
Aye thanks for the quit reply!!
The grill may be from an 85, I’m not 100% sure. Everything that’s on it now, was on it when I bought it back in 1999. I just want it to look clean again & run It like an everyday car. I was thinking a 350 crate engine, But I do want to take it down to the frame (I haven’t seen any kind of leaks, but I’m sure it’s rust damage somewhere), especially by the sunroof. I’m a disabled vet & my hands are all jacked up so I plan on to taking it to a shop. Because I’m very limited as to what I can do on my own. But they need to see it (understandable) in order to give me any info on prices. Any suggestions on getting it to crank up (if it’s possible)? I know I need a new battery & drain the quarter of gas that’s left…you mentioned NOS parts, do you by chance have a steering wheel if mines can’t be repaired & dashboard?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

ck80

Comic Book Super Hero
Feb 18, 2014
4,420
113
Aye thanks for the quit reply!!
The grill may be from an 85, I’m not 100% sure. Everything that’s on it now, was on it when I bought it back in 1999. I just want it to look clean again & run It like an everyday car. I was thinking a 350 crate engine, But I do want to take it down to the frame (I haven’t seen any kind of leaks, but I’m sure it’s rust damage somewhere), especially by the sunroof. I’m a disabled vet & my hands are all jacked up so I plan on to taking it to a shop. Because I’m very limited as to what I can do on my own. But they need to see it (understandable) in order to give me any info on prices. Any suggestions on getting it to crank up (if it’s possible)? I know I need a new battery & drain the quarter of gas that’s left…you mentioned NOS parts, do you by chance have a steering wheel if mines can’t be repaired & dashboard?
First off, welcome aboard, and, thank you for your service and sacrifices.

Second I hate to say. When you're paying someone for work... if they're any quality it's going to be $$$. Make it $$$!!!!!!

Be careful of a number of shady types, especially on Facebook, who will sell you repaired pieces that claim to be original at a high price. Same.guys sell 'new'parts that are refurbished.

You sort of need to sit down and look at your car. Ask two questions: do I want this part restored, or, do I want this part rebuilt. Restored is taken to factory or better condition. Rebuilt means basically taking it back to around what it was like when you bought it, a reliable presentable driver. And the price tags are very different.

You need to decide between "correct" and "just nice quality". So if the car was an 87 you'd need the euro header, harness, bumper cover, emblems... just the header panel would be about $1500 in parts and labor to handle paying someone. You reuse what's there, it's not correct, but, can be very nice. That's the difference.

You have a brougham interior, meaning some different trim parts. If it follows a regal limited vs regular regal it may be a thicker carpet pile than base level cars or 442s. It's also something the aftermarket does not reproduce, not to the same pile depth. So, if your carpet is stained and cannot be cleaned to your satisfaction, you will need to decide whether to replace the lower door panels, or, replace the carpet on them, to match the lower thinner pile of a base cutlass/reproduction carpet. Then again, it's been a long time since I sat in a brougham. Maybe it didn't get the regal limited treatment.

Lots of us like to brainstorm and help others spend money. Where youre from may make a difference with sources on parts and shops.

But like I said... look at and think.about your car. Did it come undercoating? Do you want it to remain and/or be touched up? Expensive (labor) for someone to do for you to remove and scrape away. You mentioned engjne... unless it's a Canadian 305 car a 350 needs new mounts, likely different (not rebuilt) transmission unless yours is a random dual pattern one. If a powerful 350 you need to think rear axle upgrades, not just a regearing. How's the suspension - going with what kind of frame to body bushings, what kind of control arms, will you change the front control arms, are you altering sway bars, steering box....

It's what we call project creep. Down the rabbit it hole we go. So what I like to do it go to the project, notepad with me (or, depending in your hand issues, voice assistant on a android phone to type what you speak. Then list out loud each piece you see that either you want to know options on what could be done, and/or, ideas of what you might like to do.

As a ballpark, paying someone else for all the labor (and shop rates vary wildly across the country as well) if you did a full paid, full on restore, without rust or hidden accident damage to fix... and a complete mechanical rebuild... paying parts and labor... $40,000 or more wouldn't surprise me.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

abbey castro

G-Body Guru
Oct 31, 2015
668
93
Harker Hts TX
How much $$$$$ do you not have in the bank. I did my own 1987 SS restoration full off-frame. I am the original owner. I did all the work except for the paint. A shop did the paint after I had stripped the body down to the original primer coat, that was 12 yrs ago for $4500. $27,921.17 spent as of today and I am done! Included is the upgrade to ZZ4 Crate Motor, Strange Eng S60 differential with internals and QA1 rear control arms, Hooker Headers with dual exhaust, S10 front disk, 2002 Camaro rear disk, cowl hood and Chrysler e-fans. 16in Chevy wheels. All the other parts are original. No interior parts required as they were in mint condition.
So I would say look to at least 50+ K, since you indicate you have limited capability to do it yourself, you will need unlimited money.

The shop that painted my car here in TX has a yard full of cars that the owners ran out of money and abandoned them. Mostly early Mustangs that should have been made into cans since the only good part were in some cases just the roof!

IMO: wash it, clay it, wax it, steam clean/power wash undercarriage and engine compartment. steam clean the insides, get it to at least start and drivable to some degree: Then make a list of what has to be repaired and bought and start down that road. Someone has already said: project creep meaning you will run out of money with a car at a shop that has drained your bank account and the car is in pieces. Then it becomes a Craigs list project.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users

ck80

Comic Book Super Hero
Feb 18, 2014
4,420
113
Also, you mentioned getting it started. Are you just starting, or, driving around the yard? Starting procedure for me:

Change the oil. I'd use something with seal conditioners made for high mileage, and, I'd actually pour part of your "fill up" in through spark plug holes, let them sit a little before turning anything over in hopes dried seals and dry rings soak up. Make sure itnhas proper zddp levels or use additive, they reformulated th same oil grade a few tines since yiu parked and many types no longer have the appropriate zddp levels your stock engine requires Here you can both look at plugs for deposit colors to see how the engine health maybe way when parked, then clean, regap, reinstall.

After a couple days of the oil soaking, I'd siphon the gas and fill to the top with fresh, preferably ethanol free. TEMPORARILY I would install a temporary fuel line from the fuel pump to carb with a bit glass set though filter set into it. (You don't leave those due to fire hazard long term, and, it's a shame to cut factory lines to install it.)

I'd disconnect the fuel line at pump and blow the fuel lines clean with compressed air. Examine the rubber. If it's really cracked when flexing replace.

I'll be honest - being outdoor stored, with less than full tank, I suspect high likelihood of rust in tank that ultimately requires it to be boiled/sealed or outright replaced. The glass filter will llater et you see extra debris and rust going from tank.

While no fuel is connected is a good time if you don't want to use a drill to prime the oil pump to crank the car over a bit until you see/feel fresh oil coming up from below in the heads.

Gas up with ethanol free (sometimes called marine/boat gas) as your carb and systems aren't ethanol hardened.

Fresh filters all around plus a pcv. Test, flush, and replace the coolant watching for radiator scale in the discharge and while empty. Because they're so cheap, as in a couple bucks each, I change radiator hoses here too.

Then you attach a fresh battery and try to start with the hood open. I prefer NOT changing wires, cap/rotor, sensors, etc before crankup because sometimes new stuff is junk these days. More than it used to be. I'd try not to complicate that at first unless it shows signs of poor running. Accessory belts even if old and cracking won't impact restarting the motor after being dormant so long, but, watch for a bad alternator, ac compressor, or a.i.r bearing starting to burn/sieze up.

Then you go from there, evaluate engine health, decide whether to toss extra parts at it. Watch for valve cover gasket leaks via smoke, and all the other good stuff.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

86LK

G-Body Guru
Jul 23, 2018
946
93
it might be worth your time paying a mobile auto detailer to come out and do a complete clean on your vehicle, inside and out. I can already tell the steering wheel and dash is toast and the interior fabric may be also. I can also see your door seals and window sweeps are gone and will require replacement. if those are gone, what does that foretell for the sunroof seal? the seat fabric has holes and is worn out, so is the carpet. and you've got 4 flat tires that I'm sure are older than 10 yrs.

don't know where you live but based on the pics I'd guess somewhere north which means snow, which means rust. you will need to have it inspected. there are mobile vehicle inspectors who will come out and look at vehicles and inspect everything so that may be worthwhile spending the money for that.

as others pointed out, it will be $$$$. unless you have an emotional attachment to that particular vehicle, you may be better off cleaning it up, selling it, and then buying something a lot nicer for less than what it would cost you to fix this one up.
 

78Delta88

Master Mechanic
May 23, 2022
300
43
SW Arizona
Nice ride. I sold my 87 when moving shop in 2016, wish I never did. There is/was trend around here to remove the euro front and change to the older style. First thing even before worrying about starting... Get tires aired up, dash cap so it won't get any worse, and seal up the moon roof, sun shield front and back windows. Rear deck is going to get faded out as well. Rit dye on the seats will perk it up, easy to do. I had a YouTube on it. Get tire out of back seat, rubber tire chemicals will off gas out of it ... Damage the fabric.

Did it sit with just water or coolant? And how does it look? Tucson area I've dealt with many that sat several years, I don't even bother any more. I just drop tank clean out and inspect, replace any/all rubber lines with current material, the older lines are destroyed by current pump gas. Seen too many restorations done and car burns to ground about a month after... fuel leaks...

Fresh oil new filter, pressure test coolant system, just 10 psi or so. On the Olds engine first to go on one that had sat for awhile is the vacuum operated valve that controls flow to the heater core. They always seem to rust out. Most likely heater core will fail too. I remove heater hose and make a bypass.

The rest as the others mentioned. When I do start and if it's sat for a while, a lot of times will just cut off the belts. Don't need to hear power steering squeal when I'm trying to listen to engine. Of course don't run too long, obviously the water pump is not turning. I leave radiator cap just on first click, which is 4 psi. If coolant system handles that then later will run with cap fully on and look for leaks.
 
Last edited:

78Delta88

Master Mechanic
May 23, 2022
300
43
SW Arizona
Once you do get it going. WD-40 and spray lithium grease on door hinges and locks. As your doing restoration that easily gets over looked and you wear out or damage lock mechanisms. Also same for hood springs and hood and trunk latches. Blows my mind so many times see cars with bent hoods because mechanic/owner didn't lubricate hood hinges and springs, or they slam the hood instead of lubricating the hood latch.
 

GBodyForum is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Amazon, the Amazon logo, AmazonSupply, and the AmazonSupply logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

Please support GBodyForum Sponsors

Classic Truck Consoles Dixie Restoration Depot Mike's Montes P-S-T Southside Machine Performance UMI Performance

Contact Admin@GBodyForum.com for info on becoming a sponsor