CUTLASS Saved another one

84dragcutlass

Royal Smart Person
Supporting Member
Aug 20, 2009
1,093
113
North Vernon IN
Well as it turns out my obsession with saving Gbodys has no limits apparently. Years back I had a fairly complete and not hacked up cutlass dirt track car. Never raced it. Just got it set up and ready and the ex wife said the classic line of "its me or the car" after having said quite a lot of the old line "that car has to go" well what I should have done was help her pack but instead I sold the car for if I remember correctly around $1500 bucks. Which was insane considering it had a brand new quick time rear axle in it, power glide, and a nice engine. Not to mention the fill cage and being a running driving car. So fast forward a couple years and I had heard that a friend of mine had gotten the car but hadn't seen it and quickly let it slip to the back of my mind yet again. Well on to the present time and around 8 or so years has passed since I had heard my friend got it and we are now related. He actually married my current wife's cousin so the info streams a little more easily now. I found out he was looking to sell it and even though he had cut a little more of the original body then I normally like and it no longer had that nice engine, Trans, or rear (which was how he got it) it was actually really close to how I had left it. So I scooped it up for $1700 bucks and am selling the 9 inch and race specific springs and shocks to a guy at work for $400 or so. So with money being less valuable these days maybe the $1300 investment wasn't so bad. The wife told me that it was fine if we got it but it was half hers and she got to put her name on the passengers side and get her own helmet so that when I take it to races she can ride along. Not planning any circle track dirt races with this thing either, I'm going to enter it in some SCCA stuff and just some fun races that won't tear the car up. The first pictures are how we found it in the barn
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Now it's been about 2 weeks since we had it and the boy has just went nuts on it. We spent some time this weekend getting it back to presentable, cutting some bars out so we could fit a passenger seat, and getting the body more in order. So these are how it's sitting right now
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Not bad for stuff I had laying around. So more progress to come as I get it race ready but it sure is nice to have it back. May sell it one day but it'll be on my terms this time.
 
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ck80

Comic Book Super Hero
Feb 18, 2014
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The money was definitely worth more a decade ago than now, so, you're right on that account.

With a car like that you're mostly paying for the time saved via the work already done. And having done it yourself, there's no concerns over the quality of the job.

Sounds like a good pickup to me being that's what you're into.
 
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WanaBa442

Master Mechanic
Aug 5, 2017
442
93
New England
I have seat envy.....
At least its not black with a big 3 on the door :blam: like at the local dirt track.
Looks like fun, street legal (ish) when done?
 
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84dragcutlass

Royal Smart Person
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Thread starter
Aug 20, 2009
1,093
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North Vernon IN
I have seat envy.....
At least its not black with a big 3 on the door :blam: like at the local dirt track.
Looks like fun, street legal (ish) when done?
The seats are actually really nice. I pulled them out of the el camino roller i bought last year so i could piece together a half decent one. Only using the bench seat in this because #1 i had them sitting around and so cant beat the price and #2 they are way more comfortable than racing seats.

Don't think it didnt cross my mind to paint it black and put a 3 on the door :LOL: im actually a huge Dale Earnhardt fan but its a cutlass not a Monte Carlo and like you said everyone at the local dirt track does that sort of thing so they can pretend they are Earnhardt one night a week so im not really into that. I think the wife and i decided on Royal blue and she wants to put 77 on the doors in a big white bubble like the kind herbie had. No clue on that one just whatever she wants. I do have a Vin and a title to go with it so yeah it will be street legal ish and just something you dont ever have to worry about. Excited to go tear up the back acreage with it
 

WanaBa442

Master Mechanic
Aug 5, 2017
442
93
New England
I worked with a guy years ago that had a Beetle for a "back yard" car. Amazing what a Beetle can do, stock. When his Gram passed he got her Javelin with a 304 in it. He yanked that and put a 455 Pontiac in the Javelin, and the the 304/auto combo got shoehorned into the Beetle. Nose heavy on the jumps, and downright lethal everywhere else. We parked it soon after that....
Yours looks like a fun build (y)
 

84dragcutlass

Royal Smart Person
Supporting Member
Thread starter
Aug 20, 2009
1,093
113
North Vernon IN
Started working on the car for the winter. Actually doing videos for a YouTube channel. Will post those up as soon as I get the editing done. Mainly working on getting patches for the many holes all over this thing, and so came its name. The inside and cage has always been orange so I bring you the punkin patch
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Using some of the old sheet metal for the patch work. Learning how to weld all over again after a long time since I've done it. So not pretty but functional. The firewall was all cut up around where the column would go, and since I wanted to put a stock column back in I had to straighten that back out. Also had to fix a large hole in the firewall that the old throttle rod had went through.
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Wanted to put in a stock column to get rid of the steering rod that was in it. Sat too close to me for my liking
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The stock column fit nicely under the cage, although never fit for it which was lucky. I almost wish a stock dash would fit.
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84dragcutlass

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Aug 20, 2009
1,093
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North Vernon IN
More work has gotten done on punkin patch in recent days. As always more patches being done. This time on the floor
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This was all where various rollcage bars or things for the old powerglide had access holes in the floor. After I finished those up a bit I moved on to test fitting the engine and Trans
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This car having no body mounts made this an even tighter fit. Also means the Trans crossmember barely wants to fit under the floor pan. I ended up cutting the mounting location off of it so I can make my own.
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Im going to keep working my way from the front to back strengthening this thing up. The next big challenge will be a rear firewall where the rear seat used to go. Of course I'll have to finish the Trans crossmember and then pull the engine and Trans again to primer and paint the firewall then stuff the engine back in again. More to come!
 
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84dragcutlass

Royal Smart Person
Supporting Member
Thread starter
Aug 20, 2009
1,093
113
North Vernon IN
Last night was progress on the front suspension. Had to get those dirt springs out of the thing and shorten some stock springs I had laying around. After not having a spring compressor stopped me from installing the springs I moved on to modifying the bumper supports so I could mount the front bumper
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You can see here how much of the tall factory type spring I cut off to lower the front down. New springs are on the list just going the cheaper route for now.
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Here you can see just how short the racing spring is compared to even the cut springs
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So now I moved on to the front bumper. This car has a bar welded between the frame rails which is actually a really good idea for stiffening the front end, but it doesn't let the bumper supports go into the frame. I've always wanted to see if those were really fluid filled so I decided to drain them so I can cut them down to work. I drilled 4 holes in the end of each support to drain any fluid if there was any.
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Sure enough even after 35 years they still had fluid in them. Smelled like hydraulic fluid and was even still clean. I was actually surprised by this discovery, I would have thought after that many years whatever seals would have let this stuff out by now. The support in the top picture was actually still under some pressure so the fluid spurted out when I drilled the first hole.
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This is how much fluid came out of both supports, surprising amount really.

That will do it for last night's progress. Hoping to get a little more done with my son this weekend and then move my other cutlass back in the garage for its engine swap
 
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84dragcutlass

Royal Smart Person
Supporting Member
Thread starter
Aug 20, 2009
1,093
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North Vernon IN
Ok so over the weekend my son helped me tackle a few things on punkin patch. First I dug into those bumper supports and gingerly cut the first one apart to see what was inside. There is an outer shell and then an inner with an O-ring that held the fluid back. Still a shock that I can't get a set of valve covers to not leak and that little o-ring held for as long as it has.
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After I played around with the first one I finished them both up with the cutting wheel and grinder until they were nice and flush and I could mount the bumper
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Once that was all done we moved on to some patchwork. I wanted to full some of the massive holes that is around some of the rollcage bars so we came up with one simple patch for the driver side and used a UMI block off plate for the passenger side.
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Getting closer to the front of the car being solidly ready to go. We installed the shorter front springs, i think it came in at just the right height.
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Since most of the front is buttoned up it'll be time to move on to the front sheet metal and test fit all that a little better.
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I think that catches everything up. Fingers crossed to make a little more progress tonight
 
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