BUILD THREAD Sweet Johnny & Gina: A Love "Two Large" To Fail

Sweet_Johnny

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Good evening everyone, I hope you're having a great weekend so far. I started my new work schedule yesterday and was too worn out afterwards to focus enough to get this thread going like I'd hoped. I think I can pull it off tonight, please read on and find out. I swear on my life that every word of this story is absolutely 100% true, and honesty is a cornerstone of the life I'm trying to build for myself.

I recently acquired a 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Brougham for the paltry sum of $2k, A.K.A. "two large" from a nice gentleman who actually lives a mere 5-10 minutes from me depending on your level of excitement (Haysville, Ks). Having had no luck with my other potential purchases I decided to buy this G Body if it ran well, and would much prefer to drive it home as renting a VW Passat was getting expensive and working on old GM cars is something I'm halfway decent at. They're also much, much cooler. Here is the description and the pictures from the listing on Facebook Marketplace.

"Everything is there on the car it just needs to be freshened up hasn't been started in years... has a 305 Chevy engine from the factory... sunroof too...."
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I messaged the seller and learned that it would need a battery, and most likely more to run as it had been sitting near a tree for quite some time. It would definitely need more to be what most consider good enough to drive daily.

That's it, that's all it took to provoke me to grab the battery from my El Camino, hop in the rental car I hated and go look at an old G Body that didn't run and was probably going to be absolute trash at $2k. I've seen fairly lofty prices on some complete dumpster fires, so I was hopeful but staying realistic. My battery tested bad so I left it behind, and I was late to look at the car for the first time because I rushed out the door mistakenly thinking I knew exactly where it was. With no phone service I had no way of finding it aside from driving around, which I did for a while before heading home to figure it out. Once I found the address I quickly surveyed the body, interior, engine bay, peeked underneath (noting a hole in the floor that you could fit a ButterBall turkey through) and made a decision. This whole process took under 2 minutes, and the car still didn't even run! That's when you know you've got something special. There was just something about this car that said "We'd be great together. You just caught me at a bad time, I promise."

Derek (the seller, great guy) and I spoke for about 10 minutes, and we agreed that I'd come back the next day and we would try to breathe life into a dimming star when he got off from his first job. I tried to play it cool and said that hearing the engine run and seeing the car move were a must before the sale, but that I was a serious buyer with cash. He probably saw right through me, and if he did he played it perfectly because it was like I was talking to a friend. In addition to that, he honestly wanted me to be happy and comfortable with any agreement made. Again, great guy.

Once home, I noticed that I received the following photos from Derek, who had only known Gina for a couple of weeks, and I mean that literally. He got the car in Augusta, Ks. from a 98 year old lady named Gina who very clearly cared a great deal for this Cutlass-- for 39 years. And bless her for it! I'll post pictures that will make you say "Wow, that's impressive" later on as the story unfolds. The title in Gina's name was issued in Butler County, Ks. on February 16, 1984. It's in an envelope postmarked Feb. 17, 1984 and a lien was issued 3 days prior to that. That lien was handled by the Augusta White Eagle Credit Union (in Butler Co.) and taken care of way back in August of 1990. I was given the release slip, of course. It seems that both Ginas have resided in Augusta since at least then.

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I went back the next day by way of my father, and we took a bunch of my tools, some gas, etc. with us. A new battery (I spent money on a car I didn't even own yet, but rationalized it by saying I'd use it in the El Camino) and some starting fluid spurred signs of a will to live, and me pouring gasoline from my water bottle followed. The carb bowl refused to fill without me, and Derek and I suspected the fuel pump immediately over a simple blockage. I didn't take a big enough wrench for the fuel filter, and holding it with the available self adjusting flat jawed pliers wasn't going to cut it. My father and I dashed home where I planned to rob a pump off another engine and get more tools, but during the drive we talked and decided to call a tow truck instead. Up until now he could only assume I would buy it because I kept pointing things out to him every time Derek wasn't near, but I hadn't made an official statement out loud yet.

If you look closely in the pictures you may see a chain link fence, a house, and a chain link gate, (Capris not shown) all in close proximity. You had to walk sideways to get by the car on either side, and were basically standing on the Capris to get under the hood of the Cutlass. I think that Capris owes me at least $1 for the view.

Changing the pump just wasn't going to happen- It was starting to rain like crazy, and Derek had a 2nd job to start so I felt it was time to go home with or without a car. I told Derek that I believed the backstory and had faith in the engine and transmission after what I had experienced with all 5 of my senses. My wonderful and loving father spotted me the dough for the tow, so nothing that follows this would have happened without him. Thanks Dad!

I've got to work again in 4 hours and haven't slept yet so I'm done for now, but I'll be back to share more soon. I just thought I should get this started like I said I would.
 
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Sweet_Johnny

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Oct 4, 2022
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I took a few pictures of my own once Gina arrived at her new home. It was still raining but we were so wet already I didn't care, I stood outside just staring at my new purchase. The odometer reads 24,447 miles.
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mclellan83

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Very excited for you
 
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69hurstolds

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One thing is for sure. The top of that engine as it is in the pictures, as oily as it is, will NEVER rust. :)
 
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Longroof79

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Oct 14, 2008
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Johnny,
Thanks for sharing your interesting and well written story with us. I think you and Gina will be great partners together. I will certainly follow your continued progress with her. Good luck! We're all rooting for you. (y);)
 
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Sweet_Johnny

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Oct 4, 2022
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Wichita, Kansas
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Sweet_Johnny

Has A Face For Radio
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Oct 4, 2022
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Wichita, Kansas
One thing is for sure. The top of that engine as it is in the pictures, as oily as it is, will NEVER rust. :)
Preservation at its finest. I'm not sure if it's just one leak or 6, but we'll figure it out real soon- I plan on degreasing and pressure washing that engine (carefully) this week since I'm off until Friday. I'm guessing the valve covers, intake, timing cover, and even the bolt for holding the fuel pump pushrod are all contributing to what's visible. The gunk is easily 1/8" thick where the fan has thrown it. Changing those gaskets without doing a top end swap will be tough for me to stomach. I haven't even started yet and I'm fighting the urge to change the cam..... I mean, you're already there.

Maybe just a Stealth intake with everything else stock. Maybe.
 
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Sweet_Johnny

Has A Face For Radio
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Oct 4, 2022
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Wichita, Kansas
Johnny,
Thanks for sharing your interesting and well written story with us. I think you and Gina will be great partners together. I will certainly follow your continued progress with her. Good luck! We're all rooting for you. (y);)
Well thank you very much for the kind words! It feels like things are finally going my way for a change, like the universe hates me just a bit less than last month. I know Gina and I crossed paths for a reason, and having her in my life has already had a positive effect on my attitude. It seems to be a classic case of us needing each other for one reason or another.

Ya know, like codependency.
 
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