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Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
April 12, 2017 @ 12:41 pm alacrity 948 views 11 pictures Los Angeles, CA
71 Cutlass Supreme convertible in LA. Clear California title with no DMV back fees.
Photo Gallery here: http://imgur.com/a/TUfah
Service history Photo Gallery here: imgur.com/a/aRBOX
Video of it starting, running etc here: http://www.filedropper.com/video-var...sandpovdriving
Service history Photo Gallery here: imgur.com/a/aRBOX
This is basically a two owner car because as best we can tell (asking relatives who were around back then), it had one owner from new to 1979, and was then owned by (two generations of) the same family through today, all in the San Fernando Valley area of LA. I have repair orders from 1979 showing all sorts of service performed. Odd shows 56,000 miles and I think this is the second time around given the repair history I have seen (some of which is shown in photos - I can’t shoot a pic of every receipt. Good records were found for some of the time, but not all of it, as there are some big chunks of time missing — the folder(s) were probably lost or misfiled before or after the P.O. passed away in July 2015, when title passed to his widow). I would prefer this to be handled as a local pickup by the buyer who arrives with cash in hand and leaves with a smile, bill of sale, keys, pink-slip, fat folder of parts/service work orders and of course a very cool car. Short of that, we'd want a bank wire transfer that clears our bank PRIOR to hand-off to the buyer’s shipper/transporter. Sorry, but time, hassle, responsibility issues mean that am not going to be able to offer/cover/arrange the shipping on this vehicle. I will be helpful coordinating with the buyer’s appointed service to schedule and enable the pick up.
Numbers on VIN and Fisher Body tag show it to be a Lansing plant car. 350ci engine with TH350 trans. It has the cool center floor shifter, sporty quad-spar steering wheel, front buckets. Black on black.
When I got to it, it had been sitting more than a year as a non-runner. It had a dead batt, a gummed up carb, a broken floor shifter handle/snapped cable and some other miscellaneous issues. A couple afternoons and Saturdays later (plus parts etc): it now starts, idles, and runs well (a crate engine was installed in 1987). Holds all three gears and the kick-down works as designed (a rebuilt transmission was installed in 1984). I drove it last weekend to shoot the pics after it had sat for a week in a garage, and it started after the 4th engine rotation, instantly settling into that nice purring/burbling electrically choked cold/fast idle. That was the longest it took to start the whole day, as after that the starter just has to spin it once or twice to get it running (tickling the throttle helped which made me think the low speed air adjustments/jetting may not be spot on). The last major love this car got was in 2012 with 41k on the Odometer, when $8133 worth of local shop installed parts and labor was done. Receipts for this work are in the service records photo gallery, included the installation of
—Edelbrock 600cfm carb,
—Edelbrock Performer intake manifold,
—MSD Distributor, coil, and wires
—Hotchkiss front/rear sway bars,
—stainless dual full length exhaust with Flowmaster mufflers
—New Fuel and Water pumps.
—New Fuel tank
—New Aluminum Radiator, with fresh hoses, new shroud and fan clutch/fan
—New timing cover
—Drums and rotors were turned, new shoes and pads were installed front and rear.
—New rear brake cylinders
—Transmission service, new rear seal and some other parts.
There are no apparent intake, head gasket leaks or exhaust leaks. I have not done a compression test because I got it to start and run well enough to test drive and that was my goal. There is an oil leak from rear main seal and the oil pan gasket.
When I first got it running, it tended to shimmy/shake at higher RPM or under more load. The more I drove it, the less of this there was. So, at first it had me thinking: motor/trans mounts (all replaced in 1982 by the way) but now seems more likely that some gummy crap in a cylinder or two was causing unbalanced detonation that has been cooking off, "Italian Tune-up" style. In the first half hour of running after its long nap, it smoked a bit at idle (oil)... it no longer smokes at idle (see video).
I thought there was a leak from the trans rear seal when I was under the car replacing the shift cable, but after washing the underside of the car, and driving around for a couple hours, that seems fine dry and nice. There may be a small leak from the speedo cable insert seal. Still, the sticky mess there around the back of the tranny/front U-Joint was apparently just blowback from the rear main seal leak. Rear end is the stock 10-bolt non-limited slip. It runs quiet with no apparent slop/slap.
Steering box is shot, imho. An old R.O. shows that the box was replaced in 1979, and it’s time to do this again (with the 93-98 Grand Cherokee box or similar). I think it needs bushings throughout. I think it needs new/proper shocks. Only then will the next owner really be able to enjoy the benefits of the Hotchkiss bars.
It has cheap steel wheels and cheap tires. I’m told the car was parked in front of a family friend’s house while they were away for a couple days in another vehicle, and upon their return they found this car on cinder blocks - the OEM rims and newish T/A tires were gone. Note that the tires are ozone cracked on the sidewalls. They do, however, hold air (about a month now with no leaks since I refilled them) and have plenty of tread. To be sure, they are not original, but I guarantee they function better than concrete rectangles.
It has a broken left rear brake shoe — cracked right through the pad material but the steel base is ok. Both drums seem ok. Front brakes ok. New shoes in the back would be needed before driving this any distance, imho.
The factory A/C - to my eye it appears that all the proper parts are in place. The previous owner removed the fan belt and lived without A/C. I don't know exactly why, but it likely had something to do with the overall repair costs. He wasn’t a mechanic and paid retail for parts/service.
BODY and INTERIOR
Respray done 20+ years ago is just "ok." Most surfaces are glossy, smooth and straight as you can see in the HiRez photo gallery. From 15 feet this is a rather beautiful car, right? What do you think? We all know how black is the perfect color to show flaws. :-( To my eyes (and through my cameras), this a “pretty nice driver,” not an embarrassing ratty pile and of course it isn't a concours-ready show car either. There are some surface scratches/scuffs that may or may not rub out/clean up with a clay bar. There are a few small areas where under-paint crackling can be seen - like when the job is rushed and you shoot primer over bondo that was applied too thickly and didn't properly dry (don't ask me how I know this!). There is some edge-chipping along the door jambs where worn hinges allowed impingement, but the metal isn't bent or galled there, and they no longer bind or rub. The windshield is clear. Wiper motors work. I did find a receipt for an accident repair: right front 3/4 fender-bender back in 1992 that an insurance company paid a pro body shop to repair (receipts for this in the service records gallery). It looks to me like they did a good job, and the RO doesn’t indicate any issues with steering, control or suspension components (and tire/wheel shops were able to get alignment in later years).
Electric top goes down at what I think is the proper rate but makes a few clicking noises along the way. Headed back up, it gets to vertical and the motor continues to whine but it stops there. IF you help it along with your hand, it will complete the journey. Note : that WAS the case, then the last time I operated the top it wouldn't start lifting up/closing at all without assistance. Fluid leak? New motor needed? I have zero personal experience with ragtop repair. Receipts show pistons were replaced in the 80s. The top was replaced in 1986, and again in 1993. I washed the car and the top itself is waterproof. Rear glass is good. It needs fresh weatherstripping all around it. What appears to be the original OEM Tonneau cover is included.
Trunk lid opens/closes/locks just fine but needs new weatherstripping and final adjustment/levelling. The jack is present as is the OEM tire iron, and the spare tire holds air and has good tread.
Front windows work as designed. The rear windows are off their regulators ... maybe one or more of the plastic guide wheels are busted?. The cranks rotate and the regulators go up and down as designed.
Seat surfaces are good. They move correctly on their tracks, and seat back interlocks are functional.
Steering wheel is nice and the park/lock function works. The column is scratched from big set of keys swinging around on it. T/S Stalk functions. Headlight switch on dash and hi-Beam floor switch both function. Heater controls work and fan functions. There is no radio. Horn works on OEM steering wheel.
Door pulls/handles both inside and out and door locks are all ok and functional. The Center console ok, but the gear indicator lens is worn/ugly and the under-light bulb does not come on. Other interior lights are working. Both interior door panels need replacing, imho, with the driver’s side being worst.
All 5 lap belts are in place and function. I found a proper 70s-era STANT locking gas cap on eBay, and that is what is now on the filler neck behind the license plate.
An apparently new CoverCraft car cover is included with the sale (pic in gallery)
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