Ted's History with Oldsmobiles
I became interested in Oldsmobiles through a friend and purchased (actually traded a reel-to-reel tape deck for) a 1957 dark gray 98 two-door hardtop from him in 1966. The ‘57 had power windows and seat and was used to transport me in upstate New York and to take me back and forth to school in Boston. I even drag raced it at a 1/8th mile track at Fulton, NY turning 66 mph (I don’t remember the time) and winning “J stock automatic” against a 1958 Pontiac probably mostly by luck. After a few runs, I learned I could get the best times by “brake revving” the car but I had to time it right because the power brakes took a fraction of a second to release before the car would move. I spent a ridiculous amount of money (for the time and my income) adding exhaust dumps and doing other meaningless tasks aimed at improving performance. The car trapped me once due to a poor negative battery connection. I had just backed into a tight parking spot and turned the car off when I discovered that I could barely open the door - certainly not enough to get out. I went to start the car but there was just a click and then nothing. I was stuck there unable to open the doors, roll down the windows or blow the horn. Finally someone saw me waving and came close enough to get directions on how to correct the battery connection. In 1967 the car developed valve problems (probably the camshaft problem common to the 371 CID engine) and I gave the car away (sure wish I kept it now).
My next Oldsmobile was a 1959 gold Dynamic 88 four-door sedan. It was an unremarkable car but served the purpose of carrying me to school in Boston until graduation in 1968 and then was primary transportation to my first job as a “learner draftsman” at the General Dynamics Shipyard in Quincy, MA. Working, with money in my pocket and no responsibilities, it didn’t take long before I convinced my buddy to sell me his gorgeous red over white 1962 98 Holiday Coupe that I had been coveting for several years. I can recall proudly getting a check from the credit union for $800 to purchase it. Like the '57, the '62 had power windows & seat and required high octane gas but, what the heck it was only $0.25 per gallon and cigarettes were only $0.25 per pack. The ‘62 was the car my wife and I used for our honeymoon in 1969 and there were 150,000 miles on the car when I sold it in 1970.
I found the green 1964 Cutlass post coupe with a 330 CID V8, Rochester 4GC, and Jetaway transmission behind a Natick, MA dealership in the “wholesale lot” and probably should never have bought it. The transmission fluid was burnt, one of the rear shocks bent double and you could see blue smoke from the exhaust when the engine was stressed. But still, it was quick and gave me an opportunity to spend more money. In 1971 I sold the ‘64 and purchased a 1966 silver Cutlass coupe with a black vinyl roof. I was told it had been drag raced at a local strip but was never able to confirm it. The Cutlass had a 330 CID V8, 4V Quadrajet, 442 exhaust, and four speed transmission. I put 180,000 miles on the ‘66 Cutlass and rebuilt the engine once before the frame rusted (caused by rear window leaks) and I had to get rid of it in 1979.
After that, I owned a series of non-Oldsmobiles until the purchase of my 1963 Starfire. While growing up, I had always wanted to own two cars: a 1962 Starfire (one of my bosses owned one that I had occasion to drive) and a 1965 442 like a friend owned. In 1997 I decided to find these cars that I had always desired.
1963 Starfire Holiday Coupe (Provincial White)
The 1963 Starfire was the first to join the modern collection in August 1997. The ‘63 was not my first choice, but I couldn’t find a 1962 Starfire. It was a solid car, although it had some body filler, and had spent its entire life in New England. The car was assembled in Linden, NJ and was originally tan. According to the history related to me by the previous owner, the car was purchased by a woman in Boston and, after some years, sold to a student from Brazil who lived in Boston and used it to commute to school and later to work. At some point he returned to Brazil and placed the car in storage. In 1988 he contacted a friend in Boston and asked him to remove the car from storage and sell it for him (which is where the previous owner obtained it). The car was repainted white after a collision and the motor was rebuilt in 1993. Since its purchase, the rear bumper has been replaced (original was rusted and damaged from the previous collision), and original 14" wheels, tires, original spinner wheel covers, and replacement wheel well moldings have been installed. I also had the seats recovered, detailed the engine compartment, repaired the vacuum system for the heater, and took care of many other small details. Although it wasn’t the car I wanted to keep, I became attached to it and reluctantly sold the car in 2000 to make room for the 1965 442 that I really wanted.
1965 Cutlass Holiday Coupe (Burgandy Mist)
The 1965 Cutlass was purchased via the classified advertisement section of 442.com. I happened to be traveling on business in Minnesota when I saw the ad and made arrangements to drive to Dodgeville, WI to see the car. I liked the car immediately but did not buy it until I had returned home and checked out transportation options for getting it back to New England. It was purchased it in September 1998 and brought east on a 3-car carrier using a local trucking broker. It was a nerve-wracking experience but everything went well and the car was delivered after three days of transit. The Cutlass was assembled in Lansing, MI and, according to what I was told, was purchased new by an optometrist in Dodgeville, WI for his wife to use to commute to Madison. The car was undercoated (Ziebart or equivalent) and apparently was garaged and taken care of until their family outgrew it. The owner then stored it in his garage until the early 1990's when he replaced the brakes, brake lines, hoses, belts, etc. and sold it to the person from whom I bought the car. The Cutlass was rust-free except for the trunk floor and was 100% original except for maintenance items, wheels and tires (I have the original wheel covers). I also have the owners manual, protect-o-plate and even the original 1965 Wisconsin plates which I attach over my antique plates with velcro at shows. The paint looked OK from 20 feet but when viewed close-up showed its age plus had many small parking lot dents and scrapes. I had the car professionally detailed externally and, although the car looked good, I knew it would soon fade and because the paint was cracked, it couldn't be waxed without “whiting out.” After much debate, I decided to have the car repainted during the winter of 1998. The work was done by Golden Oldies Performance, Inc of Wiscasset, ME. They removed all the trim and stripped the body to bare metal before repainting with base-coat/clear-coat laser-matched Burgundy Mist paint. The trunk and rear body mounts were reconstructed in steel to original specifications. Since then I have installed the premium wire-wheels with spinners that were optional that year. It won a second place trophy in its first show at Bonnie Eagle High School in Maine in the spring of 1999, and again in 2000. I sold the Cutlass in 2003 to an Oldsmobile enthusiast (who will continue to baby the car) to make room for the 1966 442.
1962 Starfire Coupe (Ebony Black / Cameo Cream)
The 1962 Starfire was purchased in August of 1999 without looking at the car in person. The previous owner sent a very detailed videotape and, after we came to an agreement, It arrived from New York City via a special car carrier which holds up to six cars on two levels inside a covered trailer. The cars are loaded using hydraulically operated ramps. I have the original paperwork on the car which was bought in Michigan and then immediately taken to Arizona where it spent many years. In the early 1990's the car was brought east to Syracuse, NY and subsequently ended up in Flushing, NY. The car is all original, although some areas of paint have been touched up and I think the engine has been detailed. The car was sold in 2004 to make room for the 1962 Starfire Convertible. In January 2008, Yat Ming released a high detail 1:18 diecast model of this car.
1965 442 Holiday Coupe (Royal Mist)
I first learned of the 1965 442 Holiday Coupe in the summer of 1999,
it was outside of a repair shop in Massachusetts in poor physical condition.
The frame was solid as were most of the panels and the engine had been
rebuilt. Although the car ran and moved, it couldn't be driven since
the brakes were frozen. After much discussion it was purchased and sent
to the Golden
Oldies Performance, Inc in Wiscasset,
ME by flatbed for a complete restoration. The car was stripped to bare
metal, repaired, sanded, primed, painted and clear-coated Royal Mist
(the car was originally Lucerne Mist, a lighter blue). The paint is
the only deviation from original. The interior and trunk were redone,
all trim rechromed and the engine detailed. This turned out to be a
MAJOR restoration project. The car was completed in August 2000 and
took a first place trophy for Factory Muscle Cars at a 250 car show
in Medway, MA during it's first outing. Not much of the history of this
car is known. During restoration a piece of paper with an address in
Virginia was found which corresponds with information I was told. It
is clear, however, that the car sat outside without protection for many
years before I acquired it. In retrospect, the restoration was a lot
more work than originally anticipated and probably shouldn’t have
been done. Then again, I have a nicely restored car and have saved it
from the certain doom of the car crusher. I reluctantly sold the 1965
Cutlass 442 Royal Mist Holiday Coupe in May, 2006 to free up a garage
for the 1967 442.
1965 442 Convertible (Target Red)
This '65 442 convertible is one of 1,695 four-speed convertibles built in all plants for the 1965 model year and came to my attention on the Hemmingss classified ad section on the internet in June 2001 almost as a complete accident. I called the owner and he said he wasn't sure if he really wanted to sell it. He sent me some photos by snail mail and I asked that he call me first if he decided to sell it. I figured I would never hear from him again and promptly forgot about it. In September I received a note from him saying that he had decided to sell and wanting to know if I was still interested. Still recovering from the coupe restoration (I swore I would never do another one after that), I considered all aspects for about 30 seconds and contacted him so I could look at the car. It was in pretty solid shape (compared to the coupe) and it didn't take long for us to agree on a price which included transportation by flatbed (the interior was not in the car) to Golden Oldies Performance, Inc in Wiscasset, Maine where was restored. The car was assembled in the Fremont plant and purchased new by a woman in California who sold to her brother a year later. He kept it for 30 years until he retired to Oregon in 1995 and sold it to someone in Massachusetts. It had one more owner before I bought it. According to the cowl plate, the car should be Target Red with a white interior and white top. When I bought it, it had about four layers of paint (red, copper, & burgundy), a white top and a black interior. I spoke with the 2nd owner and he was pleased to know I was redoing the car. He sent me some photos and we talked about the history of the car and he gave me the details of the engine rebuild he did in 1987 (0.030" overbore & a mild cam but otherwise stock). He remembered the car (and the photos agreed) as having a red interior. During restoration we have discovered that the car did originally have a white interior, as evidenced by white paint in the rear floor board area, and must have been changed at the dealer to red before it was sold. After looking closely, we determined that someone had dyed the red upholstery black. The car was almost completely rust-free and had near-perfect chrome but had lots of minor dents and scrapes. It was stripped to bare metal, restored and repainted in the original Target Red. The interior stayed black with only the side panels replaced (because of speaker holes). The rear end was wrong for the car (3.08:1 open), had a crack in the housing and signs of an internal explosion, so a complete rebuilt 3.55:1 Anti-Spin rear end was installed. The car was ready for the May 2002 Bonny Eagle Show in Standish, ME. I was able to obtain Massachusetts Antique plate 65442 which is installed on the car. Over the winter of 2004-5, The correct white interior was installed along with a few other minor mechanical items.
1966 442 Club Coupe (Tropic Turquoise)
I first saw the 1966 442 Club Coupe in early April 2003 on the classified advertisement section of www.442.com. I had been looking to find a 1966 because I had a 1966 Cutlass when I was younger and came across several that I missed out on because either I didn't act quickly enough, or l thought needed too much work. When I saw this one, I immediately emailed the seller and asked for more details & pictures but I received no response. All I got was the seller's answering machine when I called. I finally heard from him (he had been away) and called him back to discuss the car. Everything sounded good but I needed to check a few things and by the time I re-contacted him the car was taken - waiting for the buyer to come check the car in person. I figured "another one lost" but two days later I received an email that the car was available again as the previous buyer couldn't inspect the car for several weeks. I immediately camped on the phone (it was busy but I redialed for 20 minutes) until I reached the seller. We consummated a deal and a week later the car was delivered to Golden Oldies Performance, Inc in Wiscasset, ME. We have since installed a correct 400 block with "B" heads and L-69 tri-carb (rebuilt to W30 specifications), replaced the 3.23 rear end with a 3.90 and installed an M21 close ratio in place of the M20. I am very pleased that I now have a 1966 442 and a rare one at that. The car is currently undergoing a complete repaint and all new suspension parts are being installed. It should be ready by the summer of 2011.
1962 Starfire Convertible (Chariot Red)
I wasn't looking for another car when I discovered the 1962 Starfire convertible on Ebay in June of 2004. I couldn't resist it and, after corresponding with the owner several times, he agreed to end the auction early for a price on which we agreed. It was purchased on June 21, 2004. The previous owner had bought it in 1993 at a collector car auction in Seattle. He is not not a car collector but had always wanted a 1962 Starfire Convertible because he graduated from high school in 1962 and it was "THE CAR" to have - 30 years later he was finally able to obtain one. When I asked him why he was selling it he replied "Every time I look at it I ask myself the same question". but then stated that he hardly drove it any more and thought it was time for someone else to enjoy the car (I certainly will). It arrived from California on July 8th via a special car carrier which holds up to six cars on two levels inside a covered trailer. The cars are loaded using hydraulically operated ramps. The Starfire has had a partial restoration which included paint, interior, and a new top in the early 1990s.
1965 442 Convertible (Ocean Mist)
It was December 16, 2004 and I had not yet really started my shopping. I had some things I had purchased earlier and had salted away until the holidays but I knew that additional items were needed to satisfy my list. My Oldsmobiles had been prepared and placed into storage for the winter and my thoughts were not with classic cars at all. My garage was full with what I thought was the “final collection” ever since I obtained the Chariot Red 1962 Starfire convertible the previous summer.
I get a lot of email as a result of my web page www.teds-olds.com. Usually they are questions about Oldsmobiles, which I answer if I can, complements on my cars, or queries about buying one of my cars or ones similar to them. In reviewing my email, I noticed one from a Steve Andrews. I was not familiar with the name so I opened the email to check it out. It seems Steve is a self-proclaimed classic car nut (even though he doesn’t own one) and gearhead, who lives in Somerville, MA and has been visiting my web site for some time. Steve has lived in an apartment building for the past 8 years, and 2 or 3 times has seen an elderly woman back an Ocean Mist 1965 442 out of a garage to “warm it up” and then put it back. Steve subsequently met the woman and learned that the car is original and has low mileage. Although the car owner had been pressured many times to sell the car (she really didn’t use it) she had always resisted and kept it stored in a rented garage.
Somehow Steve learned that the house that the rented garage belonged to was sold, the storage space was to be lost, and the woman was forced to reluctantly sell her prized 442. His email was to advise me that the car was available and, if I was interested, I needed to get over there quickly and bring money before someone else grabbed it. We emailed and telephoned back & forth a few times and arrangements were made for me to see the car during the afternoon of Friday December 17. I arrived at the prescribed location around 1:30 PM and we proceeded to the garage where the car was stored. The owner’s daughter took off the car cover, removed a Club lock, started the car and backed it out of the garage. Unbelievable – the car had only 27,950 miles on it and was equipped with the original black top and interior which showed very little sign of use. It had power steering, brakes, bucket seats, and the optional console, remote side mirror and emergency brake warning light. All the body panels were straight and, although it had an older repaint, was very presentable and looked great. The engine was smooth running and quiet and it moved easily around the parking lot on its bias ply tires.
The owner spent much time fussing around the car to make sure everything was done the right way. It was obvious that she was really attached to the car and, if not forced into it, would not be selling it. If I understand the history correctly, the owner bought it new in October 1965 from Bellotti Oldsmobile in Somerville, MA for her daughter to use. It was driven for several years (there are some dated stickers on the rear window) and then was essentially stored when the daughter married & moved away. It has always been registered and inspected (I have the inspection reports for the last several years which report an annual mileage of 50-150 miles). Although the owner didn’t have the original purchase paperwork, a letter of congratulations from Bellotti Oldsmobile was in the glove box along with the owner’s manual, folding top manual, and the original maintenance book with the Protect-O-Plate.
It didn’t take long before we sat down at her kitchen table and negotiated a deal. I paid her the agreed amount and said I would pick the car up the next day about the same time. She advised that studded snow tires, extra wheels and a large supply of lead substitute went with the car. I assured her that the car would have TLC and a good home.
On Saturday December 18th, a friend and I picked the car up using a ramp truck and transported it to another friend’s garage in Jamaica Plain for storage until spring. It is now at my home (the odometer turned over 28,000 miles on the trip out from Jamaica Plain) and is everything I hoped it would be. We went through it mechanically and found very little was required to make it roadworthy. It now has redline radial tires and the optional spinner wire wheel covers and is getting to know the joys of cruising. It appears that very little was done to the car beyond necessary maintenance although it does have new water and fuel pumps. Everything works correctly (including the radio) and it even has an Anti-Spin rear end. The car is amazing to drive with the original suspension (very quiet and NO rattles) and the top goes up and down so quietly you need to look at it to know it is moving. According to Automotive Information Clearing House, there are only 264 (5 in Massachusetts) 1965 442 Convertibles left. Now I have two of them and one is a 28,000-mile original. Mrs Green (as we affectionately call her) was sold to a Florida Oldsmobile collector who will continue to treat her with respect in December 2007.
1967 442 Sports Coupe (Spanish Red)
I have been aware of the existance of the 1967 442 for about 5 years but had not seen it until the summer of 2005. I first heard of it when my friend Rick at Golden Oldies Performance, Inc in Wiscasset, Maine had the owner drive in with a minor mechanical problem. Rick also knew of the car and its owner but was very impressed with the condition of the car and proceeded to check it out. It wasn't long before he discovered that there were cutouts in the radiator support for the outside air intake scoops which were provided with the W-30 package. The cutouts were not factory smooth and the car did not have the red inner fenders so we determined that it had once been a Trac-Pac car where the W-30 option was added by the dealer after the car had been delivered. The W-30 option included a special balanced & blueprinted motor with performance camshaft, special air cleaner, outside air intakes above and below the parking lights with hoses leading to the air cleaner, and relocation of the battery to the trunk. The car had been heavily modified for drag racing and really was not suitable for the street.
In the summer of 2005, I learned that the owner was interested in selling the car. Rick and I met with him to more fully evaluate the car and see it run. When we got to the owners house, he was trying to start it but was having difficulty because one of the battery cables was corroded. With the addition of a jumper cable he finally got it started and backed it out of the garage. The car was gorgeous!
After closely inspecting the car, we determined that it had been repainted once a long time ago. The paint was so good (it is the original lacquer) that it is almost undetectable.
I determined, at that time that the car did not really fit in with my collection since it was so "high strung" (the motor would barely idle at 2,000 RPM) but offered to help the owner to sell it as a "Nostalgia Drag Car". I put an ad in www.442.com and several other places, and received a flurry of activity for a while mostly from people trying to buy it for cheap money, and then no further responses.
In the fall of 2005, the owner and I came to an agreement. He would sell me the car less the race engine, headers, wheels and tires. Since then I have installed a correct 1967 400CID motor rebuilt to W-30 specs that I had purchased earlier, and made the modifications necessary to make the car street worthy. I have also installed the W-30 air cleaner I had also purchased earlier and reproduction W-30 inner air ducts. I will install the outer air ducts when I receive them. Golden Oldies Performance, Inc in Wiscasset, ME did all of the work which turned out to be quite a bit more than originally anticipated.
The car is a 1967 Spanish Red Cutlass Supreme Sports Coupe built in Framingham, MA the 2nd week of April 1967 and was originally equipped with a the Oldsmobile 400 CID V8, Quadrajet Carburetor, Muncie 4 speed floor shift (no console) and black interior with bucket seats.
It was purchased on April 20, 1967 from Merrimack Street Garage in Manchester, NH with drag racing in mind. It was raced at Oxford Plains Dragway in Oxford Plains, ME (97 mph in 1/8 mile) and Winterport Dragway in Winterport, ME where it set a record (at that time) of over 140 mph in 1/4 mile. The original owner told me that with the race engine & 10" slicks he could pull the front wheels off the ground easily. He had wanted to purchase the car as a W-30 but the dealer "talked him out of it". At some point, the original owner installed the W-30 Trac-Pac (all that was left of the Trak Pak when I got it was the trunk battery tray and the cutouts for the air induction scoops). Apparently the car was still not fast enough to suit the owner and it was completely rebuilt to be a dedicated drag car. I have been in contact with the original owner and hope to learn more of the car's history.
Although the car
can't ever become original again (the original motor and drive train
is long gone) I have brought it back to the Trac-Pac configuration
it once held.
I enjoy taking the cars to the local cruise spots and going to car shows. Although all the cars have won trophies, this is not important to me. I enjoy meeting other people with automobile interests and like to hear the spectators reminisce. When I decided to become an Oldsmobile owner again, I expected to have one or two cars. Well, I now have five (‘62 Starfire Convertible, (2) ‘65 442 convertibles, ‘66 442 Club Coupe, and '67 442 Sports Coupe) and no more garages.
1964 442 Holiday Coupe (Ebony Black)
I purchased the 1964 442 from a fellow club member after he experienced an engine fire. The fire department was just across the street and responded quickly so the damage was confined to the engine bay although the hood and fender were damaged when they tried to get inside to put the fire out. After disassembly, we determined that the car had previous damage which was not repaired properly necessitating the replacement of the right quarter and straightening out lots of dents. We also determined that water had entered the engine when the fire was extinguished necessitating an engine rebuild. We aslo determined that during a previous engine rebuild, low compression pistons and the standard cam were installed - the rebuild was done with the correct components. The car was restored byGolden Oldies Performance, Inc in Wiscasset, ME and completed in 2009.
1935 F35 5 Passenger Coupe Street Rod
I had thought my collection of Oldsmobiles was complete since I had one of each year that interested me but 5 was an odd number (I have room for 6 cars) and I started looking around. I considered a 1963 Jetfire but discarded the idea after learning they could be very tempermental. I also thought of an Oldsmobile powered Ford Roadster but then realized they were very impractical, especially for someone of my stature. I happened to be looking around ebay when I came across this beauty. After speaking with the owner several times, I bid on it and, while I won the auction, I didn't break the reserve. I spoke with the owner several more times and we came to an agreement. The car was purchased and arrived in Massachusetts by Intercity Lines on November 6, 2007.
The car was built by Jerry Cawhorn of Vian, OK who found the car in the woods near Jay. He completely stripped the Olds down to the frame, sand blasted it, rust proofed it and put it back together piece by piece, using stainless steel bolts and new everthing to make this a car to drive. The car has no rust and took 7 years to build, Being a 1935, the doors (inside) were put together with wood. Jerry painstakingly rebuilt the doors and replaced the wood with metal where he could. The floor of the car was completely replaced and the dash is all custom. 1935 was the first year with a solid steel top and the only year to use the suicide doors. A Norm Grabowski skull shift knob gives the inside a touch of attitude - Norm created it specially and it really matches the car. The cars name is Vermin, named for the look you see in your rear view mirror as it bears down on you from behind and has a vermin graphic on the C pillars. The car has been driven to street rod events in the mid-west and best known at the Mini Nats in Colorado. This is the car that you envision guys jumping out with pin stripped suits and tommie guns in their hands. It draws a crowd where ever it goes and is an award winner. The body style (it is officially a 5 passenger coupe) of this car is a rare find.
As of September 2010, The Car now is all Oldsmobile. It has a 1967 400 CID V8 rebuilt to W30 specs and fitted with a 1966 L-69 Tri-Carb.
2003 Final 500 Aurora
I have been using a non-Oldsmobile as a daily driver for years - most recently a 2006 Subaru Outback. Don’t get me wrong, Subaru is a fine reliable car and all of them have all wheel drive – a major advantage in the snowy northeast, but in the back of my mind, I have always had the thought that I should be driving an Oldsmobile as a daily driver. Now that I am retired, I don’t have to go out regardless of the weather and when I saw a 2003 “Final 500” Aurora listed on eBay, I decided the time had come. I was also influenced by the fact that my daughter’s 1999 Subaru Forester was in need of replacement, so I placed my bid using esnipe (a service that will place your eBay bid in the last 6 seconds of the auction – this allows you to remain anonymous until the end). Guess what – I won the auction!
I contacted the seller and Intercity Lines to arrange payment and transport, but unfortunately November is “snowbird season” and Intercity couldn’t deliver the car until almost 3 weeks later. The Aurora was delivered on the morning of November 18 by a husband / wife Intercity team (I can’t say enough for Intercity Lines – they are the best) and I arranged to transfer the registration from my Outback to it the same day and have been driving the Aurora ever since.
The Aurora is classified as a “near luxury” model and certainly is. This car has every option except the navigation system and is a pleasure to drive. It has memory seats, mirrors, radio and climate control that can be set to automatically adjust for two drivers and the 4.0 liter V8 (similar to the Northstar) provides excellent performance. It also has many other features including a vehicle stabilization system which make it handle competently. I was pleased that it made almost 26 miles/gallon on a recent trip to Maine on 87 octane gas.
My Aurora (I am the second owner) is number 110 of the final 500, came complete with all the final 500 documentation, and is in excellent condition for 97,000 miles. These cars routinely are good for several 100,000 miles when properly maintained and I have no reason to think this one will be any different.
Now I am finally “all Oldsmobile” and can feel good about it. I wonder if I can convince Claire to give up her Forester for a “Final 500 Bravada”?
OCA member 029666, NAOC member 4929, Eastern Massachusetts GMO member 178, NEOC, Rusty Nuts Car Club