69 Oldsmobile Cutlass Frame-off
Jay came to us wanting to finally complete a build he had begun back in highschool with his father. The car came in half-assembled, with the engine in boxes, and dreams on the shelf. After inspecting the car and discussing Jay's goals, we discovered a major problem: the rear end was way out of alignment. One wheel was significantly pushed back. Upon further inspection, it became apparent that she had been hit at some point, over 20 years ago.. and unfortunatley hacked back together. Instead of straightening the frame, someone had lengthened one side in the front, so that the front end was square, but the rear remained triangulated. Not what anyone wanted to hear.
We decided to start over and scrap the existing frame in favor of a known good frame, and build her from the ground up with the proper treatment this Cutlass deserves.
Above is how she arrived. Front end and firewall prepped, but not to our standards. After fitting new wheels that Jay had spec'd is when we realized that the frame was doomed, and began to break her down.
Measuring the old frame, confirming our fears..
Off came the body, and in came the new frame back in to double check tolerances. All was well with a few hours of straightening, and ready for powdercoat.
New on the left, old on the right. We pre-plumbed new lines and then began to transfer suspension.
Shortly after, the newly assembled 455 went in, complete with March Serpentine drive. Then the trans, new drive shaft, was installed.
While the body was off, we decided the firewall was inadequate, and Bryan started welding up major holes in anticipation of a new under-dash Vintage Air HVAC system.
Above you can see the patch panels, filled holes, floated surfaces, and the finished product.. Came out pretty nicely for a "quick" job.
Finally, the moment came where we could give the body a new home. Cab was carefully lowered down, and the bolts dropped right into the frame and body, like they were made for each other...
We then began finishing the exhaust, and prepping the undercarriage, before getting onto the fun task of installing a new wiring harness.
The spaghetti monster strikes again..
Front fenders and core support back together. The new custom-configured SMI (Sean Murphy Induction) Quadrajet waits patiently to feed the sleeping beast. Nice to see her looking like a car again.
We have finally got the beast running and driving, and have begun to shake her down of any niggles. Its almost a shame that this beauty has to brave the road and get dirty..
All initial tests went well, and the 455 roared to life willingly. After systems checks, we took her around the block, and she actually drove quite well. After we were confident, we took her on a break-in drive, varying the speed and load of the motor on the highway. Everything went pretty well, so we dropped her off for alignment. Unfortunately, we ran into a snag..
We had brake fluid leaking from the rear, and saw evidence the caliper/banjo bolt was hitting the frame on full extension.
We flipped the calipers to the back of the axle, and still had clearance issues (note, these are on upside down, just checking for clearance. they were even worse when on right side up). Given that we received this vehicle in boxes half built, we knew something had t be missing.. and was. So back to CPP to get the proper shock relocation brackets.
Stay tuned for further updates, we are at a standstill while we wait for parts on backorder..
#Oldsmobile #Cutlass #455 #frameoff