How This 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass Went From a Christmas Wish to a 463-Cubic-Inch Pro-Tourer
It was all he wanted as a teen and 10 years later, it stands as a perfect mesh of old- and new-school speed.
Have you ever asked for cash as a gift? They say gifting money is tacky because it requires zero thought and sentiment, but cold hard cash can also be the gift of possibilities. On Christmas morning 2010, a then 13-year old Pat Gorman had only one wish—400 bucks. It was all he needed to reach his goal of $1,400 required to buy a rusty, Astro blue 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass S. Fast forward 10 years later, this once-traditional muscle car is now a pro-touring Olds-mo-beast, and the story of how they built it is true to old-school tradition.
The Christmas story on how Pat became the third and current owner of the Cutlass is worthy of a Hallmark movie. Pat wanted to buy a project car to fix-up by the time he was old enough to drive, and he wanted an Oldsmobile. Why? Because his father worked and saved to buy a 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme convertible during his early teens. Unfortunately for Pat's father, that Olds was lost in a freak engine-bay fire the day he got his driver's license.
For months, Pat searched online for the right project car, and by "right" we mean affordable. This '70 Olds suddenly appeared on eBay with a buy-now price of $1,400. Close to Pat's price range, but he was still short $400.
On Christmas Day 2010, Pat received the $400 he needed, but the sentiment was bittersweet as weeks before the car's listing had vanished. He had the cash, but the Cutlass wasn't available and he decided to hold off on searching for another project. However, the small cardboard box where the money was stored included a set of stainless-steel car keys. At first, Pat thought they were the keys to his father's 1977 GMC truck and was ecstatic about having that as his first project car. Like a kid with a new Red Ryder BB gun, he ran out to the backyard to unlock the truck only to discover that the keys didn't fit in the ignition. A moment of confusion power-shifted into unexpected shock as he walked out of the backyard and saw the Astro-blue 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme parked in the driveway.
The car was technically a running project, but after decades of Connecticut winters, the Olds was being eaten away from the fenders up by rust. Pat and his father completed the body-off restoration, interior and suspension, all in their driveway. He was then able to drive the Olds on the last day of his junior year of high school, sporting a spray-can black paint job and running a 330-cubic-inch V8 from a 1965 Oldsmobile with a 200r4 transmission.
The Oldsmobile now wears Twilight blue and turns its wheels using a 455 V8 bored to 463 with Edelbrock heads, Eagle rods and crankshaft, SRP pistons and a Holly Sniper EFI. It manages to stay cool using an aluminum radiator with Derale dual electric fans. Finally for the powertrain, its sending all that twist to the rear wheels through a TH400 automatic transmission with a shift kit.
Pat wanted this ‘70s muscle car to handle, so he gave it a catalog's worth of suspension parts from UMI Performance that includes a corner max handling kit, tubular rear control arms, rear sway-bar, shocks and a set of Wilwood disc brakes.
Rather than turn the Olds into a full restomod, Pat opted to keep the vibe as period-correct as possible. One would have to get on the ground and look under the wheel-well to admire all the work invested into this Cutlass S. A Competition Engineering half-cage with safety harnesses draped over a set of Corbeau CR1 bucket seats gives a taste, though.
The Oldsmobeast was his daily ride in high school but has now been promoted to light weekend duty when the sun is out. Pat wanted to use the Olds in autocross events but the COVID pandemic has put the kibosh on those plans, at least temporarily. Still, Pat has owned this car for 10 years and it holds a priceless amount of sentimental value as a father-son build. Pat is 22 going on 23 and is a recent mechanical engineer graduate looking for employment.
If I were him, I'd take the Olds to job interviews as a rolling resume.
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