This page is to document the assembly process of putting the car back together.
This page will be for parts that actually leave my basement and go back where
they came from. First order of business was marrying the engine and trans. I am
using the Supercars Unlimited pilot bearing adapter because I have an automatic
crankshaft in the 400.
Next I wheeled the combo into position in front of the car. Not an easy task
when my garage floor has a huge crack and a million holes in it, of which the
cherry picker rolled into 750,000 of them. I got a blister on my thumb from
pushing and pulling it to get it rolling again.
For the first time since who knows when, theres a Rocket engine in between
these frame rails.
Alternator, fuel pump, fuel line, Z bar, clutch return spring/bracket, starter,
thermostat housing, bypass hose, starter cable tube, power steering
Here is the core support after I installed the headlight buckets, T3 headlights, the
center brace, the hood latch, lower radiator cradles and the hood bumpers. The grill
is on there just to see what it looks like. The one thing that was already done when
I bought the car was these headlight buckets. Why the guy decided to blast and
paint the mounts and buckets first Ill never know.
Fuel tank installed. This was a pain to do because its a new tank and new straps. I
had to use long carridge bolts to get it tight, then I removed them one at a time and
install the correct bolts. For some reason you cant hold the tank up and bolt up the
straps. The straps come up about 3 inches from the bolts. Thats why I had to do
what I did. The factory probably did this in 45 seconds. It took me 45 minutes.
Straps are black per originals.
As every GM manual transmission Muscle car owner knows, Muncie shifters suck.
As in suck hardcore. The drive home from the dealer was long enough to know that
a Hurst was going to be your next purchase. I have an original shifter out of a 65
442, but its on the shelf. I bought it for the stock handle, which was often tossed out
with the stock shifter. I used an adapter that allowed me to bolt the stock handle to
the Hurst shifter I installed. The console had to be shimmed higher to clear the
Also, I positioned the console brackets where they need to be. Olds helped us out
by punching the holes for the top bracket even if the car wasnt ordered with a
console. The top bracket was bolted on while two on the tunnel were welded.
I bought the lower boot and retainer for the shifter and had the console brackets
welded down. Then I glued new firewall insulation to the backside of the firewall and
that opened up some new areas to work on. Brake booster, pedal bracket and
pedals, accelerator linkage, and the e-brake handle are now back on the car.
Probably the worst part of having to take this thing to multiple shops was its inability
to turn via the steering wheel. Every time it went somewhere I had to kick the wheels
to get it to turn. When I got all the lower dash parts on I figured Id remedy that
problem. Column, wheel, floor seal/plate, and clutch rod boot are installed and ready
to serve duty. This was the first task that my son had a hand in. He set his little patio
chair inside the car so I could rest the wheel on it while I lined everything up. He was
so proud that he could help.
Photo of the lower steering shaft and the clutch pedal pushrod. You can see
that just under the brake booster. Clutch pedal freely moves up and down.
Another photo of the column, this time showing the lower plate area. Notice the
speedometer cable, located behind the brake pedal, has been installed. I found out
that this part had to go on before the shifter. Not the first time I have had to
remove a part to add another. I hate when that happens.
Over on the other side of the car my wife and I installed the heater boxes. Some
jobs you just cant do by yourself. So I had my loving wife help me do this. I am
looking for some kind of sprayable tar to seal the outer edges and the wire grommet
The only place to get power steering pressure hoses that are accurate, as in rubber
with clamped on ends, is Inline Tube. Since I have boycotted them I am using a low
milage original hose. Gates makes a hose but it is wrapped fabric and is nowhere
close to being right. So I found a hose that still has the factory part number and white
stripe to use instead. The return hose is a parts store transmission hose that I
denumbered with laquer thinner. Then I added the factory yellow stripe, applied with
I had the air cleaner top replated and its now very shiny, too shiny. Most originals that
Ive seen have a stainless look to them. I dont know if thats because people tried to
polish them and put scratches in them or if it was plated that way from Olds. The
assembly manual shows the housing as chrome, but they arent exactly shiny. I
blasted it in hopes that the rough texture would show thru but it didnt. The sides are
smooth and the top has some texture to it but not much.
I had the bumpers done way back in 2004. They were the first things that I had
restored. Since then they have been in my parents attic waiting for me to get this car
done. Since it was going to be painted "soon" I figured it was time to fetch them and
get them ready. Add them to the list of things that didnt go as planned. The
bumpers had been re-replated, as they didnt come out as good as Id liked. I
examined them a second time upon pickup and deemed them good to go. When I
got them out of the attic I saw a huge dent that wasnt fixed on the front one. The
dent was in front of the bumper brace. That required them to remove in order to fix
the dent. In the end they redid that one 3 times and I now have a patch in my once
rust free bumper. The rear has a dent that I can see but I am so pissed at this shop
that its not going back there. Maybe in a few years Ill send them out to a good shop
and have them redone.
I was told four months and four months later I received my side trim, all nice and
shiny. I had all the pot metal side pieces and the front of the hood trim redone by A-W
plating here in Detroit.
The assembly process started as soon as I got the car home.
After I installed all the outside trim, I moved on to the wiring, interior and glass. Glass
wasnt that bad, wiring was simple, and the interior was tedious.
This car was delivered with steelies and poverty caps. Tires are U.S. Royal 7.75x14
Red Lines on original 442 wheels.
Trunk compartment finished. The tire was the spare in my friends 65 Cyclone. For
some reason he didnt want it so he gave it to me. Its never turned tread on the
ground. It still has the rubber nubs and the white coding on the tread face. The tire is
date coded 3-65, the same month my Olds was produced. I used one of my R code
wheels to mount it.
At this point I swallowed hard and started the car. After a few sputters the 400 fired
up and ran great. Here is a video of it on idle, after my dad and I broke it in.
Chrome drip rail moldings from Ames Pontiac. Cutlass and GTO share these pieces.
Ive read that reproduction batteries are hit or miss so I didnt buy one. I bought a parts
store battery and added a battery topper to it. They are made from smooth plastic so I
took some Plasti-dip and smeared it on top to give the topper an authentic look. It
doesnt look exactly like a Tar Top but it looks better than a plain piece of plastic.
To the best of my knowledge rear seat belts were not a factory option on two door
Cutlasses. But I do think one could get them installed thru the dealer. I found these
on eBay. The seller said they came out of a 65 GTO. They came with the correct
bolts and washers to install them in the rear the 442. The rear floor doesnt have
holes but it does have flat spots for the round washers and drill points to make holes
for the bolts. So they were real easy to install.