Day one. I paid $800 for this car I found on ebay. The seller advised that it was just a parts car, and not worth fixing, but maybe feeling a little overconfident, I borrowed a van and a trailer and drove from St. Louis to Lawrence, KS in 103 degree heat and bought it anyway. I figured this would be a real departure from the old full size Mopar convertibles I had restored years before. The seller had warned about it being rough, and rough it was. It looked relatively straight in the auction photos, but obviously there were no photos of how rusty the floors, trunk floor, doors, quarterpanels and fenders actually were. I considered backing out of the deal and just taking the negative feedback and heading east, but he talked me into staying long enough to at least hear it run, and then take it for a quick ride around the block first. It started up easily, ran well and sounded good, so I fell hopelessly in love and had to bring this true head-turning car home.
This is my 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Convertible.
Day two. I knew there were tons of repro parts available for this car, and that was one of the reasons I was really looking forward to getting started on it. This was/is going to be a better car than any I had done previously.
I'm not one to keep material possessions forever. In the past, the large Mopar convertibles were sometimes a little difficult to get rid of when I was tired of looking at them. (times have changed) I'm not in the resale business, but I definitely enjoy selling the old toys so I have the room and the cash to buy new ones.
I think I actually enjoy working on my classic cars more than driving them, as after they were finished, I always got bored and rarely kept them for more than a year or so.
What I thought would be different about this project, was the greater parts availability, and the fact that I was now old enough to actually be able to afford to buy them! Even though I've restored a number of cars before, at this point I still believed some patch panels, seat covers and plenty of my good old fashioned elbow grease would make me a nice driver convertible in a summer or two. So I started spending money, and piling up the parts. Shown here on the driveway are:
2 used original fenders and doors.
used original trunk lid from '72 sedan, bright yellow.
2 reproduction Goodmark quarterpanels.
4 used original painted wheels, 2 actually came on this car.
Reproduction 7 peice trunk floor. 3 floor sections, 2 stiffener rails and 2 rails which the gas tank mounts against.
2 rear inner quarterpanel to trunk floor panels.
2 outer rear wheelhouses.
2 front fender patches (which I ended up not using)
4 piece reproduction interior floors.
The blue fenders and doors came from a '72 Cutlass in Greenville, South Carolina. I bought them from an advertiser on an Oldsmobile message board. I got a good deal on these nice straight used panels and paid to ship them home.
Rust free stuff is about impossible to find in St. Louis. The SC doors are excellent, but the front fenders are rusty at the bottom. They are very nice and straight otherwise, so are worth fixing. Both doors and fenders all came from the same car, and have a funny paint history. That car was originally white, someone painted it dark green. Later, both the green and white were stripped from the exterior (but not the jambs) and that car was then painted light metallic blue.