Custom '61 Bubbletop - ClassicOldsmobile.com

Custom '61 Bubbletop

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Old April 21st, 2013, 04:25 PM
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Custom '61 Bubbletop

We are working on a customer build of a 1961 Olds Super 88 Holiday Coupe. The owner of the car wanted something built in the style of D'Agostino's Golden Starfire. When finished, this car will be painted House of Kolor Kandy Pagan gold. The roof and side coves will be painted a slightly darker shade for contrast.

The body stayed on the chassis so I don't have photos of the work we did on the suspension, but we did clean and paint all of the front and rear suspension components. We upgraded the front drum brakes to disc, and we replaced all brake and fuel lines. The car was lowered using 90's Impala lowering springs.

The body has been modified by shaving the door handles and all trim, the fuel door has been shaved and the filler moved to inside the trunk and a radio antenna has been tunelled into the right quarter panel. We made a tube grill from 1/2 inch square stock and swapped out the factory headlights for Lucas flamethrower lights.

We modified the rear valance panel with a recessed box for the license plate, filled in the backup lights and added more of the square stock. Last, we put holes in the valance for exhaust tips.

The car is out now for a stainless exhaust system, stereo installation and a tuck and roll interior.

When its back I'll update this with the interior and the goodies under the hood.
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Old April 21st, 2013, 05:05 PM
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Cool build I like the color choice it should really pop The '61 is a great candidate for this kind of customizing.
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Old April 21st, 2013, 08:07 PM
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Can't wait to see more. Love the color.
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Old April 22nd, 2013, 08:02 AM
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I love 61's. In 61, my family was in Harlan Iowa for the summer. My dad was a pipeline welder so we spent many summers all over the US. The Olds dealer in town had a new Super 88 bubble top on their showroom floor. It was Fawn with Fawn interior and it had a four speed. The only one I ever saw or knew of for 61. It might have been a special order, but I remember thinking how cool it would be to have that car. Dad bought a Super 88 four door sedan, not really cool, but still a nice car.
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Old April 22nd, 2013, 07:24 PM
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'61 was a very distinctive and beautiful year, perfect for customizing. Can't wait to see more pics!
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Old April 22nd, 2013, 07:30 PM
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very cool project
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Old April 23rd, 2013, 08:32 AM
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Very nice
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Old May 11th, 2013, 03:47 PM
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While the car is out of our hands, here's some additional photos.

There were rust issues with the car. Both rockers had rust on the bottoms and inside, so we cut them off and fabricated new ones. We also cut out the center section of the door and made a new one because of rust pinholes. There is always rust hiding where you least expect it!

Last is a photo of the console we made. The upper section has two motorized doors that open clamshell-style to cover the radio.
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Old May 11th, 2013, 06:11 PM
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Man, this is going to be sweet!
You have to Love the 61's.
What a unique Oldsmobile.
Perfect for a custom job, nice.
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Old June 28th, 2013, 10:53 AM
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The car may still be out of our hands for the moment, but we still have parts to restore. Since the car sat for a long while there was significant rust in some areas. We had to totally remake the piece that runs between both headlight/fender supports. We threw a few beads in it for strength, and then we'll just paint it black since it won't be seen.

Both the service brake pedal assembly and e-brake pedal assembly were painted body color. Attached to each was an unpainted piece of metal. I decided to clean some of the dirt off before painting it, and on a whim I used the buffing wheel. I was surprised to see these pieces are stainless steel! You can see the before and after photos. Once the pedal assemblies are painted and these pieces are all shined up, they will look great (if anyone can actually see them).
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Old August 1st, 2013, 03:54 PM
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You guys have talent for sure. I want to put disc brakes on my 61 but am waiting for someone else to do it first. What kind did you use?
Thanks
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Old August 2nd, 2013, 01:14 PM
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Thanks for the kind words. We went to Scarebird for one of their conversion kits. They sell the plate to mount the calipers, heavy duty mounting bolts and a hub. You have to get the rotors, calipers and hoses. They tell you what rotors and calipers to use, and the ones they specify are readily available at RockAuto and NAPA, etc. It mounted right on with no problems and is strong and well made. If I recall, it cost about $700 for all the components.

One additional upgrade we did was to put in a dual piston master. This did create some clearance issues for us with the mounting bracket and the hard lines from the master cylinder hitting the inner fender, but it was easy to modify the bracket and re-bend the lines in a different orientation.

I hope this helps. Good luck with yours.

We're still waiting to get the car back from the upholstery shop. We will update this thread when we can.
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Old August 2nd, 2013, 02:12 PM
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Nice work. Looking forward to
more shots. You Jersey boys need
to post images of some of your
other work. We like pics...
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Old January 3rd, 2014, 03:00 PM
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We are still waiting for this car to come back from the upholstery shop. The owner is using someone who is known for doing high end cars and resto work. He didn't seem pleased to be doing custom work like this and is just dragging along.

In the meantime to keep cold beer in the refrigerator we just painted a '73 Buick Riviera pearl white for one guy, we're helping another guy chop his '54 Plymouth, and we're building a '47 Chevy as a traditional custom to be a full on show car.

The other day I fired up the 3D software to attempt to model the '61 Olds as we envision it. This is just rough, more about shapes and paint materials. There are lots of details left to model.
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Old February 2nd, 2014, 12:38 PM
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nice 61... i was hoping maybe it was the one i sold last year.. the guy i sold it to said he would keep me up on the build .. but i havent heard a word from him yet.. i hope the guy gets on here and starts a thread... i wish i never sold that car now, it was a great car until it sat around too long...

http://s202.photobucket.com/user/rcp...1olds.jpg.html
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Old January 22nd, 2015, 08:30 PM
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Subscribed. IMO, the '61 has the best lines and styling out there. Will be fun watching the customization and progress on this!
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Old January 22nd, 2015, 09:23 PM
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I like the front grille treatment.

It almost looks like a 63 Olds from the front .
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Old January 22nd, 2015, 09:42 PM
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Love Those 61 Olds "Bubble-Tops"!

I am still upset with myself for selling my 61 "Bubble-Top" over 10 years ago now! I keep trying to get my current 65 Cutlass/442 to the same level, but it will never have have much style as the 61. Keep up the good work, I'm looking forward to seeing the finished project.

Here are a some pics of my 61 Olds

http://s862.photobucket.com/user/rcd...-OLDS.jpg.html

http://s862.photobucket.com/user/rcd...LDS-1.jpg.html

Here is a link to MY Olds...For Sale in the Goodguys Gazette...Only $125K

http://www.goodguysclassifieds.com/c...ynamic_88.html

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Old January 22nd, 2015, 09:46 PM
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The cool thing about the 61 is that it already looks like it was customize before you touch it.
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Old January 23rd, 2015, 10:00 AM
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I like the look of that car, I always thought Olds should have built a coupe, I make the aluminium panels for the side of the 61 Starfires if you want to add them.
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Old January 23rd, 2015, 02:10 PM
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Someone must have seen the (John D'Agostino Built Olds) Images of the 1961 Bubble Top that are on the Internet,and he has a '57 and a '58 olds all done in gold. The '61 can be seen at Bonhams.com '61 OLDSMOBILE Super 88. Larry

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Old January 29th, 2015, 11:04 AM
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Thanks to everyone who is still following this. Believe it or not, we still haven't gotten the car back from the upholstery shop, they have had it for over a year. The owner of the car chose this place, and we know they had all of the fabrics and materials (including the carpet) before the car went there. We have a couple of shelves full of parts, hopefully the car comes back before we forget where everything goes!

"...Someone must have seen the (John D'Agostino Built Olds) Images of the 1961 Bubble Top..."

That is correct, the owner wants his car in the style of the Golden Starfire. The plan is to give him something that resembles it but is not a copy. We were fortunate to meet the then-owner of the Golden Starfire at a show in Westport, CT in 2009, so we had a chance to crawl around the car and get a sense of what was done to it.

When (if?) we get the car back I'll post updates. Thanks again for staying interested in this project. Personally I can't wait to get back on this one.
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Old January 29th, 2015, 11:19 AM
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Reminds me of my fathers 61. I'll be watching.
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Old March 13th, 2015, 11:46 AM
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We finally got the car back, after almost two years! I think the owner was tired of hearing the upholsterer say he needed "a little more time". Of course the car came as it was getting ready to snow, and we already have a '63 Caddy in the shop for some rust repair, so it will be a few weeks before we get started. In the meantime here is a quick pic.

We still have to get the car in the shop and do an assessment of its condition. Because of the snow that was on the ground the car is in my friend's house garage (his shop is out back).

The first order of business will be to pull the interior and store it safely, then get to work under the hood do all the wiring and hoses and belts and get everything running and safe.
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Old March 13th, 2015, 03:32 PM
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Wow, it's gonna have some flash, nice.
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Old October 18th, 2015, 06:10 PM
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Here's a little update on the Olds. We haven't forgotten about it, but as we told the owner, there hasn't been much to see. We've been hiding lines and wires, and tuning and adjusting things under the hood and behind the dash. But luckily there are a few 'goodies'.

We have some pics of the power steering fluid reservoir that we made. It fits between the battery and the headlight bucket. Also there is a shot of the bulkhead fittings for the a/c unit. We hid the hard lines inside the inner fender. Also a few shots of the engine compartment as we get closer to firing it up.

I apologize in advance if the photos aren't in order. Cars are my hobby, not computers.

Thanks for following this thread.
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Old October 18th, 2015, 06:36 PM
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So nice to see you've kept the 394 in it.
Instead of throwing in some pukin' LS-1 or big block Chevy in it!
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Old April 10th, 2016, 05:31 PM
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Here's an update on our project. The engine runs, the brakes work and all of the wiring is (so far) holding up. The last bit of metal fabrication is the hood. This is one ugly large boring panel, so we added a pair of scoops. The trick here is not to make the scoops look too modern or too street rod, and because there are only straight lines on the hood we don't want the scoops curvy.


Once again we used the body side scallop as a design shape (like with the console and the air cleaner we made) and with the help of a simple hammer-form shaped the back end of the scoops. The scoops are low and the hood will be hammered down slightly in front of each scoop. The opening will be finished off with thin square tubing similar to the grill that we made.


After this we'll be on to bodywork and paint!


For all of you "hard core" types, the next issue, #70, of The Rodders Journal will feature an article about us and the clone of the Kopper Kart that we built several years ago. So check it out!
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Old April 10th, 2016, 05:37 PM
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looking good.. a lot of good quality work being done
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Old April 10th, 2016, 05:48 PM
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love the clips of the 57's on your page.. i was from south jersey, my uncle and i both had 57 chevies in the early and mid 60's.. wish i had some pics.. but cameras were hard to come by in those days.. someone once sent me a pic taken at acto of my car but the computer it was on fried and i lost it..
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Old April 10th, 2016, 05:51 PM
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X2 on the clips from back in the 70's. Brought back a lot of memories of my youth in E Brunswick, NJ.
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Old April 10th, 2016, 07:11 PM
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Very nice work!
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Old May 5th, 2016, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by tru-blue 442 View Post
Nice work. Looking forward to
more shots. You Jersey boys need
to post images of some of your
other work. We like pics...
Oh boy, you might have opened up a can of worms here! I've got LOTS of pictures.. been at this game for 40 years now! I'll start with 5 or 6 and see how you guys like this. If you want more, just say so!
Oh..and I've got the original grill from this 61 for sale on Ebay right now, it was re-plated, a nice job, too. But we are going with the tube grill instead. Make me an offer!
My chopped 55 Olds, now sitting waiting resto.
A 56 Ford ragtop I restored/customixed, done in pearl paints to match the factory colors
The Kopper Kart, at the Fairfile CT concours show
My buddy's 70 Skylark convertible, in Candy Brandywine
My 61 Dodge, a custom that was being built by the guy who taught me how to do custom bodywork and paint, John Pazsik. A local legend! A friend found it sitting and rotting, unfinished, and got it for me. Finished it up with Metalflake Fuschia and Pearl white interior, and mixed up some Candy paint to match the Fuschia, and "panel painted" it along with Abalone Metalflake.
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Old July 5th, 2016, 02:56 PM
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Hope everyone had a fun and safe July 4! We kept busy all weekend with a few projects:


Some nice kandy Pagan gold was sprayed on the inside of the 61 Olds trunk lid; the 63 Caddy has a no-holds-barred roof treatment; and the 47 Chevy even received some attention. The front clip is off so we can weld some inner structure and detail the chassis and engine compartment.
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Old December 28th, 2017, 04:39 PM
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After some fits and starts we are back on the car and it will be job one until it is finished. After an additional 50 or so hours of body work we finally got color!

We called the pinstriper and told him to oil up the brushes, we'll be needing him in a few weeks. We've got the motor running and tuned, once the paint is cut and buffed we'll be into final assembly. Fingers crossed!
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Old December 28th, 2017, 05:22 PM
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Awesome!
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Old December 28th, 2017, 11:22 PM
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More than a little interested on how this one turns out.


btw I like what you did with the rear valence.....I plan on filling in the HUGE backup lights and thought about deleting them altogether but maybe a smaller light will do. I like the ribs you've added also. The whole effect is what I like on a "custom" is wondering what is stock and what has been changed.

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Old January 5th, 2018, 02:15 PM
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Nice I can't wait to see it finished. What are you doing for a grill?
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Old January 11th, 2018, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by KQQLCAT View Post
Nice I can't wait to see it finished. What are you doing for a grill?

We made a tube grille that consists of an outer bar around the outside of the headlights framing the opening, and five horizontal bars going across the inside of the headlights, each one cut to length so the ends make a semi-circle around the inside edge of the headlights.

Unfortunately I never took a picture of it. If I do I'll post it.

Thanks for following the build.
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Old January 11th, 2018, 02:51 PM
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Found a shot of the grill installed.
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