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Hello! New Cutlass Owner (1972)

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Hello! New Cutlass Owner (1972)

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Old March 13th, 2018, 06:09 PM
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Smile Hello! New Cutlass Owner (1972)

Hello!

I just wanted to say hello as I just registered at this forum, but have been reading numerous threads for the past few years. I've always been involved in modifying cars - my last car was a 1999 Camaro which I heavily modified and the LS1 was a great platform to mod. I won't get into the details but she was a great weekend warrior! Here is a little drive-by video of it:


Anyways, I sold the Camaro, and purchased the family Cutlass. Cool fact about the car: it's been in the family since it was purchased new off the showroom floor. My grandmother purchased the car new in 1972. When she passed, it went to my Mom. My Mom and Dad did a full frame-off restoration of the Cutlass when they owned it for 10-12 years, and repainted it the original factory color. Now, I own her! I love the car to death already.

Car basics: 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, 350/TH350, Convertible.

Since I've had the car for a few years, I have installed:

-New Suspension: UMI Lower and Upper A-Arms, 2-in lowering performance springs, Shocks, Sway Bars, Rear Control Arms, etc.
-Installed disc brakes in the front, with new master, booster, lines, new drums in the rear, etc.
-Hedman Shorty Headers
-Full tune-up (dist., plugs, wires, etc.)
-All new factory-style Gauges (tick-tock-tack, etc.)
-New Delphi steering unit (tighter gearing, better steering feel, etc.)
-Painted the engine block, cleaned up the engine bay a bit.
-442 Style grille
-New tires on stock SSII (14 inch)
-New Stereo
-Window Tint
-And a bunch more smaller, odds and ends here and there.

I now am ready for some engine/drive train updates, and cannot wait to learn more from here and see what can be done while keeping the originality of the car at the same time.
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Old March 13th, 2018, 06:24 PM
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And here are some older photos over the past few years, as there has been some minor changes to the car since then, but the overall idea is still the same. I'll need to take some actual good photos (not on my cell phone) this season!















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Old March 13th, 2018, 06:32 PM
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Very nice, welcome to the site.
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Old March 13th, 2018, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by oldcutlass View Post
Very nice, welcome to the site.
Thank you!
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Old March 13th, 2018, 07:28 PM
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Welcome aboard from another convertible driver!

Originally Posted by 72GoldOlds350 View Post
I now am ready for some engine/drive train updates, and cannot wait to learn more from here and see what can be done while keeping the originality of the car at the same time.
Do you know if the engine is factory, specifically are the pistons original? I ask because the factory pistons (and basic aftermarket rebuilder cast pistons) have HUGE dishes which result in about 8:1 compression ratio, so you can't go very big with the camshaft before overcamming the engine.

Do you know what rear gears the car has? Most have the basic 2.56 or maybe 2.73 gears, so doing a gear swap to something in the 3.xx range will really wake the car up. Back in the 80s I swapped the factory 2.56 rear gears for a 3.08 axle, then later for a 3.55 axle, and both times it felt like the engine had a huge increase in horsepower. That is where I would recommend you start for performance upgrades.
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Old March 14th, 2018, 05:14 AM
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Nice car. Saddle Bronze and white is a great color combo. It looks really nice being lowered a little too.

Terry
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Old March 14th, 2018, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Fun71 View Post
Welcome aboard from another convertible driver!


Do you know if the engine is factory, specifically are the pistons original? I ask because the factory pistons (and basic aftermarket rebuilder cast pistons) have HUGE dishes which result in about 8:1 compression ratio, so you can't go very big with the camshaft before overcamming the engine.

Do you know what rear gears the car has? Most have the basic 2.56 or maybe 2.73 gears, so doing a gear swap to something in the 3.xx range will really wake the car up. Back in the 80s I swapped the factory 2.56 rear gears for a 3.08 axle, then later for a 3.55 axle, and both times it felt like the engine had a huge increase in horsepower. That is where I would recommend you start for performance upgrades.

All I know is the engine is not original (the car came with a 350, so replaced or rebuilt but not sure when as my parents do not remember...) Sometime in the 80s. It's a 2 barrel carb, has 7A stamped on the heads, and is gutless. Not sure if the 7A stamp gives any clues to what year the engine could be?

I plan on upgrading to a TH400 as a friend has a core for me, and 3.42 to 3.73 Posi rear end (car has a 10 bolt). Engine rebuild will be last.


Originally Posted by vette442 View Post
Nice car. Saddle Bronze and white is a great color combo. It looks really nice being lowered a little too.

Terry

Thank you! I agree.
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Old March 14th, 2018, 12:21 PM
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Convertibles rock! Love the color combo on yours!


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Old March 14th, 2018, 12:28 PM
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You, too!

Im also very glad the soft top is white on this car. I love the combo!
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Old March 14th, 2018, 12:57 PM
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Welcome to the group... Sharp looking Cutlass..
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Old March 14th, 2018, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by 72GoldOlds350 View Post
All I know is the engine is not original (the car came with a 350, so replaced or rebuilt but not sure when as my parents do not remember...) Sometime in the 80s. It's a 2 barrel carb, has 7A stamped on the heads, and is gutless. Not sure if the 7A stamp gives any clues to what year the engine could be?
Depends upon the size of the A.
1972 350 engines used 7A heads with the A being smaller than the 7.

Late model 307 engines used 7A heads with the A being the same size as the 7.

If you're sure it's a 350 engine (block casting 395558 2) then it may be the correct year, or even the engine that came in the car. Look on the block VIN pad and see if the numbers match what's on the cowl tag.

Last edited by Fun71; March 14th, 2018 at 01:10 PM.
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Old March 14th, 2018, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Fun71 View Post
Depends upon the size of the A.
1972 350 engines used 7A heads with the A being smaller than the 7.

Late model 307 engines used 7A heads with the A being the same size as the 7.

If you're sure it's a 350 engine (block casting 395558 2) then it may be the correct year, or even the engine that came in the car. Look on the block VIN pad and see if the numbers match what's on the cowl tag.
Thank you for the response on this.

It looks like the A on the heads is very large, which means the engine could be a 307 instead of a 350?

Attached are photos I took of the engine bay. I can take more tomorrow as Iím off work that day.

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Old March 14th, 2018, 07:34 PM
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No, no, no, that is a small A (note how much smaller it is than the 7), so those are 1972 350 heads.

Here's info from an old post to help with locating the year of manufacture and VIN derivative:

Originally Posted by Fun71 View Post
You can check the VIN pad on the block to see the year of manufacture.

First number (3) =Olds division
Second number = year of manufacture
Third (letter) = manufacturing plant
Four to six = VIN derivative


Last edited by Fun71; March 14th, 2018 at 07:38 PM.
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Old March 14th, 2018, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Fun71 View Post
No, no, no, that is a small A (note how much smaller it is than the 7), so those are 1972 350 heads.

Here's info from an old post to help with locating the year of manufacture and VIN derivative:
Interesting! Maybe the original block/heads had a rebuild considering the heads are from the same year the car is. Iím glad about that at least.

Thank you!
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Old March 15th, 2018, 09:57 PM
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Talked to Mark this afternoon - was a great and knowledgeable person. Spent way more time with me then I thought anyone would have.

I want to replace and vastly upgrade, while keeping streatabilty, the entire drivetrain Iím wanting to keep true to the Oldsmobile heritage and want to do it right, and it being no one in this area works on them often or at all, I want the right person to do it wherever the location.

Took some photos of the car after replacing a few parts this afternoon. Going to check if block is original or not tomorrow.







Last edited by 72GoldOlds350; March 15th, 2018 at 10:01 PM.
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Old March 19th, 2018, 11:58 AM
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Beautiful car...was that the one that was for sale a couple of months ago here in Seattle?
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Old March 19th, 2018, 12:20 PM
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Welcome to the forum. Beautiful car! I love my '72 Cutlass Convertible!
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Old March 19th, 2018, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Tymiles24 View Post
Beautiful car...was that the one that was for sale a couple of months ago here in Seattle?
It was not - but that's awesome if there is a clone out there!

Originally Posted by Will22 View Post
Welcome to the forum. Beautiful car! I love my '72 Cutlass Convertible!
Thank you, and to you as well!
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Old March 20th, 2018, 09:54 AM
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Welcome!
It looks great lowered. Are the control arms stock geometry, or are they improved geometry? Stock spindles?
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Old March 20th, 2018, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by QMaster View Post
Welcome!
It looks great lowered. Are the control arms stock geometry, or are they improved geometry? Stock spindles?
PM Sent
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