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30 Years later...

Old January 4th, 2019, 06:09 AM
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30 Years later...

Its odd how things that you loved and sacrificed so much for become insignificant only to realize years later how silly you were to forget about them. When I was a kid I loved cars more than anyone I met. Constantly asking questions and having an insatiable appetite to learn. Buying my first car, a '68 rust-bucket Cutlass that didn't run for $40 when I was 14 only to take it apart in the driveway, tossing the parts into the trunk just to see how it all fit together and worked. I sold it to the scrap yard back when they would give you $50 if it had an engine, radiator and battery. They happily drug it out of my drive, while leaving deep gouges in the concrete that my mom was not too happy about. My obsession only got worse. Over the next 8 years I owned close to 100 Oldsmobiles. Mostly whoopties and buckets, but had a few decent ones sprinkled in there like a White / Gold '75 H/O W-30 with Hurst Hatches, Dual gate and Digital Tach. At one point I owned a 68,9,70,1,2,3,4,5,6 Cutlass all at the same time. I parked them all down my street taking up every spot. My neighbors, mostly old retired folks not really being as impressed or excited as I was about having sequential year cars lined up down our street. Still a sight I remember vividly.

My first running car was a '70 SX. Didn't even know what it was, but my buddy who sold it to me for $70 said he thought it was faster than his brothers '70 318 Challenger - which we never got to try, but his brother swore not. He said to me "man, this thing only has a 2 barrel carb, but its still fast as hell" I LOVED that car. Even with the springs coming thru the sheet that was draped over the front seat, and the fenders sitting a cigarette pack off the ground with no shocks and bald tires. As I learned more about the brand I decided that I wanted to find a '70 442. Either a 4-speed hard top or a Drop top with any version trans. When I was a senior in high school a friend told me about a blue 442 convertible he saw sticking out from behind this guys house in his back yard. He gave me the address and I went over and ultimately bought it.

That was in 1986. I drove the car for two months and put about 2000 miles on it when the timing chain jumped a tooth. I had problems adjusting to timing on the distributor because the bolt broke off in the block due all the rust on the car. Even though the car only had 48,000 original documented miles, and I bought it from the original owner, being in Ohio and New Jersey for 16+ years the rust really did a toll on that car. I parked it for two years saving cash and then I finally decided to try to restore it. Attached are some of the photos of when I began to restore it with the engine already out of it, along with some progress pics of my restoration attempt back in 1988-9. Unfortunately the body shop guy that I chose was a complete knucklehead he painted the car the wrong color, got overspray on everything that I tried so hard to detail. I'm was so frustrated that I brought the car home unfinished. After I won the lawsuit I decided to disassemble the car and start all over again, however my dream of competing in the Olympics took front seat and the car got put on hold. I understood that making the Olympic Team and representing our country had to be done then and the car could get finished after. I retired from sport after the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and ended up living in Las Vegas. With the car in a million pieces back in Ohio it became very impractical to bring out here, especially when I was just getting into the work force and living a spartan lifestyle.

In 2015 When my mom retired and decided to move out of the house I had no choice but to go get the car and bring it to Vegas. I decided to put the car, tools and all the parts I could fit inside a POD and I shipped it out to myself. Unfortunately the POD was too heavy and I had to remove some of the spare and what I thought were replaceable parts that I had saved up with all the cars I had taken apart decades prior. Looking back now I wish I would've gotten a second pod and brought everything I had. I tossed out so many valuable parts that I still feel sick about.

I'm currently in the process of restoring it now. I'll probably start a thread with my progress picks along the way. I'm not in any rush obviously because I've had the car for so long but I'm just happy to be around cars, talking about cars, working on cars, and just doing the things that I've always loved. The POD pics are attached as well. :O

Looking forward to getting to know you all and one day having my car at Olds Nationals.
-John


















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Old January 4th, 2019, 06:15 AM
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Welcome to the site, thanks for sharing your story.
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Old January 4th, 2019, 06:50 AM
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You have a lot of history with Oldsmobiles! Welcome to the site, lots of helpful folks here who love to help.
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Old January 4th, 2019, 06:51 AM
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Great story. Looking forward to the resurrection of your car.
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Old January 4th, 2019, 07:28 AM
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Good story and welcome. Im sure a lot of us have stories of how their interest/admiration of these cars began. Every time I meet another Olds fan I learn a little something about their past and realize we have a lot of similar experiences. If you think about it, you can most likely break down age demographics by the cars owned. 65-67( 55-65yrs) 68-72 (45-55yrs) 73-77 (35-45yrs) Im just guessing.
I think we all have some fond memories of growing up and first cars or early cars was monumental and coincided with so many other firsts at that time. At that age obsessing over a car seemed like a responsibility at an age where there really wasn't any. As we get older we start to prioritize things and get real responsibility. Old cars(toys) get put aside and forgotten until we can slow down and try to really enjoy life. I think everyone likes to feel young again and these cars(and other things) do just that. Its kinda like bucket list stuff.
Nice car BTW.
What sport and did you compete in the Olympics?
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Old January 4th, 2019, 07:51 AM
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Welcome to the forum and what a great backstory! I can't wait to read more about the restoration process as it progresses.
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Old January 4th, 2019, 09:33 AM
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I'm with Scrappie... I want to know what sport and who you are?

Also, the pic with the drawers hanging on the clothesline is a hoot!

Good luck with the resto!
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Old January 4th, 2019, 11:52 AM
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What a great read! Good luck with the restoration and please post progress pictures!
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Old January 4th, 2019, 02:29 PM
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Reading the gospel....

great read , I felt like you were writing any mans story ( except about the olympics) I drove my project into the garage in 1994 for a couple of things , it was my everyday driver but just finished building my wife a 72 skylark paint and all! Well a couple of things turned into might as wells and low and behold the body came off the frame yadayada then life takes over work, a kid, a lot of overseas travels and in between working on the old car
so I just keep chomping away doing what I can when I can looking forward to reading your build and welcome
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Old January 4th, 2019, 03:36 PM
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Welcome to the group... Great history of trying to live the dream, that may appear to come to fruition in the near future...
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Old January 4th, 2019, 05:03 PM
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Thank you everyone for the warm welcome. I competed in the sport of weightlifting. For those that don't know that is, its the ****** and Clean & Jerk. 2 lifts with a barbell from the floor to overhead. Most people my age always remember the "big Russian" who was on the cover of Sports Illustrated after the '76 Montreal Olympics and on ABC Wide World of Sports intro - Vasili Aleexiev.

I now have a gym in Vegas, Average Broz Gymnasium and coach athletes from 8 year old beginners to world-class / Olympic level in dozens of sports for strength and power production. A gear head / big block fan who likes making power. Coincidence?
Years ago during a conversation I had with worlds strongest man winner and overall bad ****, Bill Kazmaier we got on the subject of motorcycles. I was telling him about my ZX-12 with a turbo and he was telling me about his Hayabusa with nitrous. I laughed and he said "yeah, the love of horsepower. In the gym or on the streets."

I will start the resto thread so everyone can stay updated, but also to hold myself accountable to others and getting it finished. Looking forward to feedback, constructive criticism, and advice from everyone. Thank you in advance for any assistance with this. I am pumped to get it done!
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Old January 5th, 2019, 09:14 PM
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At one point I owned a 68,9,70,1,2,3,4,5,6 Cutlass all at the same time. I parked them all down my street taking up every spot.
Now that would be a cool site to see!
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Old January 6th, 2019, 12:03 AM
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Would have been nice to have a camera phone back then. Most of them were beaters, but I still thought it was cool and wish I had a pic. This pic is NO way as cool, but at least my mom grabbed a pic of this one. We had our bikes lined up L to R: 87,88,89,90,91,92. The Brands were Kawi, Kawi, Yam, Yam, Suz, Suz and funny that the displacements were 750,750,1000,1000,1100,1100. Im standing by my 89 FZR 1000 but the lighting was horrible. lol.
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