1973 4-4-2 First task

1973 was the last year that GM stamped the compartment key code on the glove box lock cylinder.  1973 rules, I tell you.   Two weeks without hood or trunk access was killing me and I just could not bring myself to bash out the trunk lock cylinder despite the fact that the the trunk skin and inner skeleton had completely separated across the entire width of the lid..

I think everyone at the locksmith shop knows me as the black hole of GM key blanks and I enjoy going there — it’s “old school” yo and a refreshing way to blow a lunch hour.   They charged me $10 to cut a key for each cylinder and an extra buck or two for the extra key blanks…which are actual GM key blanks.

I was so excited to try out that trunk key…and after 15 minutes of wiggling and lots of powdered graphite, the cylinder reluctantly allowed me access into the trunk which contained……. a jack.

I’m not kidding.  It really took me close to 15 minutes to get the lock cylinder free enough to open the trunk.   Once the lid was up, I fed it more graphite & now it’s as free as a terd.  It’s possible that some of the trunk contents escaped via the large rust holes & ended up on I-40 the day it came “home”.

1973 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 background info

I love estate auctions — the on-site ones.  Few things intrigue me more than learning about someone by rooting through all the crap they left behind.   The owner of a trucking company passed away & left The Fam with a most interesting smorgasbord of Trucktastic proportions.  He collected old Fire engines, tractor trailers, etc. but a bunch of medium & light duty old trucks and cars were thrown into the mix.

I showed up because I smelled 70’s Big-Block Suburbia & Cheyenne for the taking…and seeing a factory 4-speed ’67 Galaxie 390 Sportsroof in the flesh is not an everyday opportunity.

The Galaxie was all that and yeah, I sat in it & rowed through the shift gate just like your average six year old would do.  That car was incredible… bench seat, 4-speed, AM/FM radio… it sold for $8K thank goodness.   No chance of getting destroyed by the Donker crowd.

So I’m walking through the weeds between trucks and see a Colonnade… wow, a ’73 Cutlass!  It wasn’t -pictured in the auction ad and there was no tag on it either…just like the ’59 Pontiac that was not part of the auction :(

2014-12-05 14.14.07The chances of it being a 4-4-2 were slim but the closer I got….1973442fI realized that it was indeed a 4-4-2.  Keep in mind that 1973 GM products are my vehicular nirvana, and part of my bucket list includes every flavor of Buick-Olds-Pontiac de ’73.

I approached the auctioneer about the car & he said they discovered the car AFTER cutting away the vegetation to access some older stuff behind it and after they had posted the auction listing.   I was bummed out but asked if there was any chance the family would consider selling it & he said he’d ask.   A few hours later while the auction was underway, I approached the head auctioneer (another auctioneer was taking over for awhile) and asked him if he had gotten a chance to ask the family.   I figured it would be a wash but he said, “hold up” and walked right over to some people standing in the back & after a minute, he came back, interrupted the other guy & said they would be adding an Oldsmobile 4-4-2 to the sale.  Unbelievable!  It really irritated the other auctioneer but they stuck it in there…

Some other loser ran me up to $600 but “Lot 60A” became my problem prize.   I knew the car was rotten beyond reasonable repair but just digging into the thing would be worth the $679 I ended up paying after all the fees, etc…  So what if the hood was stuck shut and there were no keys or title?   Sure it was just a 350 car (m-code: dual exhaust) but it was built at the Arlington plant which means it may still be hiding a killer build sheet somewhere…  I am a build sheet freak & am always on the hunt for them.  The Arlington Plant likes to stuff them behind the rear seat back & on top of the gas tank.

If there’s any question to how rough this gem really is, this should remove any doubt:1973442bThe trucking company owner drove this car to where I saw it close to 20 years ago & just let it sit there — the wheels were removed and three were replaced with mismatched rims… #4 here wasn’t so lucky.

Four hours, two bumper jacks, four S10 wheels, several lug nuts, steering column lock cylinder removal, lots of RR brake drum beating and a quarter can of WD-40 got it off the ground anyway.

2014-12-05 17.03.33

It came home & sat on the tow dolly for over two weeks — there was no time to fiddle with it & I still didn’t know what was under the hood.  The THM400 transmission was making me wonder what was up…