Rod & Custom Feature Car
Dick & Cindy Long
'50 Oldsmobile Futuramic 88 Deluxe Club Coupe
Consistent with the whole style of the car, the chassis starts with a good old '50 Oldsmobile frame, kicked up and in at the rear, and upgraded with high-end suspension parts. The 'rails were narrowed in the rear, where Barry and Dick at Dick's Rod Shop added 32-inch ladder bars, a Panhard bar, and quadruple VariShock QuickSet coilover air shocks-fore and aft of the Chris Alston Chassisworks FAB9 9-inch rear. The rear brakes are 12-inch Wilwood discs, with 11-inch Chevy discs in front; the master cylinder is from Wilwood with a Hydroboost assist. The front end is a Fat Man Mustang II set-up combined with Heidts two-inch dropped axles and coil-over springs, and an anti-roll bar. An ididit steering column runs into a power rack and pinion system.
Instead of the original 2-barrel Rocket 88 303, Dick's '50 is now powered by a aluminum-head, 532-horse, fuel-injected 502, assembled by Hoffman Enterprises in Richmond California, and disguised by a pair of valve covers airbrushed by Eric Sedletzky. The electronic fuel injection is from Hilborn; Cotati Speed Shop modified the stacks and created domed screens to provide filtration. The ignition is from MSD, and the alternator from Street & Performance.
Three-inch collectors funnel the Sanderson headers into 2 1/2-inch pipes built at Cotati Speed Shop, with Flowmaster 70 Series mufflers. A Be Cool aluminum radiator, with dual Spal electric fans, and an Edelbrock reverse rotation water pump keep the engine cool. Hughes Performance in Phoenix built the 4L80E electronic automatic transmission, operated by a Lokar shifter. An Inland Empire driveshaft spins the Auburn Gear limited slip 3.00:1 gears in the Alston 9-inch rearend.
Wheels & Tires
Wide-whites and sombrero caps on the forefather of the musclecar?! No way. Performance radials and 10-inch chrome reverse rims fit the bill a whole lot better. Pete Paulsen at Paulsen Motorsports in French Camp, California, builds wheels for a lot of top-level customs. The rears measure 15x10 with 5 inches of backspacing, wrapped up in 275/60R15 BFGoodrich Radial T/A meat. The front wheels are 15x7 with 4 1/2 inches of backspacing, rolling on 215/70R15 BFGs.
Body & Paint
We would swear that the top had been chopped a tastefully minimal amount, the hood slightly nosed, and the sides sectioned at least a little bit, but everyone involved told us no, the body lines are stock. Even so, Zane and the Cotati crew put an amazing amount of metalwork into the Olds-"trying to make it look like we were never there," as Zane put it.
In front, new inner fenderwells were scratchbuilt and a smooth firewall created to replace the factory sheetmetal. The hood was beefed up with an inner superstructure. Lower door skins and rockers were rebuilt, and numerous cases of rust, holes, and what Zane calls "Frankenstein welds" had to be repaired. Will Raff handled the glass, and Sherm's Custom Plating took care of the chrome. Two non-original exterior accessories are the Yankee "rocket" side mirror and the '49 front gravel shields.
The entire right rear quarter panel was removed and replaced. The rear wheelwells were widened to accommodate those fat tires, and radius reworked to eliminate the factory sheetmetal step originally added to fit fender skirts. Every seam was gapped and every piece of chrome and stainless trim was straightened and massaged to fit "ten times better than factory," according to Zane. Even the rear quarters were imperceptibly stretched to improve the posture of the taillight spears. The finish had to be flawless before Cotati Speed could shoot the monochrome black paint, using Sikkens waterborne paint to finish the Olds.
Dick insisted on maintaining the original look of the dash, although a few modifications are evident here too, if you look close enough. The knobs have been modified and retrofitted to operate the 2-speed electric windshield wipers and Vintage Air heater/air conditioning. A secondary glovebox was installed in the center of the dash. A Moon tach replaces the chronometer in the clock housing and the radio face was reworked into an LED gearshift indicator. The rest of the gauges maintain their original location and appearance, but have been converted from 6-volt mechanical into state-of-the-art electronic by Classic Instruments. Quality Restorations reduced the diameter of the original steering wheel by two inches for proportion and compatibility with the power rack; the tilt column is from ididit. Howdy Ledbetter at Howdy's in Fremont, California, came onboard to cover the stock Olds benches and door panels in black and red leather, keeping the factory design in the process. Other modern amenities include cruise control and a six-speaker sound system with Infinity speakers and an Alpine head unit.