Rod & Custom Feature Car
Walter "Quince" Arnold
1957 Oldsmobile Rocket 88
Though the hardtop body was removed from the frame, it's still the original GM chassis and suspension, albeit rebuilt and lowered 3 inches. The original steering box was rebuilt, a plastic fuel tank resides under the trunk floor where the stock one once lived, and there are new motor and trans mounts to accept the updated running gear. Other than that, the chassis received more of a restoration than modification job.
A '95 Chevy short-block forms the basis of the 355ci motor now under the Olds' hood. Parker Speed Shop in La Grange, KY, handled the machining, balancing, and assembly. The motor is now enhanced by a Crane Energizer cam, Edelbrock Performer intake and carburetor, and Alan Grove accessory brackets. Patriot headers take care of spent gases, Billet Specialties products dress up the engine, and in a nod to the car's heritage, Olds-style valve covers are used. A rebuilt TH350 bolts to the rear of the small-block, connected to the Olds column shifter, while the stock two-piece driveshaft was retained.
Wheels & Tires
American Classic 205/75R14 radials with 2 3/8-inch whitewalls are mounted on the original steel wheels, providing a slightly more sure-footed driving experience than Walter's first bias-ply shod Olds.
Body & Paint
While the body has been nosed and decked, and factory fender skirts fitted, the remainder of the exterior is as it left the factory. It does, however, now have much-improved panel gaps and perfectly fitting chrome trim. The firewall was smoothed before being painted by Scotty at Kirby's Rod Shop in Danville, KY. John Wright's Custom Chrome Plating in Grafton, OH, tackled the flawless chrome on the original bumpers, all of which shows what little needs to be done to these cars to produce a stunning mild custom.
With all the stock items on this Olds, it's somewhat of a surprise to find an ididit column topped by a Grant metal flake three-spoke wheel. White-faced Dolphin gauges fill the dash pod, while the stock seats and door panels are trimmed in red and white leather, matched with red carpet, and the same materials extend into the trunk area. Red seatbelts are used front and rear, something that wouldn't have been considered back in 1957.