Thats Betty back in...
Thats Betty back in the day, posing with the original 49 Olds that inspired the modern, modified recreation.
Remember the kid in American Graffiti with the black 49 Olds coupe? Thats right, there wasnt a guy like that or a car like thatnot in the movie, anyway. But if youd been in that place at that time, youd remember both of them. The guy was Dave Foster, who grew up in the Bay Area town of Redwood City, California. His good-looking girlfriend was named Betty. The car was a black 49 Oldsmobile DeLuxe 88 club coupe. Bored Rocket V-8. Engle cam. LaSalle floorbox trans. Tuck n roll interior. Wide whites with painted steelies and center caps. Nerf bars.
Youd remember the coupe from the street. Dave cruised the Olds all over San Francisco, San Jose, and Modesto in those days. If you spent any time at the drags between 1960 and 1963, youd have seen Dave tearing it up at Half Moon Bay and Fremont.
Dave sold the Oldsmobile in the fall of 1963. He and Betty got married, had a couple kids, and eventually moved down to Roseville, which is outside of Sacramento.
A few years ago, Dave started thinking about digging up another 49 Olds just like the one he used to cruise and race. There arent many out there anymore, so when a beautifully restored teal-green club coupe turned up in 1999, he snapped it up and put it through a complete rebuild. In less than a year, it looked like this. Its not a replica of the 49 he chased around in during the early 60s, though; Dave calls it a remembrance of that earlier Olds. With a bunch of engine, chassis, and interior upgrades, its probably what that original car would look like if Dave had never gotten rid of it.
Thirty-nine years later, the kid in the black Olds coupe is back on the street. Dave and Betty, now semi-retired, hit a lot of the local events. The car has also earned a few awards at larger shows, including Goodguys events, the Grand National Roadster Show, and the Sacramento Autorama.
Dave was lucky to find a car he could build into the one he remembered from his American Graffiti days. Young rodders today might not have that kind of luck three or four decades down the road. Hang onto that iron, kids.