The first owner of my 1960 Oldsmobile convertible worked for Oldsmobile in Lansing, Michigan, and followed the car down the assembly line as it was put together. He and his wife loved the Olds, and kept it until he died. His widow was in her nineties, and wanted to keep the car in the family. She gave it to nephew Bob Smith, who set about giving it a loving restoration.
Michigan weather and road salt had taken a toll, and a lot of body work was required. Major chrome pieces were replaced or replated. The engine and transmission were rebuilt, though the car had traveled less than 70,000 miles. The body was repainted in the original Dresden blue. A matching new top in the original blue was installed. The interior was completely redone as original.
After investing several years of work and considerable capital, Bob decided he’d rather play golf and fish than scrape his knuckles and chase parts. He put the Olds on e-Bay, but it didn’t sell. I drove down to Estero to check it out. It looked so good in Bob’s driveway that I wanted it, even before I got out of my car.
He told me it needed shocks, front-end work, and had a rusty exhaust system. He was right. The engine purred and the transmission shifted well, but the car wandered all over the road, barely stopped and bounced a lot. I didn’t care. I made him an offer just above the last e-Bay bid. To my surprise, he accepted.
I think he wanted the car to have a good home, and knew that I had lived in Lansing, wrote for Oldsmobile, and was a volunteer at the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum. Once we got the car home, I started on the work still to be done. I installed new wheel cylinders and some brake line, shocks, fuel line, and replaced worn-out parts in the front end. (Regarding the above, and most other work requiring mechanical skill, note that the word “I” should read “Mick Wright.”)
Bob Smith had not gotten around to the electrical system, and there were lots of lights that needed proper grounding, new bulbs, or rewiring. I did that and other low-skill but time-consuming work over the course of several months, along with getting small chrome parts replated and cleaning up under the hood.
Olds used the long, low and wide 1960 styling for only one year, and the car draws lots of questions and comments. I think the original owner would be pleased with the work his nephew did on his car, and with the care it receives by its current custodian.