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1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass - Of Earth Movers and Oldsmobiles

Casey Walker's obsession with torque and a 468ci, 11-second Cutlass.

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Tech Notes

Who: Casey Walker, Olds owner and Cat tester.

What: A '70 Oldsmobile Cutlass S that doesn't look as quick as it is.

Where: Mapleton, Illinois, which is a tiny little burg playing just south of Peoria.

Engine: It has a 455 iron "F" block bored 0.060 inch oversize with Speed-Pro 10.0:1 pistons, Federal-Mogul 1/16-inch rings, and Clevite 77 bearings. The crank is a stock, nodular iron Olds ground 0.010 inch undersize creating a 468ci combination with 4.186-inch bore and a 4.25-inch stroke. J & S Machine in Topeka, Illinois, did the meticulous machine work, including polishing the rods and balancing the entire assembly.

Camshaft: Casey opted for a popular Bullet flat-tappet, single-pattern, hydraulic, flat-tappet camshaft with 244 degrees of duration at 0.050-inch tappet lift along with 0.544-inch lift from the Harland Sharp 1.6:1 roller rockers. The cam also has a lobe separation angle of 108 degrees. Casey also added a set of Rhoades variable-duration lifters, which are high bleed-down units that build a little more low-end torque.

Heads: M & J Proformance in Louisville, Ohio, did the head work, starting with a set of stock iron "C" heads that were ported with flow numbers of 277 cfm on the intake and 175 cfm on the exhaust with 2.07/1.710-inch Manley stainless valves and dual valvesprings. The heads are bolted down with a set of ARP bolts and sealed with Corteco gaskets.

Induction: With an emphasis on airflow, Casey decided on an Edelbrock Torker intake straight out of the box and combined it with a Barry Grant Speed Demon mechanical-secondary 750-cfm carburetor. He also built his own cold airbox out of aluminum sheet to direct cold air through a 3-inch-tall K&N filter. A Mallory 140 electric fuel pump makes sure there's sufficient fuel on hand, and this whole combination runs on 93-octane pump gas.

Exhaust: Kooks makes some of the nicest headers for lots of applications, including the second-generation Olds. Casey chose a set of 2-inch primary pipes with a 3.5-inch collector along with 3.0-inch exhaust pipes and a cross-pipe feeding into a pair of DynoMax 3.0-inch Ultraflow mufflers.

Power: Casey estimates the Olds makes around 500 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque at roughly 3,800 rpm, but he admits this is just a guess. Our ancient power-speed calculator put his power based on weight and quarter-mile trap speed at 470 hp.

Transmission: Olds motors are famous for torque, so a TH400 is almost a necessity. Casey plugged in a TransGo valvebody modified by his friend Jim Bollinger along with a B&M trans cooler and connected with a Dynamic 4,000-stall torque converter. Casey rows with a B&M Z-Gate shifter.

Rearend: The Olds purists may shudder a bit, but that's a Chevy 12-bolt under the rear with Richmond 3.73 gears and a set of Strange 31-spline axles connected to a Strange spool. The axletubes have also been converted to the big Ford housing ends with bolt-in flanges that eliminate the need for the stock C-clips.

Suspension: With all this torque, chassis tuning becomes an obsession. Casey began by tying the framerails together with a six-point rollbar built by Eric Vicary. The front has a pair of Competition Engineering front shocks, Moroso drag springs, and PST polyurethane bushings. He even kept the factory power steering and tilt steering wheel. After all, this is still an Olds. Where more science is applied is with a complete Dick Miller Racing rear suspension package consisting of tubular upper and lower bars and a set of Comp Engineering shocks. Finally, an HRpartsNstuff rear antiroll bar keeps the body level when the Olds really hooks. The rear springs are vintage Olds.

Brakes: The original factory discs work well to haul the big Olds down from its 118-mph blasts. All Casey did was eliminate the booster. The rear brakes are stock GM 9-1/2-inch drums that are both simple and light.

Wheels/Tires: It doesn't get much simpler than a pair of Weld Pro Star 15x6-inch fronts to keep the weight down mounted on Goodyear Invicta 205/70R-15 tires. On the rear, the same style Welds are a little wider at 15x8 inches and mount a set of Mickey Thompson 28x12.5-15 ET Street tires.

Body: The biggest change from stock is an original factory Olds Ram Air hood that is a fiberglass shell mounted over a steel subframe with functional airscoops. Casey did all the bodywork on the Olds, and then his friend Matt Mylott painted the car '94 Dodge Viper yellow back in 1999. We think it looks suspiciously like Caterpillar yellow!

Interior: Casey changed a short list of items in the interior, adding an Auto Meter tach along with water-temperature, oil-pressure, and amp gauges. To keep the weight down, he also added a pair of lightweight buckets with fixed-aluminum mounts and an RJS five-point harness. Oh, and the heater box took a hike.

Performance: It runs 11.44 at 118 mph in the quarter-mile and 7.25 at 93 mph in the eighth-mile. The Olds weighs 3,500 pounds without driver, which means it hefts a solid 3,700-plus pounds with driver and fuel each time down the track. It takes torque to move that kind of weight that quickly.

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