It's ironic that a solid Olds guy like Tim Meirick should live in a Minnesota town called Dodge Center. Especially since when he was 16, the first car he went looking for was a Mopar. His dad intervened and sent him on a path that has included such notable Olds as an original four-speed W-31 car. In the meantime, Tim has owned his share of other machines, like a GTO Judge, a Challenger, a Road Runner, and a '62 Chevy. But he eventually came back to his Olds roots.
When it comes to the car-enthusiast population, there are several layers. Some just like to polish the chrome and head out to the nearest cruise site or car show to do a little power parking. Then there are those who are less concerned with appearances and whether that paint job needs a sixth coat of wax and more concerned about where they might dig up another tenth of a second off their 60-foot time.
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Finally, there are guys like Tim, who do both. We caught up with him at Eddyville Raceway Park in Iowa. He had driven down from his Minnesota digs to take part in one of Dick Miller's East versus West Olds dragstrip shootouts. Tim was in the car-show area dodging raindrops, and we were surprised to hear his story of dyno testing and parts swapping all under the guise of pushing his big A-body down the track quicker than just mid-12s. In fact, the 461ci Olds was already capable of a 12.54 at 109.30 at a surprising sans-driver weight of only 3,450 pounds. But that wasn't enough. Tim had just bolted on a few fresh pieces and dyno'd the 461ci big-block at 470 hp and 520 lb-ft of torque. In fact, he finished bolting the engine back in the car just in time to make the trip.
When we talk Oldsmobile, we really are talking about torque. Even at Tim's 470 hp, that's all done before 6,000 rpm. The horsepower is almost an afterthought. Tim has spent the better part of the last 10 years tweaking and experimenting to get his 4-4-2 to this point. He bolted in a Comp cam to work with the Edelbrock aluminum heads and the different-drummer Offenhauser Port-O-Sonic intake manifold, all based on a quest to move more air through this big-inch beast. After a bit more tweaking, Tim was able to balance all the combinations until his blue meanie beast pulled down a 12.19 at 111.77 mph on a set of BFGoodrich 255/60R15 drag radials that stuck the power with a 1.78-second 60-foot time. Those are great numbers from a fullsize Olds that most would attribute to a machine with far more exotic components. That's just Tim's style.
It took me two years to go from 14.50s to the low 12s. Next year, I'll be in the 11s." -Ti
For those who care about such things, Tim is quick to point out that this is not a true W-30. As is the case with many upscale musclecars, a 4-4-2 with W-30 pieces just looks a whole lot better than a plain-old Cutlass, so Tim took it upon himself to make a few changes to give his Olds a little stronger visual impact. The most notable change is the reproduction, W-25 option, Force Air twin snorkel hood. Under the steel-backed hood are those neon-red, plastic inner fenderwells. All-original '70 4-4-2s came with a Turbo 400 automatic, but Tim spins a TH350 instead, and despite that reproduction W-30 aluminum rear-axle cover, that's a Chevy 12-bolt. The Olds purists are suffering from chronic heartburn right now, but hey, this is Tim's car, right?
We just realized Tim has this musclecar thing knocked and locked. He wheels a low-12-second Olds that looks like it belongs with the show-car crowd. Best of all, he's not afraid to push it across state lines on road trips. This just may be the secret to ultimate musclecar happiness. You can thank Tim for that revelation next time you see him on the road.