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.
In the 1968 animated movie Yellow Submarine, the Beatles joined Capt. Fred in an attempt t
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.
Who: Tim Meirick
What: '70 Oldsmobile Cutlass
Hometown: Dodge Center, Minnesota
Engine: Tim began by having Kenny Frison of Total Engine Service build the engine and do the machine work. He started by expanding the bores of a junkyard 455 out to 0.030-inch oversize, added a set of pistons to keep the compression around 10:1, and then added a Comp Cams Xtreme Energy 284 flat-tappet hydraulic cam. The cam specs out at 240/246 degrees of duration with 0.541/0.544-inch valve lift with a 110-degree lobe separation angle. Edelbrock helps the power program with a set of Performer aluminum heads, but instead of a matching Performer intake, Tim decided on the single-plane Offenhauser combined with an Edelbrock 750-cfm carburetor and a K&N air filter. An MSD 6A is mounted on the firewall to help the HEI perform its ignition duties.
Did you know that Canadian 4-4-2s came with Chevy-style 12-bolt rear-axle assemblies inste
Exhaust: The ceramic-coated headers come by way of Hedman 131/44-inch pipes that feed into a complete 211/42-inch exhaust system using a pair of Flowmaster mufflers to keep it to a dull roar.
Transmission: Even with all this world-class Olds torque, Tim's managed to make his TH350 trans live with help from a B&M shift-improver kit combined with a TCI 2,800-rpm stall speed converter.
Rearend: It's common to see a strong Olds running a Chevy 12-bolt. Tim runs a 3.73 rear gear and Moser axles with a C-clip eliminator kit to keep everything safely buttoned up.
Suspension: The short version is that Tim has changed very little. There is a pair of adjustable Edelbrock upper control arms for the rear axle, and that's about it as far as changes. There's also a rear sway bar bolted to reinforced lower control arms.
Interior: Equipped from the factory with a column shifter and bucket seats, Tim has restored the interior back to stock, adding only a small Sun tach to keep track of the engine speed. There's really nothing else to talk about except the Grant steering wheel.
Wheels: Those are 15x8-inch Weld Racing five-spokes on all four corners with a pair of 255/60R15 BFGoodrich drag radials to maintain adhesion. Up front is a pair of 235/60R15 BFGoodrich Radial T/As to provide direction.
Paint: Tim enlisted the help of Charlie Capi of Owatonna, Minnesota, to do the bodywork and apply the '94 Ford truck blue hue. They also added the contrasting white stripes and 4-4-2 and W-30 emblems just to give this Cutlass some character.
For the record, there have been at least four different Olds definitions of what 4-4-2 mea