The key to this whole effort came down to ensuring that all the little details contributed toward the overall effect. This was where Chuck's enthusiasm and unwillingness to compromise really paid off. The center console trim pieces had to be rechromed to get rid of 40 years of abuse and corrosion. Knowing that no
one repros '64 Olds F-85 sedan door panels, Chuck had Just Dashes re-create the panels and refurbish the dashpad. And if you open the trunk, you'll see that Chuck wanted the inner rear wheelwells to match the body color. All this required time and money--but more than that it took a desire to make it right. The results also play up the fact that this isn't just another A-body. It's no secret among Olds fans that the '68-'72 cars are far more popular. Perhaps the '64-'67 guys just have a little something more to prove.
Unlike those builders who only venture out inside a covered trailer, Chuck built this Olds to drive. The F-85 has been to the dragstrip more times than it's been to static car shows. The first strip trip resulted in a set of smoked Second and Third gear clutches in the trans as a result of too much Olds torque. With the trans repaired, Chuck was right back at it, knocking down a respectable Irwindale eighth-mile time of 8.28 at 84 mph that translates into mid-12.80s at around 100 mph with a mere 1.83 60-foot time on Radial T/A street tires. He hasn't had time yet to push the Olds through a few hard corners, and the nose weight of a cast-iron big-block Olds will probably not contribute to ultimate grip, but he will hammer it home. You can bet your last Olds lug nut on that. That's why he built it.
What: '64 Olds F-85
Owner: Chuck Jennings
Where: San Dimas, California, not far from where the original Irwindale Raceway used to stand (which is now a Miller Beer facility).
Engine: Chuck located a '70 455 Olds motor that ironically turned out to be a W-30 spec motor. Being a true car crafter, Chuck didn't want to just rebuild the Olds in its original form. Instead, he decided to use the Olds engine buildup originally outlined in the Oct. '00 issue and dyno tested in the Jan. '02 issue as a starting point. Engine work began with Rod Phillips of Auto Dynamic Balancing performing all the necessary machine work, which made Chuck's job of assembling the short-block much easier. John McCallister of JT Automotive came over to help with the short-block assembly, and Rod Phillips also helped degree the cam. The work revolved around a fresh set of 0.030-over Speed-Pro forged flat-top pistons creating 10.5:1 compression along with fresh rings and bearings and a new oil pump, all from Federal-Mogul.
Heads: Rather than reprise the original iron W-30 heads, Chuck went instead with a set of alloy castings from Edelbrock featuring relatively small, 2.072/1.680-inch valves and a 77cc combustion chamber. To help the valvetrain, Chuck bought a set of Harland Sharp 1.6:1 roller rockers and the valvesprings supplied with the Edelbrock heads.
Camshaft: Chuck was looking for strong overall power instead of big peak numbers, so the choice of cam timing fell into the Crane PowerMax 272 flat tappet hydraulic zone with 216/228 degrees of duration at 0.050-inch tappet lift, 0.484/0.512-inch lift, and a 112-degree lobe separation angle.