With the highway calling, the two McKees and Paul's brother-in-law, Clarence Evans (C.E.), put long hours into the Olds to get it ready, as their deadline approached. "C.E. has the patience of Job when it comes to the interior work," Paul says. That work included a complete Vintage Air conversion, but for the rest of the interior, all Paul had to do was add a set of door panels and front seat covers. The rest of the Rust Belt can hate him for how the car was virtually rust-free and complete, right down to the patina paint and original exterior emblems.
A last-minute change to increase the backspacing on the front wheels to ensure adequate tire clearance placed the entire Power Tour deadline in jeopardy. But with a red label effort from the people at Rushforth (perhaps there is significance in the company name), Paul's front wheels arrived the day before they were scheduled to depart. The engine did suffer some detonation problems from a poorly designed PCV system that pulled oil into the intake manifold, but overall, Paul reports the F-85 performed flawlessly, achieving an impressive 18-mpg overall highway mileage effort on its cross-country jaunt.
Paul's early Olds A-Body effort might now be termed a fixation, as he has lately acquired a pristine '64 Olds sedan that is in the midst of an LS2 and six-speed conversion and another '64 330ci, four-barrel V-8 car sporting an original four-speed. But even though it appears that the circle has indeed been completed, there might be room for a few more Oldsmobiles if the opportunity presents itself.
Who: Paul McKee
What: '65 Oldsmobile F-85
Where: Mesa, Arizona
The original drivetrain in the '65 was a 330ci V-8, but that's been superseded by a rebuilt 455 Olds with a stock crank and rods, 9:1 compression forged pistons, and a mild hydraulic flat-tappet Cam Motion custom grind. In addition, Paul added a set of aluminum Edelbrock heads and the matching Performer dual-plane intake with a 750-cfm Q-jet he obtained from Summit Racing. The cast Olds valve covers are straight out of the GM Performance Parts catalog and have been modified for a PCV valve pickup tube that plumbs into the dual-snorkel air cleaner from Supercars Unlimited. What looks like a decal on the air cleaner is actually a laser-etched piece of acrylic created by Paul's son, Phillip, who works at Universal Laser Systems. Phillip also did the custom-laser etching on the steering wheel horn button.
Since the Olds isn't a high-revving engine, they decided to stick with a set of stock exhaust manifolds, also from Supercars Unlimited. Paul and Phillip then laid out the 3-inch cross-pipe exhaust system, plumbing it back to the DynoMax Super Turbo mufflers.
ATS supplied the Viper-spec T56 trans, as well as the McLeod modular bellhousing that adapts the 455 to the trans. The clutch is a Centerforce II system relying on an ATS-supplied hydraulic master and throwout bearing system. The off-white cup mounted on the firewall is the reservoir for the clutch master cylinder. Paul and Phillip also constructed their own custom trans crossmember to complete the installation using a Hurst shifter.
The stock Olds 10-bolt was deemed unworthy, so Paul opted for the durability of a complete Moser 12-bolt housing spinning a set of 4.11:1 gears with an Eaton posi.
This was one of the first orders of business with the Olds. Paul elected to establish an aggressively low stance using a complete Air Ride Street Challenge system that integrates tubular upper and lower control arms for the front and rear suspensions that also includes adjustable shocks and large sway bar diameters.