1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass Holiday Coupe Ram Rod 350
I purchased this car on Ebay from a man in NY who was truly frustrated that it wasn’t meeting his reserve. He expressed disappointment that the bids weren’t similar to what a Chevy might bring. But as I looked at his ad, it seemed that his description was a bit confusing. Perhaps that contributed to the limited interest. He offered me a Buy it Now price. As an Oldsmobile lover, I felt it was fair and accepted. In truth, the car is much better than described. This is a car that I would be happy to keep.
This car went through a restoration about 15 years ago. I don’t have all the details, so I can only share my observations. I will tell you that the body and paint is very, very nice. It looks like it was just finished. The Scarlet Red finish is basically flawless. It is a base coat/clear coat finish and it shines brilliantly. There is no sign of body repair, rust or collision damage. I am not able to see a sign of rust on this car. I believe it was a great car to start with.
This car was built in Canada. From my investigation, the original color was Frost Teal. Yet, there is not one sign of it ever being anything but Red. That tells me the body was taken apart and the repaint included removal of the engine. The vinyl top option was listed on the Trim Tag, and the current top must have also been installed 15 years ago.
The Trim Tag also tells me that the car was built with a Black Bucket seat interior. I believe the entire interior to be original. It shows very minimal wear. The carpet is a bit faded in spots, but does not need replacement. I would just dye it again. The seats are very nice. The headliner, door panels and dash appear to be original and are nice. The seat belts and shoulder belts are original. This car was also built with the center console and Rally Pak gauges. They all look great and the Tic Toc Tach still works. The original radio was replaced with a retro AM/FM/Cassette model and there is a CD changer in the trunk. There is a rear defogger. The power antenna still works, too.
Other options that I can see are power steering and brakes. I also see a 3 spoke steering wheel, chrome drip rails, door edge guards, body moldings and twin sport mirrors. The trunk has remote release. The windows are tinted. The wheels are the desirable Super Stock I’s and they are nice. They are wrapped in Cooper Cobra white-letter radials that are in good condition.
Perhaps the reason for the great condition of this car is evidence that it was sold new in Salina, KS. That is what the Owner’s Manual packet indicates. But does that make sense? A Canadian built car sold in Kansas? Another reason that it is so nice is the low mileage of 76,916. I don’t have evidence that this is Actual Mileage, but my observation tells me it likely is.
When I looked beneath the car I spotted perfect floors. I don’t believe they have ever been undercoated or painted. The trunk floor is also solid as a rock. I believe it was re-spatter painted at some time. I also noticed a newer exhaust system that starts with headers and goes through an h-pipe and free-flowing mufflers. This car also has front and rear sway bars and boxed trailing arms. Upon calculation, the rear end gearing is 3.91 with Anti-Spin differential.
This car was built with a Muncie M21 close-ratio four speed transmission. The original transmission still resides in the car. The serial number of the car is stamped into the case of the transmission.
The trunk contains all the correct equipment, right down to the nut to hold the Super Stock I spare in place. The jacking and stowage instructions are affixed to the lid, as well as the declaration of the Anti-Spin differential.
Now the interesting part is the engine. If you look closely, you will see the Ram Rod 350 decals on the fenders. You might also notice the Outside Air Induction scoops residing beneath the front bumper. That tells me the engine is a W31, or that it is dressed to look like one. I could see enough of the stamping to know this is not the original engine.
It is a 1968 Oldsmobile 350 with number 5 heads. It has the thick harmonic balancer and clutched six blade fan that are correct to the W31. The air cleaner and air hoses are also correct. What isn’t correct is the Aluminum intake manifold and Holley carburetor. If this car were a real W31 it would not have power brakes. I don’t see dual fuel lines.
In my opinion, this car now has a W31 engine. But this could only be proven through disassembly. I was told the engine was rebuilt during the restoration. The appearance of the engine bay supports this claim. I was also told the rear end was rebuilt during the restoration.
I cannot certify that this is a W31 car. I do believe the replacement engine to be a W31. But I could be wrong. No matter what, the engine is strong. The combination of the Muncie and the 3.91 gears makes this car a real beast. So much fun!
Overall, this is a beautiful car. It looks stunning in every way. It performs exceptionally well. It looks and acts like a real Ram Rod 350 car. The good thing, it isn’t priced like one. I hope my description is not confusing. Please come see it for yourself.