rocketrides.gif (21916 bytes)                
Javier Arias's 1979 Cutlass

In 1978, my grandparents purchased the car brand new at Albertson Olds in Los Angeles, CA. The car has stayed in the family since. For my high school graduation gift, my grandfather gave me the car, which has been very neglected, because he purchased a station wagon in 1987 and a new '99 Olds Cutlass recently. So the '79 was sitting for years. Since the car was in Los Angeles, the salty ocean air took its toll on the paint. When I received the car in May of 1999, the paint was heavily oxidized and the engine was in dire need of a tune-up. After agreeing to my dad's terms (that I would do all the repairs and pay for parts) I finally got it home to Ventura county (where the air is dry!) First thing I did was wash it. Since I had no job for the summer and all the money I had was a $20 allowance per week for household chores, I had to bring the car back to life the low-budget way. Since my dad is a professional mechanic, he taught me ways to restore the paint to its near-original luster for little or no money. Using bottles of rubbing compound, polishing compound, Meguiar's cleaner wax, Meguiar's carnauba wax, old socks, old briefs, t-shirts, and some elbow grease, I spent the first two weeks of my summer rubbing and buffing the paint out by HAND! No buffing wheels here. After those two grueling weeks, I had a beautiful shine which I worked hard for. Next was my first trip to the junkyard. What a treasure trove! Tell you what... I would rather go to the junkyard than go to Magic Mountain. The rear bumper was yanked off of a red '78 Cutlass and polished out. (You can clearly see that in the picture!) After the summer, I purchased a shop manual and started tackling the mechanical stuff. Luckily, my Olds came equipped with a factory Chevy smallblock 305 cid. That's where I started all my learning of engines. Since my dad has an abundance of Chevy smallblock parts, learning was easy. I have done so much, from a complete tune-up to replacing the heater core (my first job I did myself, without any help from my dad, took me three days!). I have replaced the factory valve covers with chrome ones, and added breathers on both covers (eliminated the PCV system). I just recently rebuilt the stock Quadrajet carburetor and replaced the stock air cleaner with a chrome Edelbrock 14" open element filter. Originally, I wanted to turn the car into a lowrider, but after learning about Chevy engines, rebuilding the carb to get a hell of a lot more power, going slow and cruising just wasn't fun anymore. I wanted to go fast! Besides, it takes a lot more knowledge to make a car high performance than to just slap on a set of rims and lay down cash for a paint job. Anyways, I just color sanded the brown part of the paint (on the hood and 3/4 of the roof) a few weeks ago. It all shines now! When my car becomes smog exempt, I plan to yank out that puny 305 engine and Turbo 200 tranny, and drop in at least a high performance 350 smallblock, or maybe even a big block. a 396 sounds sweet. And definitely put in a turbo 350 tranny. To add to it, a posi rearend sounds good too. But for now, the few engine mods I did gives me good power, just enough to skid the rear tires from a stop. And it's very dependable, it takes me to Cal-state Northridge and back everyday. This is my car's history up to now. Enough rambling on! Thanks, Javier

Contact  Javier

----- Back to the Rocket Rides Index -----