Monday, January 12, 2009

Cars Part 8: 1967 Oldsmobile Delmont 88 Sedan

1967 Oldsmobile Delmont 88 Sedan—Why I ever agreed to take possession of this sled, I’ll never quite understand.

Maybe it was because it was free.


That must have been it!

Anyhoo…I was still in possession of The Taco Mobile, and seeing as I was fed up with it, and I now had a massive land yacht to drive, I had Dad dispose of the Taurus at the auto auction.

The Delmont was a family hand-me-down from my wife’s side, and it was worn-the-fuck out!

Back in olden times, Delmont was Oldsmobile's poor man version of the venerable and much more desirable Delta 88, in case you didn't know.

It had a massive 425 CID big-block in it. It was equipped with power assisted drum brakes on all four corners, an air conditioner that had long since expired, a 2-barrel carburetor with a manual choke, and a finicky, original points-type distributor/ignition system.

Starting fluid spray was standard equipment.

When it ran, it would pass everything but a gas station, and due to its high-compression engine, it required premium 92 octane fuel to run at its best.

Needless to say, because I am a cheap bastard, I fed it a constant diet of 87 octane instead, and it showed with its constant pinging and knocking.

The drum brakes never failed to grab and excite when applied, and one had to plan way ahead when one wanted to come to a stop safely.

I got very familiar with rebuilding drum braking systems, and finding parts was a real and expensive chore.

The hood was up on this beast more than it was closed.

When it started running rough, or not at all, I figured the timing chain had broken or slipped a tooth, so I went about replacing the timing gears and chain.

After all that work, it still didn’t start or run…farting and backfiring up through the carburetor.

Figuring I had somehow fucked up the installation of the timing gear, I dis-assembled and re-assembled the front part of that engine half a dozen times or more, in the middle of winter, in an unheated garage.

Once I was satisfied the timing was good to go, I was kinda at a loss to figure out why this turd wouldn’t start.

I consulted a buddy at work, who was conversant with old cars, and he suggested I check the distributor.

I purchased an extremely expensive but complete original rebuilt distributor system, stabbed that bad boy in the big block, and she started with the first turn of the key!


Turns out the timing system was OK from the get-go.

Oh well, at least I learned a lot about the front part of a big-block Oldsmobile.

Also replaced on this shit-box was:

1—brake master cylinder and booster
5—power steering pump
6—exhaust (went the glass pack route again)
7—rebuilt carburetor
8—water pump

The previous owner repainted the Delmont with a tannish colored semi-gloss paint…and a brush! It looked like the camouflaged HUMMER I rode in during Desert Storm.

It was a gawd-awful vehicle, and I couldn’t get rid of it fast enough.

I put a For Sale sign on it, parked it out front of my house, and soon sold it to a guy for an agreed on price of $400.

When he showed up to pick up the car, he had a sob story for me…and only $380!

It was a nice tactic on his part, as I wanted nothing further to do with this piece of shit, and I let it go.

A couple of weeks later, I received a letter in the mail from the city stating that they had found the Delmont abandoned, and that they would charge me for towing fees and storage if I still had any interest in the car.

Laughingly, I tore the letter up and shit-canned it.

I had my $380. What the fuck did I care?

I also had another family heirloom waiting in the wings, and it was eagerly anticipating my magic mechanical touch.

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