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Projects Why do I do this to myself?! 1956 Olds Holiday 98 coupe

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by 57JoeFoMoPar, Jul 6, 2020.

  1. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 4,669

    57JoeFoMoPar
    Member

    I apologize for the novel here in advance.

    So a couple years ago, I got into a relatively minor accident with my 57 Ford. After 18 years, something was bound to happen. Thankfully there were no injuries, and the car is still plenty drivable, but it needs some real help in the metal work department and needs a full repaint. That sucks, but Grundy took care of it. Recognizing that I wouldn't have the time to get in on the road before the Summer, I decided it best to go out and buy another car to cruise for a while. This '61 Olds came available, and I knew it was a fresh build with A/C (a real plus with a then 1-year-old), so I pulled the trigger.
    69184723_10105477171356604_1194711136964968448_o.jpg

    BIG mistake.

    It took 2 months of major work just to simply make it a driver, which I did all last summer. Ultimately, the 394 had about 1 psi of oil pressure at warm idle, and simply had to go. While I have been diligently working on it since the end of the winter, having fabricated a full air-suspension, and getting ready to drop in a SBC with 2x4s and a 700R4, it's just not going to be ready any time soon. Especially since I need to send it off for body and paint once I'm done with the mechanicals. Ultimately, I still don't have a driver, and I figure I'm not going to any time soon.

    Last week, I'm perusing Facebook before bed and come across a 56 Olds Holiday 98. I look closer, and realize, "Hey, that's Manny's car". For a little background info, I got my license in 2001, and had a 57 Chevy, but no real direction in the old car world. I fell in with a group of young guys also with custom cars in a club called The Hellcats in Central/North NJ. The de facto leader was a dude named Anthony (a few years older than me), and his dad was Manny, who was a die hard kustom guy through and through from way back when these cars were new. Here he was (facing the windscreen) at the CT Road Agents Rumble in probably 2004 or 2005.
    CT Phantoms.jpg Manny had this Olds and for us young guys, that was the Gold standard of customs in the area. Manny, along with Phil, Rebel John, Bob Nitti, Bob Barkoff, and other members of the older generation, showed us young guys the ropes in the custom car game. Plenty of nights were spent in his garage, listening to Carl Perkins and the Stray Cats, drinking Old Milwaukee, and talking cars with the 56 Olds and then later Anthony's 54 Holiday 98 as the backdrop. As time went on, I fell out of touch with both of them, and sadly, heard that Manny passed away last August. Immediately recognizing the car, I messaged the seller and to my shock, struck a deal. My (incredibly understanding) wife and I hit the road for the 500 mile drive to Southern VA and dragged this home.

    56 98 1.jpg 56 98 2.jpg 56 98 3.jpg 56 98 4.jpg 56 98 5.jpg

    1956 Olds Holiday 98 coupe. Still running the 324 and Jetaway Hydramatic. Drivetrain is basically stock with a single 4bbl (4GC) with the exception of an older knee-knocker that blows ice cold. In typical Olds 98 fashion, it's decked out with all of the power accessories; power steering and brakes, power windows, power seat, autronic eye, etc., and has been converted to electric wipers with a newer Newport Engineering kit. It has an amateur paint job, but looks great going down the road and was pinstriped by Anthony White (00Mack) in probably 2003. It's also been nosed, decked, lowered, and has a frenched antenna and real '41 Lincoln push buttons in the doors. It drives pretty well, but was certainly sitting for a considerable period of time and runs accordingly. I had to do some real soul-searching (as well as much more due-diligence) to figure if I wanted to buy another Olds after the last fiasco, but any issues I can see I figure to be relatively minor to fix. It was a calculated risk I was willing to take. It also came with a hoard of spare parts including older adjustable rocker arms, a full set of side trim, a whole assembled 3rd member, and way more.

    First and foremost, the car definitely has a fuel issue, which I think is a badly gummed up carb, that causes a bad sputtering. I'll keep updating the thread with progress as I move along. Fingers crossed for some better luck with more driving and less wrenching.
     
  2. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,529

    belair
    Member

    Love 56 Oldsmobiles.
     
  3. 31 5w
    Joined: Aug 6, 2010
    Posts: 119

    31 5w
    Member

    What a piece of work and you know the origin of the car,what a story!
     
    Butler 32, Thor1, loudbang and 2 others like this.
  4. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,201

    tubman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Although I am a "Super 88" guy, I would love to have that car. Just a rather obscure question. Are the wheel covers on the front actually '55 Olds with added bullets? I remember the '56 "Starfire" wheel covers to have been slightly different, and were actually the ones that we all wanted "back in the day".
     

  5. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 4,669

    57JoeFoMoPar
    Member

    I'm almost positive it's a standard 55 Olds cap with a bullet added. Great eye
     
  6. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 25,264

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

    so, have 3 cars that you can not drive? what are you going to buy next that you can truly drive?
     
    Mopar Tony, bobss396, Thor1 and 2 others like this.
  7. Robert Strac
    Joined: Jun 22, 2020
    Posts: 14

    Robert Strac

    Both of those cars are really nice. Two of my favorite olds
     
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  8. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,537

    Squablow
    Member

    The black Olds is really pretty and it's so much better that you know the history, you knew the builder and it's part of your custom up-bringing. Sounds like it couldn't have went to a better home.

    The gold Olds is quite nice looking as well, pretty surprised to hear it needs to be repainted. But I know the trouble that those 394/slim jim combos can have. I had a '64 98 that was really pretty but the drivetrain just never was very solid.
     
    kidcampbell71, Thor1 and loudbang like this.
  9. Robert Strac
    Joined: Jun 22, 2020
    Posts: 14

    Robert Strac

    I
    Went from Caddy freak, to muscle car freak (liked to race!), back to Caddy's... and then Oldsmobiles. I have done so many of those 394's...cuz I'm a sucker for punishment! Still have some cool stuff for em around. They are really great engines in my opinion ...once you work out the transmission end. Not a fan of Slim Jim's...which is kinda ridiculous for someone who loves 394s! Now....still a sucker for punishment...I'm in my Buick phase and subsequently...Nailheads! Anyone can do a SBC or a crate engine of various marquis...I've done those myself as they have merit and are more economical without the frustration of locating/fabricating parts! That being said, the 394s and the Nailheads are just plain cool (once you put in that mammoth cooling system!). Anyhow...one guy's opinion. Love the cars though...good luck with em!
    P.S. Thanks alot! Now I'm gonna have to find a 61 Starfire after I finish the Buicks! Lol
     
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  10. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 4,669

    57JoeFoMoPar
    Member

    Not exactly. My 57 could be driven across the country as it is but looks like hell because the right front fender is caved in with a twisted front valence and bumper. A full repaint doesn't make sense because there are a lot of other areas of the body that need to be addressed as well. What I'll probably wind up doing is eventually putting the car back together in a semblance of Order and just shooting it in a white sealer to make it all one color at least.

    My 61 Olds will hopefully be mechanically complete in the next few months, perhaps early fall. Then it needs to be resprayed to fix several issue with the paint.

    The issues with this '56 seem minor enough to be rectified with a weekend's worth of work, which I can deal with and don't necessarily mind since it will be corrected properly and not be an issue moving forward. It starts easy and revs smoothly, but pops and hesitates with too much load, about 1/2 throttle and beyond. A carb kit is a whole $25 from RockAuto and even if I had to swap the carb, I have a perfect Holley 600 ready to go that I'll just need to figure out how to work with the Jetaway linkage. I could also eliminate the points with a Pertronix. With reliable spark and fuel delivery, you're 90% there in terms of engine reliability.
     
  11. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,273

    F-ONE
    Member
    from Alabama

    Congratulations.
    That's a beautiful Holiday Hard Top. Make it your own.
    I'm a little conservative...for me the Continental kit would have have to...G-O.....but that's just me.
    Again congratulations.
     
  12. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 4,669

    57JoeFoMoPar
    Member

    I wouldn't put it on there myself, and my wife HATES them lol. But it's all so complete, I don't really want to mess with it.

    In terms of custom styles, it's a bit mild for me, too. I prefer the later '50s candy paint look, but this is a sharp car in all black. Definitely upscale.
     
  13. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 5,771

    chevy57dude
    Member

    Classy looking Olds, both of 'em. Glad you're the caretaker of Manny's car now.
     
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  14. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,537

    Squablow
    Member

    I've heard getting the trans linkage to work on an aftermarket carb on these cars is super difficult. I'd say if the original carb can be rebuilt/cleaned/tuned it would be time well spent.
     
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  15. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 4,669

    57JoeFoMoPar
    Member

    Honestly, the transmission was the final straw in deciding to go the Chevy route. Of all the things wrong with my 61, the Slim Jim worked fine, which is to say it worked as it should. That being said, it was still a god-awful slush box that would choke out even the healthiest of 394s. I had priced out the cost to rebuild the 394, which would have been my first choice, and while it would have been very expensive for the relatively modest performance it would deliver, I could deal with it. What I couldn't deal with was the cost of converting it to a 700R4 as well. The difference between the cost of rebuilding the 394 and converting to a 700R4 versus just putting a nice crate engine SBC/700R4 combo in fixes the paint. No brainer.
     
  16. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 4,669

    57JoeFoMoPar
    Member

    You're absolutely right. The Jetaway TV and kick down linkage reminds me of the game Mouse Trap. The throttle pushes instead of pulls, too. Rebuilding the 4GC that's on there is definitely the first option. But I had a Holley on my 394 that ran great so if the 4GC rebuild is unsuccessful, I'll have to break out the pencil and paper and figure out how to make the Holley work.
     
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  17. mcsfabrication
    Joined: Nov 26, 2006
    Posts: 873

    mcsfabrication
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    You've got a nice couple of Old's there. Mentioned quite a few extremely familiar names in your post. All from my youth, and some still around. Good luck with your new car.
     
    dirty old man, loudbang and Thor1 like this.
  18. AChopped1950ford
    Joined: Sep 5, 2018
    Posts: 135

    AChopped1950ford
    Member

    Nice car, when you rebuild your carb, go on e bay and get an accelerator pump that has the leather cup, well worth the effort, you will never have a problem with it , stay away from the rubber pump so common today.
     
    loudbang, Thor1 and belair like this.
  19. 58 Yeoman
    Joined: Aug 7, 2009
    Posts: 463

    58 Yeoman
    Member
    from Lacon, IL

    Nice car. I'm another that doesn't care for connie kits, but it really seems to fit that car.

    BTW, you can trip on untied shoe laces (check your reflection in the 3rd pic).
     
  20. gsjohnny
    Joined: Nov 27, 2007
    Posts: 105

    gsjohnny
    Member

    25 y rs ago i worked for fusick auotmotive. they are the biggest, best olds repo company.
    use to get guys that were done restoring their v8's and now wanted more.
    cams, pistons, etc. they wanted to go fast. had a fla guy with a 62 starfire, wanted to go
    faster than 120. go figure.
     
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  21. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 4,669

    57JoeFoMoPar
    Member

    Just got out here and got to unpacking the extra parts this came with, and took an inventory. I counted 2 grill insert sets, 2 fans, 1 set of side stainless for a coupe and one for a 4 door, 4 intake gasket sets, 3 valve cover gasket sets, 2 water pumps, 2 fuel pumps, 4 Rochester 4gc carbs and what’s left of what was probably a 57 J2 set, 6 window motors, 3 NOS headlight rings, a dash insert, misc switches and knobs, extra interior material and wind lace, and a rearmed carrier. [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    I also found a set of adjustable rockers, though I have a 15 and one weird one that doesn’t match the others, and a good set of pushrods. I gather these are tough to find. [​IMG]
     
  22. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 5,194

    41rodderz
    Member
    from Oregon

    I love it . Well actually both.
     
    Thor1 likes this.
  23. 1954 rocket 98
    Joined: Apr 18, 2011
    Posts: 216

    1954 rocket 98
    Member

  24. demon452
    Joined: Dec 23, 2007
    Posts: 380

    demon452
    Member
    from Michigan

    Seen this car for sale on facebook a few weeks ago I believe. Looked like a nice car from the pics and at a good asking price as far as I was concerned. Glad to see it made it's way to someone on the hamb.
     
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  25. That is the way I am use to Seeing Great Kustoms!
    Fantastic Car!

    Just my 3.5 cents

    Live Learn & Die a Fool
     
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  26. Boryca
    Joined: Jul 18, 2011
    Posts: 667

    Boryca
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Detroit

    That Holiday is great!
     
    Automotive Stud, Thor1 and loudbang like this.
  27. That thing is awesome!
     
    kidcampbell71, Thor1 and loudbang like this.
  28. tbirddragracer
    Joined: Jul 25, 2013
    Posts: 63

    tbirddragracer
    Member

    Love the '56 Olds. Great acquisition.
     
    Thor1 likes this.
  29. Well at least he keeps them. One guy I know has a habit of getting way over his head and sells 1/2 finished projects and takes a bath each time. Some of us have offered to help him, but his attitude is a deal breaker.
     
    Thor1 likes this.

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