Restoration of the 1955 Oldsmobile

Back in these early years, there was a major difference between and Olds and Chevy

The Dash board has a few components worth mentioning. This is the last year when the instrument panel was all gauges as later years used Idiot Lights for the Oil and Temperature. The Ammeter and oil pressure were the only components working when I got the car. The temperature gauge worked but read to high so it was replaced with a new unit from Lecric Limited and now it reads correctly.

The fuel gauge goes right to "full" when the key is turned on, indicating the tank unit has an "open". I dropped the tank and found the sender all rotted away. I found a new one made of stainless steel and it reads correctly.

The radio was removed for repair and given to Vintage Radio in Chino Valley. After a few tries, they got it to work.

The speedometer cable was twisted in two so I replaced it. That happened because the speedometer head was seized. It was a long job to remove it, but the clean up and relubrication has it working as smooth as can be. There is even a oil hole in the speedometer head for future lubrication.

The shift indicator worked fine, but I was suppressed to find out it was controlled by electro magnets from a switch on the shifter tube.

These cars have what I call real horns. There is a "low" note and a "High" note and they blow in harmony and loud. The horn worked intermittently, so I took the upper Steering Mast Jacket apart and cleaned and lubricated all the parts. It blows every time without fail now.

The heater box was dropped and the heater core removed for cleaning. Oldsmobile has a much larger heater core than a Chevrolet and that is why they throw out more heat. This is when the defroster ducts were replaced. You can see one through the opening in the glove box.

New "kick Panels" were made from thin Masonite and covered with vinyl.

Threads in the shifter bowl were striped out so the lever would pull out. Purchasing a Heli Coil repair kit solved that problem.

There wasn't any carpeting in the car and was supprised to notice not a lick of rust on the floor boards. Classic Cars in Prescott had some in stock so I installed it after pulling out the seats.


 Heater control cables were removed and liberally oiled and they work effortlessly now.

The dash board was sanded and repainted after the chrome was cleaned up with fine sand paper and steel wool. The dash parts made of stainless steel were without rust and cleaned up with polish.

The cigar lighted had caused a direct short and burned the main feed wires from the engine compartment. It took a while to strip the harness and replace the burned wires. That circuit is now protected with a fusable link. I was able to replace the cigar light with one from Auto Zone.

The car came with a universal ignition switch that didn't fit the hole in the dash. I found a brand new one on ebay, a lock cylinder set from Auto Zone and the switch nut from my friend Floyd Nolan, owner of French Lake Auto parts in Minnesota.


  New Upholstry

The old upholstery was ripped to shreds and disgusting. The original upholstery was leather on the upper seat backs but I went with vinyl instead. I didn't care for the original fabric colors or design, so I'm doing a pattern of my choosing.

I found a clock on ebay with the correct wiring harness. It was carefully taken apart, cleaned and oiled. In those years, clocks rewound the main spring every few minutes through contacts that energize an electromagnet.

   New door panels have been completed with the rolled and pleated technique.

 That old vacuum wiper motor works like a charm now that it was cleaned and polished inside and lubricated.

You see a new heater water control valve that I bought the other day off the internet.

The heater blower motor was toast. Auto Zone had a universal unit that needed adapting to fit the mounting flange. An interesting note on the blower motor speed control. The speed switch on the dash says, low and high. It should say low and medium because when the defroster knob is pulled, the motor runs at high speed. The dash switch runs power through resistors and the defroster feature bypasses both resistors.

Being this was a California car, the previous owner installed a P.C.V. system and eliminated the "Road Draft Tube". That is why the nipple on the valve cover for the clean air filtered intake.

I was afraid to drive very far with the car at first as it would cut out at times. I found out the ground wire was broken on the distributor breaker plate. After that got fixed, no more problems with that.

Much cleaning and repainting remains under the hood.

   The great appearance of the Bat Wing air cleaner will inspire me to redo the other painting under the hood.