MY SECOND OLDSMOBILE

It was really a gray and white four door sedan about as ugly as they come. When I have to go through the trouble of drawing the image, it's going to look like this two door hardtop. What that car was really about, was performance and not looks. It had a 374 cubic inch Rocket engine and Dual Coupling 4 speed Jetaway hydromatic. The car was acquired by both accident and desperation for anything to drive rather than walk.

I was in my second year at Dunwoody Industrial Institute and working part time at a Shell Station in the Glenwood Avenue neighborhood of Minneapolis Minnesota. The young fella that worked at the station before me sold it as there was a transmission and engine problem. I can easily do a fixer-upper knowing that it'll be a car with out payments. The engine needed the heads re-done, and the trans needed a front pump. Then I drove the car hard for a couple years and got ride of it because I couldn't stand the ugliness of it.

Performance,

I remember drag racing it a few times. Generally I used the right lane in city traffic so at a stop light, eventually some hot shot in the left lane would want a race. There was no question in their mine it would be an easy win for them. You know the scene, reeving their engine and looking my way. I'd look at him and nod and at the same time build up some revolutions while holding the brake with the gear selector in "drive". The car would sink in the back as the leaf springs would wrap up under the torque. I beat them out of the hole every time as first gear in the Jetaway was lower that any other car on the road. Second gear up shift was about six miles an hour and after a couple seconds, I was about two car lengths ahead. After the tranny hit third, I'd let up after a couple seconds and let them go by. Now I had to look at their face with a big grin on mine to let them know I had them. One inevitably pays a price for even a few seconds of glory as the rear springs broke after doing this a few times. After I replaced the springs ( lot of work), no more racing. This proves that the people at Oldsmobile did their home work even with that "Rocket" V/8 engine.

Learning about the Jetaway Transmission 

Automatic Transmissions was a course I had at Dunwoody and Mr. Jenson (the instructor) used the Dual Coupling 4 speed Jetaway to teach the course. He stated that this trany used every type of clutch used in other units so it made sense to go with it. Oldsmobile had been experimenting with the automatic transmission since the thirties and General Motors relied on that division to develop a unit for the other car lines. My 55 Oldsmobile had a Dual Range automatic of which I never had the opportunity to take apart.

A opportunity to rebuild one.

Thirty years after Mister Jenson's class, I got to rebuild a Jetaway in a fifty seven Olds at the Grand Canyon. One of the park employees had this gray and white Olds (just like the one I had) stored in their trailer house driveway for several years. By then word was established in the community that I did automatics down at the Public Garage. The folks saved enough bucks to get it repaired as the trany had been out several years I got it all torn down and cleaned up to see what parts were needed. Knowing that nobody local stocks stuff like this anymore, I found a place called "Fatsco Transmission" in New Jersey. I got it together in a day after the parts showed up and could hardly wait to road test the car. In Drive position, the unit starts out in low gear ( very low ratio) and up shifts about five miles an hour. With moderate throttle pressure, second gears holds in there to about thirty five. Third gear has an interesting event take place as it slowly slides into engagement. A large internal fluid coupling must fill with oil to drive a planetary member to make third gear. Fourth gear occurs without a noticeable event. My rebuild job did every thing as expected, so I called the customer and said' " pick it up, it's ready to go".

Why the thirty year wait?

After finishing school, I worked only for Chevrolet dealers (besides auto electric work) there were Power Glides, Turbo 350's, 375's, 400's and 425's to rebuild. The Jetaway gave out to Slim Jim's soon in Olds and by then the old Dual Couplings were in the junk yards because the cars rusted out quickly in the Midwest.

The next car was a 1965 Cadillac Coup DeVille rag top.

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