A mechanic gets an Oldsmobile back on the road after 33 years for $500

Key things

  • Dalton attempts to resurrect a 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass purchased for $500, but faces many challenges, including a missing radiator and a rotted frame.
  • After several attempts, Dalton starts the V8 engine, but runs into problems with sparking wires and a smoking engine.
  • Dalton successfully replaces the steering components and is able to drive the Cutlass, but ultimately decides that it is not financially viable to fully restore the car.



Some he finds the barn they are simply too far gone to be saved, even though Dalton z Garage Pole Barn A YouTube channel decided to try to resurrect a 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass. After purchasing it as part of a package along with an old C4 Chevrolet CorvetteHis mission was to try and get the vehicle into service for the first time in over two decades. He soon discovered that his task would be much more difficult than he had originally anticipated.

Rotten Oldsmobile Cutlass picked up for just $500

Dalton opens the video by introducing the Oldsmobile Cutlass racer picked up for just $500 next to the old Corvette, although there was a good reason for the low price. He hadn’t been on the road since 1990 and found that the radiator was missing and he would have to find a replacement even if he could get the engine started.

To make matters worse, Dalton discovered that the tie rods that allow the front wheels to be steered were cut in half and the sway bar was dragging on the ground. This meant he wouldn’t be able to drive the vehicle, forcing him to think outside the box to get it into his workshop.


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Due to the high amount of snow on the ground, he had to wait a few days for the move and in the meantime found out that the frame was completely rotten. This meant that it would also be difficult to secure new steering components to the chassis.

When the snow finally cleared, he came up with the idea of ​​attaching a tire to the front of the Cutlass and using his truck to push it into the shop. His plan worked and he got the car inside so he could begin to investigate it further.

Old V8 refuses to fire after extended sleep

Dalton wasted no time getting to work muscular Oldsmobile Cutlass, first cleaned all the debris he could from the engine compartment. He then oiled most of the moving parts to see if he could fire up the 350 ci V8 engine.

When the battery cable was broken, it needed to be plugged into the starter to make it work. In doing so, he discovered that the floor of the Cutlass had completely rotted away. The carpet was sagging in several places.

1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass



350 ci V8, two-speed automatic transmission


310 hp/390 lb-ft

0-60 mph

8.5 seconds

Top speed

127 mph


3435 pounds

Source (automotive catalog)

He then drilled a key in the dash to get to the starter, though he soon discovered it was getting no power. Dalton fiddled with the wiring connecting the battery to the alternator and checked the coil to make sure it was working as intended. After giving the go-ahead in this area, his final task was to attach the temporary fuel tank. He did this to prevent foreign dirt from being sucked into the engine using the original tank that hadn’t been used in 23 years.

Oldsmobile Motor finally fires, but not without drama

Brown 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass engine
YouTube @ Pole Barn Garage

After completing these jobs, Dalton attempted to start the engine. It seemed to be getting somewhere, although he had to abandon his attempt when the battery wire started to spark. He reasoned that the engine was struggling to start because the battery was probably dead, so he left it overnight to replenish it. He also decided to change the spark plugs to see if that would improve the sleeping giant’s chances of starting. Only spark plug seven looked bad, but Dalton replaced them all just to be sure.

He tried to rev the engine once more, and even though he was close, it still refused to catch. Dalton checked the fuel pump and found it wasn’t working great, so he made some small adjustments to make it work better.


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The V8 finally coughed to life after that, though Dalton had to shut it down quickly again because it was producing an immense amount of smoke. He and his son had to open every door in the workshop because it got so bad.

Out of the box Technique needed to assemble the radiator

A brown 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass radiator
YouTube @ Pole Barn Garage

When Dalton got the V8 running again, he shifted his attention to get a replacement radiator into the Cutlass to help keep the engine cool. He soon discovered that his mounting points had completely rotted, forcing him to come up with a solution.

He decided to drill old license plates into the chassis to act as mounting points, an unusual idea that ended up working perfectly. He stole a new radiator from one of his other project cars and then spliced ​​the connecting hoses together because he didn’t have a big enough space to fit natively.

Before you start the engine again, Dalton replaced oil, which is one of the most important elements to keep the engine running well. Unsurprisingly, the original fluid wasn’t in great shape since it hadn’t been used for so long. However, the engine soon ran into more problems as it quickly lost spark and the radiator overheated.

The next day, Dalton discovered that the rotor was missing about an eighth of an inch. He replaced it with a new one, a the engine started again. The unit was left running for a while to try to burn off some of the debris left in the system and try to reduce the smoke.

New steering parts allow the Cutlass to drive for the first time in two decades

A brown 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass reverses
YouTube @ Pole Barn Garage

Dalton’s ultimate goal was to replace the steering system components so he could attempt to drive the broken Cutlass. First he cut off the old sway bar and connecting rods before finding spare parts from one of his other machines.


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After installing them, he placed the temporary gas tank on the back bench and prepared for his first cruise with the Olds. After filling the radiator one more time, he fired up the V8 to see if he could get it out of the shop.

To Dalton’s delight, he managed to engage reassuring automatic transmission put it in reverse and back the Cutlass out of the shop. He then tried the forward gear and the brakes, both of which worked adequately.

Refused to try it on the road because the body and floor were rotting, he decided to have some fun in a small field on his property. Dalton was surprised by how agile the car was, though he didn’t seem to be aware of it annoying screeching sound every time he tipped it into the corner.

Work done to move a 1968 Cutlass

  • Complete replacement of engine lubricant including oil
  • Restores battery energy to alternator, starter
  • Replacement spark plugs
  • New radiator and engine rotor installed
  • Replacement of connecting rods and sway bar to restore steering

Despite enjoying his first ride in the ancient Cutlass, he admitted that he was unable to restore it. He noted that the replacement metal he would need to replace the floor would cost around $2,500 on its own, making it not financially viable.

While it’s disappointing to see such a beautiful machine essentially relegated to the scrap heap, it goes to show that sometimes it is simply impossible to bring the car from the abyss had been abandoned for so long. At least Dalton’s Cutlass will live on in more examples. He explained that he would make some of his less-destroyed parts to make sure the others didn’t suffer the same fate.