1985 Olds Cutlass is a Classic Cruiser with Modern Power

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1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass with LS Power

LS-based LY6, a modern manual transmission and suspension upgrades make this Cutlass a great cruiser.

The General Motors G-Body platform carried some key performance cars in the 1980s and today, models like the Pontiac Grand Prix, the Chevrolet Monte Carlo, the Buick Regal and the Oldsmobile Cutlass have become popular cars to restore and enjoy. The key problem with these cars is that that original engines were low-performance emission engines in an era where being emission-friendly meant that they made very little power.

Fortunately, while flipping through the LS1Tech Marketplace, we came across a 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass that has been supplemented with an LS-based V8 and a 6-speed manual transmission that surely create a far more fun-to-drive machine. Best of all, with a list price of $9,000, this street-friendly, LS-powered Cutlass is priced to move just in time for the 2019 cruising season.

1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass with LS Power

The Introduction

When “RATBOX” first posted his 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass for sale in the marketplace, he included a thorough rundown of the car, including a mod list, why he is selling and what he wants in return. He is asking for $9,000 cash, but he would consider some trade options.

I had this up for trade for a few days last fall, and chickened out and pulled the ad. But I have to condense the fleet, I’m selling my house in the next year and I just won’t have room for 4 vehicles. So my plan is to trade this for a modded pickup that I can daily drive, and then sell my daily driver rcsb and get down to one pickup and the wife’s Honda. Anyway, what I’m looking for is a modded daily drivable GM pickup. Ideally a rcsb. But might consider other variations, if they’ve got the right mods. Not interested in lifted or super slammed trucks, at all. May also consider trading the 442 as a roller for your rcsb roller.

Paint and 442 graphics are original and look their age, personally I love the patina look, but I realize it’s not for everyone. That said, the car is very solid, and not rotted like most are. Has some notable bubbling at the door bottoms, but the trunk, floors and frame are really really clean. This car was spared from winters and road salt, fortunately. I will get any number of pics inside and out as needed, for anyone with serious interest and a trade offer that suits my needs.

The car is a ton of fun to drive, especially with the T56. It still needs minor details addressed, but nothing major. I’ll be getting it out of winter storage here very soon and start driving it and tinkering with the minor details I want to address. I’d be willing to drive the car to meet up for a trade, if need be, up to 500 miles or more. My work schedule will dictate how much time I have to leave town to meet up at that point. The cars quite reliable and I’m not afraid to demonstrate.

Anyone with a trade offer that fits my needs, can feel free to PM me with what you have to trade and a number to reach you at. I’m not super interested in selling it outright and I’m not in a rush to get rid of it, good weather is finally here so I’m good with enjoying driving it until next winter, if need be lol. Trade value is 9k, may take your trade and cash if the value isn’t there.

The Build

This 1985 Cutlass is powered by an LS-based LY6 V8, which started its life as a 6.0-liter truck engine that delivered 385 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. We don’t know the current output of the engine, but a variety of internal bits have been upgraded, including the addition of a Thompson Motorsports camshaft and 1.75-inch long tube headers.

1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass with LS Power

The power from this worked LY6 is sent to the rear wheels by means of a Tremec T-56 transmission from a modern Pontiac GTO, topped by a B&M shifter. Out back, it has the original 8.5-inch rear differential with 3.73 gears, along with upgraded suspension components at all four corners.

1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass with LS Power

What makes this Cutlass so unique, as LS swap cars go, is that the exterior appears to be stock, right down to the original paint. Frankly, the car doesn’t look great from the outside, but it is in solid condition so with a little bodywork, this Olds could look at great as it performs. The inside looks very clean, so this car could be driven and enjoyed how it sits, serving as a shocking sleeper, but a fresh coat of paint would make this one wicked weekend show car.

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"Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500," says Patrick Rall, a lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years. "He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car – a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16 while I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

"Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group. While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

"Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never “work” a day in your life," adds Rall, who has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now automotive journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular auto websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

"I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

"My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

"Being based on Detroit," says Rall, "I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit's Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.

Rall can be contacted at [email protected]

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