1940      Oldsmobile

To give the convertible a chopped look without actually chopping it, Stan reworked the metal bows and handmade a replacement wood bow for the rear. The results dropped the roofline by nearly two inches. To power the top, Stan created a pneumatic system combining the original air cylinders, which used to be vacuum-powered, with an air pump and storage tank. Now they have the luxury of putting the top up or down without running the engine.

The original plan was to use a Chevy 350 crate motor to power the ’40, but friend Sam Murray, an Olds racing gearhead, convinced Stan and Ginny that it should be Olds-powered. He helped them locate an Olds 455 c.i., and was instrumental in assembling and fine-tuning the engine to run like a top. Reed’s Automotive in Whitman, Massachusetts, machined the block. The block was bored .030 over, heads were ported, polished and cc’d with an Edelbrock cam and lifters and Milodon springs and rockers. An Edelbrock Performer manifold and Quadrajet carb are topped by a custom air cleaner Stan made from three headlight buckets.

Ginny’s only requirement was three-point seat belts, so they sourced 2000 Cadillac DTS seats with integrated shoulder harnesses. Fred Carello handled the upholstery in neutral shale leather with tan wool carpeting.

Stan created a custom dash with a carbon fiber accent to house the VDO gauges, Sony stereo, a variety of switches, knobs and the glovebox. There are plenty of creature comforts completing the package, including seat heaters, power windows and an Air Tique air conditioning system.

It's My Mother's Oldsmobile
Not My Father's!

Ginny Baukus' 1940 Oldsmobile

 

Originally published in Street Rodder Magazine, August 2002

 

Nearly a decade ago, I wrote the first car feature of my career. Published in SRM in January 1993, the article on my dad’s ’29 Ford sedan delivery was my entry into the world of automotive journalism. At the time, Dad and I were happily cruising in our street rods---he in his ’29 and I in the deuce pickup we had built together. Mom was more often than not left at home minding the “family business,” a motel on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, while the two of us went to cruise nights and local shows. Still, she had an interest in rods and fell in love with a rusting ’40 Olds she and Dad went to check out in 1993. Dad was hesitant and by the time she convinced him to buy it, it had already been sold.

Years went by and times changed as they do for every family. I moved to California and my parents, Stan and Ginny Baukus, sold the motel. Now, Mom is Dad’s cruising partner and the two have traveled throughout New England and as far as Florida in a series of sedan deliveries they’ve owned and in Dad’s latest creation, a 1940 Oldsmobile convertible he built for Mom.

Over the years, Mom yearned to have Dad build her a car of her own, having just two requirements: it be “something different” and a convertible. When Dad came across another ad for a ’40 Olds, Mom was not about to let it slip away again. This Olds had been stored outside under canvas and looked even worse than the one they’d looked at before. Still, with Mom’s encouragement, they bought it, discovering a short time later that it was the very same car they had nearly purchased years ago. In 1998, Dad began work on the car, with the goal of finishing it in 2000, to commemorate both the car and Mom’s 60th birthdays.

Stan began by reworking the floor and inner fenders to make them solid, so the body could be removed for chassis work. The stock frame was then z’d to accommodate Corvette suspension in both front and rear. The chassis is Corvette throughout, with the anti-roll bar, springs, spindles, steering rack, brakes, master cylinder, and power booster all either stock or aftermarket Corvette products. Budnik Cobalt wheels complete the rolling chassis.

While Stan made extensive modifications to the body, his goal was to retain the look of the Olds and just “modernize it a bit.” He streamlined the look by molding the hood as well as each fender and modifying the headlight area to accommodate Mercedes-Benz headlights. He redesigned the grille and the sheet metal surrounding it, carving the grille out of a flat aluminum sheet and then hand-fitting each bar within the cavity. In the rear, the roll pan was modified to accommodate the custom exhaust pipes, while Stan designed and made custom tail lights, locating them in the widened fiberglass fenders.

Selecting an exterior paint color was a time-consuming venture with Ginny finally deciding she wanted orange. Translating the shade in Ginny’s mind to an actual paint color was a challenge with them testing more than 10 combinations on spare sheet metal and viewing them in various weather and light conditions. Dana Merrill of Hanson, Massachusetts, painted the Olds with their final choice---a custom mix with several House of Kolor shades that Ginny calls “Apricot Perfect.”

 

To give the convertible a chopped look without actually chopping it, Stan reworked the metal bows and handmade a replacement wood bow for the rear. The results dropped the roofline by nearly two inches. To power the top, Stan created a pneumatic system combining the original air cylinders, which used to be vacuum-powered, with an air pump and storage tank. Now they have the luxury of putting the top up or down without running the engine.

The original plan was to use a Chevy 350 crate motor to power the ’40, but friend Sam Murray, an Olds racing gearhead, convinced Stan and Ginny that it should be Olds-powered. He helped them locate an Olds 455 c.i., and was instrumental in assembling and fine-tuning the engine to run like a top. Reed’s Automotive in Whitman, Massachusetts, machined the block. 

The block was bored .030 over, heads were ported, polished and cc’d with an Edelbrock cam and lifters and Milodon springs and rockers. An Edelbrock Performer manifold and Quadrajet carb are topped by a custom air cleaner Stan made from three headlight buckets.

For the interior, Ginny had only one requirement: shoulder harness seat belts. Knowing that it would be difficult to mount shoulder harnesses safely in a convertible, they began to search for a set of late model seats with the seat belts integrated that would work in the ’40 without modification. A further hitch---they needed to be some shade of tan---the interior color they chose to coordinate with the orange exterior.

A set of 2000 Cadillac DTS seats in neutral shale leather were finally found and installed, while the rear seat from the same vehicle was modified to fit the rear of the Olds. Fred Carello of Warwick, Rhode Island rounded out the interior in shale and tan as well as stitched the Olds logo in the trunk.

Stan created a custom dash with a carbon fiber accent to house the VDO gauges, Sony stereo, a variety of switches and the glovebox. There are plenty of creature comforts completing the package, including seat heaters, power windows and an Air Tique air conditioning system.

 Stan missed his target date of Ginny’s 60th birthday by a few months, with her ’40 Olds taking its maiden voyage in January 2001 to the Boston World of Wheels, where it won best in its class, as well as an Outstanding Use of Color award and Ginny proclaimed it “the best birthday present ever.”

The pair drove the Olds over 6,000 miles in its first year on the road, garnering the Event Director’s Pick at the NSRA Nationals East, the Coolest pick at Goodguys East Coast Nationals in Rhinebeck, New York, and PPG’s Best Use of Color award at the NSRA Northeast Nationals in Burlington, Vermont.

© 2002, Tara Baukus Mello.

© 2003-2019  by Stan Baukus. Created by Be Mello Media, Inc.