trigun7469
trigun7469 SuperDork
11/19/18 2:26 p.m.

Very soon I am going to be in possession of a 56 Oldsmobile 88 Rocket 455 V8 from 1972. Few performance mods and a 2" drop. Not sure if it's the right fit with my current garage situation or driving style. Doesn't need anything major, but not sure if I am a classic car person. What are some worthwhile modifications to make it a nice street driver? Is it worth converting to discs brakes? I might end up selling it so low cost investments would be great.

GTXVette
GTXVette SuperDork
11/19/18 5:56 p.m.

YOU CAN DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN THINK,

Larry Kizer has a 57 Nomad ls3 w/vette trans disc brakes Air POWER WINDOWS , BUT LOOKS STOCK NEW. you can make yours as comfy as you want and there is NOTHIN' you can think that can't be Store Bought, reallly.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
11/19/18 6:46 p.m.
trigun7469 said:

Very soon I am going to be in possession of a 56 Oldsmobile 88 Rocket 455 V8 from 1972. Few performance mods and a 2" drop. Not sure if it's the right fit with my current garage situation or driving style. Doesn't need anything major, but not sure if I am a classic car person. What are some worthwhile modifications to make it a nice street driver? Is it worth converting to discs brakes? I might end up selling it so low cost investments would be great.

Just so I understand, the car is a 1956 but it has a 1972 455ci engine?  

Aftermarket parts aren't nearly as plentiful for Buicks as they are for the 1957 Chevy mentioned above but there are some things available.  Disk brakes would be a useful upgrade.  One source for a kit is https://scarebird.com/index.php?route=product/category&path=59  They sell mounting brackets, designed to work with disks and calipers from some later model car that you buy yourself from the local auto parts store.  You can get seat belts and/or shoulder belts from a couple sources, incliuding https://www.ssnake-oyl.com and https://www.julianos.com/Seat-Belts-s/96.htm

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy UltimaDork
11/19/18 6:50 p.m.

My dad’s first car was a brand new 1955 Olds - the B&W picture was his and the color picture is one similar.  He put on curb feelers, glass packs, yellow fog lights behind the grill, steering wheel spinner, and big white walls.  

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy UltimaDork
11/19/18 6:54 p.m.

My pop ordered his Olds - I believe he upgraded the V8 to the higher HP version?

jstein77
jstein77 UltraDork
11/20/18 9:45 a.m.

In reply to Datsun310Guy :

I'll bet $2605 was a lot of money in 1955.

Edit: It's not as much as I thought. $2605 is equal to $24,580.80 in todays dollars.  Kind of shows how much more expensive cars are today than before.

pushrod36
pushrod36 Reader
11/20/18 10:03 a.m.

Based on my experience of trying to make a late 60's platform drive nicer, here are my recommendations:

-Rebuild the brakes and upgrade the friction materials to something modern.  There are many vendors that will make shoes/pads for you if you send them what you have.

-go to larger diameter wheels that will allow you to fit modern tires.  BFR radial t/a just isn't that good.

-increase the front spring rate (I would guess you want something like 800 lb/in).  This can typically be done economically by ordering circle track springs from speedway motors (or similar) and some adjustable spacer/perches

-Put a large front anti-swaybar in.

-replace suspension bushings, struts, and steering rag joint if it hasn't been done in the last 20 years

-Find a faster ratio power steering box (and add power steering).  Also go to a smaller diameter steering wheel

-Install new seatbelts.  Preferably three point.

-increase the headlight output.  many ways to achieve this

Obviously some of my suggestions will change the appearance of the car, and may not be to your taste.  These are the things that I have done and am totally happy with regarding it making the car nicer to drive on the street.

 

Trans_Maro
Trans_Maro PowerDork
11/20/18 11:01 a.m.

Be careful with the drums, don't let some parts store mook machine them.

The 56 Olds drums are nearly unobtainium and incredibly expensive.

We had to replace a set on our customers '56 Olds 88 in order for it to pass inspection. We found a set from Fusik Olds parts that were reproduction, we may have bought the last set and it cost us over $1200 for four drums.

It will handle like a boat but it's very comfortable and a pleasure to drive.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
11/20/18 11:51 a.m.

56 olds is kinda like soviet union.   car doesn't fit your driving style.   you fit your driving style to the car.

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy UltimaDork
11/20/18 12:15 p.m.

In 1987 I get married and we visit family in Haleyville, Alabama.  My wife’s great Aunt bought this 1956 Olds NEW and kept it forever.  First time I saw an old car with original paint and NO rust.  I convince them to let me drive it around the block then the heater core started peeing on my leg so I went back.  They thought it was just an old car.  

I could talk Oldsmobile’s all afternoon.  

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy UltimaDork
11/20/18 4:41 p.m.

The lady who owned the ‘56 I’m driving above later bought a 1972 “98” and here it is in great condition in 1987.  Alabama cars are the greatest.   

wlkelley3
wlkelley3 UltraDork
11/20/18 8:01 p.m.
Datsun310Guy said:

In 1987 I get married and we visit family in Haleyville, Alabama.  

I've got family there too. Grandfather came from there. The free state of Winston County.

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
11/26/18 2:06 p.m.

Edit: It's not as much as I thought. $2605 is equal to $24,580.80 in todays dollars.  Kind of shows how much more expensive cars are today than before.

Do the same thing with home values and you've more or less stumbled onto the main reason why homeownership and its strong correlation to wealth accumulation is failing to happen for millenials. 

Anywho, I've had a good time cruising in other peoples' 50s cruiser type cars. I dont think the big block necessarily improves things that much unless you get a kick out of trying to countersteer something with a 23:1 steering ratio. Not saying it won't be fun but I'm not sure how to assess the value of adding power here. I guess it depends what your idea of fun is and whether you feel like the power dictates that you improve other things ($$) to improve safety. 

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