1971 Olds Cutlass SX Convertible
Mike Izzi, Feasterville, PA
Best E.T.: 12.45/105
When Mike Izzi was just a young, budding gearhead, his dad used to always stop at the same Sunoco station where a tough-looking Olds convertible sat off to the side. Mike stared at it whenever he was along for the ride, and long before he could drive, he knew he'd found his car. Once he turned 16, Mike inquired whether the car was for sale every time he stopped to fill up his dad's tank. The answer was always "No." He was persistent though, and one day the answer changed. Mike couldn't get the $2,000 out of the bank fast enough.
Mike knew what 442s, W-30s, and Hurst Olds were, but he'd never heard of an SX. After a little research, he found that it was a package only offered in '70 and '71, and that there were only 357 convertibles made in '71. Sounds like a candidate for stock restoration, at least according to many Olds aficionados he's run across, but Mike's plan was to enjoy the Olds-its rarity be damned.
But that's not to say that Mike hasn't been respectful to the SX heritage. Nearly everything Mike has done has been with an eye toward clean integration into the Olds' character, from the 3-inch pipes that use custom factory-style tips, to the 200R4 with 3,000-rpm stall converter that is shifted by the factory column. There's really nothing on the car that couldn't be returned to stock, and Mike has all the parts, though says he often wonders why he doesn't just sell them since he'll never put them back on.
Still, the purists balk. An SX convertible owner at the Olds Nationals with a concours-perfect resto gave Mike an earful about what he'd done to his car and its value. Mike laughed and told him that car was built for his enjoyment, not anyone else's. That guy would probably have a conniption if he knew about Mike's future engine and rollcage plans.