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.

WHERE THE MONEY WENT
'71 Olds Cutlass SX Convertible: $2,000
Paint and body: $2,300
Engine, carb-to-pan: $5,700
Trans and converter: $1,500
Radiator and twin fans: $800
140-amp alternator: $200
Distributor: $250
Wheels and tires: $1,250
Chrome plating: $2,000
Starter: $270
Fuel pump: $250
ARP bolts: $250
Stainless hoses $250
Driveshaft $300
Headers: $600
Mufflers/exhaust: $2,000
Suspension: $1,500
Rearend: $1,200
Interior and top: $1,200
Fittings: $300
Misc.: $1,000
Total: $25,120

BY THE NUMBERS
'71 OLDS CUTLASS SX CONVERTIBLE
Mike Izzi, 45 • Feasterville, PA
Total cost to build: $25,120
ENGINE
Type: Olds 455ci
Block: stock Olds
Oiling: stock pan, Melling pump
Rotating assembly: Olds nodular iron crank,
stock rods, Speed Pro 8.78:1 pistons
with Childs & Albert rings
Cylinder heads: '67-69 Olds "C" iron heads, ported and
polished with 2.07/1.71-inch valves
Camshaft: Mondello Engle .542/.558-inch lift; 238/246 duration
Valvetrain: COMP Cams roller rockers,
Mondello pushrods and springs,
and Cloyes timing set
Induction: Edelbrock Torker intake manifold, Demon 975-cfm carb
Ignition: MSD 6AL box, distributor, and coil
Fuel system: sumped stock tank, Mallory 140-gph electric fuel pump
Exhaust: Hooker 1 1/8-inch headers,
custom dual 3-inch exhaust with electric cut-outs.
Cooling: stock water pump, Be Cool radiator,
and dual 11-inch electric fans
Output: 340 rear-wheel horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 478 lb-ft at 3,600 rpm
Built by: Bill Moss
DRIVETRAIN
Transmission: GM 200-4R and 3,000-stall Vigilante lock-up converter;
Hurst Dual Gate shifter, custom driveshaft
Rear axle: Olds 10-bolt rearend, 4.10:1 gears,
Auburn limited-slip differential
CHASSIS
Front suspension: rebuilt stock with Poly bushings and KYB shocks,
Hotchkis sway bar, AGR quick-ratio steering box
Rear suspension: rebuilt stock with Poly bushings,
KYB shocks, and Hotchkis sway bar
Brakes: stock Olds disc, front; stock Olds drum, rear
ROLLING STOCK
Wheels: Center Line Convo Pro 15x6, front; 15x10, rear
Tires: T/A 215/60R15 BFGoodrich Radial, front;
325/60R16 BFGoodrich drag radials, rear