Despite its size and weight,...
Despite its size and weight, the big Cutlass was in its element around the autocross, finishing Ninth overall with a time of 47.86 seconds. The big-block's meaty torque curve made it easy to squirt from corner to corner, while the DSE suspension provided plenty of stick. The only criticism was that the rearend didn't settle quickly enough during brisk side-to-side transitions, so we may upgrade to double-adjustable shocks in the future to help control the compression and rebound valving individually.
After hitting the road, all projects need to have their bugs worked out, and Project Olds is no exception. Since the purpose of any shakedown session is to find out what problems may arise under real-world competition conditions, we were pleased with the overall performance of the Cutlass over the course of the weekend. We managed to bring the car home in one piece, and have already started formulating a plan to address the oiling and sputtering issues. The experience has brought us one step closer to fully dialing in the Cutlass for battle, and without turning the wheel on the track, that goal would be impossible to achieve. By far, the biggest triumph of the weekend was how well the car ran in the autocross course in the midst of mixing it up with machines that clearly boasted power and weight advantages. While we're not quite ready to wrap up the project, we've come pretty darn close to building and fully dialing-in a complete car in just eight months.
The Ultimate G-Machine Shootout
Like it or not, the Pro Touring movement has earned a notorious reputation for producing cars that look much better than they run, and the Optima Ultimate Street Car Faceoff was conceived to put that stereotype to rest. The event is open to all muscle cars and late-models, and just about any engine, trans, and suspension combo is game. The only real stipulation is the mandatory use of DOT-approved tires. The event we attended combined a street cruise, a BFG Hot Lap Challenge, a DSE Speed Attack Autocross, and a Baer Brakes Speed Stop Challenge. Once the rubber cooled, Brian Finch of Nashville placed near the top of every competition with his '71 Camaro, and was named the overall champion of the weekend. The event we attended on May 1-2 is just one in several Faceoff competitions that will be held throughout the year. Select vehicles will be invited to race in the Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational (www.OptimaInvitational.com) during the SEMA show later this year to fight for the title of the ultimate Pro Touring machine in the country.