Project OldsmoPILE: Power Tour Bound


What started off as a cheap-o 1982 Cutless Supreme, has evolved into a cool build. With a 6.0L under the hood, Ford 8.8 rearend, and TH350 making up the OldsmoPILE, it’s a bit of a Bride of Frankenstein. The team at Reaction Time Marketing has been tracking their progress and testing the roadworthiness of this Franken-build. The goal was to hit the Power Tour in the car, while also making it a swift ‘Pile.

Kicking Off the Build

One of the first documented projects for this build was to install a set of Gibson headers on the ‘Pile. With the help of the people at Gibson, they picked out a set of headers meant for a 5th-gen Camaro. The installation was said to be an easy one, but on the way to the muffler shop, a wiring gremlin showed up — it was unrelated to the header install. There was a crank sensor wiring issue that needed to be addressed. After that first electrical gremlin was discovered, the team spent some time cleaning up stray wires from the engine bay.

T-Minus 2 Weeks to Power Tour

Two weeks before the team was set to leave on the Power Tour, another long weekend brought in new rounds of modifications, and repairs. Lots of sanding, bondo, and eventually primer went into the OldsmoPILE over this particular weekend. They also replaced the old steering box to correct the play and rough turning while driving. A main focus was also getting the intake installed. A Top Street Performance LS3 intake installed without issues.

olds-2Wiring continued as the finish date was drawing near. Crimped and loose connections were taking over, so a lot of soldering and shrink wrapping went down. A valve cover gasket was replaced during the weekend, as well as re-torquing of the valve train to eliminate some rocker arm noise.

At the backend of the weekend, the momentum was paused thanks to stubborn fuel rails. The front driver’s side rail’s fitting was butting heads with the alternator bracket, requiring a 90 degree fitting from J&M Speed Center to fix it.

An Intense 4-Day Weekend

Starting on a Thursday morning, the ‘Pile began acting up on the way over to Gibson exhaust for its new muffler. The car was cutting off, and the team thought it was the starter, and were pretty far off. It was the bolts used for the flexplate being too short that was causing the issues. Finally, that Friday night after having the car towed back, they were able to drop the transmission and find the issue. Team C in Bellflower, California supplied the new flexplate, and they got the right sized bolts from Moroso.olds-3

With tons of sanding to go, the build was not on schedule for paint. By Sunday, the sanding, bondo, sanding game was back in full swing. The radio was rewired in preparation for the road trip (who wants to go tuneless on a road trip!?!).

Come Monday evening, the OldsmoPILE was ready to be sprayed. The paint wasn’t exactly sophisticated — it was done in the driveway. Then it was off to tint, then a gear swap at Manny’s High Performance. With four days left, they still had to install the parking brake, CB radio, etc. The engine got a custom ground Delta Cam with 217/227 duration, and .517 lift and L92 heads just before they hit the road.

Hitting the Road

After everything was buttoned up, the OldsmoPILE was ready for its journey. The team made it from California to Las Vegas before experiencing some trouble. A secondary fuel pump was dying/overheating, so they had to stop and allow it to cool a few times on the way to Denver for a new one.

On day two of the pre-haul, braking power was lost over a leak in one of the rear brake hoses. After a quick stop and change, they were back on the road and ready to start the tour the next day.


The next, and last, update was during day 7 of the trip. After a total of 2,750 miles on the build, all was quiet about the ‘Pile, so we’ll assume it was still alive and kicking. The only real drama reported had more to do with the road trip itself instead of the car, but all-in-all, the team seemed to be having a good time.

After digging through the team’s Facebook posts, it looks like the ending was happy and the OldsmoPILE was last reported as being down for minor maintenance. Check out the project and team’s log in detail here.

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