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Scott Oshinski’s 1972 Cutlass is as muscular as a muscle car gets, but look beyond the brawny exterior and you’ll find the Oldsmobile has received a modern education in technology.
Scott actually started his muscle car life with a handful of classic Chevy products. It was a friend of his, Dave Olin, who desired the 1967 Camaro that he had at the time, and offered his Oldsmobile Cutlass in trade. He initially declined the offer, but when Olin showed up with the car Oshinski had a change of heart after seeing it in person.
The 1972 Cutlass S had already been well modified, with a 427ci big-block Chevy dropped between the front fenders. While the purist will disagree, it’s hard to beat the huge amount of aftermarket support for the Chevrolet engine versus the original Oldsmobile powerplant.
Beyond the engine bay, the Cutlass was adorned with a custom Candy Black Cherry paint job and it looked as good as it ran. However, with a handful of mid-12-second, quarter-mile timeslips. Oshinski, however, soon wanted more.
Additional upgrades improved performance and dropped elapsed times into the 11s, and he wisely upgraded the chassis with an 8.50-certified roll cage. And in his quest to sharpen the Cutlass’ performance edge, he added a nitrous-oxide system that put it into the 10s and then the 9s, with a best elapsed time of 9.99 at 136.4 mph.
On track, the Cutlass was at its peak performance, but while participating in the Woodward Dream Cruise, Scott started to notice the oil pressure fluctuating, thus bringing the 427's time between the fenderwells to a close. Looking at the fateful event as an opportunity to upgrade, he replaced the 427 with 502 cubic inches of late-model Rat engine and kept right on moving.
Outside of his car hobby, though, Oshinski’s life changed in a big way towards the new millennium when he got married and started a family. Making financially sound decisions started to make more sense than racing, and the Michigan resident parted ways with his Cutlass in 2005 to free up funds. And he would put said funds towards a new business venture with his business partner, Chris Brooker.
The two men began Accelerated Tooling, and subsequently, TorqStorm Superchargers.
“I kept in contact with (the seller), and we were doing decently with the tooling company, so I asked him if he would sell it back,” he said. Scott was able to repurchase the Cutlass in 2010, and though five years had passed, the buyer hadn’t done much of anything to the Olds other than admire it.
In bringing the Cutlass back home, Oshinski’s competitive spirit was fired up once more and he was eventually able to combine his hobby with his business to improve the Cutlass’ performance further, while advancing the development of the superchargers his company was manufacturing.
“Every motor we put the supercharger on was the limiting factor, so we upgraded to a 540 to help test the superchargers,” he explained. He had friend Dave Olin build the 540ci big-block with aluminum cylinder heads and topped it off with a C&S Specialties-tweaked Holley Dominator carburetor.
With a taste of modern technology, the Cutlass turned the rollers to 700 rear-wheel horsepower on a single supercharger. And now that they found the limit of the head unit, Oshinski and his team decided to add a second one, which resulted in an increase to 1,181 rear-wheel horsepower, and a best elapsed time of 8.69 seconds at 153 mph—an impressive time considering the car’s 3,820-pound curb weight!
Looking for ways to flex his Cutlass’ muscles and expand the business, both Oshinski and Brooker got involved with National Muscle Car Association, both as a sponsor of the True Street class and as racers in True Street and the Dodge//Mopar HEMI Shootout.
Oshinski began competing in the True Street racing category with his car and showed he had the car to beat right from the start. Since then, he has collected two overall class wins, several 9-second wins, and 7 additional class category plaques, but the Michigander continues to strive for more, and with that, his latest engine build stepped the classic muscle machine up in technology and performance once more.
“We had been working with Steve Morris doing machine work for them and talked to them about helping us find the limits of the superchargers,” Oshinski said of the next step in the Cutlass’ technological evolution.
After discussing the parameters and goals of the project, Steve Morris put together a new 565ci engine topped with the same two superchargers. Fed a steady supply of VP Racing Fuels C16, the new powerplant produced 1,901 horsepower and 1,182lb-ft. of torque on the SME engine dyno.
While having the new powerplant swapped in, Oshinski also had Horsepower Depot install Holley’s Dominator ECU to have better control of the far more powerful engine, which now utilizes Holley’s Coil-Near-Plug ignition. The EFI system also provides data-logging information for dyno and on-track tuning as well.
“All of the information is in one area now,” he explained of the new Holley digital dash in the Cutlass. “We also use the Holley to pull timing to keep the car from doing wheelies.” The Dominator was a perfect fit, considering he was already using Holley’s HP Dominator fuel system components, and Steve Morris has an intake manifold for the engine if Oshinski decides to make the jump to fuel injection.
Once tuned on Horsepower Depot’s hub dyno, the SME big-block was detuned so Oshinski could get used to the additional power little by little. The Cutlass still utilizes a stock-style suspension , along with a stout Turbo 400 transmission.
With the new engine aboard, Oshinski has improved his best elapsed time in the Cutlass to an 8.54 at 160 mph, and the 60-ft clocks have been tripped in just 1.257 seconds. The True Street class can offer tricky track conditions, however, and he will need to learn the Holley EFI system to fine-tune the power management and to extract the most performance from his mean muscle machine.
“I want to get into the low 8s,” he said. “It’ll probably be during the fall with better air and drag radial prep. I want to beat the Camaro,” he noted of the company’s LS-powered and TorqStorm-supercharged 1969 Camaro that co-owner Chris Brooker pilots in the NMCA’s Street King category, and which is currently running low 8s in the summer heat on track.
As much as his Cutlass has received to get where it is today, Oshinski himself has seemingly made many smart choices to get him to where he is as well. As he continues to explore the performance of his Oldsmobile, perhaps his smartest decision to date is not selling it again, which is something his wife, Linda, is making sure of as well.