1981-87 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme 442, by Von Digger & Bill Austin
A: 1981-87 Cutlass by Von Digger
1) what subject would you kit, and why? I would do a 81-87 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. I have never seen a kit for this car and I am sure that it would make a very interesting build.
2) Set your target audience, decide on skill level, parts breakdown and overall design. It would be a skill level 2 and want to target builders from 18-35 years of age since from personal experience I have found that the cars appeals to all of them. - Chassis: I would want a chassis pan with the frame and chassis pan with molded in fender wells, and gas tank. - Drive-train: A Oldsmobile V-8 with A/C, P/S pump and Alternator and all the associated brackets backed by a 200r4 overdrive transmission. The rear end would be a standard corporate 10 bolt rear. - Interior: An Interior pan with moulded door panels. From there a seperate dash, steering wheel, a choice of either a bench or bucket seat, center console, oh yeah and a seperate back seat. The locators for all the interior pieces will be either snap style or fairly easy to glue to. - Body: For the subject that I chose to do, the main part of the body spans all the years in question. I would include the 2 different header panels so that it could be built as either an 81-86, or an 87. The 87 version had composite headlights and not the open lights like the previous 6 years. I would also include the headlights on the chrome tree as well as the 2 different versions of the tail lights. 81-84 had a chrome strip going through the center of the tail light from top to bottom, while the 85-87 had a Oldsmobile symbol in the center of the light. - General: nothing more than I can think of off the top of my head
3) Do you want to include optional parts? name them, and why? - Drive-train upgrades: I would include the parts to turn the 307 V-8 into a 350 Rocket Block for a possible street machine version. - Body add-on's: Possibly a 72 styled 442 hood with the twin ram air option. There have been a few aftermarket companies that made this hood for the 1:1 cars and they look attractive. - Interior options: As stated above, I would include factory buckets and a center console with a floor shifter. - Wheels & tires: I would include a set of aftermarket style wheels and "bigs and littles" for a street machine version. - Decals: Since the regular Cutlass had next to no real markings and what little markings they did have they also shared with their high end models, in which case would add the graphics to make it either a 442 or a Hurst olds.
4) Are there alternative versions possible from that tool?, and if so, what parts can be used for both versions? As stated above the main body can be used for all versions since the body remained unchanged in 7 years.
5) How do you want the packaging? -Box art: The car sitting in front of a dealership in stock form. Or the street machine version sitting at the local hangout. -Info on the box: I picture of the real car on the top of the box, with pictures of a build up on the sides. -Box vs. parts layout: I would want the model put in an average size box. -Packaging of the parts. I would want all the different trees packaged separately. The molded in color parts, chrome parts, clear parts and decals all in a protective bag, and or sleeve.
6) The bean counters went all over your little project and it seems the kit you're proposing slightly exceeds the budget, luckily you are in the planning stadium, so what do you loose, and why?
First of all I would loose the optional hood. That would be basically another part to make a mold for, albeit small, but still costly and timely. Next, I would mould the center console into the floor-pan of theinterior and get rid of the bench seat. This would combine a few parts in one as well as delete a few other parts from the mix. Lastly I would probably drop the 442 option from the decal sheet and leave only the Hurst Olds option.
B: 1987 CUTLASS by Bill Austin Why: There is no kit of the 1981-1988 Cutlass coupes available. It was a very popular automobile with some popular performance models, including 442’ s and Hurst/Olds versions. It is a favorite for restorers and low-riders, coming in a wide range of interior types: fairly basic, vinyl or leather buckets, and even the plush “pillow” seating of the Broughams. The 1987 was the last of that body style to be a 442, and it had the flat-face headlight modules instead of the four individual headlights of the earlier models. Target audience: 442 fans, Cutlass fans, Oldsmobile performance fans, muscle car fans, low-rider fans, and (with future models in mind) Hurst fans. Skill level: 2 Parts and design: A kit at the general level of the Revell ’ 87 Buick GN and ’ 87 Monte Carlo SS Aero-back kits, with the nose piece a separate part like the 1:1 car to allow easier future or aftermarket conversion to a different year model with a different nose piece and grille inserts. The interior should have separate seats and sides to allow for inexpensive changes for future release variations. The parts that would be different in future releases should ideally be isolated on separate trees from the remainder of the kit, minimizing tooling costs for variations. It would have the 442 H.O. Olds 307 cu. in. V8, the 4 speed manual transmission, the steel sport wheels, performance tires, bucket seats, console, and emblems. It would have decals for the body accent stripes (in several original colors, if possible), 442 labels, engine compartment labels, and dash layout. The kit would use white plastic to avoid bleed-through problems when painted. The clear parts tree would be in a separate bag to avoid scratching. Optional parts: I would include slapper bars, with wide and skinny tires that fit the stock wheels for a mild drag or street custom version, but would keep costs down by not including any other major optional parts in this kit, but rather design it from the beginning to be released later as a separate kit with different options like the AMT ’ 66 442 W30 and ’ 66 442 Convertible kits were. If costs allowed, some of them might be included in this kit (see versions below). Alternative Version Number One: 1985 Cutlass Supreme Brougham. This kit would have the early nose style with the four individual headlights and the appropriate separate grille grid inserts, the V6 engine, an automatic transmission with column shift, the “pillow” seats interior with the split bench front seat, wire wheel covers, white wall tires, and the body would have the partial (back only) vinyl roof and chrome rocker panel trim either as part of a revised body or as add-on parts. This should be a favorite of the low-rider fans and if costs allowed, it could include parts for a lowered or adjustable suspension. See all-out “hopper”version below. Parts from this kit and the first kit would allow mixing and matching for a great variety of combinations. Alternative Version Number Two: A “Special Edition” release, the 1983 Hurst/Olds 15th Anniversary coupe. It would mainly have parts from the previous two kits, but it would have the automatic transmission with a console and the “lightning rod” shifter. It would have appropriate grille inserts for the four individual headlights nose, a bucket seat interior, and the steel sport wheels. The decal sheet would have all the stripes, labels, etc. of the Hurst/Olds. If the automatic transmission and console were included in the original ‘ 87 442 kit and the ’ 83 grille inserts in the original ’ 85 kit as optional parts and the parts trees of those kits were properly allocated, there would not have to be any new tooling for this kit, just a different assortment of existing parts trees. The only new thing needed would be a decal sheet with the Hurst/Olds stripes and emblems. Alternative Version Number Three: An all-out low-rider “hopper” version of the Supreme Brougham, with an opening trunk, speakers, hydraulics, etc. The chrome tree might be done in “gold” for this one, with low-rider style wheels and tires. This might even be one of those that actually hops. Some wild “scene” graphics on a decal sheet would be a nice item, too. Alternative Version Number Four: A Speedway/ NASCAR type race car variant. I think A.J. Foyt drove a Cutlass of this body style for a
while. This would be easier for a kit maker that already has an appropriate race car kit and would only need to use the body, with appropriately redesigned nose and tail pieces like the 1:1 race cars and a decal sheet with the needed graphics. Packaging: Each kit should have a beautiful picture of a 1:1 car on the top and ends that can be built from the parts in the kit, a picture or two of a built model on one side, and on the other side a list with pictures of the key parts included in the kit but not visible in the main pictures: engine compartment, interior, chassis, and optional parts. This would encourage multiple kit purchases to get the exact combination of features/options someone wanted. The instruction sheets should be clear line drawings and TESTED for correctness, including parts numbers and build sequence. Exact information for decal placement should be included. If the bean counters want to cut back something: Leave out the extra tires and slapper bars in the first kit. If that is not enough, use generic tires instead of correctly branded ones. If that does not do it, forget about separate interior sides and have just the front seats separate. Wait on final tooling of the second kit until the first kit sales are established, but have the parts trees contents allocated to allow the versions discussed above.