It's amazing what 83 dollars used to buy. Now, we don't want to give the impression that Bruce Ricks of Sapulpa, Oklahoma purchased his 1957 Golden Rocket Super 88 convertible coupe for less than a C-note. (Called "Golden" as General Motors was reading for its 50th anniversary). However, back in the day the factory cost for the optional J-2 induction was 83 dollars.

In fact, back in the day this drop top would cost you a cool $3,000 for 4,000-plus pounds of Detroit's finest chrome, steel, and one very cool V-8. You could get the J-2 on any of the Olds models, even the station wagon! Best guesstimates lead us to believe somewhere between 2,000 and 2,500 J-2 equipped cars were built during its two-year lifespan from '57 to '58. The 371-inch V-8 was potent for its day, pumping out 300 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. (Base horsepower was 277 and torque 400). But the V-8's crowning glory was the inline Rochester carbs: dual Rochester 2G two-barrel carburetors (290cfm) on the ends and a single vacuum linkage operated a center-mounted Rochester 2GC (choke equipped) two-barrel carb (280cfm).

Bruce's J-2 features much of what was unveiled back in '57 but times have brought some changes: A .030-inch overbore, Camcraft Cams (Easton, MD) camshaft, a Mallory (Cleveland, OH) ignition, a custom billet air cleaner that resembles a sheetmetal cover resting over the Tri-power (Holley fuel pump and Mallory billet filter), and Cimtex Rods (Jarrell, TX) fabricated the headers (1 5/8-inch) and an exhaust system (2-inch) through a pair of Model 50 Flowmaster (Santa Rosa, CA) mufflers. Cimtex also crafted the custom radiator support which houses the Air Mobile (Glendale, AZ) custom crossflow aluminum radiator with dual fans in a custom shroud along with custom stainless steel flow pipes. More handiwork from Cimtex includes the fabricated motor mounts, alternator, and power steering brackets. Additional mods included the Baer emergency brakes that were modified through the use of Lokar (Knoxville, TN) cables and a pair of Optima 6-volt batteries mounted in the trunk. The Cimtex-prepped Jetaway Hydra-Matic transmission is another original item refurbished and brought back to service; a two-piece driveshaft delivers the power to the rearend.

After receiving the keys to this build, Citex Rods began with powdercoated framerails over the 126-inch wheelbase. The front suspension is housed around an Art Morrison (Fife, WA) crossmember, a pair of 2-inch dropped spindles, and a Mustang II IFS, a rack-and-pinion steering, Air Ride Technologies (Jasper, IN) ShockWaves, and a chromed 1-inch sway bar. Visible in front are the Baer (Phoenix, AZ) 12-inch rotors and six-piston calipers neatly tucked behind the Boyd Coddington 18x8-inch wheels covered in 245/40ZR18 BFGoodrich g-Force T/A's. Assisting in the stopping effort is a Chrysler master cylinder pressed into service through a Kugel Komponents (La Habra, CA) pedal assembly.

The rear suspension also uses the same model Coddington wheels measuring 20x10 and the same sized BFG rubber. The rearend (3.42 gears) is housed around the original `57 Olds featuring custom shortened axles (2 inches) with the larger Torino bearings all by Strange Engineering (Morton Grove, IL). Baer Brakes also received the nod for the 14-inch rotors and six-piston calipers. The suspension comes from an Air Ride Technologies (Jasper, IN) stainless steel tri-angulated four-bar with ShockWave's hooked to an Air Ride Level Pro control system.