Paul White has been involved in the hot rod and custom scene since the early '60s with plenty of cool builds to his credit. Having been a fan of late '40s and early '50s era Oldsmobile convertibles since his boyhood, it was only a matter of time until one landed at his doorstep.
Close to a decade ago, Paul located a fairly solid 1949 Oldsmobile Futuramic 88 convertible and made a deal for the car. With fewer than 5,500 examples of the model produced it is considered a somewhat rare classic. As owner of Back Bay Customs (recently re-branded and originally known as Extreme Rod & Custom) in Portland, Maine, he knew the car was a perfect candidate for transformation. Paul's formula for creating noteworthy customs is simple and, at the same time, intricate. It combines subtle lines with a wicked stance, while infusing plenty of power and cutting edge technology into the mix. It's a blueprint that works well for Back Bay Customs, having turned out many memorable rides over the years. Once the drop-top was hauled into the shop and blown apart, it was time for the team to get busy with the car's metamorphosis.
To lay the belly of the beast on the ground, Alan Berry, at Back Bay Customs, was called on to create a rock solid base that would integrate all of the technology required to get the project rolling. Starting with 2x4-inch rectangular steel tubing he laid out the chassis incorporating all of the driveline and suspension mounting points and required crossmembers. Designing everything from scratch allowed Berry to adapt just the right combination of components into the mix. To make the car handle like it was glued to the pavement, he fabricated one-off upper and lower control arms to form the independent front suspension that was then matched to Corvette C4 spindles and RideTech ShockWave shocks. Out back he fabricated the independent rear suspension's upper and lower control arms and matched them to reversed front Corvette C4 spindles and RideTech ShockWave shocks. With the suspension dialed it, it would take a dramatic combination of wheels and tires to give the car its stance and for this Paul called on Colorado Customs for a set of their nostalgia-fueled Sugar City wheels, which were wrapped in ultra-low profile Goodyear Eagle F1 rubber. To make sure there was plenty of stopping power, an ECI master pushes fluid to Corvette C4 disc brakes incorporated at each corner. Throughout the design process Paul was determined to keep an Oldsmobile mill nailed to the 'rails, which left him with an interesting quandary. With the car being so cutting edge in its execution he would need to come up with something so over the top that it would become one of the car's main focal points. Having been mesmerized by the fire-breathing engine combination Shelby American installed in their Series 1 Cobras, it was obvious one of their race-prepped L47 Oldsmobile Aurora DOHC V-8s would get the nod. Tweaked by the team at Shelby with custom ground cams and numerous other details, it was then topped with a Bosch Motorsports EFI system. To give the engine even more kick, it was wrapped up with a Vortech centrifugal supercharger linked to a Back Bay Customs designed intercooler. A set of dazzling valve covers from Cadillac Hot Rod Fab and a swoopy Back Bay Customs air cleaner complete the visual impact under the hood. With the engine mounted in a north-south configuration, it was linked to a torque tube and mated to an RBT ZF six-speed transaxle to handle the gear changes and add just as much wow-factor to the rear of the car.