Getting his 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Convertible in Brandon has been a long and winding road for Murray Elliott.
The ride was a discovery of COVID-19, Elliott said, and it was an adventure bringing his dream drive from the east coast to Brandon at the height of the pandemic in the summer of 2020.
“I like to search for cars,” Elliott said. “It was a long [distance] away, and I didn’t know how I was going to be able to see it or how I was going to make a deal on it. It worked pretty well. ”
Elliott has been buying, selling and restoring cars for over three decades. When the pandemic set in, he got lost searching the internet for his next big project, and quickly stumbled upon a “pretty blue” Oldsmobile 71 convertible.
The only catch was the Cutlass was in Shippagan, NB Elliott had never bought a car without seeing it, but he couldn’t get the car out of his mind.
He contacted a restorer at an antique body shop in the area who agreed to check out the Cutlass for a small fee. The restaurateur gave his seal of approval and Elliott made a deal, which included exchanging his Impala SS ’65 for the Cutlass to be sent to Brandon.
It took nearly four months of paperwork, waiting for shipping and organizing the logistics of the move, in large part because of the pandemic. The truck that carried the trip also encountered difficulties, including a blown engine and several blown tires, further delaying the Cutlass’s arrival in Brandon.
“It was a real nightmare for a while and we weren’t sure if this was actually going to happen,” Elliott said with a chuckle.
He breathed a sigh of relief when he finally pulled the Cutlass into his garage in mid-October of last year. Elliott might even drive his new vehicle for a few weeks before putting him to bed for the winter.
When he opened the hood to check the condition of the car, he found that the Cutlass was in great condition and needed minimal work when it arrived, Elliott said. The biggest job was adding a new gas tank to keep it running smoothly.
“It was a major undertaking,” Elliott said. “[The previous owner] had it for about six years and he never really drove it very much… The gasoline goes really bad and then it clogs everything. ”
Although the convertible only had an original 48,000 kilometers on the body and the car’s fuel lines had already been changed, Elliott said, the tank had never been replaced, which resulted in big operational problems at the beginning.
He is still tinkering with his precious vehicle. Elliott has added a whole new carpet this year and is waiting for the arrival of new original S-style seat covers to add to the interior.
The car has its original Rocket B50 engine and was restored to its full glory before Elliott bought the Cutlass.
“It’s a number matched car, so I’m keeping the original,” Elliott said. “Everything in the car is original, as it was manufactured.”
The body of the car has been restored to its original appearance, matched with the original paint color and the original interior color.
Over the past 45 years, Elliott has worked on 27 cars.
“I can’t stand still. I don’t watch TV. I love being busy with my hands… I love to tinker and I love to try new things. I had a lot of fun,” Elliott said.
The Cutlass is the fifth Oldsmobile he owns.
“Oldsmobiles are good cars; they always made them very well built, ”said Elliott. “I loved cars from my childhood.”