Slow and Steady Wins the Race with this ’76 Oldsmobile Cutlass

Patience = Progress

As a young boy Joe Salazar spent plenty of time in the garage. Helping his father as he worked on cars, he would hand him tools, ask plenty of questions, and in turn learned to appreciate car culture at an early age. By the time he turned 8 years old, his interest in cars had grown deeper, but it wasn’t until his father took him to his first custom car show that he saw the guiding light and found his calling. In an instance he was hooked. “The cars I remember standing out more than anything were the lowrider cars,” Joe tells LRM. “The wire wheels, custom paintjobs, and classic style just stood out.”

Of all the vehicles, one in particular was an old-school Cutlass Supreme. At the time his sister owned a 1976 Cutlass and she too was just getting into the lowrider scene. Aware of her brother’s peaking interest in lowriding, she handed young Joe a handful of Lowrider magazines, and they became religion as he studied each issue from front to back. By the time he was 16, his parents handed him the keys to a Buick Skylark and he worked all summer for enough money to add some custom touches. A year later, he sold the Skylark and purchased a 1974 Oldsmobile Cutlass. This was his first experience with a hydraulic setup as he added a full kit to his Olds.

As luck would have it, the transmission failed on him and instead of trying to fix it he set his eyes on a 1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme that had been sitting in his uncle’s backyard. He asked to buy the car from his uncle. Time after time his uncle rejected his offer. “I must have asked my uncle twice a week for months for that car,” Joe says. “I wasn’t going to stop until I got it.” After so many failed attempts, he took a new approach to his offer and this time he took a trip to his uncle’s house with a handful of cash. That was enough to seal the deal and in turn he drove away with Cutlass, which only had 53,000 original miles. It was the perfect canvas.

With keys in hand, Joe fired up the Oldsmobile and brought it straight over to Sam’s Kustom Hydraulics for a two-pump setup. He spent the winter cruising in his Cutlass up until he asked his friend Nick Ralston 43k for a custom paintjob. Together, they shared ideas on what color to switch the Cutlass to. They referenced older Lowrider magazines and scoured page after page looking to concoct a paint scheme that would be reminiscent of that classic feel.

Finding parts for a 1976 Cutlass proved to be quite difficult. It took months and persistence to be able to find and purchase every piece he could for his classic car. Joe and his wife spent countless hours in the garage making sure every piece was perfectly installed and put together just in time to debut it at the Denver Lowrider show. As the Denver Car Club vice president, Joe has to maintain a level of excellence with his Oldsmobile. Born in 1976, he knew it was fate when he was able to get a 1976 Cutlass to make his own.

He wishes to thank his loving wife, Lucrecia, as well as his parents, Joe and Juanita, for all their support over the many years. A special thanks goes to Nick Ralston 43k, Sam’s Kustom Hydraulics, his club Denver, and all the lowriders in Colorado for keeping this culture alive.

1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Brougham

Nickname

Mile High Supreme

Owner

Joe Salazar

City/State

Denver, CO

Club

Denver

Engine

Original Oldsmobile 350

Body/Paint

Cream base with House of Kolor Candy Root Beer Brown, panels and marble effects, Candy Apple Red scallops, pinstripe by Nick Ralston

Suspension

Two chrome CCE pumps, four Italian dumps, 8-inch cylinders, six group 31 batteries, 10 switches installed by Sam’s Kustom Hydraulics

Interior

Original with factory power windows, cruise control, and A/C

Sound

JVC head unit, JVC components

Wheels/Tires

13×7 cross-laced wire wheels, 155/80R13 Milestars with buffed whitewalls