Real Wheels: Rescuing a ‘69 Olds Cutlass convertible

FORT JENNINGS – As cars go, it wasn’t in the best shape when he bought it.

The 1969 Cutlass convertible had its share of dings and small dents. At some point, it had a paint job that wasn’t the best. And the car’s interior? Not everything matched. The upholstery on the driver’s side bucket seat was different than the passenger side.

Then there was the convertible top. It had a tear in it.

So what prompted Kenny Beam to buy it just days before Christmas in 2017?

“It had promise,” the 67-year-old Fort Jennings resident said.

His wife, Jodi, agreed.

When researching the car, Beam found it had spent most of its winters below the Mason-Dixon line. Its original owner purchased it new in Florida. It was later bought and sold by owners in Georgia and Virginia. It had only been up north a few months when Beam purchased it in Stowe, Ohio, just south of Cleveland.

“The body was in good shape for a car that’s been around for more than 50 years. I attribute that to being a Southern car,” Beam said. “I checked it closely for rust. There was none. It ran good when you drove it.”

He’s since restored much of the car to its original condition.

“It hasn’t been too difficult finding parts. The Cutlass was pretty popular in the day. Replacing the dashboard has been the hardest thing to find,” he said.

The current motor in the car now is a 350 from 1976. That’s just a temporary thing.

“I have a 350 from 1969 that I plan to install,” Beam said.

Beam has the window sticker that appeared on the Cutlass when it was new at Lee Pontiac-Oldsmobile in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. It was listed at $4,196 and included air-conditioning ($376), power steering ($100), power disc brakes ($64), whitewall tires ($21) a push button radio ($69), tinted windshield and windows ($39), front and rear lap belts ($9) and head restraints ($16.85).

“Back then, you picked the options that you wanted. All those things are automatic now,” he pointed out.

Restoring classic cars is a hobby that runs in the Beam family. His twin brother, Dennis, owns a 1967 Pontiac Tempest that was the Real Wheels feature last week on The Lima News Driver’s Seat page.

Kenny and Jodi enjoy taking the Cutlass to car shows and cruise-ins.

“We’ve been married since 1975 and during all these years she’s enjoyed cars as much as I.”


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