DIY Project: 1973 Oldsmobile Omega

This 1973 Oldsmobile Omega Hatchback is a project car that would suit the sort of person who likes nothing more than to do a spot of tinkering in their home workshop of a weekend. Its rust issues are minimal, and it is a vehicle that can be driven and enjoyed immediately, with any restoration work being completed as time and circumstances allow. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder local_sheriff for spotting the Omega for us. It is located in Kalispell, Montana, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding on the Olds has reached an affordable $3,400, and the reserve has been met.

I mentioned the fact that the Omega has minimal rust, and the bonus for the next owner is that this is confined to the hatch itself. Therefore, if they don’t feel capable or motivated to take on cutting and welding, the hatch can be unbolted and replaced. The channels themselves are clean, while the owner states that the floor pans are good. The rockers and quarter panels appear to be clean, although the current owner has repaired a rust spot in the passenger side rear wheel arch. The Mayan Gold paint is looking pretty tired now, but the owner has done a really nice job blending the paint color on the repair in with the rest of the car. The Rally wheels and tires are new and set off nicely on the Omega. The owner states that the rear of the car is fitted with air shocks, and if the pressure in these is reduced to drop the rear of the car down, the rear tires don’t rub.

The owner of the Olds is pretty candid about the state of the car’s interior and admits that there are some aspects of it that will need some work. The carpet is free of major wear and tear, but it does have some fading and staining. The front seat will need a new cover, while the dash pad sports some cracks, and has a cover over it. An aftermarket temperature gauge has been installed, and the owner says that he feels that this is a better option than simply relying on the standard temperature warning light when monitoring things under the hood. I can’t help but agree with him on that score. The remaining trim and the headliner all seem to be in good condition, so there really isn’t much inside the car that would need to go on an urgent list for repair.

There were several choices of engines available in the ’73 Omega, and this car is fitted with the 350ci V8. The rest of the drive-train includes a 3-speed automatic transmission, power steering, and power brakes. It isn’t clear whether the engine is original, but the VIN indicates that this should be the 2-barrel version, producing 180hp. The owner states that the car wears a factory 4-barrel intake, and this must have been a later addition. Topping the intake is a fresh Edelbrock carburetor, while the car has recently received a full service and tune-up, including new plug wire and cap. Other items that have been replaced include the brake master cylinder, alternator, battery, and the belts The owner believes that the engine may have received a rebuild in the past and that it might have been treated to an upgraded camshaft at that point. He says that the feels strong, and if you check the video at the bottom of this article, you will hear just how clean it sounds. The car is said to drive nicely, and it is ready to be enjoyed immediately.

As straightforward restoration projects go, this ’73 Oldsmobile Omega would seem to be up there with the best of them. Its great attraction is that it appears to be a car that will require more time and effort to bring it back to its best, rather than the next owner being forced to sink thousands of dollars into a restoration. This is probably a good thing because the Omega is not a “big bucks” classic. Nice examples can fetch prices of between $8,000 and $15,000. So, if the next owner is willing and able to undertake the majority of the restoration work themselves, this could be a project that should not only produce a nice car at the end of that process but, depending on the final sale price, one that makes sound economic sense.

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Comments

  1. Vegaman Dan

    Clean machine, and it has that proper sound. Want a muscle car that is a bit different from the Nova’s yet share much of the same bits and bobs? Hard to go wrong with this one.

    Also prefer the tail lights on this to what the Nova has. Just personal taste.

    Like 5
  2. Ken Cwrney

    I’d put my niece in this car if I was sure that she wouldn’t break her neck driving it.
    Sure sounds great though, and takes me
    back to the days when guys and gals my age built cars like this in their own back
    yards or garages. If you had a job and
    some mechanical ability, you too could
    build something like this in no time at all.
    It’s a real shame that kids today are deprived of the chance to build something like this with own two hands.
    Nowadays, they just order a 1,000 HP
    Mustang or Camaro brand new from ypur
    friendly new car dealer. Where’s the fun in that? That’s why we don’t have more young people in our hobby today. Just
    my 2 cents.

    Like 5
  3. Jwinters

    im a ford guy but I would love to have this car. I have always liked the rally wheels

    Like 6
  4. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Nice to see the more upscale offering from Olds, you don’t see the Omega much these days. The seller seems to have done a nice job on the mechanicals and it appears to be a solid car. The next owner has a few things to address in the interior but overall it’s pretty good in there. I don’t know how hard it will be to fix the rust in the hatch but once that’s taken care of and with a fresh coat of paint, you’ll have a very nice vintage Olds.

    Like 1
  5. Vin_in_NJ

    I could be wrong, but it looks like Ford took these tail lights, turned them upside down, and put them on the Mustang II

    Like 1
  6. JoeNYWF64

    I heard it’s not a great idea to use leaf spring shackles on the back, but i don’t know why or necessarily believe it.
    Those very common GM inside door handles always lost their spring-back-to-original position after a lot of use – weak spring/poor design?
    EZ to fix?

    • Del

      Its a bad idea because it makes the car very unstable.

      Like 2
  7. Chris M.

    The motor paint scheme is terrible. Otherwise a nice clean driver.

    • Phil D

      That’s almost certainly not the original engine. Oldsmobile engines weren’t painted GM blue until 1977, so that’s likely a ’77 – ’80 350 (which explains the four barrel carb, too) with the original ’73 Oldsmobile gold rocker covers installed.

  8. Del

    Very nice. These really FLEW with a 350 and 4 bbl.

    Not keen on the spring re-arch job.

    Have to fix that

    Like 2
  9. John C.

    I had a 79 version of this many years ago, fun car, easy to work on, wish I still had it! If I knew back then that cars were heading to have all these sensors and warning lights on them I would have never got rid of it.

    Like 1
  10. w9bag

    I’m trying to recall the models made of this body style. Was a Chevy Nova, Olds Omega, Buick Skylark, and Pontiac Ventura ? These were very nice cars. A buddy of mine was out, driving his Mom’s “Spirit of ’76” Nova, less than a year old, when a severe storm came up, and about a mile from home, a HUGE tree fell on the car. Basically bent the car in half. No one was hurt, other from some cuts from the glass breakage. These cars are tough hombre’s.

    • Douglas Potts

      Actually in 73 & 74 it was the Nova, Omega, Ventura and Apollo.

  11. TimM

    Very popular body style from GM for sure!! Buick, Olds, Pontiac and Chevy all had there own version of this car!! The Pontiac had two even!! The Ventura and the GTO!! Most had 350 I believe but I’ve seen some straight 6’s in a couple nova’s!!! This is a perfect entry level car for someone!! How can you go wrong with a small block and this body style????

  12. Stevieg

    I had a newer one like this many years ago, a 1977. Mine had the Chevy 305, buckets with automatic on the floor.
    Mine ran great, looked nice, black with red interior & chromed Cutlass rally wheels, but was an absolute death trap.
    It was bought not running, had a fuel delivery issue. I ended up buying a used fuel tank out of a salvage yard, and setting it on my folded back seat with the nozzle between the bucket seats. To fuel up, you brought the gas pump hose into the car.
    This turned the car into a fuel smelling 2 seater.
    Ran a rubber hose from the fuel tank to the fuel pump. Tank would flop around the back seat, gas gauge didn’t work. Don’t do panic stops that way lol!
    I drove that car all over like that. What a stupid kid I was lol.

    • TimM

      That’s the funniest repair I think Ive heard of in quite some time!!
      I guess you did what you had to do!!

    • JoeNYWF64

      In my ’76 chevette i could actually hear the fuel sloshing around in the FACTORY gas tank if it was not full & you came to a sudden stop, or the road was rough enough. lol

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