Olds School—Scott Oshinski’s TorqStorm-supercharged Oldsmobile Cutlass embodies old-school cool

Written by Ainsley Jacobs
Photography by Kevin DiOssi

Having owned more than 100 cars in his lifetime, TorqStorm Superchargers/Accelerated Tooling co-owner Scott Oshinski can hardly remember all of them, but there is one that stands out and has a special place in his life—his 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass S.

Growing up, Oshinski, now 52, always had an interest in speed and performance. Once he was old enough to drive, his parents purchased a ’71 Dodge Charger for he and his brother to share. Not long after, though, Oshinski purchased a ’75 Chevy Camaro for himself when he was just 16 years old in ‘84. It wasn’t until the ‘90s, though, that he was able to start racing.

“I started with my Camaro, then another Camaro, then a Vega, then a pick-up, and then another Camaro…” recalled the man of his varied vehicles. “When I got the last Camaro, a friend wanted it and asked if I would trade for his Cutlass.”

Although Oshinski said “no way” at first and did not intend on parting with his prized Chevy, his friend, Dave Olin, was persistent and showed up one day at Oskinski’s house with the Cutlass.

“I was like, holy crap, and fell in love,” laughed the man whose friend knew once he saw the car that he wouldn’t be able to resist the deal. And so, in 1994, the fateful trade was made.

“It was a beautiful car. It had been painted the same Candy Black Cherry that it still is today back in ’84 and was very well done” Oshinski remembered of his first impressions. “It had been in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area for a long time before, and I knew the two owners prior to my friend having it.”

Oshinski’s new-to-him Cutlass came with a naturally aspirated, 427-cube big-block Chevy engine, Turbo 400 transmission, 10-bolt rearend, and no roll cage. It ultimately inspired Oshinski to get deeper into drag racing and make it quicker, as the car only ran mid 12-second, quarter-mile times initially.

The first winter after the trade, Oshinski went through the car and put in a 12-point roll cage, which certified it for 8.50s in 2020. Miscellaneous supporting upgrades helped him get the car down into the low-11s, and the year after that, the installation of a nitrous oxide system put the Cutlass into the 10-second zone on the bottle.

“I had a goal of getting into the nines, and I finally went 9.99 at 136.4 mph at the NSCA Motor City Shootout race in Stanton [Michigan] in 2001,” he added of his trips to Mid-Michigan Motorplex.

Oshinski typically ran at test-and-tune events and in small-tire, shootout-style classes, saving the nitrous for the final round.

“I wound up breaking the oil pump in two and ruined the motor, so it sat for a while after that,” lamented the driver, who ultimately replaced the 427 with a 502ci engine.

Several years later in the late ‘90s, Oshinski got married and had kids, so racing took a back seat. He also had a ’70 Oldsmobile 442 W30 that he had been playing with, but wound up selling that as well as his prized ’72 Cutlass.

“It went to a retired guy in Arizona in ’05 and it was such a dumb decision for me to make,” explained Oshinski, who wisely requested first right of refusal should the car’s new owner ever decide to sell it.

About that same time, Oshinski and Chris Brooker—his business partner of several years prior—discussed getting a new venture going.

“Long story short, we started Accelerated Tooling and TorqStorm Superchargers,” shared the man of how the innovative, Michigan-based company, which manufactures universal-fit supercharger systems, came to be. “Five years later, in 2010, I called the guy who bought my ’72 Cutlass and asked to buy it back.”

With TorqStorm doing well by then, Oshinski made up for his former bad decision and purchased the Cutlass back in almost the exact same condition as when he had sold it. He quickly got back to the track to make up for lost time, but a fire resulting from transmission fluid getting on the headers in 2013 forced him to have to redo everything under the hood.

Much to his delight, just a few years after reclaiming his ’72 Cutlass, Oshinski was also able to buy back his former ’70 W30 in ‘12.

“I wound up doing a full restoration on that, almost completely numbers matching, down to every nut and bolt,” said the man. “It was fun, but I won’t ever do it again. I was scared to drive it because it was so rare!” Believing that it was stupid not to drive the car, he wound up selling it again in 2016, although he is committed to never parting with the ’72 ever again.

Meanwhile, the TorqStorm team had busy testing the limits of their supercharger systems and Oshinski and Brooker realized that engines were usually the limiting factor.

“The guys whose cars we were working with, they usually didn’t have a motor big enough to max out the blower,” clarified Oshinski, who decided to buy a big-block Chevy 540ci engine for his Cutlass around 2015 and offered up the car as a test mule. “We tested with that and developed a kit with both single and twin superchargers.”

Built by the same friend who first traded him the Cutlass, Dave Olin, the bigger bullet was based around a GM block and Dart 345 aluminum heads with a single C&S Specialties carburetor.

“He’s always built my engines and does good work—they hold together really well,” said Oshinski of the man who got him into the Cutlass’ driver seat in the first place. “I also run a Holley MSD Digital Dash, MSD coil, and MSD distributor.”

Thanks to the in-house equipment available at TorqStorm, Oshinski was able to machine a set of custom aluminum valve covers for the engine, as well as tons of brackets and bits throughout the entire car. He also designed and made a custom aluminum dash for the Cutlass, simply to have something different, which complements the Autometer gauges scattered throughout the interior.

In a naturally aspirated configuration, the new engine produced 635 real-wheel horsepower. However, with a single TorqStorm supercharger installed, it made approximately 700 rear-wheel horsepower.

“One TorqStorm supercharger flows 1,250 cfm, so the gain there was minimal as it simply couldn’t flow enough air for this much displacement,” stated Oshinski, who quickly added a second supercharger and rear-wheel horsepower jump to 1,181 at 6,000 rpm with the twin setup. “We still didn’t find the max limit of the supercharger, even by testing all day—the curve kept going up! I didn’t want to hurt the engine and chickened out, so we didn’t push it further.”

With a shift point of 7,000 rpm when he’s racing his Cutlass, though, Oshinski knows the Olds makes plenty more power than was recorded that day at the dyno.

Over the years, the Cutlass has gone through a transformation. Presently, it’s equipped with an ATI Performance Products torque converter and Turbo 400 transmission. Although the car does have a transbrake installed, Oshinski prefers to launch with a footbrake instead.

“My car doesn’t hook well with the transbrake. I’m not sure if it’s the suspension or what, but it leaves the line a lot better with the footbrake,” said the driver.

While the car still utilizes the stock-style suspension system, Oshinski upgraded parts and pieces here and there. He swapped out the rear control arms in favor of a set of Dick Miller Racing units, and UMI Performance shocks, along with UMI front control arms, joined the party last year.

Similarly, he replaced the original 10-bolt rear with a Moser Ford 9-inch filled with 3.50 gears and mated to Strange Engineering 35-spline axles.

“I had gone through it one winter and found an axle was twisted–the splines looked like a corkscrew!” laughed Oshinski, who had Olin also build the center section at the same time.

Sticking with the stock suspension is somewhat of a personal challenge for Oshinski, who once saw Chuck Samuel run his ‘60s-era El Camino to an 8.70-second pass on stock suspension as well.

“All my buddies were tubbing and mini-tubbing their cars, but I thought if Chuck Samuel could do it, why couldn’t I?” he noted. “So, my goal is to stay with small tires and not tub it.”

As TorqStorm’s supercharger products gained traction and found success in the street car world, the company partnered with the NMCA in 2020 to sponsor the TorqStorm Superchargers NMCA True Street class. Wanting to get in on the fun, too, both owners, as well as other employees, brought their cars out to try their luck on the track.

Oshinski skipped the first two races of the season in Florida and Georgia as he was still busy finishing up the Olds. Having gotten it running and driving only one week prior to the start of the 15th Annual Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing presented by HPJ Performance at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois, he was somewhat prepared thanks to a quick testing trip the week before.

“We went to St. Louis kind of not ready at all,” laughed Oshinski, who had been using his Mickey Thompson ET Street Drag Radial tires on regular rims and realized during testing that they were spinning on the wheels. “We had to scramble to get a set of beadlocked Race Star wheels to make it to St. Louis.”

In spite of the snafu, Oshinski wound up winning the 10-second category in TorqStorm Superchargers NMCA True Street outright thanks to runs of 10.472-seconds, 9.948-seconds, and 10.697-seconds for a 10.372-second final average.

His luck changed for the worse at the next race at US 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan, however. A problem during the Arrington Performance NMRA/NMCA All-American Nationals presented by Force Engineering event forced the True Street competitors to have to wait longer than expected, and Oshinski’s Cutlass simply wouldn’t hook. Despite two runs in the 9-second zone, Oshinski’s overall 10.102-second average didn’t earn him the 9-second win he was looking for.

“But, Indy was awesome!” proclaimed the man of his final TorqStorm Superchargers NMCA True Street outing of the year at the 19th Annual Nitrous Supply NMCA World Street Finals presented by Chevrolet Performance at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Indiana, in late September.

Wanting to finally take the win in the 9-second category, Oshinski knew he needed to slow down a bit after running an 8.825-second pass followed by an 8.948-second pass.

“Those were a little too good,” he joked. The first quick hit actually blew out a header gasket on the top end, and his Cutlass was making a ton of noise on the return road back to the staging lanes. “Everyone was looking at me thinking it was rod knock, it was really embarrassing!”

For his third and final run of the weekend, Oshinski calculated what he wound need to run in order to achieve his goal. He lined up against a Pontiac Firebird that he thought was an 8-second runner, but mistook it for another and misjudged his timing.

As a result, Oshinski’s 9.445-second pass contributed to a 9.073-second final average… which would have been great, except that it earned him the TorqStorm Superchargers NMCA True Street overall runner up honors instead of the 9-second win he wanted.

“I got a runner-up trophy even though I was first place in the 9-second class,” said Oshinski of the bittersweet situation.

Despite the odd disappointment, Oshinski is pleased with his Cutlass’s performance and how the twin TorqStorm superchargers help the hefty car power down the track. To date, the car has set a personal best of 8.73 at 152 mph with a 1.26-second 60-foot time during a test session at US 131 Motorsports Park. Tipping the scales at over 3,800-pounds and posting 8-second quarter mile times in street-legal trim is nothing short of seriously impressive.

Now, in addition to continuing to serve as a research and development tool for TorqStorm and its superchargers, which feature unique lifetime warrantees and fit a huge variety of applications, Oshinski wants his Cutlass to get down to the 8.50-second zone, as that’s the limit of his current role cage and license. Fortunately for him, his wife of 20-plus years, Linda, is incredibly supportive of his addiction to racing and has given her unconditional blessing for Oshinski to follow his dream.

For 2021, he plans to attend all six of the NMCA drag racing series, starting with the NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem presented by Holbrook Racing Engines season opener in mid-March at Florida’s Bradenton Motorsports Park. He aims to win the TorqStorm Superchargers NMCA True Street class outright, but may slow his car down a little depending on the competition if need be so he can finally earn the elusive 9-second victory.

“TorqStorm will also continue to sponsor the True Street class, because we want to give back to those racers and have a lot of plans to help make the class more fun throughout the year,” noted the generous business owner. “It’s great to see everything from 8-second cars to 14-second cars and everyone having so much fun. There’s a ton of variety and our TorqStorm superchargers perform really well on street cars, so True Street is the perfect place for us to be and we can’t wait to get going again this year with the NMCA.”

The Details
Owner/Driver
Owner: Scott Oshinski
Driver: Same
Hometown: Caledonia, Michigan
Occupation: Co-owner TorqStorm Superchargers/ Accelerated Tooling LLC
Class: True Street
Crew: Chris Brooker (other owner), Linda Oshinski (wife)
Car Make/Model/Year:1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass
Powertrain
Engine: Big-block Chevy
Engine builder: Dave Olin
Displacement: 540 cubic inches
Heads: Dart 345
Cam type: Solid-roller
Carburetor or EFI system: C & S Specialties Carb
Power-adder: Twin TorqStorm Superchargers
Fuel brand and type: VP Racing Fuels
Headers and exhaust: Hooker Super Comp
Transmission: TH400 automatic
Clutch/shifter/torque converter: ATI
Rearend: Moser Ford 9-inch w/ 3.50 gears, Strange 35-spline axles
Chassis
Body and/or chassis builder: I did the cage, GoFast Productions in Wyoming, MI did the reinforcements for the rear suspension, parachute, safety loop and exhaust
Suspension (Front): UMI Performance control arms and shocks
Suspension (Rear): Dick Miller Racing control arms, UMI shocks
Brakes (Front): Strange disc
Brakes (Rear): Strange disc
Wheels (front): Racestar Beadlock
Wheels (Rear): Racestar
Tires (Front):
Tires (Rear): 295/65-15 ET Street Drag Radial
Aftermarket body modifications:
Safety equipment: 12-point cage
Vehicle weight: 3,820 pounds
Quickest ET: 8.73 seconds
Best 60-foot: 1.26 seconds
Fastest mph: 152
Sponsors: TorqStorm Superchargers

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