Classic Muscle Gets a Modern Makeover at V8 Speed and Resto Shop

This stunning 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass 442 tribute isn’t just a beautiful recreation of a legendary muscle car; it’s a testament to the expert craftsmanship and innovative approach of the V8 Speed and Resto Shop. While not a numbers-matching W30 car, it captures the iconic look and feel of the era while incorporating modern upgrades for enhanced performance and drivability.

A Meticulous Restoration with Modern Performance Enhancements

The car boasts a meticulous restoration, showcasing the timeless design of the 1968 Cutlass 442. But beneath the classic exterior lies a heart that pumps with modern muscle. V8 Speed and Resto Shop equipped the car with a GM LSA supercharged 6.2L V8 engine, a perfect blend of raw power and contemporary technology. This powerhouse is paired with a 4L85E overdrive transmission, ensuring smooth gear changes and effortless cruising on those long journeys.

Beyond the Engine: A Symphony of Performance Upgrades

The upgrades extend far beyond the engine. 17″ American Racing wheels add a touch of modern aggression, while Wilwood brakes with a Hydratech hydraulic brake assist unit provide confidence-inspiring stopping power. Handling is further enhanced with Hotchkis control arms and sway bars, keeping this classic beauty planted firmly on the road.

A Collaborative Effort: Bringing Your Dream Classic to Life

This 1968 Cutlass 442 tribute is a prime example of the V8 Speed and Resto Shop’s dedication to preserving automotive history while infusing it with modern advancements. It’s a car built to be driven, enjoyed, and admired – a true testament to the passion and expertise that lies at the heart of this renowned restoration shop.

If you’re looking to breathe new life into your own classic car, we’re happy to help at the V8 Speed and Resto Shop! Our team of passionate experts possesses the knowledge and skills to create a personalized masterpiece that reflects your vision and driving desires.

1965 Ford Mustang Fuel Injection Steering and Brake Upgrades at V8 Speed and Resto Shop

This clean 1965 Ford Mustang came to the V8 Speed & Resto Shop for some mechanical Continue reading “1965 Ford Mustang Fuel Injection Steering and Brake Upgrades at V8 Speed and Resto Shop”

We recently did some work on this clean 1969 Chevelle for a cool customer who’s become a good friend over the years.     The car came to us with most of the pieces in place, but just not playing that well together.    In fact, it’s been a repeat visitor over the years getting better upgrades each time. 

Round One

The first time, we did some driveline repairs, but the fun project was creating and installing a custom contoured firewall we made in our fabrication shop.  It was made from 18 gauge cold rolled steel, and the design added strength and a style that didn’t look out of place on the Chevelle.  Once that was body worked and painted, we moved on to the engine.   

It originally arrived sporting a crate big block Chevy, but we eventually installed a Fast Times Motorworks built 460 cube torque monster for more laughs from the right pedal.   This one started as a 454 with a 4-bolt block, but was bored and stroked to 460 cubes with Scat I-beam rods, Keith Black pistons, and ARP hardware throughout.    The top end relies on a Howard’s roller cam and Edelbrock heads and intake inhaling the mix from an MSD Atomic EFI system.   

Stirring The Gears

It’s bolted to a Tremec TKO-600 6-speed manual transmission shifted by a Hurst stick and a hydraulic clutch for smooth action.   We installed 3.55:1 Motive gears in the 12-bolt housing along with a Detroit TruTrac differential for better grip.    We love the sound of a rumbling big block through the stainless x-pipe Borla mufflers.  

Handling is improved with a QA1 tubular coil-over suspension system up front for adjustability, a nice ride, and a lowered stance.   The upsized QA1 sway bar resists body roll when you whip the Grant steering wheel and Delphi quick-ratio steering box around.    The rear is hung with more QA1 coil-overs, tubular arms, and sway bar.  We added Wilwood disc brakes all the easy around, which hide behind 17” Rocket Racing Booster wheels.   The calipers are squeezed by a Hydratech hydraulic brake assist unit.  

Inside, you’ll find Dakota Digital Gauges, a tilt steering column, Scat seats, and a Vintage Air A/C unit with it’s compressor and belt held in place by a Vintage Air Frontrunner serpentine accessory drive system.  

Stripes For This Star

The Chevelle wears a handsome shade of metallic charcoal gray, but it really came to life when we added some custom-made silver SS396 stripes to the sides.    It’s a sharp car that drives like a champ.  

You can see more photos of the work on this one by clicking on the link in the description, and please don’t hesitate to contact us if your muscle car needs some upgrades, tuning, or a complete do-over… we’re happy to help!

Contact The V8 Speed and Resto Shop

Contact the V8 Speed & Resto Shop for all your restoration and performance needs!


The V8 Speed & Resto Shop is a full-service classic car and muscle car restoration service ready to perform everything from simple maintenance on vintage cars to full frame-off restorations and modifications.    Whether you are seeking a stock restoration, a pro-touring muscle car, or a custom restomod, the V8 Speed & Resto Shop in Red Bud, IL, can help.   Contact us today to put the V8 crew to work for you.      Transport services are available.

Contact the V8 Speed & Resto Shop with all your Classic or Muscle Car needs today!


817 S. MAIN STREET – RED BUD, IL 62278


One area of Muscle Car performance that remains tricky is the braking system. Sometimes, even cars equipped with upgraded brakes don’t stop as well as you want them to. We found a solution to this problem and a couple others in the form of a Hydroboost brake booster.

There are three main reasons to install a hydroboost system. The first is if your high-performance engine does not create enough vacuum to operate the power brakes with a traditional vacuum brake booster. The next reason is clearance – some engine swaps simply do not have the room between the valve cover and the brake booster. Check the difference between the vacuum unit on the left and the Hydroboost on the right.

But perhaps the best reason is increased brake performance. Let’s look at what a Hydroboost unit is, and then we’re going to install a Hydroboost brake booster from Hydratech on our 1962 Ford, but the installation applies to most Muscle Cars.

A brake booster is basically a mechanical device that helps add more force to the brake pedal when you hit the brakes. Vacuum boosters use stored engine vacuum to help the pedal down while you push with your foot. These work well if they are in proper order and if the engine makes enough vacuum to run them. Sometimes longer duration camshafts with lots of overlap bleed off vacuum before the booster can store it up. An add on solution is a vacuum pump, but then you need to have the pump buzzing all the time making vacuum.

The Hydroboost booster uses hydraulic pressure built up by the power steering pump to assist the brake action. Hydraulic pressure is far greater than vacuum, and the action is nice and smooth giving precise braking control. Plus, the hydroboost unit is very small, allowing you to install it in tight engine compartments. This Hydratech unit is brand new, and they supply all the fittings, brackets, and hoses you’ll need to install it. The shiny unit is an accumulator which stores up fluid for multiple stops with the engine off.
Some installations may not require the removal of any brake lines, but in our case, we’re also upgrading to a trick new master cylinder and proportioning valve combination unit from Classic Performance Products.

The Classic Performance Products MCPV-1 unit is a singular casting containing a disc brake master cylinder, a removable residual pressure valve for rear discs or drum brakes, a built-in proportioning valve to adjust front to rear brake bias, and a threaded port for a stop light switch. This one unit incorporates several traditional pieces of hardware, and any time you can reduce the number of brake connections, you reduce the chances for leaks. In our case, the stoplight switch is a great feature, because we have a complicated brake switch on the pedal that wasn’t right for this car and is unreliable.

Our first step is to remove the master cylinder, combination valve, and brake lines from our car. Then we can remove the vacuum booster and the vacuum line from the engine. We won’t need that anymore. We’re going to re-route some of the brake lines to make things a little simpler under the hood. Always double-flare brake lines for safety.

Mounting the Hydroboost unit is very straightforward.

Hydratech supplied an adjustable billet clevis mechanism that attaches to the brake pedal and allows you to set the height you’re comfortable with. Then you simply bolt the hydroboost unit to the firewall using Hydratechís bracket. They have these for a wide variety of muscle cars, as well as some universal applications to fit just about anything.

Next, you’re going to have to determine the placement of the hydraulic lines for the booster unit. Hydratech supplies the fittings and hoses to custom make your lines. The first high-pressure line comes from the power steering pump and goes to the booster. Next, the second high-pressure line runs back to the power steering pump from the booster. Finally, a low-pressure return line runs back to the power steering reservoir from the booster.

Once you have your route planned, you can make your hose ends and install the hoses. Hydratech includes high-quality Aeroquip TEFLON lined hoses and the correct ends to put ’em together properly.

Hydratech supplies great instructions to do these, but here’s the deal in a nutshell.. cut the hose with a cutoff wheel, slide the tightening nut / collar on, fray the stainless braiding apart, tap in the ferrule, open up the Teflon liner, lube up your hose end and tighten it down. It’s a little trickier than that, but not too much.

You have some options when it comes to the return line, you want to make sure the flow of fluid is a straight shot from the hydroboost unit, so make your tee fitting accordingly. You can also add a separate return fitting on the reservoir if you’d like. In this photo, the fluid path of the hose running straight through the tee fitting is from the Hydroboost, the path entering the tee at the 90 degree angle is from the power steering pump. It’s important to orient your lines as such to assure proper flow in the system.

Now we need to install the Classic Performance Products MCPV-1 master cylinder. We bench-bled the master cylinder to remove the bubbles from the unit, and now we have to connect the brake lines and stoplight switch wiring.

Once the whole brake system is reconnected, perform a complete system bleed to flush out air
bubbles and equip your brake system with fresh fluid.

Now we can add the power steering fluid to our system. The process involves adding fluid, starting the car, adding more fluid, working the Wheels back and forth as well as the brake pedal up and down, adding more fluid, and repeating. You’ll have to do this several times to work the major air bubbles out of the system. We’re using Royal Purple MAX EZ synthetic steering fluid because it resists high-heat and high pressure situations better than organic fluid. It may take several weeks of driving to fully work all the bubbles out of your system, so check the fluid level often. The nice thing is that the brake pedal will feel firmer the more you drive!

Finally, we have to set the brake bias from front to rear using the built-in adjustable proportioning valve in the Classic Performance Products master cylinder. You’ll need to spend some time adjusting the valve for higher rear brake pressure and testing how it stops a few times to get it right, but donít blow this step off. All you have to do is turn this adjuster to dial in the rear brakes.

Once we finished our install, we checked the system for leaks and took our initial test drive. We lightly applied the brakes to test their operation, and we could tell immediately that there was a monumental improvement in braking power. The Hydratech hydroboost system clamps the rotors with ease, and the pedal operation is smooth and linear. Our car now has the ability to lock the Wheels with ease should the situation arise. The pedal is very controllable, and we now have new confidence in our ride, which translates to a much more enjoyable driving experience.

Hydratech Brake Booster Install Video V8TV

The Hydratech hydroboost install has been one of the best improvements we’ve made to our car, and we cannot recommend Hydratech enough. They supplied all the right parts and a unit that does exactly what they claimed it would do. We won’t build another car without one.

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