Maggie – 1953 Oldsmobile Super 88 Holiday CoupeWidely considered to be the first muscle car, the first generation Oldsmobile 88 is a legendary car. When it came out in 1949, it introduced one of the first postwar overhead valve V-8 designs with the famous “Rocket” V-8. That large and powerful V-8, combined with a relatively light body, was a formula that made the Olds 88 one of the fastest automobiles in America at the dawn of the 1950s – and it was the car to beat in NASCAR racing, winning 10 out of 19 races in the 1950 season. The same year, an Olds 88 won the grueling 2000-mile-plus Carrera Panamericana Road Race in Mexico. An 88 convertible served as the pace car for the Indy 500 in 1949, and the Ike Turner/Jackie Brenston hit “Rocket 88” is one of the very earliest American rock and roll songs. Only 36,881 2-door Holiday Coupes were produced in 1953Original Specs Original Matching Numbers 303 cid Rocket V8 Engine with 165 HP Original Matching Numbers 4-speed Hydra-Matic Transmission from Livonia, MichiganFactory Original 52,000 Miles (May 2019) White Wall Tires with Original Oldsmobile Hubcaps Original Power Windows, Front Seat and Antenna Original Owner’s Manual and Car Dealership BrochureAdditional Enhancements 2017 New Alternator 2017 New Air Conditioning 2017 New Fuel Pump 2017 Rebuild Original Carburetor 2017 Engine & Transmission Overhaul and painted with factory original colors 2017 New Power Steering and Power Brakes 2017 New Digital Sound System (antique match with original) with hands free microphone 2018 New 2-tone DuPont Paint with Original Factory match Ageta Red and Polar White1History of the 1[hidden information] Oldsmobile 88For 1949, the Oldsmobile’s Futuramic wide-line body style, which appeared the previous year on the top-of-the-line 98, was extended across the model range. The design was Oldsmobile’s first post WWII design, with flow-through fenders crowned by high-set headlights. Of course, the big news was the new “Rocket” 88 OHV V-8 engine, which displaced 303 cid and developed 135 HP. At the last minute a new 88 series was introduced, using the new V-8 in the small 70 Series body. The result was electrifying for the day, with 0-60 mph in 12.2 seconds and a 19.9 second quarter mile.The 88 came as a club coupe, a fastback two-door club sedan, a four-door sedan, and a four-door station wagon. Early station wagons were partly wood, but were replaced by all-steel in the middle of 1949. There were more than a dozen colors and four two-tone choices. An Oldsmobile 88 convertible paced the Indy 500.For 1950, the Olds 88 grew heavier chrome bumpers and the Holiday two-door hardtop body style from the 98 was added to the mid-level model. This was the last year for Olds station wagons until 1957, and the last six-cylinder engine for a long time. Herschell McGriff and Ray Elliot won the 1950 Carrera Panamericana Mexican road race in an Olds 88.For 1951 the 88 range was expanded with a Super 88 line, while the Seventy series was dropped. The Deluxe 88 offered just a two- and four-door sedan, while side trim was modified across the range. Two- tone colors now totaled 10 choices, and the model’s chassis was strengthened.For 1952, power was boosted to 145 HP in the Deluxe 88 and 160 HP in the Super 88. Fifteen color options were offered with 16 two-tones, and power steering was introduced. The year 1953 started with a disastrous $30 million fire at the Hydra-Matic transmission plant and a number of Oldsmobiles were fitted with Buick Dynaflow transmissions as an emergency measure. Front bumpers grew heavier and the dash was redesigned this year. Power brakes were offered for $33 and trunk-mounted air- conditioning cost a whopping $550. The range of color choices continued to grow. In 1954, Oldsmobile introduced an all-new 88, marking the end of the first generation of the model.1953 production: 4-door sedan: 119,317; 2-door sedan: 36,824; convertible: 8,310; Holiday Coupe 2-d hardtop: 36,881Specifications of the 1[hidden information] Oldsmobile Super 88: Wheelbase, inches: 120.0 Length, inches: 203.8 Weight, pounds: 3,579-3,895 Price, new: $2,219-2,8532The Olds 88 enjoyed a great success, inspiring a popular 1950s slogan, "Make a Date with a Rocket 88", and also a song, "Rocket 88", often considered the first rock and roll record. Starting with the trunk-lid emblem of the 1950 model, Oldsmobile would adopt the rocket as its logo, and the 88 name would remain in the Olds lineup until the late 1990s, almost until the end of Oldsmobile itself.In 1952, the base 88 shared the Super 88s rear body panels and wheelbase, and came with a Rocket V8 and two-barrel carburetor while Super 88s came with a new four-barrel carburetor upping the output to 165 hp. Other mechanical features were unchanged with styling changes amounting to new grilles, taillights, and interior revisions. New was the optional automatic headlight control.Olds OHV “Rocket” EngineA young draftsman named Gilbert Burrell led Oldsmobile’s development of the engine, which started in 1945. Turns out Cadillac had launched a similar project, and, eager to defend its position as GM’s most innovative brand, lobbied heavily to have the Olds project killed. That led to something of an internal fight, which Oldsmobile won when it petitioned GM president "Engine" Charlie Wilson, to continue developing its Rocket V-8.Oldsmobile won that fight and continued working on a 287-cubic-inch engine. The low octane gasoline of the era often limited compression ratio of flathead engines to avoid the risk of pre-ignition. The oversquare nature of an overhead valve engine allowed engineers to develop engines with shorter strokes and larger bores, reducing friction and engine speed-and the risk of pre-ignition. Putting the valves in the cylinder head improved airflow and moved more air through the combustion chamber, allowing engineers to increase displacement, and therefore power. Oldsmobile soon developed a 303-cu-in engine with a 7.5:1 compression ratio and 135 horsepower, a significant increase over its best flathead engine.In 1949, Oldsmobile introduced the Rocket in the 98 and, two months later, in the smaller, lighter 88. The Oldsmobile 88 offered superlative performance, which attracted younger buyers and won praise from the growing number of automotive magazines. No less impressive, it inspired the hit song Rocket 88, widely considered the first rock and roll tune.The Rocket’s small size and big power helped Oldsmobile dominate auto racing. Robert “Red” Byron won the NASCAR strictly stock class in an Oldsmobile 88 in ’49, and Olds-powered cars won five of the eight Grand National races. The car saw even more success in 1950, taking more than half of all wins with legendary drivers like Curtis Turner, Dick Linder, and Ed “Fireball” Roberts Jr. Other automakers started seeing some success with overhead valve engines by 1952, but Oldsmobile remained dominant for several years.Given the Rocket’s success, it didn’t take long for hot rodders to embrace overhead valves. A bone-stock Rocket easily out-performed even a highly modified Ford flathead V-8, and a growing aftermarket of go-3fast parts made the Rocket, well, a rocket. That made them formidable drag racing engines. Arnie “The Farmer” Beswick drove his 303-cu-in-powered Olds to victory in the 1955 and ’56 NHRA Nationals. Olds dominated the B/Stock and gasser classes well into the ’60s, with countless racers copying the formula (pioneered by “Big” John Mazmanian and Stone, Woods, and Cook) of stuffing a supercharged Rocket into a Willys coupe.
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