19-20 January 2012

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Lot 227

1957 Oldsmobile 98 Starfire Convertible

  • Chassis no. 579M1 8085

Sold for $126,500

277 bhp, 371 cu. in. V-8 engine, Rochester Quadra-Jet four-barrel carburetor, Hydra-Matic four-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 126"

• Recent award-winning restoration

• Powerful 371 “Rocket” V-8/Hydra-Matic powertrain

• Rare and desirable colors; leather interior faithfully restored as original

• Winner, Award for Timeless Elegance, 2010 Greenwich Concours

Following WWII, Oldsmobile went from strength to strength, giving the fast-growing and increasingly affluent middle classes sleeker, faster and better-equipped automobiles with many standard features that were extra-cost options with the competition. Oldsmobile also led the performance charge in 1949 with its all-new, overhead-valve “Rocket” V-8 engine. Modern and compact, it grew from 303 cubic inches and 135 bhp to 371 cubic inches and nearly 300 bhp by 1957.

Prior to the 1957 AMA racing ban, Oldsmobile’s five NASCAR victories with drivers Lee and Richard Petty solidified its growing reputation as GM’s engineering division and gave a performance image to its entire model range. Buyers responded enthusiastically, with Oldsmobile grabbing a strong fifth-place sales ranking on the showroom floor.

The current owner, a noted collector of American classics, admired the Starfire during his high-school days and recently was finally able to acquire this example for restoration. Rust-free and straight, it provided an excellent basis for the project. Chip Loree and Frank Suedese carried out the restoration to a high standard with virtually no expense spared, and unlike the vast majority of concours-level restorations, which all too often place cosmetics at a premium over mechanical soundness, all of this car’s mechanical components and systems were rebuilt, replaced or restored at a cost exceeding some $200,000 and confirmed by invoices that accompany the car. The car recently participated in a 250-mile drive, during which the Starfire is reported by the owner to have performed flawlessly.

Once complete, the Starfire’s high quality was confirmed during its only show appearance to date at the 2010 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, where it earned the Award for Timeless Elegance. Overall, the Starfire’s exterior is visually striking with its excellent Allegheny Green exterior finish, a handsome and originally available 1957 Oldsmobile color, complemented by a white convertible top, excellent brightwork, Oldsmobile’s tri-bar “spinner” hubcaps and whitewall tires. The excellent interior was restored to as-new standards featuring factory-correct tri-tone leather upholstery in white, light green and darker green, with the patterns provided by a complete set of original upholstery. The restoration’s authenticity even extended to the rear leaf springs, which were painstakingly replaced with factory-correct items produced by the original manufacturer. In addition, the engine bay is thoroughly detailed and factory-correct in presentation, complete with correct emblems, finishes, a period-style battery and a single four-barrel carburetor induction system, which provides hassle-free operation and ease of tuning. Power steering, power windows, power front seat, power top, clock and a factory AM radio round out the package.

Beautifully restored, presented and complete with restoration invoices, this Starfire was the subject of a recent Chronos magazine article. Combining the many attributes that helped Oldsmobile become one of the best-selling American marques of the 1950s, this is certainly one of the most desirable American convertibles of the era, particularly the banner 1957 model year.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more