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.

Alain Squindo

Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alexander Weaver

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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

Annette Abaci

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With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney Ruprecht graduated from Boston University in 2013 with a degree in Hospitality Administration. In ... read more

Dan Warrener

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Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a car specialist in May 2015. He is a lifelong automobile enthusiast and g... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

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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

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Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Sotheby's in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and re... read more

Ian Kelleher

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New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

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Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Sotheby's in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in ... read more

Jake Auerbach

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Ontario, Canada

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

Jonathan Sierakowski

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Ontario, Canada

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Indiana, United States

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby's, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Gra... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

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

Peter Wallman

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United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

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Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

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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

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Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a car specialist. A... read more