The Don Davis Collection

27 April 2013

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Lot 139

1950 Oldsmobile 88 Deluxe Club Coupe

  • Chassis no. 508A1558

Sold for $41,250


135 bhp, 303.7 cu. in. Rocket OHV V-8 engine, two-barrel carburetor, Hydra-Matic transmission, independent front suspension with unequal length A-arms, coil springs, and anti-roll bar, live rear axle with coil springs and trailing arms, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 122 in.

  • Oldsmobile’s original “muscle car”
  • Subject of a recent frame-up restoration
  • Long-time Texas ownership


The muscle car may have reached its peak in the late-1960s, but the idea had been planted decades earlier, the exact date depending upon what company you believe was the first to put a powerful upmarket engine into its mid-sized product, resulting in flabbergasting speed. General Motors was certainly one of the innovators, and a landmark in the race towards cubic inches and big horsepower was Oldsmobile’s 1949 introduction of the “Rocket” V-8.



The 303-cubic inch “Rocket” produced 135 horsepower in standard tune, although Oldsmobile’s engineers had thoughtfully designed it to accept higher states of tune for more performance shenanigans down the road. Put in the Olds 98, it made for a great cruiser, capable of running easily on the modern highways that were beginning to spread across the United States. However, the buyer in-the-know ordered the 88, which used the shorter, smaller platform of the six-cylinder 76, but dropped in the “Rocket” V-8. The result was Oldsmobile’s original, true muscle car, and by 1950 standards, it did, indeed, have muscle to flex. It was the hottest automobile for the money that could be had on the American road.



The car shown here is exactly the car that a hot-blooded teenager would have admired at the local dealer in 1950: an 88 Club Coupe in red. It underwent a full body-off restoration in the care of its previous owner, a West Texas collector who is a great enthusiast of these Oldsmobiles, and as such, it is very correct throughout. It includes desirable upgrades, such as the exterior sun visor, fender skirts, traffic light viewer, AM radio, fog lights, and vacuum wipers. It would be most welcome at judged shows or simply rolling up to the cruise-in at the local drive-in…just as it would have in 1950.

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

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+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

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+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

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+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 9... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

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

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+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

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+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

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+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

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+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

Jonathan Sierakowski

jonathan@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a Connecticut restoration shop as a teenager. He graduated with a... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+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

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+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

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+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

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+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

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+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

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+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

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+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. He att... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+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

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+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