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.

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

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David Swig

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

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