8 March 2014
1953 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Fiesta Convertible
- Chassis no. 539M26760
Sold for $181,500
- Offered from the collection of Richard and Linda Kughn
- Part of the 1953 General Motors Trifecta
- Incredibly rare; one of few survivors of the 458 built
- Formerly owned by Dennis Dow and Charles Cawley
One defining event of 1950s American car culture was GM’s traveling Motorama, a no-holds-barred display of dazzling technology and stunning styling. A series of dramatic styling exercises captivated the public, but most were not for sale. For 1953, the “General” made an exception, offering three of the previous year’s “dream cars” in limited-production numbers, for the lucky few who could afford the startling price tags and who had the influence to secure one.
Scarcest of these was the Oldsmobile Fiesta, a stunning design that pioneered several features at Oldsmobile, including a wraparound windshield, “spinner” wheel covers, and attractive two-tone paint schemes in exclusive colors. Each Fiesta came well equipped with leather upholstery, power steering, power brakes, power windows, and a power seat. It was the rarest of the 1953 GM Trifecta of dream cars. Only 458 were built, and survivors only rarely become available for sale.
The car offered here from the Kughn Collection was formerly owned by well-known collectors Dennis Dow and Charles Cawley. It was restored some time ago to very high-point condition, and it remains in very good overall condition, with a sparkling metallic finish in Cadet Blue over Acacia Blue, which is accented by a truly beautiful matching interior. Typical of a General Motors car of this period, it is full of wonderful Space Age details, including a steering wheel hub that proudly announces “Power Steering” and a rear-mounted Continental kit spare. The car shows only light wear throughout and records 80,169 miles, which may well be the actual mileage from new.
During Mr. and Mrs. Kughn’s ownership, this Fiesta has appeared at the Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance and the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, both in 2009. It was also pictured and described in an article on Mr. Kughn and his collection, “The King of Classic Cars,” published in the August 20, 2009, edition of Forbes.
This Fiesta, presented in particularly beautiful colors, with a proud show history and ownership by noted enthusiasts, is a wonderful example of the car that, in their 1953 advertising, AC Spark Plug referred to as a “sportster,” making it the most stylish of Rockets.
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