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1950 Oldsmobile 88

Date: 28 June 2019
Author: Don White

My first love of cars started back in the 50’s.  My father owned a 1950 Oldsmobile 88.  The first recollection of this car started with the steering wheel horn.  The center was the world with a circle around it.  It was gold in color with a deep blue universe surrounded by stars of the same color.  I remember getting lost in thought just imagining all of the possibilities!

The hood had a rocket on the very nose and a badge just below with that same world encompassed by the circle.  The trunk also sported the same badge, centered just above the key hole and the rear corner of the trunk boasted a rocket piercing the number “88”, announcing to all that viewed it!

My father’s “88” was a two-toned black top and gray bottom.  It was a two-door hardtop, considered quite stylish back in the day.  The hardtop was something new to me because I saw there were no center posts in the car.  I considered it the next best thing to a convertible!  The windows were electric – hey, no more cranks, I was styl’n now!!

This car was equipped with the new Rocket 88, an overhead valve V8.  It was the engine that replaced the straight-eight for Oldsmobile.  Pontiac kept the straight eight for a couple of more years.  Chevrolet had the inline six cylinders.  The Oldsmobile engineers developed this Rocket 88 overhead valve engine and placed it into a current production auto they had known as the “B” style body.  It was smaller and lighter than the Oldsmobile 98.  The smaller and lighter combination was a very good match for handling and performance as well as expense.  This proved to be a great addition to the Oldsmobile line.

The designers now were forced with the task of developing a logo that would introduce the Oldsmobile 88 and Rocket 88 V8 to the world which they achieved with the legendary emblems I described being so infatuated with as a young boy.

They wanted to reach out to the post-war generation and they wanted them to envision the future!  What better way to do so than with the world and the universe powered by a Rocket 88 overhead valve V8.  So they reached for the stars and succeeded.

The Oldsmobile 88 was introduced in 1949.  It was a step into the future and proved to be a true performance vehicle.  It went out and promptly succeeded to win in competitions.  In 1949, NASCAR held 9 Grand National races and stock Rocket 88’s won 6.  In 1950 the Rocket 88 won 10 out of 19 Grand National races and set a new speed record in Daytona.  They went on to claim many outstanding achievements which propelled the Oldsmobile 88 to be awarded the “Honor of Recognition” as the 1950 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car.

Yes, this is the fine automobile that launched my desire of Clasiq Cars What ignited yours?


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