1957 Oldsmobile 98 Hardtop
1957 Oldsmobile 98 Hardtop
The Oldsmobile line underwent a sweeping reengineering in 1957, with a 3-piece rear window making a reappearance on some models. Once again the 4-door 98's were at the top, this year officially titled Starfire 98. Standard equipment included armrests, turn signals, rubber floor mats, sun visors, front fender chrome script, exposed chrome roof bows, side interior courtesy lights, electric windows, special emblems, power steering, power brakes, and Jetaway Hydramatic. Upholstery choices included a variety of cloth, Morocceen (vinyl), and leather. Standard tire size was 9.00 by 14 inches. The standard engine was now the 371ci Rocket V8. A safety recessed steering wheel was added. Oldsmobile sales for the model year would reach 384,390 cars, placing the division fifth in overall sales in the nation. How well did the 98 series do? Let's do some number crunching: In 1957, a logical competitor, Dodge built a total of 55,145 Custom Royals, including the flashy Lancer 4 door hardtop. Production for the new for 1957 Mercuy Turnpike Cruiser 4 door hardtop, the most direct comparison from the Blue Oval camp totaled just 8,305. Even at GM, it took Pontiac to challenge the Holiday's numbers, with 44,283 copies of the Star Chief Custom Catalina 4 door hardtop rolled onto the transporters. All the while the Oldsmobile 98 model sales rang up the register to the tune of 79,693 units, of which 32,099 were Holiday 4 doors.
Bathed in a respray of Maroon this big steel bodied Oldsmobile 98 is profoundly fascinating no matter what angle you view it from. This is due to the fact that Oldsmobile turned its back on the fin frenzy, instead going with a rolling tunnel of sheet metal rising atop each rear fender. An ovoid styling theme is carried thru the car in the forms of the massive front bumper and grille combination which present well with minor tarnishing and some scrapes on the driver's side. The ovoid theme continues to the two headlight bezels which sit proudly at the front of each leading fender and are topped with chromed jets that ooze 50's style. Straight steel sides show minor chipping. A slightly worn rear bumper presents below and retains its original thru the bumper dual exhaust exits.
Oldsmobile's interiors were all about comfort and style in the late 50's and it sure hits home here. Although aged and worn in some areas, the glimmer of luxury is still present and shining thru. A swing of the door and we are greeted with a missing driver's door panel. The other 3 doors retain their red and black panels which are in varying forms of disrepair. Red upper panels in tweed contain chromed door release handles and power window switches, with the passenger's rear window switch hanging loosely from the panel and missing their signature 98 armrests. Down below on the door panels is a dark charcoal tweed in place of the original materials. A long svelt bench seat provides ample comfort for the front seat passengers, dressed in a lower seating surface of black broadcloth with a metallic silver stitching and surrounded by a white vinyl border that has a major tear at the seam on the driver's side. The black also climbs halfway up the upper portion of the bench and contains the same shiny stitching. Red leather makes up the upper part of the bench in a broad tuck and roll pattern that hovers above a white leather U-shaped strip that ascends the sides of the red. 3, count them 3 ovoid designs emanate around the speedometer, all wrapped in glorious chrome. Below and in front of the driver are the heater controls in their original chrome. This chrome sweeps across the passenger side and holds various function switches, the AM radio, and a courtesy light switch. Hovering above is an ovoid shaped clock, lest we lose track of time while breathing in all this 50's fab. Black carpet floods the floor and presents well even though missing the original rubber floor mats. A look directly up and we are greeted with a perforated white headliner with chrome separation bows that make this roof a visual treat, one tear is evident on the passengers rear of the headliner and is the only spoiling factor we see here. Truly bedecked with beauty!
Under the hood Olds put their money where their mouths were. This was done via a 371ci Rocket V8, while not topped with the desirable and rare J2 tri-power set up, the 4-barrel iteration is capable of producing a respectable 277hp. This power is sent thru a 4-speed automatic JetAway Hydramatic transmission and back to a 3.42 geared rear axle assembly. Power brakes and power steering are noted, both standard features on the 98 Starfire.
With the car up on the lift we were pleasantly surprised to see only surface rust covering the frame, suspension components, floors, and inner rockers. Body hangers are solid and even the spare tire well is in good shape. Independent coil spring suspension is up front and leaf springs handle the ride at the rear. 4-wheel power drum brakes are noted to bring this car to a whoa without any undue strain on the driver's leg. Clean and mean underneath, just what we love to see!
As protocol states, we checked all fluids and installed our test battery. I won the coin toss and slipped behind the safety recessed steering wheel and my partner in crime handed me the keys (I think he's been reading my work and may have switched out his double headed coin for a legitimate one this time). While cranking strong, no ignition was to happen. Even with the help of starting fluid a cough was not to be heard (I think he set me up). Obviously, some ignition system work is in order here.
1957 was a banner year for Oldsmobile, form, function, and design were all spot on. Sporting almost all of its hard to find britework and gleaming in 50's style and excess this may be just what the doctor ordered. Visit our hallowed halls here at the Classic Auto Mall and see this beauty in person. For '57...The accent's on Oldsmobile-the car that puts the accent on You! The Ad Men nailed it spot on!!!
W-Wilmington, DE Assy Plant
07007-Sequential Unit Number
Classic Auto Mall is a 336,000-square foot classic and special interest automobile showroom, featuring over 600 vehicles for sale with showroom space for up to 1,000 vehicles. Also, a 400 vehicle barn find collection is on display.
This vehicle is located in our showroom in Morgantown, Pennsylvania, conveniently located just 1-hour west of Philadelphia on the I-76 Pennsylvania Turnpike. The website is www.classicautomall.com and our phone number is (888) 227-0914. Please contact us anytime for more information or to come see the vehicle in person.
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