No Limits Magazine from the Auto History Preservation Society
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Wednesday October 29, 2014
Oldsmobile F-88 Sports Car: Part Two, News Stories, See Our Period Ads, View Our Road Tests, Brochures, & Much More!

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The first Mustang- 1965

Mustang: 50 Years on the Road

1965 Pontiac 2+2 and GTO Ad

The Paper Chase Part 1
Selling the Sizzle

Morris 1959 Ford Fairlane


New Zealander Karyn Morris
shares her 1959 Ford with us!

1954 Olds F-88


1954 Olds F-88 Sports Car
Part One - Why the F88?

1963 Cobra Ad


The Cobra Story - a Focused View
into the 1963-67 Car

Jerry Lester Gran Torino

Check Out Jerry & Sue Lesters'
1972 351 CJ Ford Gran Torino
.



Cro-Sal Olds 455

Oldsmobile's Twin Turbo
Can-Am Aluminum 455!


1959 Ramchargers High 7 Mighty

Ramchargers Stories - Part 04
The "High & Mighty"


1963 Pontiac 421 GP


Big Bad Boys - Muscle Cars
did not start with the 1964 GTO!


1963 Ford-Mercury 427

Ford's FE Big Block Story
Part 1 - 1958 through 1965



1962 Max wedge 413

Chrysler's"RB" Wedge Development Through the Years

From the Automotive History Preservation Society's Collection
Message from the President, Eric White - The Society vs. Wild About Cars.

I'm Eric White, president of the Automotive History Preservation Society. I would like explain to the people who may come to our Home page some facts about the Society.

The first and most pertinent fact is that we are no longer partnered with Wild About Cars. WAC no longer exists. WAC was an organization that hosted the AHPS Digital Document Library online. WAC shared the philosophy of the free distribution of automotive information, for the sake of sharing. They made for a good partner with the AHPS, but, sadly, that is over.

As a result, things have changed drastically over the last two months - AHPS is now exclusively responsible for the entire cost of running the old WAC website. This is not a cheap proposition, especially so since we do not sell any products. We are a  donor/gift driven, not-for-profit model . . . Read the Rest of Eric's Message Here


The second F-88

Harley Earl drove the 2nd concept F-88 regularly.
Here it is at Daytona Speed Weeks in 1956.

1958 F-88

The '58 version (shown here at Harley's Florida Estate
was very aggressive looking in the front.
What may not be clear in this picture is that the grille was
filled with "Oldsmobile" in huge letters
.

The 1958 F-88 Interior

The 1958 Version retained the unique and original interior
updated here and there. The central stack and console is what
we've come to expect, but back then - way ahead of its time.

The 1959 F-88

The 1959 Version was more slick, and Ferrari-like.
Now powered by the new 394 Olds V8 and highly modified, it was purported to have 400 HP and a top speed of 155


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with the information we indicate in our requirements.


Oldsmobile F-88 Part Two - Why NOT the F-88?

by the Wild About Cars Staff - reprint with permission only

Even while the 1954 car was touring with the GM Motorama, plans had begun for the 1956 version. Everyone at Olds (and Harley Earl at GM styling) was excited to consider that Olds would have the flagship performance car, with Chevy's Corvette considered the "entry-level" - with owners moving up to the Olds when they wanted more performance and luxury.

But deep in the bowels of GM, and over at Chevrolet, another movement was beginning. Instead of the Will Durant concept of Chevy capturing new buyers with its pricing and no-frills approach and then passing the customers up the chain to Pontiac, then to Olds and Buick and Cadillac, some smooth talkers were deciding that the way to capture buyers for GM was to lure them to a "cheaper" luxury car so that they would get a taste of the good things. The Chevy Impala was already on the drawing boards and the V8 was months away from production. Chevy was changing and GM brass were going to take a hard look at whether this was a good idea.

The bowtie people were smart not to challenge any of the turf that Caddy occupied, but all else was free to exploit. Pontiac had proposed Rochester Fuel Injection for their 56 Bonneville, only to be told to wait; Buick helped develop the Turbo-glide upgrade for the 58-60 Chevys to give them a more upscale auto trans; and Olds . . . Olds was told "no go" on the F-88; that the upgrades found in their car would find their way into the new 1956 Corvette.

Olds argued that the car were mutually exclusive and that there was surely room for two cars in this market, but the dismal sales of the first Vette coupled with the announced Thunderbird killed any chance of the F-88 bowing - and not because the F-88 would fail, just the opposite. Chevy knew that the F-88 could go head to head and even better the 'Bird. They were smart enough to recognize that the Olds would be a sales success while their '55 would languish and probably be killed as a model.

In the old GM, that would have been moot - Durant's concept did not favor any brand in the marketplace. If the car could not survive on it's own merits, well then, sayonara - like Oakland and LaSalle. But in the new "spoiled child" GM, Chevy was getting all the breaks and could go to Corporate and have a tantrum and all was made "right".

Harley Earl was stunned, and commissioned a red F-88 for himself as a sign of dissatisfaction with the decision - and began driving it as his personal car. He would drive it into the GM Corporate lot and park it in his slot next to the President - as a middle finger salute. Later, he even had a '57 F-88 and a '59 built, both cloned from his red original. These cars not only went on the show circuit, but he took it as his personal car when he retired, and he drove the '59 F-88 until he died.

The Impact of the F-88 - had it survived.

So how does the F-88 going into production save Olds? Producing the F-88 would have established Olds as a sports car manufacturer, and two and most important, would have been to break the back of Chevy as the "golden girl" of GM. Third, it would have stalled Chevy's desire to have a car for each market occupied by BOP. We all know that this led to the mishmash of models across all lines that followed in the 60's. Had the F-88 succeeded to go to production, it may have precluded GM going to the "corporate car" in the late 70's. 

Most Important - Was the F-88 a Performance Car?

Okay, let's talk about the car. It was designed at the same time as the 53 Vette and saw the light of day about the time the Corvette debuted. As we said before, Olds took one look at the Vette when it was spec'd out and realized that it was a loser. It was built on the same 102" chassis as the Vette, and used a Chevy 3.55:1 rear, but that's where the similarity ended. Oldsmobile specific running-gear filled up the mechanicals from the hopped up 324 in the front, with a 4-speed Hydramatic in the middle and Olds 88 drum brakes at all 4 corners.

The engine was a hot rod piece; with high compression, it sported an advance set of 55 heads with larger valves, a stiffer cam, and 2 4-bbl. carburetors. Instead of the 185 HP of the Olds S-88 , which was no slouch for its day, the F-88 sported between 250 and 270 ponies. Considering the almost 1000 pounds difference in weight between the F-88 and a S-88, you had a recipe for big-time performance in 1954 and beyond.

And it wasn't a crude roller skate like the original Vette. Where Chevy took the minimalist approach, Olds added power steering, power windows, bucket seats and a console. The gauges, borrowed from a '53 S-88, had a tach added to the speedometer cluster. If you check out the pictures, you can see that no expense was spared. When you compare the interior to both the 55 Vette and the Thunderbird, the Olds is clearly in first, with the Chevy in a distant third . . .

To read the rest of the story - Click HERE

To read Part One of the Story - Click HERE

Check out our Collection of Oldsmobile Brochures - Click HERE

Find Oldsmobile Road Tests HERE


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