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Friday April 10, 2015
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1969 Cro-Sal Olds 455

1969 Cro-Sal & Oldsmobile Aluminum Can Am Olds 455

1962 Pontiac Grand Prix

Pontiac 1959-1962: From Wide Track Performance to the Grand Prix

1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser 4-door

Mercury 1954-1958: Growing from
an Upscale Ford to a Baby Lincoln

1958 Cadillac Series 60 Special

Cadillac 1954-1958 - Showing it
was "The Standard of the World"

1957 Super 88 Convertible

Oldsmobile 1954-1958 - The Rocket Grows in Size and Power!

Bonno 1957 Chevrolet

This 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air is James Bonno's Legacy to his Father

1957 Fuel Injected Pontiac Bonneville

Pontiac 1955-1958 - From Stodgy
L-Head Straight Eights to Hot V-8s!

1966 Olds Toronado Cutaway

1966 Toronado Makes US Front
Wheel Drive Cars a Reality

1964 Plymouth Sport Fury Hardtop

Plymouth 1961-65: From
Disaster to Stability

1950 Mercury Coupe

Mercury's Post War "Flathead" Years

1949 Olds 98 Holiday Hardtop

The Oldsmobile 303 Rocket Years

1968 GTO COTY Ad

The Pontiac Performance Years

1956 Plymouth Belvedere

The Plymouth "Forward Look"
Years Detailed

1970 Performance Car Chronicles

What We're Preserving
and How We Store It

July 1969 Car Life Magazine

The Treasures of the Society's Magazine Archive

The 1957 DeSoto Adventurer

1946-1961 DeSoto
A Great Brand Declines

The 1946 Hudson

Hudson 1946-1957
The Slow Demise

1950 Packard Convertible

Packard 1946-1958
The Post-War Story

Jessi and Kurt Celebrate AHPS

Jessi Lang - Sometimes Winning Comes in Short Little Laps.

From the Automotive History Preservation Society
Oldsmobile 1959-1962: Crawling Out of the Harley Earl Era

1962 Oldsmobile Jetfire Turbo

GM had wowed them in 1961 with an all new aluminum 215 CID V-8 for their new mid-sized cars.
For 1962 Oldsmobile went them one better with a turbocharged version developing the famous 1 HP per cubic inch!

1959 Olds 98 Convertible

The 1959 Olds Ninety-Eight convertible was the top dog
and the most expensive offering in the line at $4,366 base price.
A total of 8,006 were produced.

1960 Olds Super 88 4 door hardtop

The 1960 Super 88 Holiday Sport Sedan (4-door hardtop) was
popular with 33,285 produced. However, this would be the last
year for that unique roof line and wraparound rear glass.

1961 Cutlass Coupe

The biggest news in Oldsmobile for 1961 was the introduction
of the mid-size F-85. The Cutlass Sport Coupe, featuring a
185 HP 4-bbl V-8, was added at mid-year, and 9,935 were sold.

1961 Olds Starfire Convetible

The 1961 Starfire was also introduced later in the model year.
Built on the 88 convertible chassis, it was an immediate success, selling 7,600 units, 100 more than the target.

1961 Super 88 Coupe

The 1961 Super 88 2-door hardtop was good looking, but only
7,009 buyers purchased that model. It would be the last year
for the "Bubble Top" two-door hardtop.

1962 Olds Starfire Coupe

The 1962 Oldsmobile Starfire line consisted of a coupe and a convertible. More power was on hand this year, up to 345 HP.
The coupe was a popular choice with 34,839 sold.

1962 Olds Dynamic 88 Convertible

The 1962 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 convertible was now the only short-wheelbase drop top offered. The Dynamic Convertible could
be had with the 330 HP Super 88 V-8 making it a performer.
As a result, 12,212 were produced, a strong number.

1962 Olds Cutlass Convertible

The 1962 Cutlass now came in convertible and hardtop models. 9,868 Convertibles were sold and 33,018 Coupes found buyers.

1962 Olds Jetfire Turbo V-8

The 1962 Olds Jetfire Turbo V-8. It was a highly complex piece,
and given that there were no computer controls, it worked well.
With 10.25:1 compression and boost, the engineers figured
out how to use water injection to retard detonation.

By Society Staff – reprint with permission only

The Recession of '58-61 made a mark on Oldsmobile that would carry into the 70s!

After the disaster of 1958, a whole new look in car design would begin in 1959. The rounded bodies that had marked GM and Oldsmobile since 1950 were completely discarded - so much so that one would have been hard pressed to identify the cars from their predecessors. In fact, in 1959 "OLDSMOBILE" was hugely prominent on the front and rear so that there would be no question as to the brand.

The cars were now squared-off, with, at least in 1959, a reference to the "rocket" motif. Once the new styling was established, however, fins,, intakes, and exhausts were only hinted at.

From 1960 onward, the cars would never again look back at the 50s, and the cars that most people recognize as the "Olds Look" would continue well into the mid 70s.

1959 Oldsmobiles - Wow, what a difference!
The 1959 Oldsmobiles were introduced October 3, 1958 and were completely redesigned with a rocket motif from front to rear, called the "Linear Look." The 1959 models also offered several roof treatments, such as the pillared sedan with a fastback rear window and the Holiday "Sport Sedan," which was a flat-roofed pillarless hardtop with wraparound front and rear glass.

The front and rear were designed to look very wide, with the front fascia holding quad headlights with round smaller parking lights between the low and hi-beams on each side. The grille consisted of thin, horizontal, stainless-steel rectangles with "OLDSMOBILE" in four-inch high letters spanning the distance between the headlights.  At the rear, the large bumper contained imitation jet exhausts at each end with a flat horizontal bar between. The sleek, flat-roofed Holiday four-door hardtop styles were the division's second most popular offering. Six new special "Mist" (metallic) colors were offered.

The Oldsmobile V-8 grew from 371 to 394 CID, except in the Dynamic 88, which kept the previous year's 371. The famous J-2 Rockets were retired with only the 315 HP 4-barrel as the major high performance option. By GM's corporate design, Olds would no longer be perceived as a high-performance line, ceding this niche to Chevrolet and Pontiac. This mistake would take four years to be corrected.

Model year production peaked at 382,212 units, a significant jump over 1958's 299,657 total sales.

1960 - sleek and smooth - maybe too smooth.
The 1960 Oldsmobiles were introduced October 1, 1959. This marked the final year Oldsmobile would stay with its traditional three series format: the Dynamic 88, Super 88, and Ninety-Eight. The new "mid-size" F-85 would become the entry-level car next year. Other changes for the year of 1961 included a revised instrument panel and a slimmer transmission tunnel for improved interior space.

A major facelift highlighted the 1960 Oldsmobiles. A new grille and taillights and revised rear design were the key elements, essentially cleaning up the 1959 look. Gone was any reference to fins, with the rear fenders having a flat, wing-like look emphasized by a piece of stainless-steel trim that ran from just in front of the C-pillar to the rear. Only two, flat taillights were placed at the ends of the fenders.

A thin bulge emulating the tail lights ran across the trunk with "Oldsmobile" in block letters below. The rear bumper was a thin piece with no hint of  fake exhausts. The nose received a new, thinner grille with fine horizontal stainless ribs placed in 6" inch blocks of three for six clusters by three clusters. Above the grille was an "intake" that sat in the center of the nose that was a tin oval covering one third of the fascia. The parking lights moved into the front bumper.

While the entire look was much cleaner than 1959, it might have been a bit too plain. In retrospect, it is easy to see that this design was transitional - moving between the 1959 look and what would end up being the 1961 image. The 315 HP 394 CID Rocket V8 continued as standard power for Super 88 and 98 models. Dynamic 88s continued with the 371 CID Rocket V8 that was detuned to 240 HP thanks to a lower compression ratio that permitted the use of regular gasoline.

Model year production was 347,141 units, down from the 382,865 the previous year.

1961 - Enter the new mid-size F-85 and the hot new Starfire!
Oldsmobiles for 1961 were introduced October 6, 1960, and, for the first time, Olds broke with with its long-time, three-series format. Now, at the bottom of the lineup was the all new, mid-size F-85. Smaller than any other postwar Oldsmobile, the F-85 was powered by a unique aluminum 215 CID V-8. The F-85 joined small car offerings from Buick and Pontiac.

In the full-size offerings, an all-new body and chassis with perimeter "Guard Beam" frame and all-coil suspension replaced the previous leaf springs. All full-sized Oldsmobiles were now powered by the 394-cubic-inch Rocket V8.

A new three-speed "Roto" Hydra-matic ("Slim Jim" as it would later be called) transmission that was smaller and lighter than the previous four-speed unit was introduced; however, it was an option in all except the Classic 98.

While wheelbases remained the same as in 1960, the overall length and width were reduced slightly. As such, body design focused on a trimmer, "fuselage" design. The front fascia was cleaned up with a thinner grille using slim vertical fins curving inward at the base, making the opening look even smaller. At the rear quarters, the bottom received a "skeg" - a downward fin - that jutted outboard to counterbalance the rearward point of the quarter panel which evoked a "teardrop" look. Round tail lights, one on each side, were set into the rear cove as the only decoration.

The big change was that the 4-door hardtop's roof line was adopted by the 2-door and 4-door sedans, and the 4-door hardtop received a crisp, more formal top without the rear wraparound window. For 1961, GM also retired the compound curve windshields that it had introduced in 1954, and the much-hated door opening dogleg caused by the shape of the windshield went with it.

A sporty and luxurious convertible-only model called the "Starfire" was introduced at mid-year. It was based on the Super 88 convertible and featured leather bucket seats and a center console with floor shifter for the Hydra-matic transmission. This was the first U.S. full-sized production car to feature an automatic transmission with a console-mounted floor shifter. Many other usually-optional items such as power steering, brakes, windows, and driver's seat were part of the package.

The Starfire was powered by a higher-performance version of the Olds 394 CID V-8, called "Ultra High Compression Starfire V8," rated at 335 HP, which was accomplished by a more radical cam timing and 10.25:1 compression.

Model year production peaked at 240,716 full-size Oldsmobiles and 76,394 F-85's for a total of 317,110, down from 1960's 347,141 units. It seemed that the F-85 arrived just in time. The public was on a smaller-car kick, and without the new Y-body, Oldsmobile would have been hurting big time.

1962 - A return to greatness - in production and image.
The 1962 Oldsmobiles were introduced September 22, 1961. The turbocharged F-85 Jetfire was announced late in the model year, in April, 1962.

The F-85 styling was only slightly tweaked, more so to identify it as a '62 version. The full-size models were again restyled. Changes included a revised grille and front bumper. At the rear,oval taillights, one on each side for Dynamic and Super 88 models replaced the 1961's round units. 1962 Starfires and 98s received two oval lights per side.

New roof lines were in place for the four-door Celebrity sedan and Holiday hardtop sedans. All two-door sedans were finally dropped along with the Super 88 Convertible, due to miniscule sales. The "bubble-top" two-door hardtop was dropped and all two-door hardtops received a new convertible-inspired roof line. 1962 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 and Super 88 Fiesta wagons  were still based on the 88 platform, but retained most of the 1961 wagon's rear styling and overall length.

The standard engine in the Dynamic 88 was up rated to 280 HP due to a higher compression ratio that required the use of premium fuel, however a regular-fuel 260 HP version was a no-cost option. The Super 88 and Ninety-Eight "Skyrocket" V8 now sported last year's Starfire 330 HP rating. The Starfire's V-8 was upgraded to 345 horsepower and was now available on the S-88 and 98 as an option.

Model year production peaked at 447,594 units, up significantly from 1961's 317,110 units . . .

To read more about the 1959-1962 Models - Click HERE and select the year

To see more about the GEN 1 Olds Rocket V-8 engine - Click Here

To see 1959-1962 Oldsmobile Road Tests - Click Here and select the year

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To see 1959-1962 Oldsmobile Factory Brochures - Click Here and select the year

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