1956 Oldsmobile Super 88 Holiday Coupe - SOLD
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  • Overview & History
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With 240 horsepower on tap and a solid whack of low-end torque, this car keeps up with today's traffic effortlessly.

This Oldsmobile Super 88 Holiday Coupe had to be one of the hottest cars on the road in 1956. Only a little larger than a Chevy but packing 41 more cubes and 35 extra horsepower, this was a car that surely surprised a lot of people who were proud of their “Power Pack” equipped small block Chevy. Better still, it did it with a grown-up attitude, smooth ride, and a quiet interior that was designed for a person of means who cared about comfort as much as all-out performance. Styling was subtle but unquestionably General Motors at its peak, with a big grille and bumpers, gorgeous hardtop lines, and Jet Age details everywhere you look. The Super 88 wasn’t the most expensive car in the Oldsmobile store, but it certainly didn’t look or feel like a bargain-priced step down, either. This is one heck of a car!

The first thing everyone notices about this car is the color, which is not quite what they were spraying in 1956. It’s a luscious burgundy metallic off the late-model Ford color chart and it works rather well on the vintage Olds sheetmetal. The lights in our studio can’t quite capture the depth and glow of the finish, but out in the sun it’s just spectacular—you’re going to have to plan some extra time at gas stops to talk to folks about it. From the restoration photos supplied with the car, we can see that it was originally red and white, so it’s not too far off from original, and this was a complete, straight, running, driving car so the sheetmetal is in great shape. We note two small patches on the quarters ahead of the wheels where it’s common for these cars to have some issues, but the work was quite well done and is completely invisible today. You don’t have to worry about this one being a rust bucket and one glance down the sides will tell you all you need to know about the quality of the work. There’s not a ripple anywhere on its flanks and the two-stage urethane was color-sanded and buffed to a high shine that is superior to anything they were doing back in the ‘50s. This is a seriously good-looking car!

On anything built in the 1950s, there’s going to be a lot of chrome and this Olds is no exception. There’s also a gigantic bill associated with restoring all of it and it glitters against the red paint. The giant grille/bumper up front, the wonderful jet-inspired hood ornament, and the ornate fluted taillight bezels are all crisply rendered. The side trim is stainless, all of which has been polished to match, and the awesome “Oldsmobile” and “88” emblems look almost new. Whether they’re original or reproduction, I can’t say, but it sure doesn’t look like anyone was cutting corners when this one went together.

The handsome black and white interior uses cloth and vinyl to great effect, making it stylish as well as comfortable. The brocade-style seat inserts mean this car is comfortable even on hot days and the two-tone door panels match the exterior trim, which is kind of a neat touch. The wide, symmetrical dash shows more jet-age inspiration, from the round instrument panel ahead of the driver with fully functional gauges and warning lights to the radio speaker on the passenger’s side that looks like an exhaust port. Speaking of the radio, the factory AM unit has been disconnected and there’s a modern AM/FM/CD head unit stashed in the glove box, so you’ll have some entertainment out on the road. Overhead there’s new headliner with chrome bows and the trunk is clean, but only partially finished—the restorer suffered health issues before that detail could be completed. Just check out the super solid spare tire well!

The reason this car hustles so well is under the hood: Oldsmobile’s 324 cubic inch “Rocket” V8. With 240 horsepower on tap and a solid whack of low-end torque, this car keeps up with today’s traffic effortlessly. The engine was fully rebuilt during the frame-on restoration and runs superbly today. It cranks up easily, idles well, and pulls the big coupe around with real gusto. On the road it feels confident and while there’s definitely a burble from the tailpipe, it never gets annoying—that just wouldn’t be right in an Oldsmobile. It’s also correctly detailed with Oldsmobile Green engine enamel and bright yellow call-outs on the valve covers—the Oldsmobile engineers knew guys would be sticking their heads under the hood of this one. You’ll also find a correct 4-barrel carburetor and air cleaner, desirable power steering, new wiring, and even a reproduction Delco tar-top battery. Look closely and you’ll see a modern reservoir for the remote master cylinder—that’s for the front disc brake conversion that makes this car a lot more confident in today’s traffic. But beyond that, it’s pretty stock under the hood.

The 4-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission was also rebuilt and shifts cleanly, although you know how Hydra-Matics can feel. And while this was a frame-on restoration, sometimes there’s just no need to take the body off the frame. It isn’t sparkling clean and detailed, but the floors are completely solid with a light dusting of undercoating and the heavy metal parts show surface scale but no structural issues. A brand new dual exhaust system with stainless mufflers gives it that great soundtrack and obviously the brakes have been fully rebuilt with new discs up front. There are also new shocks, highway-friendly 3.23 gears in the pumpkin, and 235/75/15 wide whitewall radials to complete the look. Oh, and by the way, those spinner hubcaps alone cost more than $1000. This was not a cheap restoration by any measure.

Documentation includes extensive photos and receipts from the restoration as well as a master parts list.

There’s a lot of money spent here and the car is just gorgeous from every angle. The powerful engine makes it joyous to run down the highway and a few smart upgrades give you peace of mind. For ‘50s cruisers, this Olds gets the important stuff right but never seems to shout about it. As it was in 1956, this is a car that speaks softly while carrying a big stick. Call today!

Vehicle: 1956 Oldsmobile Super 88 Holiday Coupe
Price: SOLD
Stock Number: 116066
Mileage: 78,922
VIN: 568A4672
Engine: 324 cubic inch V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Gear Ratio: 3.23
Wheelbase: 122 inches
Wheels: 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
Tires: 235/75/15 wide whitewall radial
Exterior Color: Burgundy
Interior Color: Black and white cloth and vinyl
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