1950 Oldsmobile 88 - $24,900
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  • Overview & History
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Forget about frumpy Oldsmobiles, these were some of the fastest cars on the road in 1950 and offered big car luxury with the kind of performance most folks had never experienced before.

Handsome full-sized sedan in great colors. Strong-running 303 cubic inch Rocket V8 with freshly rebuilt Hydra-Matic transmission. Newer interior, nice paint, restored trunk. A great all-around cruiser that does everything well!

The 1950 Oldsmobile 88 wasn’t called the “Rocket 88” for nothing. The all-new short-stroke OHV V8 under the hood was the envy of the entire industry and created the template for most of the GM V8s that would follow, including the small block Chevy. Forget about frumpy Oldsmobiles, these were some of the fastest cars on the road in 1950 and offered big car luxury with the kind of performance most folks had never experienced before. Add in the convenience of the indestructible Hydra-Matic automatic transmission, and suddenly this 1950 Oldsmobile 88 looks, acts, and feels like a much more modern car. This attractive 4-door sedan was Oldsmobile’s bread-and-butter model but that doesn’t mean boring. The stylish good looks were largely carryover from 1949, but that’s OK because everything was finally revised following WWII so it’s thoroughly modern. Basic black is the right color on a car like this, conservative, yes, but never going out of style. And when the bodywork is straight, nothing looks better. All four doors close with that well-damped THUMP that characterizes cars of the era and you’ll note that even though it’s been repainted, it has a soft shine that’s entirely appropriate for 1950. There’s also plenty of chrome and stainless trim, including those cool little vents under the headlights that were the beginning of Oldsmobile’s fascination with “jet age” styling. The simple grille, big bumpers, and side trim all shine nicely and nothing looks too deteriorated or too fresh, it all looks just right. Add in the accessory visor over the windshield and you get an attractive early ‘50s car with a very correct look.

The two-tone gray and burgundy cloth interior was restored a few years ago, and while it’s not 100% correct, it’s certainly comfortable and nicely finished. All the soft parts are new, including the carpets, door panels, and headliner, so you know it wasn’t a cut-rate job. The seats are comfortable enough for long drives, something the big Olds does exceedingly well. All the gauges are fully operational, arrayed around the crescent-shaped speedometer, with secondary control knobs to either side. The clock and AM radio are sadly not operational, but everything else does work like it should. The big plastic steering wheel is so nice we have to believe it has been re-cast at some point and the beautiful globe emblem on the horn button mirrors those on the nose and tail of the car. Back seat accommodations are spacious, making the Olds great for road trips with the family, and there’s a freshly finished trunk with a full-sized spare.

The real news at Oldsmobile (and GM) in 1950 was the all-new OHV V8, which debuted in 1949. Cadillac’s was bigger, but the 303 cubic inch Olds was still faster thanks to lighter bodies and only giving up a handful of horsepower. In operation, it’s smooth and torquey, and it makes such sophisticated mechanical sounds. There’s torque available at any speed and it’s easy to understand why this powerplant was a favorite of early hot rodders. It’s also quite correct, from that unique air cleaner and carburetor to the factory green engine enamel and unique valve covers with built-in spark plug wire looms. It isn’t detailed or restored, but it’s quite clean and there’s plenty of evidence of proper service. The carburetor has been recently rebuilt, the valve cover gaskets were replaced, and a full tune-up ensures that it runs like it should. It starts easily, idles nicely, and pulls the sleek sedan around at modern highway speeds without any effort at all. Part of that is due to the freshly rebuilt 4-speed HydraMatic automatic transmission, which really works well thanks to wartime duty in tanks on the battlefield. It also features new front and rear bushings and shock links for that incomparable Oldsmobile ride, new brakes with fresh wheel cylinders and hoses for safety, and a muted dual exhaust system that sounds just right. It isn’t restored underneath and we don’t believe the body has ever been off the frame, but it’s in good order with nothing that should stop you from enjoying the car as it was intended, with only a little perforation in the spare tire well being a demerit. 3.64 gears in the rear end mean it’s a comfortable highway cruiser and it sits on fresh 215/75/15 Diamondback wide whitewall radials all around.

Documentation includes the factory owner’s manual in the original envelope, a shop manual, and a Master Chassis Parts Book. There’s also a spare heater motor with squirrel cage blower.

It’s easy to overlook cars like this, but from a performance and comfort standpoint, they’re pretty hard to beat. The early ‘50s were a great time in automotive history and this car shows you why General Motors was on top of the world with cutting-edge technology. Oldsmobile was the performance division in 1950, make no mistake, and this handsome 88 sedan works so well as a car, you may even think about driving it every day. It’s just that good. Call now!

Harwood Motors always recommends and welcomes personal or professional inspections on any vehicle in our inventory prior to purchase.

Vehicle: 1950 Oldsmobile 88
Price: $24,900
Stock Number: 119130
Odometer Reading: 94,167
VIN: 508M9753
Engine: 303 cubic inch V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Gear Ratio: 3.64
Wheelbase: 119.5 inches
Wheels: 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
Tires: 215/75/15 Diamondback wide whitewall radials
Exterior Color: Black
Interior Color: Gray and red cloth
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