1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 Convertible Garage Find

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Following the end of World War II, the American public was eager to get their hands on completely new cars, as those that were available were merely lightly restyled and re-engineered cars that, at their newest, had been released in 1941. In 1949, Oldsmobile came to the new car party with the 88. With a relatively low weight, and with the newly released and relatively powerful Rocket V8 engine, the car also experienced significant success in NASCAR racing. All of this grabbed the public’s imagination, and Oldsmobile was in a situation where they easily sold every 88 that rolled off the line. This 88 has been sitting for around 10 years, but it doesn’t look like it will take a huge amount to bring it back to life. The Oldsmobile is located in Palm Coast, Florida, and is listed for sale here on eBay.

The photos included in the ad aren’t the greatest, but they do seem to show a car that is in pretty reasonable condition. The burgundy paint has a nice shine to it, the glass looks good, and the soft-top seems to be in really good condition. I’ve looked closely at the photos, and I’m not sure whether there might be a small spot of rust just forward of the trim near the rear wheel arch on the driver’s side. If it is, it is only fairly small. The external trim is a bit tarnished, but it looks like the majority of it will respond to some polish. The chrome on the bumpers is looking a bit sad. This might polish okay, but I think that they would benefit from a trip to the plater if you want them to really shine.

The owner doesn’t actually say that the car runs, but the fact that he suggests that it will need a tune-up sounds very encouraging. The engine was one of the stand-out features of the 88 when it was introduced. That 303ci Rocket V8 engine produces a rather healthy for the day 135hp. This engine is backed by a 4-speed Hydra-Matic transmission. The engine bay itself looks pretty reasonable, and I think that it would look really nice with a decent clean.

There are a number of interior photos of the car, and many of them are pretty area-specific. By piecing them all together it becomes apparent that the interior of the Oldsmobile is in really good condition. It appears to be original, with no aftermarket accessories, and the upholstery on the seats and door trims, along with the carpet and dash, all look good. Once again, a day with a vacuum cleaner and some quality cleaning products would make the interior really sparkle.

The Oldsmobile 88 Convertible is an interesting car insofar as it is one of the few American cars from this era that have taken a dip in value in recent times. During the first half of 2018, values dropped by around 25%, but they have actually begun to rally again. Of the entire 88 range, that old adage that the value goes up when the top goes down certainly holds true, with values for the Convertible generally averaging at around 80% higher than the next most popular 88, the 2-door Club Coupe. The owner has set a BIN price of $25,000 for this particular Convertible, and if the condition of the car is as good as the photos seem to indicate, then this car seems to represent a very good buy to me.

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    Gorgeous sled. This joins the ’49 Caddy ragtop are on my must-have list.

    Like 5
  2. Miguel

    That does seems like a great price. I would have to ask why it is so low in this market.

    Like 0
    • local_sheriff

      It’s priced to sell. If you read the ebay ad you’ll realize seller just inherited it and ‘would like to move it at a reasonable price next few days’ and is ‘looking for a no-nonsense transaction’.
      This is Florida, so I suspect car belonged to some grey-head relative ; seller isn’t living in the area nor a gearhead so he offers someone to come with a trailer AND the dough so he can liquidate the relative’s property.
      I’d call this a gift and a great opportunity for anyone with a trailer and the available $ to own one of history’s very first muscle cars; even a ‘vert! Won’t last long…

      Like 3
      • Mike

        I am a grey head and my dad had a blue 88 sedan ran like a scalded cat 😂

        Like 0
  3. Kenneth Carney

    $25,000 is a very fair price considering what you’ll get for your money.
    Why pay that price for a rusted out shell when a potentally road ready
    car is sitting here before you. Just air up the tires, load it on.your trailer,
    and drive off knowing that you bought this car for a song. I’ve seen
    several examples of this car listed at Mecum and Barrett-Jackson.
    that have sold for up to 5 times the cost of this car–and all those
    cars were trailer queens! Sorry folks, but this gorgeous little ragtop is
    screaming “Drive me, enjoy me! Don’t park me on a trailer, take me out
    and let me run!” And that’s just what I’d do if she were mine! But alas,
    my finances won’t allow it, so a portrait will have to suffice.

    Like 14
  4. GeoffF

    She’s purty!
    My pop relocated to palm coast. Gonna ask for him to get the inside scoop..

    Like 2
  5. flmikey

    Sorry, folks, but for 25 large, the very least they could have done was air up the tires and tune it up…for that kind of money it should be ready for the road…btw, love the size of that air cleaner…it’s about the size of an eco-boost engine….love the car, hate that price…

    Like 2
  6. Will Fox

    Horrible photos; can’t even asses the condition properly on this. For all I know, the rear end is caved in from a wreck! What would it have taken to at least push the car out of the garage maybe 15 feet?

    Like 4
  7. R.J. Knight

    Sitting here broken hearted. My mom GOD rest her soul had a black one and I sold it for $150 in 1961. But would have could have should have right team?

    Like 1
    • TomMember

      I crying with you my friend.

      Like 0
  8. John P

    Great car-not so sold on its condition. Dash has been poorly repainted and wearing Massachusetts plates makes me want to bet the car was rusty-and rust might be hiding somewhere still. If I was in Florida-I’d go look at it..

    Like 0
  9. Bob Mackie

    Nice car. I owned a ’49 coupe for five years so I know the pitfalls about this body. It had as rust out situation in front of the gravel guard on both rear finders. There was a repair kit available at one time to repair this. That was years ago. Fun car.

    Like 0
  10. LodeStar

    This iconic (trite and over used, but…) car was THE symbol of the youth revolution after World War II. Whether this particular car is worthy of your attention is another issue…
    Rocket 88
    Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats
    You may have heard of jalopies
    You’ve heard the noise they make
    But let me introduce you to my Rocket ’88
    Yes it’s great, just won’t wait
    Everybody likes my Rocket ’88
    Baby we’ll ride in style
    Movin’ all along
    V-8 motor and this modern design
    Black convertible top and the gals don’t mind
    Sportin’ with me, ridin’ all around town for joy
    Blow your horn, Raymond blow your horn
    Step in my Rocket and don’t be late
    Baby we’re pullin’ out about a half-past-eight
    Goin’ on the corner and havin’ some fun
    Everybody in my car is going to take a little nip
    Ooh, goin’ out
    Oozin’ and cruisin’ along

    Like 2
  11. Rex Rice

    I saw a ’49 coupe for sale in front of a junkyard when I was young. A rare stick shift V-8, but the $350 price was more than I could afford.

    Like 0
  12. Gaspumpchas

    $old for 25 large!!!

    Like 0

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