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40k Mile 1961 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 Holiday Coupe

This 1961 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 Holiday Coupe is an original survivor that is in extremely nice condition. This is a classic that would suit the person who is hunting for a turn-key classic. It would seem to need nothing except a new owner that will continue to treat it with the care and respect that it has received over the past 59-years. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder local_sheriff for spotting this great car for us. It is located in Mendham, New Jersey, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached $16,000, but the reserve hasn’t been met. There is a BIN option available, and this has been set at $26,900.

The 1961 model year marked a significant change for the 88. It received an all-new body and chassis, and the changes resulted in a car with a striking appearance. As was the case with most manufacturers, Oldsmobile said goodbye to the era of fins. However, the inclusion of downward fins at the bottom of the rear quarter panels gave the vehicle a distinctive appearance. The narrow pillars were also a great styling touch and made the 88 look light and airy. The Oldsmobile is finished in Tropic Mist, and the owner states that the majority of the paint is original. He believes that some of the panels might have been touched-up, but the paint on the horizontal surfaces is untouched. The vast expanses of glass appear to be in good condition. The owner notes some pitting on the rear bumper, but the remaining trim looks to be in good shape for a survivor.

Powering the Oldsmobile is the 394ci  “Rocket” V8. This 250hp powerplant is backed by a 3-speed Roto Hydramatic transmission. Power steering and power brakes are a welcome inclusion. The Dynamic 88 is not the fastest car on the planet, with the journey down the  ¼ mile taking 18 seconds. The owner purchased the vehicle in 2016. He went through it from end to end and chose to fit a new master cylinder, wheel cylinders, brake hoses, and a fuel pump. The carburetor was rebuilt, the radiator was flushed, and four new tires were fitted. Since then, the Olds has covered less than 1,000 miles. The owner says that the 88 now drives very well. It has a genuine 40,000 miles on the clock, and there is documentation available that confirms this. Other documentation that goes with the car includes the Protect-O-Plate and Warranty Book with the original sales invoice.

The interior of the 88 is a highlight for me. It presents superbly, and the owner believes that the seats have probably had plastic covers on them for most of the car’s life. They are faultless, and the rest of the upholstered surfaces look just as good. Mats have protected the original carpet, and the dash pad is free from cracks. The factory radio still holds pride of place in the dash, although the owner has added an aftermarket reverb unit. He says that it sounds great, but if the buyer is striving for originality, this can always be removed.

We’ve seen a few survivor-grade cars recently here at Barn Finds. There is not much that is more satisfying than to take a neglected classic and to breathe new life into it. However, this is not a viable proposition for some people. That is where survivors like this one fit into the equation. There is no shame in buying a turn-key vehicle. There is pride in the ownership experience, and there is pride in keeping it well preserved. This one isn’t perfect, but it is the sort of classic that the new owner could take anywhere with their head held high. Prices of $30,000 or more are not uncommon for spotless examples, so I think that the BIN price on this one looks extremely competitive. The owner encourages interested potential buyers to come and inspect the vehicle. Is that an invitation that you are likely to accept?


  1. Avatar photo Rex Kahrs Member

    Loves me some Tropic Mist! Teal Mist too!

    Like 14
  2. Avatar photo FordGuy1972 Member

    What a good lookin’ car! Love the color and the whitewalls on those wheels looks sharp. This looks like a car that’s been lovingly cared for these past six decades. Even though it’s had some touch-up paint work, I’d still consider this a true survivor. It should bring a good price, it’s a beauty and they’re only original once!

    Like 15
  3. Avatar photo Howard A Member

    There’s no questioning, GM made some of the most beautiful cars of the early 60’s. How did we ever lose our way?

    Like 26
    • Avatar photo local_sheriff

      Extremely good point. There are reasons I stick to 60s GM fullsizers – and have never owned any GM vehicle newer than ’78…

      Like 10
      • Avatar photo markp

        You are my hero

        Like 5
      • Avatar photo local_sheriff

        Turns out I was abit fast on the trigger here – I forgot that my very first car was an ’82 Opel, which was then a GM brand.

        However I still stand behind my previous claim that after the RV (squarebody) was phased out after ’91, GM has not made ANY SINGLE vehicle I’ve ever felt any urge to own – that is quite painful for a decades long GM enthusiast…!

        Like 2
    • Avatar photo Bob

      We lost our way because younger Americans wanted the dreaded European look. And now we are stuck with it.

      Like 4
      • Avatar photo DON

        And the car companies didn’t have to worry about aerodynamics and wind drag for better govt mandated mileage – they made some thing that looked like a rolling art form , something that , when it went by you you’d would know exactly what company made it !

        Like 8
      • Avatar photo local_sheriff

        Funny you should call it ‘the dreaded European look’ – some of the most beautiful and influential 60s US cars claimed to be Euro-inspired, like the Riviera, GP, Corvair and any of the pony cars with their long hood/ short rear deck European grand touring layout. I’ve never thought of neither of them to appear typically ‘European’ though…!

        Like 4
      • Avatar photo XKE

        We lost our way due to Government regulations, mostly “safety”…

        Like 2
      • Avatar photo Troy s

        Maybe. For me it’s the seventies, when a certain style or flare seemed to disappear in favor of big, rectangle stamped out looking stuff, compare a ’80 Olds 88 to this ’61 88 and there is night and day differences between them. It’s not even a fair fight.

        Like 5
      • Avatar photo Phlathead Phil

        I think we “Lost our Way” because of Ralph Nader.

        Like 0
      • Avatar photo KNJ

        Almost all cars look the same today! Have to wait until you see the name to know the car! Years ago, every car had a distinctive look and you knew immediately the manufacturer and model.

        Like 1
    • Avatar photo AnalogMan

      GM lost its way when Roger Smith became the CEO and let accountants and ‘product specialists’ run the company. If your goal is to maximize short-term profits at all costs, you end up with GM today. A mere shadow of its former self. Smith’s great ideas included so much parts sharing that every car across their divisions ended up looking the same but with different names on the back, and all some of the most poorly made excuses for cars to come out of the malaise era.

      Back in the 80’s, I remember reading an article in some business magazine, interviews with Roger Smith, and Soichiro Toyoda, Toyota’s President. The writer asked each of them, “Is your company in business to make money, or to make cars?”. Smith answered, ‘we’re in business to make money, as much as possible, any way we can’. Toyoda answered, ‘we’re in business to make the best cars we possibly can, and by doing so, we will succeed financially’. You only have to look at the market shares of each company over the past 50 years to see which approach works better in the long run.

      Accountants and committees don’t make a company great. They kill its soul and run it into the ground.

      Like 19
      • Avatar photo JoeBob396

        Analogman, I think you nailed it. In 1965 Chevrolet sold something like 1.25 million full size Chevys. In 2018, GM reported selling nearly 3 million vehicles total – all brands, all types. If company management is more interested in making stockholders happy rather than customers, customers will notice, and we see the 21st century GM.

        Like 6
      • Avatar photo AnalogMan

        For a funny but scary depiction of what happened with GM’s market share, check this out:


        Like 1
      • Avatar photo PRA4SNW

        AnalogMan: Cool chart! But sad.

        Like 1
      • Avatar photo ACZ

        I agree completely. When Tom Murphey and Pete Estes ran the show, things were pretty good. Along came Smith and do-nothing McDonald and everything went to hell. Bean counters held the controls and engineers were left out in the cold.

        Like 0
      • Avatar photo Bill Potts

        It’s the same with Ford and Chrysler. My last American car was a 1983 Ford Fairmount. Nice car,but the motor blew up at 120,000 miles. So back to Toyotas and now Hyundai.

        Like 1
      • Avatar photo Dan

        EXCELLENT points!!! I personally witnessed the bean counter mentality of GM and agree 100%. It’s a shame when any company puts profit as its mantra. We all know that the ultimate goal in business is to make a profit. The reason there are design engineers & marketing are to help them achieve those profits. I so very much wish that automakers of today would get out of the over inflated jelly bean design mentality and return to individual style and quality!

        Like 1
    • Avatar photo Mountainwoodie

      In so many things!

      Like 1
  4. Avatar photo Arby

    Interesting that while Olds had the drooping pointed fenders on the rear of their ’61s, Buick had the same treatment on the front of theirs.

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo doone

      Caddys had the downward slanted fins in the rear in 61and 62 also

      Like 4
      • Avatar photo Chuck Dickinson

        Called skegs.

        Like 2
  5. Avatar photo local_sheriff
    • Avatar photo Jcs

      Nice convertible. Astounding that there are 24 pics in the eBay ad plus an over 5 minute video — not a single shot with the top down. Unreal.

      The hardtop on offer here is gorgeous. Only missing A/C. I know, I know, but for me it is a prerequisite in GA.

      Like 4
    • Avatar photo PatrickM

      Price on your link Olds has risen to $28,000.00!! Great looking car. But, that kind of money is out of my range.

      Like 0
  6. Avatar photo Mark

    Nice car!. Fantastic color combo. Compared to a lot of other rides being posted here, Imo, $30k is well within reason for what is being displayed.

    Like 4
  7. Avatar photo 370zpp Member

    Beautiful lines. Some of GM’s best work here.

    Like 9
  8. Avatar photo Kenneth Carney

    Like the ’61 Buick, these cars just scream rocket ship! And the bubble
    top cars made you believe that the future was already here–even more than
    Virgil Exner’s designs did. Sure was great being a young motorhead back then too. You could tell one car from
    another just by looking at them. And
    those 1/25th scale friction drive models
    from AMT, you just couldn’t wait for the
    new model year to come! Those were the days weren’t they?…

    Like 4
  9. Avatar photo mainlymuscle

    Champagne doesn’t come much sweeter than a GM bubbly top in Turquoise !

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Johnny

      Well then, you must have never ridden in the back seat on a hot day. My uncle had a 61 Pontiac Catalina-light green bubble top. I rode in the back once and it was enough for me. It would burn your head up. These are and were really nice cars . Not like todays over priced throw aways they make now.

      Like 2
  10. Avatar photo Bob Mck

    My wish list includes a 61 Starfire convertible. Some day! I love the rear end.

    Like 1
  11. Avatar photo Terry R Melvin

    Who’s with me on this? Out of all the styling years, 1961 was the year GM hit it out of the park. These were all beautiful, while during the same year, Fords were ho-hum and some of the Chrysler products were weird, putting it nicely.

    Like 5
  12. Avatar photo Dewey Gill

    Wow! Had this exact car, same color. Bought it at an estate sale in 1975 a 40 dollar high bid. 29,000 original miles. Still have a couple of pictures. ‘Scenicoupe’ was the body style designation. The 394 with the 4 barrel at 330 horse performed respectfully as opposed to the 2 barrel. Unfortunately a freak engine fire sealed its fate when a broken fan belt knocked the glass fuel filter bowl off. Definitely fixable if it happened now, but in 1976 it wasn’t worth the effort

    Like 2
  13. Avatar photo Dewey Gill

    And it had clear plastic seat covers!

    Like 1
  14. Avatar photo Phlathead Phil

    Well, as I see it…a very nice car.

    However, seems many missed a few items. The engine and compartment has rust in many locations. Wiring, if original, is old. Copper breaks down over the years. Running gear?… unknown if reliable.

    Would not pay BIN price. Nothing left on the table for the next guy.

    It’s just a “Stable Mate” for another don’t go outta town car.

    Would never pay over 2.5 large without a physical on site inspection on ANY Vehicle, dead or alive.

    Your turn…

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo AnalogMan

      That’s the very best advice Phil – don’t ever buy a car without seeing it in person. Especially these days. There is *always* a HUGE difference between what you see in on-line photos, and the real thing. Everything looks good on the internet. In person, the reality can be *very* different. I can’t even count all the cars I’ve lusted after that looked absolutely perfect in on-line photos, and then in person, had gallons of bondo covering up improperly repaired rust.

      This car looks gorgeous, but it’s always buyer beware.

      Like 2
  15. Avatar photo Brian Weyeneth

    O L D S M O B I L E

    This screams enjoy the ride!

    Like 0

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