Convertible Rocket: 1956 Olds Super 88

Brian BirknerBy Brian Birkner

An Oldsmobile Super 88 is a great looking car, and is definitely a favorite of mine, but a Super 88 convertible? Well, let’s just say my heart skipped a beat. Appearing as a solid candidate for restoration this Super 88 convertible is described as partially restored, and featuring a rebuilt drive-train and frame. Also there is a 4 door parts car along with many parts thrown in for the $20,000 asking price. Take a look at this cool convertible here on craigslist out of Wheat Ridge, Colorado.

The 324 cube Rocket V8 has supposedly been rebuilt, but as to when it is unknown. Dirt, dust, and perhaps even a little mold is present on the engine and in the bay. There are a couple of intake manifold bolts missing on the engine, and there is also a butt splice present on a wire that goes to nothing. To me, with my eyes, the engine does not appear rebuilt, as it has a weathered and original appearance. Don’t judge a book by its cover, but I would want to see detailed images and paperwork reflecting the work performed. The rebuilt engine has not been run since completed. The frame and suspension components are described as rebuilt, and I can agree that all of those components are relatively clean as if they were done in the past two decades. A new exhaust has been fitted and the welds are amateurish at best. My guess is that the seller or a previous owner was trying to restore the car cost effectively, and eventually ran out of steam, or cash.

There is little in the interior to be used, but the dash is in fair condition and the seat frames are present as well. Missing the door pulls, door panels, and interior hardware components, there is a chance the seller has some if not all of those parts. Still in place, the convertible frame appears solid, and even some of the polished/chrome items are in nice shape as well.

Appearing like a very reasonable starter project, there are a few dents, and minor surface rust present on this convertible. One thing I am absolutely not crazy about is when someone stacks metal parts onto the body of a classic car, much less one that is for sale at a stern price. There is a plethora of extra bumpers included with the sale, as well as the set currently placed on top of the car. One cool thing about this Olds is that it appears to have been someone’s “Hot Rod” back in the day at some point in time. Originally white over blue, someone spray painted over the blue with black, and added white walls, and red steelies. I would take this car anyway I could get it, but I do feel this one would be miraculous to see in its restored glory of white over blue. What would you do with this convertible?

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  1. Andre

    Maybe I’m out of touch with the FS GM market.. But $20k?(!)

  2. Fred W.

    Not sure what a concours restoration would cost, but this one, restored to that degree went for 170K at Barrett Jackson:

    I’m guessing average Joe restoration more like 50K. The asking price may not be that far off.

  3. Woodie Man

    Someone’s “hot rod project” translates to to me as a bastardized-on-the-cheap amateur resto. Red wheels and flat black? Was the guy wearing a ducktail and a dice tattoo on his skinny arm? Another car as built bent to the desires of bad taste. Imnsho

  4. Madmatt

    Fred w–That sure is a gorgeous car, not worth 170.000$ to me,
    75,000$ would be more like it,but this car here is a great start,as how many of these,are left,and in any better shape than this one?I love
    any tri five,that is not a Chevy !! just kidding…LOL

  5. Will

    I’ll always think of the Regular Car Reviews review of this car, so I could not own it. Here’s the ad archive and here’s the video I’m talking about

  6. Brian R

    I’d love to restore that car to it’s original glory. I already have 14 vehicles. 2 drivers, 2 complete and 10 projects.

  7. Vincent

    Nope. I can’t get past the catfish front-end. I can’t unsee it.

    Give me a rocket 88, early 70s two door convertible… long and rectagular. That’s a ride!

  8. blaine horne

    I would love to have a 55 or 56 olds conv. but I think this one is way over priced.

  9. ACZ

    My first car was a 1956 Olds. I paid $10 for it. It was worth what I paid.

  10. YooperMike

    My Pops bought one in Chicago during the summer of ’54. I went with him to pick the car up. It was a blue over white, Starfire, convertible. Rusted away in three years.

    • Tony Soprano

      ……..did he really buy a 56 in the summer of 54 ????? what are you smokin? can I have some ?

  11. Matt

    I agree, piling bumpers and metal parts on the car is not cool. But, what a great car !


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