Dirt Floor Barn Find: 1961 Oldsmobile Super 88

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The 88 (also Eighty Eight) was Oldsmobile’s “bread ‘n butter” car between 1949 and the rest of the 20th Century. It was both an entry- and mid-level product leading up to top-of-the-line 98. The cars were redesigned in 1961 and looked sleeker than before (IMO) but were slightly smaller in exterior dimensions. This ’61 Super 88 may have been recently rescued from a barn where it had stayed for an undetermined period. The body and paint look good, but the interior needs work and it doesn’t currently run. Located in Grundy, Virginia, this car could have been someone’s “father’s Oldsmobile” and is available here on craigslist for $3,500. Another true barn find from T.J.!

The fifth generation of the 88 was produced between 1961 and 1964. An all-coil suspension replaced leaf springs in the rear so perhaps the cars rode better than before. Full-size Oldsmobiles were all powered by V8 engines with the Super 88 getting an upgrade over the Dynamic 88. Both engines displaced 394 cubic inches, but the Super had a 4-barrel carburetor and a higher compression ratio that resulted in 75 extra horsepower (325 vs. 250). That should be what’s in the seller’s car, not the “six-cylinder” noted in the listing.

GM retired the “dogleg” wraparound windshield in 1961 (people were always complaining about bumping their knees getting in and out anyway). A variety of body styles were offered, including the Holiday Sedan 4-door hardtop with its bigger rear pillars seen here. The seller’s car looks to be wearing nearer paint that’s clearly green as opposed to blue (again, the seller’s listing is off). But we can’t make out what shade this is as it looks like a bolder, non-factory version of what was offered at the time. When the car was repainted (again, an assumption), the bend in the rear bumper was overlooked.

At 80,000 miles, there is no history presented on how this Olds has spent the last 62 years. The interior has mostly run its course and the front upholstery will need redoing, and we’re not sure about the door panels and carpeting. The seller says it will need “under the hood” work but that doesn’t tell us a whole lot. How long has the car been sitting? Was it running when it was parked? You’ll have to operate off making assumptions with this purchase.

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  1. Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

    Lots of unknowns, but from the photos the car sure looks like it’s worth $3500.

    Like 19
  2. Maggy

    If the engine isn’t locked it’s worth it.Be fun to get it running again.Probably around 750- 1000 in parts including tires to get it all safe and dependable and gone thru.Interior is the big ticket item here.Car is priced about right for a more door.Cool body style.If it was closer I’d look at it.glwts.

    Like 8
  3. jrhmobile

    Truly depends on how long this Olds has been sitting over dirt. Even with a full-frame car like this, underbody and chassis rot will will have a lot of say over whether this becomes a road car or a parts car.

    Like 3
  4. Retrocartoon Ivan HMember

    I absolutely love this car! Gorgeous!

    Like 5
    • Barry L. Klotz

      I owned a 61 Super 88 in the late 60’s. It was a convertible with an Ultra High Compression 425 cu.in. and big 4 barrel. Run like a scared rabbit.

      Like 5
      • Marty Parker

        There was no 425 until 65. Had to be a replacement engine.

        Like 2
      • MLM

        These came with a 394.

        Like 1
  5. Marshall Belcher

    Was this funeral home cars used to take a family to the grave an back ??

    Like 2
  6. Steve

    After 3 days why has this beauty not sold? Is there something fishy going on? (sorry, I’m just a Doubting Thomas…I mean Doubting Steve.)

    Like 3
    • Poppy

      Grundy is a little off the beaten path!

      Like 0
  7. Dr Ron

    No extra charges for the triple mud dauber wasp nests!
    I’d love to buy it just to get it running again.

    Like 4
  8. Paul R

    Super nice car.
    That dirt floor looks like it is pretty dry dirt as the car is under cover.
    I don’t think dry dirt like that would affect the underside very much.

    Like 9
  9. C Force

    If the rust is at a minimum and the motor will turn,looks like it could be a really great build instead of a money pit.

    Like 6
  10. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

    Car was sold at Wallace Olds in Bristol, TN, I know the dealer because I had a ’59 Olds 98 convertible that Wallace sold new. Grundy would be about a 75 mile drive from Bristol.

    Like 6
  11. Alan Henry

    I hope this is salvageable, it deserves to be brought back. People around the corner from here had a baby blue Classic Ninety-Eight six window sedan or hardtop. I’ve loved these since they were new.

    Like 2
  12. CadmanlsMember

    As a youngster my family had one only was that fawn beige color. Must have been 1965. Dad bought a 20 Ft travel trailer and had the Reese style hitch welded up under the Olds and we pulled that trailer all over the place. Next year he bought a 66 Caprice wagon 396, 350 HP to pull it. Olds was traded in.

    Like 1
  13. Nathan

    I had the Holiday Edition of this car, same color and everything. I bought it for $650 30 years ago from the daughter of the original owner in good condition. The interior crumbled pretty quickly under the stress of daily use by a high schooler (backseat too lol). The biggest issue with these models is a poorly designed transmission that Olds stopped by ’63 I think. I read online recently about it and I guess there is a good replacement from another GM tranny. If anyone was looking to pick one of these up they’d want to research it.
    Once you coaxed it out of first it drove like a dream though, especially on the highway.

    Like 0
  14. Chris Cornetto

    I had a blue with Grey interior. Mine had fenderskirts, headlight eye and something that thru me a curve, economy power windows, which encompassed only the front doors. It developed engine issues and at the time 394s were tough to get pieces for. I sold it to an Olds guy and who knows if it survives today.

    Like 1

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