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Entombed Since 2001: 1949 Oldsmobile Fastback

Imagine the excitement and anticipation that archaeologists experienced when opening King Tut’s tomb.  Car lovers kind of experience the same feelings, both good and bad.  Picture yourself charged with the task of clearing out a relative’s estate.  You open the garage door to find this 1949 Oldsmobile fastback coupe for sale on eBay in Newton, New Jersey.  Entombed for over 22 years, this Oldsmobile is advertised as a Model 66.  Could that be true?  Olds 66 production ended in 1948.  Do you know what this neat find by faithful reader T.J. is?  Is the Buy It Now price too high at $11,200?

The immediate postwar period in the United States was more of the same old cars for all but a few independent makers.  By 1949, completely new models began to appear in showrooms.  One of the most important was Oldsmobile’s new 88 line, more commonly known as the “Rocket 88.”  With a V-8 engine under the hood, better handling, and a modern, sleek body, the company could scarcely produce enough Oldsmobiles to meet demand.  It didn’t hurt any that the new 88 was a fierce competitor in early NASCAR competition.

The difference between the 1948 and 1949 models was huge.  Bodies on the previous versions were still made with prewar tooling.  Another major difference is that they were still powered by inline six-cylinder flathead engines for the smaller 60 series and inline eight-cylinder flathead engines for cars in the upper range.  The seller’s market after the war had cooled considerably by 1948.  Customers wanted something new, and Oldsmobile delivered.

The Oldsmobile you see here is advertised on eBay as a Model 66, but it is also listed as a 1949 model.  Online pictures of a 1949 Model 88 correspond to the pictures we see here.  Barn Finds readers are some of the most knowledgeable transportation experts in the world.  Please let us know in the comments exactly what model of Oldsmobile we are dealing with here.  I believe it is an 88.  Can anyone verify this?

Regardless, this has the potential to be a very good driver for a collector willing to sort it out and make some repairs.  The thick coating of genuine barn find dust prevents us from seeing the condition of the finish and any minor imperfections in the body.  A closer look reveals some bumps and bruises.  There are also a few dents in the trim and rust is starting to peek through the chrome on the bumpers.  There also appears to be rust in the trunk pan.

Another interesting aspect of this car is the powerplant.  The original engine has long since departed.  In its place is a 394 cubic inch Oldsmobile engine topped by a four-barrel Holley carburetor from a later car backed up by a Hydramatic transmission.  The seller tells us that the car does not run at this time.  Looking at the picture above reveals missing valve covers.  Why they were removed is not discussed.  Given the amount of dust, one can probably factor in the expense of pulling the engine and, at the very least, going through it to clean it up and address any hidden issues.

If the new owner can get the current engine purring again, this car should live up to its Rocket nickname.  The 394 V-8 was the largest interaction of the first-generation Oldsmobile V-8.  With up to 330 horsepower and 440 lb./ft. of torque, on tap, this car should fly.  Hopefully, someone will come along to get it back on the road.  It is an interesting car, even if its model number isn’t readily apparent.

Do you know what model of Oldsmobile this is?  If so, please let us know in the comments.


  1. Avatar photo Todd J. Member

    Not sure, but I think it is an 88 Series Club Sedan.

    Like 5
  2. Avatar photo Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Nice one, Jeff, and good find as always, T.J.!

    The VIN decodes to it being a Series 76, and I think Todd J. is right about the body style being a Club Sedan. I think it’s a Series 76 Club Sedan with a replacement V8, as the 76 only had six-cylinder engines in this era.

    Like 11
    • Avatar photo Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      If you run the VIN… (https://www.v8cars.hu/oldsvin/decode.php)
      I’m guessing that the seller just typed 66 by mistake, 76 is closer to 66 than 88 is.

      Like 6
    • Avatar photo Hank

      Club Sedan in Olds, Buick and Cadillac was called a Sedanet, And Chev’s called it Aerostream.

      Like 2
      • Avatar photo Yblocker

        Chevrolets were called Fleetline

        Like 0
  3. Avatar photo Bill McCoskey Member

    The 2-piece windshield was 1949 only. However it’s a bit harder to determine if it’s an 88 or 98. Based on the interior with a gray steering wheel, rubber floor mats, and flat seat surfaces, I’m going to say it’s an 88. Exterior on both is identical, just items like the fender skirts were standard on the 98, optional on the 88.

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo Bill McCoskey Member

      Actually I’m wrong, While it appears the series 66 was gone, there was still a 6 cylinder Olds in 1949, called the 76. The Vin indicates this car is a 76. It wasn’t until 1951 that all Olds cars had the V8.

      Like 2
  4. Avatar photo Yblocker

    Without researching, I would guess an 88, but maybe not, and I believe these were called Sedanettes

    Like 4
  5. Avatar photo bobhess Member

    Regardless of what model it is it’s twice as high price and pure dirt to look at does nothing to stir up excitement. Started off my serious hot rodding on Olds power trains and got close and personal with the old ’49 models. This could be a fun car if bought right. We’ll never know unless we get a look at the real car and not a pile of dirt.

    Like 8
  6. Avatar photo Ray Brackman

    Don’t know about the model, but I had a 1949 back in the 1960’s. It was a huge, smooth-running tank, with the stock 303 cu
    in. Ohv V-8. with big oil-bath air cleaner. Never a bit of trouble with it. It was built like Fort knox.

    Like 3
  7. Avatar photo Bob stucker

    Looks exactly like my 19949 olds 88 that I had in high school, i don’t believe i have ever seen a 49 with a 6 cylinder

    Like 1
  8. Avatar photo DJ

    The buy it now is too high. A fair price would be about half of that since the new owner will have to spend a lot of money to revive it and make it roadworthy. Still it’s got great potential

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo Bill McCoskey Member

      DJ, I agree. Hagerty price guide says a #3 FAIR condition is $10k, and that assumes it’s in running and driving condition.

      Like 2
    • Avatar photo Jon

      DJ you are absolutely correct on the fact that the price is too high. Probably a flipper that was able to purchase it at about $4500. and now wants to make a killing on it.

      Like 1
  9. Avatar photo Duaney

    Being in New Jersey a lot would depend on how musty the interior is and the rust from sitting in that damp climate

    Like 1
  10. Avatar photo Rick

    That carb really doesn’t look like a Holley. I’d guess it’s a Carter AFB or a Rochester 4GC.

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo william stephan

      4GC for sure!

      Like 5
      • Avatar photo Pete Phillips

        4GC makes it a later model carburetor and probably later model engine than 1949 or 1950.

        Like 0
    • Avatar photo Robert Stevens

      This car was born a 1949 Olds 76 with a 6 cylinder. It was production #7067 at the Linden, NJ plant. The carburetor appears to be a latter 50s/early 60s production Rochester 4bbl. carb.

      Like 0
  11. Avatar photo Joe Haska

    I am not sure ,but I would go with the comments on the VIN. I think it could be a very cool car and a fun project its all there, which is way over half the battle. My concern ,is with the rust its going to be a little more difficult than you (me) might think.

    Like 0
  12. Avatar photo T.W. Day

    As it sits a starting price of 4000.00 is even a bit high considering the motor change. If it were all original and cleaned up with minimal rust it could start at 6000.00.

    Like 1
  13. Avatar photo 64 Bonneville

    It is a 1949 Oldsmobile Model 76 Sedanette. It originally had a 6 cylinder motor, however somewhere along the line it was upgraded with the 398 V-8. The last V-8 before the 425 came out on the full sized Olds in 1965. I believe that the 394 was as far as they could go with the original 303 cubic inch block. The 400 cubic inch motor was a 4-4-2 ONLY motor. The 425 gaveway to the 455 about mid year 1968, I think, but I was out of the country at that time, compliments of my Uncle Sam. (you know, Senior Trip lol)

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo bobhess Member

      We used the 303 blocks with a .040 over bore to get 311 cubic inches and then put the ’55 or later heads on it to get sort of an Olds Hemi.

      Like 0
  14. Avatar photo Vince H

    The new body arrived in 1948 on the 98 only and shared it with Cadillac.

    Like 0

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