Garage Find: 1960 Oldsmobile 98 Convertible

It’s large, and at one time, in charge with its 126″ wheelbase and 4,600 lbs. of curb weight. And to add to its stature, it’s a convertible no less! Listed as a barn find, this 1960 Oldsmobile 98 leviathan is located in Latham, New York, and is available, here on eBay for a current bid of  $6,300.

The seller states that this is a great, 45K mile barn find but it really looks more like a garage find though the last registration sticker is from 1977 so it’s a “find” from someplace. The seller refers to this Olds as “rare” but research indicates that total 1960 Ninety-Eight convertible production was about 7,300 copies; not rare but hardly an everyday occurrence either.

The finish appears, at first, to be surprisingly good. It looks like Oldsmobile code “K” Fern Mist but it’s hard to know for sure without a glimpse of the trim tag. Whatever the case, it looks like 1960. There is some crazing in place, most notably, on top of the right side quarter but the finish still presents well and has a consistent shine to it. The seller mentions that there is a “little” rust in the lower quarters but it’s not really evident in any of the images. The body panels are straight and the considerable amount of stainless trim is still in place and not dented, tarnished or bent. The trunk pan is showing typical surface rust, but it doesn’t look invasive. Convertibles seem more inclined to have this disorder as water gets in around the top-to-rear valance seal, doesn’t get channeled away, especially if the channel/drains are clogged, and then ends up under the rubber trunk mat. The next thing you know, rust appears. And being aware of that, the floors, especially the rear floor and the under the back seat portion, should be closely checked. The seller states that the floor and frame are solid but eyeballing those areas would be worth the effort.

Of course, the elephant in the room is the top or lack thereof. It’s a sort of moon roof/convertible top all in one. I would hope that this Ninety-Eight has had some type of a cover over this gaping maw of an opening, during its years of solitude, but the seller doesn’t make reference other than to say, “needs convertible top”.

There are no images of the engine room, just this stilted picture of the opened hood. There is also no written reference to the engine or how this Olds runs and drives because other than claiming that the engine turns over, the seller has not tried to start it. Historical information indicates that there should be a 394 CI V8, good for 315 gross HP under the hood and driving through a Hydramatic, dual coupling or “Jetaway” automatic transmission.  (That pesky Pontiac keeps getting in the pictures!)

The interior is a reflection of the times, the same way that the exterior hue is. The interior is described in period brochures as being a, “senicoupe interior with jeweltone leather bolsters, nylon inserts and Moroccan accents. (available in) five delightful combinations to offer you a spectrum of color-keyed luxury”. I don’t know that it rates high in the “delight” category but it is a welcome respite from the monotone interiors of today. It is a bit worn and discolored in places and the carpet appears to be faded but overall it looks to be in relatively good shape. And convertible interiors to have a tendency to take it on the chin as a result of extended outings in top-down mode. Oldsmobiles of this generation had very impressive dashboard/instrument panels and this Ninety-Eight is no exception. The dash pad is cracked and decomposed and there is some surface rust on the glove box lid but the rest of the dash, other than the dropped out ignition switch (it’s hanging below by its harness), appears to be in good order.

The biggest unknown, in this case, is under the hood and that’s frequently the case with these, “I didn’t try to start it” sale candidates. This Olds would definitely make for a fun cruiser, assuming that you have a place to store something of this size. As stated earlier, it’s not exactly rare, but you’re unlikely to encounter another while you are motoring around in this one. There’s a little less than two days to go with the auction and it is still in reasonable territory, what do you think, worth taking a chance on it?

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Comments

  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    I like the car, but I don’t trust the seller.

    The seller’s ebay handle would indicate that he’s a classic car dealer. So it makes no sense that a classic car dealer would only include 16 photos of this car. It REALLY makes no sense that the seller would not include any photos of the engine bay and underside of the car. And it’s absurd that the seller wouldn’t do enough research to include specs on the engine, transmission, carburetor etc.

    And why on Earth wouldn’t the seller simply attempt to start the car? This could be safely accomplished in an afternoon with some competent car guys playing with it, and then the seller could say that the car actually RUNS. You’d think a running car would be worth more. Personally I couldn’t WAIT to try to get this car running. Oh, yes, and is it a power top? Does it work? It’s all just way too little information, and too few photos. I’d bet the bids are suspect.

    Like 26
    • Will Fox

      Power cvt. tops were standard for GM then. Switch should be near the right knee area of the dash by the ignition.

      Like 5
  2. wayne l butler

    How do you close the sun roof :)

    Like 7
  3. Weasel

    “Engine room”. That’s funny Jim.

    Like 2
  4. Kenneth Carney

    Great car when finished. The last time I
    saw one was 1980 when Clint Eastwood
    drove one in the movie “Bronco Billy.” The
    car he drove was a really nice dark red
    outside but I forget what color(s) the inside was. It’s sad, but I wouldn’t buy a
    car from this guy no matter how good it
    looked because their are just too many
    unknowns with regards to the rest of the
    car. I’ll say that the engine is indeed a 394 cube unit, but how is it configured?
    It could have a 2 or 4bbl. carb, dual carbs,
    or tri power. We’re just not given the right
    amount of info to make a decent decision
    on pulling the trigger on this car. It’ll be
    easy to get the engine to fire but I have my doubts about the tranny. Those 4
    speed Hydramatics were finacky when
    new and finding someone to rebuild it would be next to impossible today.
    You can get around this by using a later
    model T-400 gearbox. They’re bulletproof
    and will last a good long while. In short,
    I like it but not enough to risk my cash on it.

    Like 4
  5. local_sheriff

    This is a cool rocketship, not the best looking of its era but not the worst either. I find it to be a sweet color combo and it would probably be smashing once cleaned or refurbished.

    The paint on the horizontal surfaces seem to have a darker hue and be very uneven – the kind of result one could expect from a not-so-professional doing a partial respray. I agree on the above comments seller has done a lousy job presenting this Olds so bidding will suffer due to that sloppiness… Bad for him, potentially good for any prospective owner

    Like 4
  6. Pete Phillips

    I don’t recall ever seeing a padded dashboard on a 1960 Oldsmobile. That is probably a rare option. Padded dashes weren’t required until 1967, I think.

    Like 2
    • Duaney Member

      Pete, 95% of 60 Olds had the padded dash. Only the “stripper” Dynamic 88’s came without it, but even most Dynamics had the pad. I own over 20 1960’s and have seen or had many others.

  7. Vince H

    I don’t like the color but that could be changed. Too many unknowns on this car.

    Like 2
  8. Dave

    Absolutely unbelievable that this sellers says “I didn’t try to start it” !! It takes 10 seconds to get in and turn the key. Amazing how some of these sellers assume that potential buyers are idiots.

    Like 4
  9. Russell Ashley

    I like that car. It needs some love now but would be a beauty if it were restored back to original exactly as delivered. I love that upholstery, too bad vehicles now have such bland interiors.

  10. Bob Mck Member

    I font remember ever seeing one of these. I wonder how the seller knows it turns over if he didn’t try to start it. Buyer beware unless you can personally check it out.

    Like 2
  11. RNR

    One thing is for certain: this thing DID NOT spend much time on the roads around Albany NY between ’60 and its last NYS inspection in ’77.

    Like 5
  12. Philip Hall

    My parents owned a 60 Olds convertible in late 60’s, dark red with a white interior. I once to borrowed it for a double date to the drive in theater. It got chilly, but rather than put the top up, all 4 of us sat in the front seat with the heater on. Plenty of room. Good times.

    Like 1
    • Robert

      did this car have the classic “ribbon” speedometer that changed colors the faster you drove? I used to ride back from high school in my friend’s dad’s ’60 Olds convertible. what a great ride….it “floated” on the road.

      • Duaney Member

        yes

  13. Michael Selinger

    It’s a shame, cool old car and close by for me. But I share some of the concerns previously expressed. How could one not try to start it?

    Like 1
  14. Burger

    Top of the line 98 is going to carry some gear not seen on 90% of the rest of the fleet. 394, 4bbl with a hydramatic … standard, standard, standard. Big following for these, with lots of restoration support. Like any non-Ford or Chevy, it’s the trim and body bits that are the bugaboo … gotta hunt for that stuff.

    Color is awesomely period and NOT a stupidly flashy one that the chrome crowd all wants to go to. A nice subdued, conservative color on a top of the line luxury model. Get some proper 2.25 whitewalls under it and this is about perfect … if you like Oldsmobiles !

    Like 6
  15. Turbo

    I am surprised that Paolo has not weighed in on this one. He would love to take the family to a game in this land yacht.

  16. TimM

    Cool car for sure but as others are saying to little information to place a bid!! Can’t say that I like the color and it looks like a repaint to me!! It’s just hard for me to believe that the paint is that shinny when the convertible top is destroyed!! My 65 galaxie had the stitching coming apart when I bought it and the paint was good but this car has a lot more than stitching coming out!!!

  17. PatrickM

    Sold: $10,400.00.

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