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New Olds: 1961 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Holiday

Here is the second top-of-the-line 1960s hardtop coupe survivor we have featured this week. This time it’s a 1961 Oldsmobile Holiday hardtop in beautiful Garnet Mist red with only 44k miles on the clock. Apart from a touch-up on one fender and a new headliner, the car is claimed to be all original. Find it here on eBay in Stone Gap, Virginia.

The Garnet Mist red paint compliments this elegant hardtop perfectly and enhances the car’s appeal. These Holiday hardtop coupes were the top Oldsmobiles of the line and featured all-power accessories including steering, brakes, seats, windows, and trunk release. In addition, the original owner had air conditioning installed, which was just been serviced by the company that originally installed it back in the 60s.

In 1965 the car passed to the owner of the Hertz car rental agency in town, who drove his rental cars most of the time. The result was that this car did not accumulate many miles in his stewardship. That may also account for the excellent condition of the interior, including the presence of the original floor mats. The red exterior and interior seem to fit the Holiday model name perfectly.

The ’61 Oldsmobiles received an upsized engine that displaced 394 cubic inches driving through GM’s 4-speed Hydramatic transmission, giving them ample power for their large size. A wheelbase of 126 inches and the high aspect-ratio tires of the day assured a smooth ride. Some original paperwork comes with the car, which is described as having a bone-dry body that is “absolutely rust-free”.


  1. Gary

    4 speed automatic ? I thought these were 3 speed automatics, reverse all the way at the bottom of the shift pattern.

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    • thomas schweikert

      u never heard of the 4 speed hydro?
      early models were converter-less with some kind of electric clutch i believe extensively used in 50s chevy
      junior stockers

      Like 0
  2. Bill Holtzclaw

    These cars had the “Slim Jim” version of the Hydramatic transmission. First gear had dual pumps, low and high. When one transferred to the other it felt almost like a gear change, thus the 4 speed.

    Like 2
  3. Bob

    Yes, you’re right Gary, Olds, Buicks and Caddys of the day had 3 speed Hydramatics, with a PNDLR shift quadrant..

    Like 0
  4. ron coombs

    4 speed auto! These gm trannies were in poncho’s, cadillac’s, and olds. They were very smooth, and efficient trannies, but you had to have special tools , and know what you were doing to rebuild them correctly. otherwise they would slip horribly!

    Like 0
  5. J. Pickett

    Gorgeous car. I saw one on ebay, some nitwit had pulled the 394 and put in the damn chevy 350/350 combo. What a waste.

    Like 2
  6. Mark W

    Beautiful. Reminds me of a 61 ventura

    Like 1
  7. D garrison

    Pretty car, didn’t meet the reserve. Almost tempting enough to get rid of my 61 Pontiac Parisienne Safari wagon for !

    Like 1
  8. Bill Parker

    I have a 61 Old’s Ninety Eight Holiday and am in the process of selling now. Car was original to Ohio and now resides in Lithia Florida. She has 82K original miles and otherwise is sweet. This could be a daily driver and looks like she is new. Couple small details are she will need a new Generator and an adjustment to visor over driver seat. no funny biz under hood.

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  9. Bob C.

    The slim jim hydramatic was the 3 speed roto hydramatic. They only made them from 61 to 63. Not as reliable as the true 4 speed hy, which the s actually stood for super, meaning it would hold into 3rd gear for faster acceleration.

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  10. Duaney

    Oldsmobile always called it a four speed. First to second employed a variable fluid coupling or torque converter, and it changes ratios going from first to second. Then there would be a definite shift second to third, then third to fourth.

    Like 1
  11. Eddie

    GM changed the shift pattern to P R N D 2 L as of 1964.

    Like 0

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