No Reserve Project: 1957 Olds Super 88 Holiday

For the person who is looking for a classic Oldsmobile that represents a blank canvas project, then this 1957 Super 88 2-Door Holiday Hardtop might be a really good option. It is an essentially solid car, and it is in a state where the next owner could choose to either restore it to its original specifications, or they might want to build something just a bit different. The Olds is located in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding is now sitting at $1,550 in what is a No Reserve auction.

The paint on the Olds is now pretty faded, but if you look around in a few of the more hidden spots, you can see traces of the original Ice Green paint in all of its glory. With the contrasting Allegheny Green accent between the chrome moldings running down the rear quarters of the car, it would have been an attractive looking car when it was new. The owner says that the frame is solid, but does acknowledge that there are some areas that will require rust repairs or patching. These include some areas in the floors, along with sections of the lower front fenders, rear quarter panels, and the rockers. All of the glass is present, although some of it will require replacement due to cracking. Thankfully, this fate hasn’t befallen the 3-piece rear glass, which is a feature that gives the 88 such a distinctive appearance. All of the chrome and trim is present, and the majority of it looks like it will respond positively to some hard work with a quality polish. However, there will be some pieces, such as the bumpers, that will require total restoration.

Peering into the engine bay reveals that moment where the next owner is going to have some hard decisions to make. The original 371ci V8 and the 4-speed Hydramatic transmission are both now long gone. The owner states that his original intention had been to slot in a later model fuel-injected V8, but this simply hasn’t happened. That’s really what makes this car a blank canvas, and I suspect that loyalties amongst our readers are going to be split fairly evenly between those who would consider following the current owner’s suggestion, and those that would prefer to return the Olds to its original specifications. If originality isn’t the key here, then a power-plant upgrade would potentially provide a welcome performance improvement to a car that, at 4,380lbs, is not what you would class as light. If the next owner is trying to maintain a level of originality, then sourcing and installing a J2-spec 371 would unleash 300hp, which would provide a useful performance boost while keeping things closer to stock.

The owner of the Oldsmobile acknowledges that while the interior is complete, it will require a complete restoration. In its original combination of two-tone Green and White, it would have been a pretty stunning looking interior. There’s no doubt that it could be once again, and even though I haven’t had any success locating actual trim kits for the car, I have had absolutely no trouble finding a number of suppliers who stock reproduction correct upholstery materials. If kits can’t be located and the aim is to return the interior to its glorious original appearance, then this should able to be achieved by a reputable upholsterer using those materials.

There is no doubt that this 1957 Oldsmobile Super 88 is a car that could be restored, and if this was done properly, it would be a pretty attractive vehicle. The owner makes some claims about the potential value being somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000 once restored.  However, I think that he is being a bit on the optimistic side. If the car was meticulously restored to its original specifications, then a value of between $40,000 and $50,000 is definitely conceivable, but these haven’t reached the point where a six-figure value is a reality at this point in time. Still, if the final sale price remains low, then that would leave a bit of room to move on a financially viable restoration.


  1. Gaspumpchas

    Lots of work here, something later for a powerplant like a 394 would be very cool and look period. the chrome work would put you in the poor house, Lots of options open. Could be a bargain. Good luck to the new owner!

    Like 4
    • Rattlehead

      i was thinking 394 also but maybe throwing the j2 treatment at it

  2. jerry

    out side what it would cost to re chrome the rear bumper this would be the perfect home for a 455 olds engine or better still drop a 500 cadillac with the automatic transmission in there dual exhaust cure the rust problems and drive it!

    Like 4
  3. Bob C.

    Question of the day, can anyone guess where the gas cap is on this one?

    Like 1

      The gas cap is under the left tail in the chrome area. it swings out or maybe swings up and that is the opening for the gas “pipe.”

      Like 3
    • Johnny

      Yes ,below the drivers side tail light. If my memory is right–it lifts from the side toward the trunk . These were nice cars. I have one in the building. On slick roads. If you go around a corner or curve. You better slow down a good bit. The front end is heavy and want to go straight. Comfortable riding cars. If whatever you put in it.Get 100 % GASOLINE. This ETHANOL stuff will ruin and eat parts. Take a little ethanol and put it in a clear bottle and let it set for a couple of weeks. Then look at the thick stuff in the bottom. I would like owning this.

    • SumtingWong

      I know, I know

  4. Joe Machado

    Left chrome piece below tail lite. Flips out from top. Fill er up.
    When new, next door neighbor bought a pink 88, 2 dr ht. Had to date his daughter.
    Fav year of Olds for me

    Like 4
    • Bob C.

      Really? I always thought it flipped upwards from the bottom. Well, you were up close and personal with one, I wasn’t.

  5. JW454

    In the early seventies a friend had one just like this in very dark blue for his first car. We’d take it out on a lonely stretch of 4 lane at night. When he’d jamb the throttle to the floor it would set you back in the seat. That car was so surprisingly fast. I could be wrong but, I seem to remember it had a tri-power or maybe two 4 barrels.
    Fast it was but, stopping was another question as I recall.

    Like 2
    • Bob C.

      There was a J2 option with 3 two barrels.

      Like 2
      • local_sheriff

        Just that J2 name fascinates me, being more than average into rockets and spaceships during the 50s Olds couldn’t simply settle for ‘Six Pack’ or ‘Triple Deuces’ for such a setup.
        Makes me abit curious whether some nutty Olds engineer ever fiddled with plans for a true JATO system to improve acceleration off the line…?

  6. Del

    The gas cap is rusted closed probably

  7. TimM

    Soda blast it!!! Take it off the frame and build the ultimate restomod!! Nice LS motor and in this cars case I’d bag it!!! It would be dependable and would ride like you were sitting on a cloud!!!

  8. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Still you don’t see 1957’s that often in the two door configuration…..let’s make a custom !

    Like 2
  9. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    Go electric, ha ha ha.

    Looks like the rear springs are shot. To take on a project of this magnitude one must have deep pockets, plenty of patience and a good place to work and store parts.
    God bless America

    Like 2
  10. Jack Pruett Member

    Looking at this car reminds me of the famous ’55 Highway Patrol Buick driven by Broderick Crawford on TV. That Buick had a smaller engine and always looked like it was very heavy and had a lot of body lean in the scenes on TV. It seemed like it needed a heavier duty suspension than what it had.

    Like 2
  11. bobhess bobhess Member

    This one’s rough but but fixed up they are some of the best looking cars of the ’50s… just before the chrome explosion era.

    Like 1
  12. John H

    i like it, what i can afford and what my brain can dream up are two totally different things. If I could: 5.7 Hemi driveline from a late model dodge, upgrade brakes to all disk, bonneville rims, air bag suspension, total rewire, chrome will be silver powder coat, repaint original color. Drive it

  13. Rattlehead

    why not be original and put a small block chevy in it? a hemi in an olds? wouldnt do that to a buick though because buick has chewed up those Chrysler’s hemi turds for a while

  14. r s

    A powerplant upgrade?
    For me, most of the fun of driving an old beast like this is driving an actual 57 Oldsmobile, not a 57 Oldsmobile with a different drivetrain.

    Like 2

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