Rare Tri-Power V8! 1957 Oldsmobile 88

The 1957 Oldsmobile’s were treated to a restyle over their 1956 counterparts. Yet, sales were down by 12% and below that of Buick as the U.S. economy entered a recession that carried into 1958. The 88, also called the Golden Rocket, was the entry-level car and found about the same number of buyers as the better-trimmed Super 88 (also Super Golden Rocket). Any of these automobiles could be ordered with a triple carburetor set-up (J-2) that only found 2,500 takers in 1957-58 combined. This appears to be one of those hot cars, which also found their way into NASCAR for a brief period. Located in Ferndale, Washington, this project comes with a ton of spare parts and is available here on eBay. However, no one has cast the opening bid of $8,000, much less skipped to the $15,000 Buy It Now option.

One of the most noticeable changes to the ’57 Oldsmobile’s was the split wraparound rear window on some body styles. That along with changes to the front and rear decks gave the cars a smaller look to the naked eye yet were bigger than before. The engineering department added 47 cubic inches to the displacement of the V8 engine, the only kind offered by Oldsmobile. At 371 cubes, output ranged from 277 to 300 hp when the “J-2 Rocket” with three two-barrel carburetors was ordered. The latter was considered a bargain as it added just $83 to the price tag.

The seller’s Holiday Coupe is one of about 49,000 built in 1957, regardless of the engine set-up. It also has the Jetaway Hydra-Matic transmission which was optional except on the top-end 98. The photos provided by the seller show the car in a variety of settings, so we’re not sure which one fits the current arrangement (outside, two garages, back of a trailer, etc.). We’re told the cowl tag suggests this car was one of the earliest examples built for that model year. While no mention is made of the “Six-Pack” motor or transmission being original, the seller says that they have been “gone through” but are just sitting in place waiting to be installed.

We’re told the car is complete and with all the extra parts photographed you’re likely to end up with two or three of some items. The body may be fine except for two areas where the seller has found minor rust: in the spare tire tub in the trunk and on the passenger side lower front fender. The interior needs work such as new carpeting and we wonder if the upholstery can be cleaned up rather than replaced. We’re also told the parts pins would support converting this car to a Super 88, but I don’t know what the real gain would be. The J-2 motor is the main selling point, I think. And don’t count on the “Cruzer” fender skirts coming how with you – they’re excluded from the deal.


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    This guy would have more room to work on his other car if he rolled the Olds out to take some decent pictures of it. One of the best years for Oldsmobile before the ugly stick era.

    Like 7
  2. Arfeeto

    One wonders how such attractive styling could transmogrify into something so garish and pretentious as the ’58 Olds.

    Like 5
  3. matt

    Agreed Arfeeto, the 57 was a pretty car.
    The 58 Olds and Buicks were excessively “chromey” and fat for that matter.
    But there were people who liked them – so it shows us once again that everyone has different style preferences.

    • Arfeeto

      Indeed, Matt.

      The ancient Romans had an expression, “De gustibus non disputandum est,” which loosely means, there’s no point in arguing about taste. After two millennia, the expression remains axiomatic. Human nature doesn’t change.

      Like 2
  4. Bigdaddy

    Love the ’57 Olds, but, wow….

    Like 1
  5. Mikey P

    BUY IT NOW is NOT an option anymore!

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