Rock’n Rocket 88: 1950 Oldsmobile Club Coupe

There are hotrods and resto-mods and then there are one-off unique customs like this custom 1950 Olds Rocket 88 Club Coupe. In my opinion, this awesome Olds is a very special combination of early, period correct hot rod performance in an understated iconic ’50s sleeper coupe. This Olds custom is fitted with an early experimental GM high compression OHV V8, a period dealer display hood with clear viewing windows and a floor-shifted 3-speed manual transmission with overdrive. This Olds is available here on eBay out of Portland, Oregon. Special thanks to Barn Finder Ikey H. for sending us this tip.

In 1992, NHRA champion Eddie Rezac refurbished and built this car to the specifications we see today. Rezac sourced one of a handful of late 1940’s 287CID GM V8 high compression test engines and mated it to a 1937 Cadillac LaSalle floor shifted 3-speed manual transmission with a Borg-Warner overdrive unit. Rezac also fitted a factory dealer display hood with clear viewing windows so we could all check out the unique power plant. The car was used to tour and show and it also appeared in the March 1994 issue of Rod & Custom magazine.

Here’s that unique experimental test engine – An historic example of post WWll engine development. This GM 287CID V8 research high compression test engine was developed in the later 1940’s as the platform for the first mass-production OHV V8 and debuted as the 303CID “Kettering V8” for Oldsmobile in 1949. About three dozen of these 287CID OHV engines were reportedly produced to be supplied to various oil companies for fuel studies. This particular motor is supposed to be the only example actually fitted to an automobile. Additional components include twin Carter carburetors sitting atop an Edmunds intake, a modified custom bat-wing air cleaner, and a super rare Delco-Remy experimental finned ignition coil. Also included is an extremely rare original GM Research Manual detailing all aspects of this engine.

The quality of this build seems to be quite evident and holding up well over the past 27 years. The interior fits the rest of the car really well as its very basic and classic but functional. There’s a vintage 7,000 RPM Sun “football” tachometer atop the dash in just the right place and the gear shift lever just looks like its wishing for us to work through the gears. If you can’t tell, I’m just impressed with this car as it seems like it would be a kick to drive and enjoy – It would certainly be unique at any car show or cars and coffee anywhere.

One of the only things of concern might be sourcing replacement parts for the experimental engine. Chances are there may be compatible parts from other early GM production motors, like those early “Kettering” V8’s – perhaps there are some readers out there who can elaborate and weigh in. This cool Olds is at around $35k reserve not met with 38 bidders at this writing with almost 4 days left on the eBay listing and well over 130 watchers. What do you all think the reserve is for this Olds custom and will it sell? Can you see yourself enjoying a drive in this ride? I sure can.

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Well, I don’t care for the clear hood pieces, kinda ruins the cool lines. I’d rather it be a mystery to whoevers doors you just blew off. Speaking of cool, this is as cool as it gets, especially for the early 50’s. You mean’t business showing up in one of these. I’ve never seen a floor shifted one, cooler yet. Say what you want, I’m still convinced this was the 1st factory hot rod, aka, the muscle car.

    21
    • Jerry Brentnell

      well I hate to tell you this but you are dead wrong! hudson hornets with twin H power would clean this cars clock all day long! and add the hudson super wasp with the flat head straight 8 to the mix too

      4
      • Vince

        The Hornet first appeared in 1951. The Olds 88 in 1949.

  2. Todd Priest

    This was on BaT last week.

    5
  3. Pat L Member

    This was bid up to $36,250 but did not meet the reserve.
    https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1950-oldsmobile-rocket-88-club-coupe-4/

    4
  4. 86_Vette_Convertible

    $45K and the reserve still has not been met. I also don’t care for the hood inserts as others noted though it looks like that was shown in the magazine article noted. I agree experimental or rare engines can result in major headaches when maintenance or parts are needed.

    My opinion.

    3
  5. Joe Mac

    Gorgeous car with a perfect stance. Wonder what it’ll take to get the hammer.

    4
  6. Morley Brown Brown Member

    This is the best car B/F has ever had, other than my 63 Lesabre dual quad 4 speed Buick. I would trad e any of the burnt rusted out Super Birds for this in a heart beat A true factory hotrod.

    9
  7. ACZ

    There was a used car dealer in suburban Chicago, back in the 60s, by the name of Louis Fillacetti (sp?) I think it may have been called Bright Motors. He had a few 49 through 54 Oldsmobiles. Those were never for sale. They were his personal toys. A coupe like this one, a black 4 door, a woody wagon and others. That’s all he drove. His favorite combination was, as I recall, a 371 short block, a different year set of heads and a 4 barrel manifold to fit. That pushing a 4 speed Hydro and through a Pontiac wagon rear end. Talk about sleepers! I imagine Louis is gone by now but I wonder what ever happened to those cars. They were sweet!

    7
  8. Mountainwoodie

    Too cool fer skool! My only complaint is the interior…I guess I’d have to live with it as built but still.would prefer all black……..

    So much more desirable to me than the run of the mill Camaro or Mustang…

    4
  9. chuck

    Lot of these ended up in oval short track racing. My neighbor, in the 60’s, went through many of these.

  10. Bob Member

    This is a true sleeper. When I looked at the pictures I did not notice the upgrades. This would be a blast to own an will probably blow the doors off the daily Grand Nationals listed here.

    4
  11. PatrickM

    Listing ended. 5:57 PM Eastern time.

    1
  12. stillrunners

    Nice….but couldn’t beat an old Plymouth at the first Nascar race. Hat’s off them Toyota’s – sweeping the big race today !

    1
  13. IkeyHeyman Member

    This Olds checks all the boxes. If you don’t like the display hood, then swap it out. This is art on wheels.

    5

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