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Rocket Ship: 1955 Oldsmobile Series 88 Holiday Coupe

After featuring a 1952 Mercury and a 1957 Chevy, we felt the need for another great ’50s American classic. A few fans mentioned how much they loved some of the Oldsmobiles from the era and it just happened that we came across one. This 1955 Oldsmobile Series 88 Holiday hardtop is very original and still runs and drives. The seller had big dreams for this car, but other things have come up and they have decided to sell it. The car is located in Derby Kansas and can be found here on eBay, with an asking price of $5,800.

This car has plenty surface rust, but looks to be solid structurally. It should make for a great project, especially considering that it still runs and drives. Obviously it’s going to need work before it’s worthy of daily driving or long trips. The 88 was one of Oldsmobile’s best performing cars and possibly one of their best looking cars. In ’55 Oldsmobile gave the 88 a facelift, with a new grill, new taillights, and new chrome work; they also introduced the Holiday hardtop and offered A/C as a factory option. This car is one of the few Holiday hardtops to receive A/C and still retains its original compressor.

This 88 is powered by Oldsmobile’s 324 cui Rocket V8, which produced about 185 hp in ’55. The seller claims the engine still runs great and that the 3 speed automatic transmission engages and works correctly. They recently rebuilt the starter and tested the A/C compressor, which they discovered isn’t seized up so it could be rebuilt and used. There weren’t many 88s that left the factory with the A/C option and there are even fewer which still retain their original components.

This car could make for an amazing daily driver, especially if the A/C system was returned to working condition. It’s definitely going to need some work and money invested to make it safe, but we think it would be worth it. We would be sure to inspect the underside and floors for any serious rust that might be hiding before we shell out any cash. We would also be sure to check that all the original A/C components still really are with the car, as these parts impact the value of the car and the cost of restoration. Hopefully the seller is willing to accept an offer that’s lower than their BIN, which could make this car a bargain project.


  1. Justin in Indy

    Sexy. Needs work, but I’d much rather see one of these than another 57 bel air. Interesting trim split at the rear would allow for quite a unique two tone job along the bottom of the doors/fender/quarter and maybe roof, , with a second color on the hood and fender/door tops. Maybe a gunmetal/coral combo.

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  2. Zander

    Love the fronts of those…..reminds me of an old airplane.

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  3. J. Pickett

    I love this car, I drove one in my high school after school job in 64/65. A lot of fun to drive but it didn’t have p/s. It did have glass packs. White over Maroon. Also to the best of my memory all the GM cars we had in the shop except 2 stick Chevys and one Buick, including 4 57/58 Oldsmobiles, and one 57 Cad, had 4 speed Hydromatics. I know my own 58 olds had one. The 3 speed didn’t show up on b bodies till 60’s.

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  4. D. Gilbert

    Wonderful iconic American 50s car styling in these 88s and a 2drht to boot. Big WOW for me with this thing was the factory AC. Remember, this was back in the days when A/C in mass-production cars was new, maybe 2 percent of production tops got it. Didn’t help that the line-item A/ C option all by itself in the mid-to-late 50s could approach 25 percent of the total cost of the car, yikes! Fantastic potential here, especially if one had the mind to make this into a show-worthy OEM-correct car with functional A/C at a rare-options-get-points event!

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  5. Anonymous

    This was one of my dads favorite cars,the ’55/’57 one of the two was a Super 88…

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  6. S Buchholz

    One of my earliest memories was going to the wrecking yard with my dad to get the rocket and earth emblem for the trunk on the one we had. I don’t remember the two tone paint, but I do remember that the main body color was a light green. It would be great to have one of these in the driveway, but the price and location kill it for me … (I’m not saying it isn’t worth the price) …

    He traded it in for a ’63 Rambler Classic 550 … the family’s first new car … a car that was literally falling apart by 1968 …

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  7. Dan

    What could you use for refrigerant in an A/C that old?

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  8. e.j.

    Some lady went through a red light and hit right side. Wife and baby in front seat. This was before seat belts and car seats. No one hurt except Olds. She had no insurance. Frame was bent. Could have done bodily harm to that woman! My insurance totaled car. Wound up with a FIAT!!! Biggest car mistake of my life!

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    i see either dried cut grass or spider webs or some other dirt hanging below the a c compressor. if the engine was running, how come that debris was not blown away by the radiator fan ??? just asking bro.

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  10. Mike Lawson

    Where are the belts.No belts have run on those rusted pulleys for a long time.

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  11. thomas schweikert

    i think you guys are right it doesnt look like its run in years also i wanna say 4 speed hydro

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    • thomas schweikert

      a friend of mine had a 4 speed hydro behind an sbc in an ex drag car 57 chevy sedan delivery … a very fast car when the tranny didnt slip…love those hydros

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  12. Bob

    Gets my vote for one of the most beautiful cars of the day. I bought one that had been rolled and used the engine, tranny, and rear end, in a 34 Ford 1/2 ton. That engine and hydramatic was indestructible.
    Another colour that was perfect for the car was the orange and white two tone. It was a very popular combination in the day.
    I would buy it, if it wasn’t so far away. Think he would want a 78 turbo regal?

    Like 0

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