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Survivor Or Restored? 1954 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight

And now, time for something different. Not a barn find, not a muscle car, not a rare high dollar foreign wreck, not a custom, and not something indescribable. Nope, just a car, an ordinary mid-century four-door sedan in the form of a 1954 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight. A survivor? Maybe, let’s take a look and decide. This Olds is located in Williamsport, Pennsylvania and is available, here on eBay for a starting bid of $16,000. Thanks to Larry D for this tip!

Oldsmobiles were offered in three flavors in ’54, the top-shelf Ninety-Eight, followed by the Super 88, and finally, the Eighty-Eight bringing up the rear. The biggest difference among the three was the wheelbase, the Ninety-Eight rode on a 126″ frame while both Eighty-Eights shared a shorter 122″ chassis. As for body styles, the Ninety-Eight was offered in a four-door sedan, a two-door hardtop, and a convertible.

There are no details in the listing for this Olds, not a particularly beneficial way to promote one’s car, so we’ll have to work from the images. OK, it looks great in its typical ’50’s two-tone presentation of Polar White and Juneau Gray, separated by extensive stainless trim. Both hues are deep and show no sign of fade or thinning. The extensive chrome work shines beautifully and is a perfect complement to the two-tone hue. Missing parts, rust, or crash damage? None noted.

Underneath the rocket motif hood ornament is a 185 HP, 324 CI “Rocket” V8 engine connected to a Hydramatic, automatic transmission. This Oldsmobiles mileage is claimed to be 70K miles but that engine is too clean for that much use, so I’m betting on a rebuild. And that Rochester carburetor looks as if it has been remanufactured. It would be great to know how it all works but mum’s the word.

There’s nothing on the interior, just an image of the speedo. And that’s unfortunate as the exterior is so superb that the assumption is that the interior would follow suit. Well maybe it does, and maybe it doesn’t, an inquiry would have to be made.

The trunk lid dealership emblem proclaims “Paul Brothers Washington, D.C.”, so digging around, I found this image of the dealership, snapped in 1968 and located at 5220 Wisconsin, Ave. NW. I’m no stranger to D.C. but I don’t recall this dealership or ever seeing a Paul Brothers badge when I resided in the general area. The current Google Earth, street-level image shows construction of some sort occurring at that location.

So, there’s a lot here to consider. An opening bid has not been tendered. Is the bar set too high? Or too high for a four-door sedan? Or too high considering the paucity (as in none) of particulars? Or maybe a combination of all three. This appears to be a fine old 67-year-old sedan that has no agenda, it’s unfortunate that it is not better represented. This Ninety-Eight will find a new home but the listing and/or starting price may need some alterations, wouldn’t you agree?


  1. Driveinstile Member

    I really like the Olds dealer photo from 68. Boy, that takes me back. The 98 looks like its in really nice condition.

    Like 5
  2. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    First car I bought in 67 after returning from overseas army tour was a 1955 Olds holiday 98 4 door hardtop. There was no pillar between side windows on those models. It was black and white. Great car, the seats were wide enough a person of 5’8″ could lie down fairly comfortable. My first wife who was only 4’11” spent some time reclined in those seats.
    God bless America

    Like 7
  3. Will Fox

    This `54 is beautiful, and yes–restored at least to the extent we can see. Growing up in the `60’s, a neighbor a block over had a two-tone blue `54 Ninety Eight sedan that had factory AC, with the air intakes at the ends of the rear quarters. The old lady drove it until almost 1970 as I recall, before she passed. Unfortunately, the car disappeared very soon after. it was always spotless as I recall. And never driven in winter.

    Like 4
  4. Bob C.

    At first glance, I thought this looked pretty similar to the 1954 Packard Clipper. Not under the hood though, Packard was still peddling their straight eights.

    Like 2
  5. Miguelito Loveless

    I would make this a low rider.

    Like 2
  6. Chunk

    That’s lovely. I’d add fuel injection and daily drive it here in Sunny California.

  7. Harvey Member

    Nice car,only thing I would add is gas.

    Like 13
  8. Vance

    Miguelito, enough cars have been ruined by making them a low rider. This car is too nice to mangle.

    Like 32
  9. Bill

    I live just outside of Williamsport PA all my life. Ten minute drive. I’ve never seen this car at any local shows. I just might have to check it out. But I don’t want it. Not my kinda boat.

    Like 2
    • JimmyinTEXAS

      If you do check it out post back a short report. Thanks in advance

      Like 2
  10. DON

    No details in the listing,, and there’s the obligatory photo of the car loaded on a trailer or ramp truck – looks like a flipper listing to me.

    Like 1
  11. NW Iowa Kevin

    I took the liberty of sending this site’s link to the seller and included a short message: “READ IT and learn from your mistakes.”
    On ANY site with items up for bid, remember to ask only one question at a time as more than one (for this there should be many), only ONE will partially be answered. Don’t expect the truth. The internet has ruined my faith in people to be honest at all times. All I have now is my own and my closest friends unwavering honesty.

    Like 2
    • NW Iowa Kevin

      No response yet and they probably won’t, mistaking my help for criticism. LOL, I probably don’t possess the Irish diplomacy that’s part of my heritage. You know, the ability to tell someone to go to hell that they look forward to the trip.

  12. CaCarDude

    Back in ’66 my HS senior year I drove a ’54 Olds 88 2dr hrdtop Baby Blue and my Father’s jewel at the time. This year Olds was a wonderful great driving car. I got my first speeding ticket in this doing a mere 75+ in a 25 mph zone, I know young and stupid at the time,… oh the good old days and fun we had back then. Not many of these around today, Thanks for the find and nice memories!

    Like 1
  13. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    I lived just outside the DC area and remember Paul Brothers Olds. They were on the right side of the street just one block inside the DC line [heading south from Maryland].

    One of the problems that long-time car dealerships dealt with was the need to move to the suburbs in the 1960s, so they could become physically larger and maintain “the look” that GM required. Additionally, Property values for larger plots of land in this type of location shot up because similar plots of land nearby were sprouting 12 story office buildings, condo, or apartment buildings, & the property became so valuable that yearly taxes could be more than the dealership made in profit.

    Paul Brothers had an additional problem in that because their franchise was for Washington DC only, and there were already multiple established Oldsmobile dealers in nearby Maryland, they couldn’t make the move to the suburbs. A nearby Pontiac dealership at Wisconsin Avenue and Van Ness Street had the same problem. So both companies closed and turned in their GM franchise.

    Like 2

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