Triple Deuce J2! 1958 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88

While the traditional concept of a muscle car may have started with the 1964 Pontiac GTO, Detroit had been toiling away on the concept for years before. Case in point is this multiple carbureted J2 equipped 1958 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 “Holiday Sedan” (which is really a hardtop). Call this Livermore, California domiciled cruiser a survivor! It is available, here on craigslist for $20,950. Thanks to Matt R for this wonderful find!

Longer, lower, wider and shinier were definitely in at GM for the ’58 model year. And a Dynamic 88, such as our subject car, was the bottom of the line model behind the Super 88 and the top drawer Ninety-Eight – sure doesn’t look like a bottom of the line model, does it? I don’t know who had the chrome trim concession in ’58, but they probably did very, very well.

The initial surprise for me is this Oldsmobile’s body style – I wasn’t expecting four doors with this hot-rod engine. Nevertheless, the four-door hardtop style with its open, breezy greenhouse leaves a very stylish signature from any angle. The seller provides, “original survivor car. Rust free original paint (some touch-up jobs) Some patina but she still shines. Has some chips and scratches but it’s 60 years old“. The finish, which looks like Marlin Blue, is a great choice for such a significant automobile, it takes some of the stodginess out of what traditionally was considered a buttoned-down, near-luxury sedan (hardtop). There are, in fact, some parking lot nicks/touch-up spots but it’s all minor in the scheme of things.

Nestled among all of that chrome trim is a 312 gross HP, 394 CI “J2” V8 engine, a two-year option (’57-’58) that only resulted, according to Hotcars.com, in 2,500 copies being produced. The seller states, “Optional J-2 engine runs very well! Great cruiser driver. Carbs rebuilt a few years ago and linkage changed to progressive; (the) engine has never been removed and has some minor leaks from age“. Two transmission choices were available with the J2 engine, a three-speed manual, or a four-speed Hydramatic automatic such as is found in this 82K mile example.

The interior images are in selected snippets as opposed to a panoramic view, but from what can be seen, the two-tone, blue and white vinyl shows quite well. The seller adds, “Interior is in excellent shape with some repair has been made to door panels and headliner“.

One oh-so-fifties feature is the removable “Trans-Portable” radio, a removable piece that can be played independently from its dashboard perch. Oldsmobile’s ’58 sales brochure proclaimed, “Old fashioned tubes are completely replaced by transistors making it light as a glove(?) and free from tube failure“. How quaint!

The seller sums up this Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 by stating, “Car was featured on “my classic car” with Dennis Gage for being such a great survivor car” – some star provenance is here! It is a great survivor and a reminder of how America, and GM, in particular, was at the forefront of automotive development, engineering and design. Those days are long gone, but a trip down memory lane with this beaut is a welcome treat, wouldn’t you agree?

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Comments

  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Anyway you look at it, beautiful ’67, god awful ’58 and on down to the beautiful “60. I’ll bet the GM Olds design shop was a crazy place to work during that period. Don’t have many ugly cars on my list but this one has always been the first. Now if I’d had that engine in my ’53 Studebaker coupe I’d been in hog heaven.

    Like 4
    • Seabecker

      Well, “to each his own,” as the saying goes. I think this is a beautiful piece of 1950s automotive styling and art work.

      Like 29
      • James Quinn

        I agree

        Like 8
  2. Harvey Member

    I love it,only thing I would change is the oil:-)

    Like 25
  3. Will Fox

    Correction: “IF” in fact the engine in this `58 Olds is an original “J-2”, it should be the 371 V8; the 394 didn’t appear until `59, and it was never offered with more than a single 4bbl.

    Like 15
  4. Dave

    In this era, multiple carburetors were the solution to the problem of passing trucks on two-lane highways like Route 66 and the like. These cars aren’t drag strip stars.

    Like 7
  5. wuzjeepnowsaab

    I love how these 58’s were such a departure from the tri 5 years and then the *very next year* they said ‘ah fk it…let’s just go big or go home’

    Like 12
  6. Bob Mck Member

    Wish it were closer.

    Like 2
  7. Lou Rugani

    It’s as though the front and rear halfs were styled by strangers who’d never collaborated. This must be one of the inspirations for National Lampoon’s “Bulgemobile”.
    I’d put musical notes on the rear-fender “staffs”.

    Like 6
  8. Vance

    Love GM’s styling on all of the big 58’s, it must have been a great time to be an automotive design Engineer. I love the extravagance of chrome, trim, and the sheer size of these cars. To say there cars are ugly, is a great disservice to them. I can only imagine going down the expressway at about 80 mph listening to 50’s tunes, with a big smile on my face, loving every minute of it.

    Like 5
    • HC

      What a beauty for a 4 door. The 4 door hardtops were cleverly designed to look like 2 doors. I had an older friend who restored a 56 Olds rocket 88 and can’t believe how much different it looks than this 58 does. Good find!

  9. Old

    Crushed a tri power in the mid 70’s like this. Wished I would have saved at least the air cleaner. Could have sold it to the new owner.

    Like 1
  10. MLM

    I would drive the wheels off this sweet machine. I wouldn’t mind one bit having this in my driveway. I could imagine this at a car show in a sea of Mustangs, Camaros, and Vettes.

    Like 4
  11. Steve

    Love the Transportable radio. My father-in-law had one without the car as we both worked at Delco Radio of GM in Kokomo, IN. We were first in electronics at the time. Beautiful Olds!

    Like 2
    • 370zpp 370zpp Member

      Curious, what powered that radio once it was out of the car?
      Like around a dozen D size batteries?

      Like 1
      • Steve

        They used 4 AA batteries, D cells would be almost as big as the radio.

  12. Howard A Member

    Sorry, I’m in the “IT’S HIDEOUS” camp. Most will agree, GM’s lineup in the late 50’s was nothing short of fantastic. How they could create such unappealing design, just shows, anything went. ( Imagine the styles they turned down) Same thing here, the only reason this car was saved, was because of the tripower, or maybe added later, they were extremely rare from the factory. Not many kept a ’58 Olds.
    Another “Howards Stories”. The farm in N.Wis. I lived on, I visited a lot as a younger man, and Ol’ “Uncle Bill”,( that was born on the farm and never married or left the farm until he died in his 90’s) had a purple ’58 Olds that sat behind a shed for years. It actually was a pretty nice car. I wondered why he would mothball such a nice car, but as was the practice, on the farm, you parked a vehicle with the hopes of “getting around to it”, and most never did. Fast forward to a couple years ago when I lived there, I asked the shmuck nephew, who was the last remaning family member, “what happened to Uncle Bills car”? He said, a few years prior, he had a “scrap drive”, and away went the Olds, along with a ’30ish Ford AA dump truck. I was pretty upset when I heard that. Very cool find, for sure. Still styling aside, simply fantastic cars.

    Like 2
  13. Larry D

    I have a friend who had a 1958 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 4-door in high school when so many others had Camaros, Mustangs, Chevelles, etc..

    So, he hates ‘58 Oldsmobiles to this day. 🤨

  14. Martinsane

    Gorgeous car. Wish someone made anything remotely as eye catching in modern times.

    I’d drive this beauty with pride and at the swap n shines I’d be the omg I love that car guy as people stepped around the ls swapped Camaro and sea of Mopars to lay eyes on something different.

    Like 2
  15. Barry Skog

    We had a 57 Olds Super 88 in pink and white. Super fast and super sharp. Now that was a car!

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