If I were to order a new Oldsmobile in 1957, this would have been the one for me. I am not sure why it was ordered as it is equipped, but it didn’t make much of an impression on prospective buyers. It didn’t sell until last August of 1957. By then, the new year models would have been available. A farmer purchased it when new. Because it was cheap? Or because it was fast?
This car was purchased in August of 1957 by a farmer from Sussex, ND. He bought the car at Blesener Oldsmobile in Minot, ND. This information is recorded in the original Owner’s Manual that is still in the glovebox.
This has always been a North Dakota car. It is still on a North Dakota title. The man who sold it to me bought it from the original owner in 2003. He lived in Oakes, ND. Living in North Dakota was good for the car.
North Dakota did not utilize salt on the roads during the useful life of this car. In fact, many of the roads were not paved, so ice was not such a big issue. The unpaved roads are made of crushed limestone, which is very basic in chemical nature. The limestone actually helps neutralize harmful acids that would cause corrosion.
This car is in original condition. The paint has never been touched up. It displays many blemishes, yet still shines brightly. The lower power of both front fenders had some corrosion damage. I am certain it was initiated by plugged drain holes in the fenders. Eventually corrosion occurred and caused damage. We had this damage repaired at a restoration shop. Otherwise, you will see the paint is completely original. There are plenty of stone chips, especially behind the rear wheels. But there is no remaining corrosion. The battle scars on this car are not as important to me as the fact that is displays its original paint.
The car was undercoated. Likely when it was new. The undercoating is a very heavy layer of a tar-like substance. It is still covering most of the bottom of the car except where is has peeled away. As a result, the floors, floor supports, frame, inner rockers, fuel tank and suspension components are virtually rust-free and perfectly solid. It is not pretty to look at. You will see 64 years of grease, grime and ground limestone adhered to the underside of the car. The bottoms of the doors are perfect.
The odometer read 61191 when I purchased the car. The second owner assured me that this is actual mileage. I have no doubts. The condition of the interior tells me the story. The pedal pads are not badly worn. The upholstery is still in fantastic condition. And it is all original from the Lansing factory.
The interior is spectacular. The red and black upholstery looks like it is 4 years old, not 64. The white headliner shows no damage or sagging. The door panels are not warped or separated. The dash and interior chrome is in wonderful condition. The arm rests do show some wear from use, but the originality would not be violated by me. The rubber floor covering looks too nice to be original. Yet, I am not aware of available replacements. It is perfect!
The trunk is completely original. It has the original mat covering a perfectly solid floor. The glue from the mat has let loose to allow for inspection. The spare tire well has no rust. The original spare wheel and jacking equipment is present. The decal for the jacking instructions is still affixed to the deck lid.
The stainless trim and chrome on the car are certainly original. The only blemishes are on the rear bumper, where the chrome has lifted directly above the exhaust tips. There is a bit of rust there. The rest of the chrome and stainless trim is in excellent condition. The front bumper has a few dings, but the chrome is still in great condition.
Let’s go back to the way this car was ordered. It is the base model 88 in the two door sedan body style. This is the rarest of the all 1957 Oldsmobiles. And it is the lightest. This car has minimal trim and options. It lacks reading lights, a radio and carpeting. It also has no power steering or brakes. The transmission is the synchronized three speed manual. By 1957, almost all Oldsmobiles were equipped with power steering and brakes, a radio, carpeting and the Hydramatic transmission.
What this car does have that is notable is the J2 tri-power induction system on top of the 10:1 compression 371 Rocket V8. This engine was rated at 300HP. These cars were said to run the quarter mile in under 17 seconds. So we have the lightest Oldsmobile with the most powerful engine, stripped of options with only the J2 induction and full-sized wheel covers as options. Cheap and fast car. I wonder why it was built this way. Was there the intention of racing it? Maybe by the Dealer in 1957?
I made decision to set the 14 inch wheels, tires and wheel covers to the side. A set of 225/70/15 radials on black steel wheels with 1958 dog dish hubcaps were installed. The 1957 dog dish hubcap would not have worked on the 15 inch wheels. This is the way I believe the car should have looked. Very understated and stealthy. A true wolf in sheep’s clothing. A sleeper.
The original wheels and wheel covers will go with the car. A full set of Service Manuals is in the trunk. There are two sets of keys that actuate all of the locks. The original Owner’s Manual is in the glovebox.
This is a unique Oldsmobile in fantastic original condition. It is equipped just the way I would have ordered it in 1957.