1961 Oldsmobile Super 88 Custom Two-door Hardtop
Chassis no. 615C02279
Something funny happened to Oldsmobile in the 1950s: After beginning the decade as the factory hot rod of choice for enthusiasts (and musicians alike witness Rocket 88), the Rocket Division of General Motors got sedate. Sure, Oldsmobile had "J-2" tri-carbs in '57-58, but the "Horsepower Race" of 1955 made performance a populist phenomenon as the small-block Chevy became the preferred way to go fast. Where did that leave Olds? Still a Top 5 seller, but with little distinction.
Come 1961, it was hard to believe that it had been only three years since Oldsmobile's "Chromesmobile" was the epitome of 1950s excess. Introduced on October 6, 1960, the new Oldsmobiles were simply gorgeous, with slab-sided sophistication that removed any hint of fins from the year before. They had style in spades thanks to a "Bubbletop" roofline for two-door hardtops, a reverse-waterfall grille, and a rear with a gently sloping trunk lid leading to a cove housing round taillights. The mid-year addition of the personal luxury Starfire convertible gave the public even more flair with standard bucket seats and a 330-horse 394. And in a reflection of new 1960s values, Oldsmobile introduced the compact F-85 with a unique aluminum V-8. Indeed, the Rocket Division was in as good of shape as ever.
Oldsmobiles from this era aren't usually subjected to the custom treatment, but it's evident the '61 is a natural. Inspired by Joe Bailon's mild custom from way back when, famed kustomizer John D'Agostino picked up this Super 88 and got to work. John Aiello from Sahagon's Custom Car Concepts rebuilt and detailed the stock chassis, molded/nosed/decked the body, and filled all body seams. Up front, he installed a 1960 Mercury grille with Lucas headlights; out back, he substituted frenched 1956 Olds taillights. Sahagon's Darrell Hollenbeck then sprayed the custom PPG Pagan Gold paint, leading the Super 88 to be christened "Golden Starfire." Inside, Sahagon's Craig Willits reupholstered the '63 Buick Riviera seats in white pearlescent Naugahyde. Along with a matching dashboard and steering wheel, the Olds is equipped with a beverage cooler and seven-inch TV. Today, the 68,000-mile former Rod & Custom cover car has had a whole slew of mechanical updates, such as a new water pump, timing chain, ball joints, control arm bushings, and more. With a refreshed 394 and Hydra-Matic, plus a new/vintage heating/AC unit, all that's needed is you to hop in and cruise down the Moonlight Drive.
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