19-20 January 2012
1957 Oldsmobile 98 Starfire Convertible
To be auctioned on Friday, January 20, 2012
Sold for $126,500
- Chassis no. 579M1 8085
• Recent award-winning restoration
• Powerful 371 “Rocket” V-8/Hydra-Matic powertrain
• Rare and desirable colors; leather interior faithfully restored as original
• Winner, Award for Timeless Elegance, 2010 Greenwich Concours
Following WWII, Oldsmobile went from strength to strength, giving the fast-growing and increasingly affluent middle classes sleeker, faster and better-equipped automobiles with many standard features that were extra-cost options with the competition. Oldsmobile also led the performance charge in 1949 with its all-new, overhead-valve “Rocket” V-8 engine. Modern and compact, it grew from 303 cubic inches and 135 bhp to 371 cubic inches and nearly 300 bhp by 1957.
Prior to the 1957 AMA racing ban, Oldsmobile’s five NASCAR victories with drivers Lee and Richard Petty solidified its growing reputation as GM’s engineering division and gave a performance image to its entire model range. Buyers responded enthusiastically, with Oldsmobile grabbing a strong fifth-place sales ranking on the showroom floor.
The current owner, a noted collector of American classics, admired the Starfire during his high-school days and recently was finally able to acquire this example for restoration. Rust-free and straight, it provided an excellent basis for the project. Chip Loree and Frank Suedese carried out the restoration to a high standard with virtually no expense spared, and unlike the vast majority of concours-level restorations, which all too often place cosmetics at a premium over mechanical soundness, all of this car’s mechanical components and systems were rebuilt, replaced or restored at a cost exceeding some $200,000 and confirmed by invoices that accompany the car. The car recently participated in a 250-mile drive, during which the Starfire is reported by the owner to have performed flawlessly.
Once complete, the Starfire’s high quality was confirmed during its only show appearance to date at the 2010 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, where it earned the Award for Timeless Elegance. Overall, the Starfire’s exterior is visually striking with its excellent Allegheny Green exterior finish, a handsome and originally available 1957 Oldsmobile color, complemented by a white convertible top, excellent brightwork, Oldsmobile’s tri-bar “spinner” hubcaps and whitewall tires. The excellent interior was restored to as-new standards featuring factory-correct tri-tone leather upholstery in white, light green and darker green, with the patterns provided by a complete set of original upholstery. The restoration’s authenticity even extended to the rear leaf springs, which were painstakingly replaced with factory-correct items produced by the original manufacturer. In addition, the engine bay is thoroughly detailed and factory-correct in presentation, complete with correct emblems, finishes, a period-style battery and a single four-barrel carburetor induction system, which provides hassle-free operation and ease of tuning. Power steering, power windows, power front seat, power top, clock and a factory AM radio round out the package.
Beautifully restored, presented and complete with restoration invoices, this Starfire was the subject of a recent Chronos magazine article. Combining the many attributes that helped Oldsmobile become one of the best-selling American marques of the 1950s, this is certainly one of the most desirable American convertibles of the era, particularly the banner 1957 model year.
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