was inconceivable that the Harley Earl/General Motors juggernaut could
be knocked off its pedestal, but that's exactly what Virgil Exner's
"Forward Look" did when it debuted for the 1957 model year. Every
Chrysler Corporation brand was lower and wider, with soaring fins and
solid engineering. Harley ditched GM's 1959 product line after a bit of
soul searching and dragged his team on an 11th-hour crash-course to
redefine GM's style leadership.
In spite of this, GM's styling in 1959 ended up having more significance than just to one-up the industry: it was the ray of hope for a market that had been decimated by a recession from the year before. Medium-priced makes like Oldsmobile were hit hardest, which resulted in the demise of DeSoto and Edsel a few years later. So when the 'Chromesmobile' was replaced by 'The Linear Look', for 1959 it was clear that Oldsmobile was back to form.
To exhibit revolutionary change, Oldsmobile started under the skin. Wheelbases barely changed, but the new "Guard-Beam" chassis was nine inches wider. The stylists then wrapped a body that was up to 10 inches longer. Height was reduced 1.5 inches, although it appeared sleeker. Quad headlights set inside a full-width mesh grille were a new styling direction. Ornaments atop each fender gradually led to swept-back fins capped by oval taillights – scalloped on Ninety-Eights. Optional two-toning accentuated the sweep of the fins since they were actually parallel to the beltline. Adding to the svelte new look were several new rooflines, most notably the 'Holiday SceniCoupe' two-door hardtop and the 'Holiday SportSedan' four-door hardtop, the latter featuring a flat-top roof with a lip hanging over the wrap-around backlight.
The famed Rocket V-8 continued Oldsmobile's evolution: the Dynamic 88 came standard with the 371, which offered 270 horsepower with a two-barrel carburetor, 300 with a four-pot. The Super 88 and Ninety-Eight came standard with a brand-new 394, which put out 315 horsepower with a four-barrel. The famed J-2 tri-carb option was no more.
All told, sales from Oldsmobile's 1959 model year were up almost 87,000 from the year before. One of 7,514 built, this Cardinal Red/Polaris White Ninety-Eight convertible once was a multiple award-winner and has now just emerged from a two-year restoration, better than ever. Everything has been redone including chrome, top, interior, and dashboard instruments. With complementary red, white and charcoal interior and loaded with options like power vent windows and antenna, she just could be the quintessential Olds cruiser from a decade that produced plenty.
The brightwork of the Olds '98 Convertible is unmistakable. This '59 showcases exceptional, very rare, and complete stainless trim throughout.
This Ninety-Eight Series rides on a 126.3 inch wheelbase and is equipped with the original 14-inch steel wheels & spinner hubcaps surrounded by B.F. Goodrich Whitewall Tires sized at 9.0-14.
The 98 Series featured an impressive list of standard features including an Electric Clock, power steering, power brakes, and a 'Jetaway' Hydra-matic automatic transmission. The Jetaway transmission was considered to be one of the smoothest transmissions availalable. The fluid utilizied in those days contained whale oil, and was a major contributor to the effortless shifts reported by owners. Red dye didn't start to appear in transmission fluid until the early 60's.
This special aluminum applique below the tail lights featured O L D S M O B I L E, prominent lettering for a prominent automobile. The Tri-Tone Leather Interior was an exclusive feature of these beautiful Oldsmobiles. This car is optioned with the power seat.
This example is also equipped with optional Power Windows, Oldsmobile Wonderbar Radio and Power Antenna. The instruments showcase working factory gauges, including the 'Safety Sentinel' Speedometer. From 0-35 mph the speedometer is green, from 36-65 it turns orange, and from 65 on, it's red, a very fun & original feature. Be sure to play our video clip at the beginning of the presentation to see the power amenities functioning, including the Safety Sentinel Speedometer.
In support of recent safety innovations in the late 50's, Oldsmobile's steering wheel featured this ' Safety Vee' design to protect the driver in the event of a collision. Equipped with factory power steering Oldsmobile coined "Roto-Matic" it drives great. The Power Steering system has been rebuilt. The front end features recent components and a professional alignment.
This Olds 98 is equipped with Power Brakes. These 'Air Scoop' Brakes consist of front & rear 11 inch drums. The brakes stop straight and true. All wheel cylinders have been rebuilt. The brake hoses have been replaced and brake shoes replaced.
The door panel's were an intricate and attractive design on Oldsmobile's Flagship 98. They featured an integrated reflector in the armrests as well as nylon/rayon carpeting inserts, all of this complimented with stainless and contrasting colored materials. In this case, black, white, and red to match the Tri-Color Red/White/Black Leather upholstery.
The 1959 Olds 98 Convertibles were lower & longer than their predecessors for a streamlined appearance. The fender skirts and lower rocker moldings only added to the low appearance. The 98 Series were approximately 7 inches longer than the previous model year.
The power top operates correct and is in very good condition, covered with a well-fitted convertible top boot when down. The doors, hood, and trunk open and close correctly.
E-Z Eye Safety Plate glass is in very good condition throughout. All of the power windows are working.
The engine firewall is exceptionally nice and detailed as are the inner fenderwells and core support. In front of the radiator, keen observers will note the optional bug screen.
The factory rated these engines at 315 horsepower @ 4600 rpm and 435 lbs-ft. of torque, impressive for the day and age. This car cruises down the highway with ease. The rear end is the highway friendly and heavy duty 2.87:1 factory gear ratio.
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