Greg's List: 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88
By Greg Warner
Last week we were informed of the dictionary's (and of course Wikipedia's) definition of what a "Muscle Car" is, so this week we will attempt to discover where the term, "Muscle Car", actually originated from! Now, let me tell you, as I started looking into this seemingly simple task, I soon realized this "moniker" seems to be a huge bone of contention within the industry and is a serious enough topic, that could incite a WAR (or would that be a "Police Action") or at the very least, generate one of the most EPIC discussionary (yes, that is evidently a "word", which is used in the blogging world! I "Googled" it!) battles in automotive history! Just check out this blog I ran across, early on in my search, for the origination of the term "Muscle Car".
Well, you can imagine after reading through all that and then trying to verify all the points/arguments made, I was totally exhausted! Now I was born in 1957 and have been a gear-head and car, motorcycle (and actually, anything even slightly mechanical) freak since I was a baby (so my parents had always told me, even as far back as I was too young to remember, I was tearing things apart, just to see what made em work)! Now, I remember the term "Muscle Car" being used, in at least the late 60's and early 70's by guys my Dad would talk to about cars, dirt-track and street racing, which he and his buddies enjoyed very much. But according to all the seasoned veterans from the above "blog", they say it started in/around 1949 with Oldsmobile and Cadillac installing big-displacement (at the time), overhead-valve, high-compression V8 engines in their "lighter-bodied?" vehicles. And here I thought all cars were big and heavy back then!
So, with that in mind, for this week's story, I chose a beautiful, modified and hot-rodded, 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket "88" "Muscle Car" which is offered by Streetside Classic Cars of Charlotte, NC! Here's what they have to say about this awesome, quick, 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket "88" 2-door, fastback:
"1949 Oldsmobile 88s have that classic look and styling. This 88 has been mildly upgraded with a 1969 Toronado 455ci V8 mated to a 700R4 automatic transmission. The blue with white cove color combination and chrome hub caps give this Olds an absolutely breath taking look. Inside the matching blue and white interior are 4 auxiliary gauges oil psi, volts, water temp and tachometer. Body modifications are 1955 Packard chrome on the doors, 1950 Buick spears on the doors, 1950 Olds one piece windshield and Rocket 88 tail lights. Making this 88 easy to drive are power brakes and power steering. The front clip is out of a late model Camaro and a posi rear end. Coker wide whites roll this Olds down the road in style."
Incidentally, the "88" model was added to the Oldsmobile line-up in 1949 and continued through, as an Oldsmobile model, until 1999! That's over a 50 year, un-interrupted run for the same model name! The "Rocket" logo would be introduced on the trunklid of the 1950 models and was used throughout the rest of the series' run. Not bad for one of the cars that is tagged as being the start of the "Muscle Car" era. A topic that is to be debated much further, I am sure!
Quiz-O-Da-Week: What compact, iconic vehicle first arrived in the USA, from Germany, in 1949?
Answer: the Volkswagen Beetle (a pair of em' to start with) Take care, drive safe, but always have fun and thanks again for reading!
See all Oldsmobile Rocket 88's for sale on ClassicCars.com.
See all Greg's List Pick's of the Week