Gorgeous and rare Olds 98 convertible. Power windows, power
seat, power top. Beautiful paint and interior, extremely clean
undercarriage. Runs and drives extremely well with lots of
horsepower on tap.
This 1961 Oldsmobile 98 convertible is one of those awesome cars that maybe you never imagined you’d want, but once you see it, it’s easy to fall in love. Hailing from a warm, dry climate, it’s a very clean car that has been restored as needed over the course of its lifetime but apparently never fully disassembled and refinished all at once. The long, straight flanks are covered in Cordovan Metallic paint, which isn’t quite burgundy and isn’t quite brick red, and the metallic mixed into it gives it a fantastic glow in the sunlight. The lights in our studio just don’t do it justice, I’m afraid. The sheetmetal is very straight, the paint is well done, and all the original trim (none of which is reproduced, by the way) remains in excellent condition. Doors open and close easily, especially for a convertible, and the long, straight piece of stainless running down the side doesn’t allow for sloppy panel alignment. Some of the stainless is original, so there are some dings and the insert on the rear panel shows some very light pitting, but these are minor demerits on a pretty darned nice car.
The interior is GM’s familiar two-tone red leather, which in Pontiac circles was referred to as “Morrokide.” Here, it’s simply red but the look is no less dramatic. The deep-dish two-spoke steering wheel is pure Rocket future-look, with a pointer that indicates straight ahead inside the horn button. The ribbon-style speedometer is up top with three pods for the secondary functions directly underneath: generator and oil lights, a clock, and the fuel gauge. It’s all in good condition, with the steering wheel showing a few cracks in the usual locations, but things like the dash top, door panels, and the painted dash are in excellent shape. Sadly, the cool speedometer doesn’t work but the odometer does, suggesting that the problem is in the head unit, not somewhere else. And, as is typical with old cars, the clock and radio are no longer functional, either. On the upside, however, the power windows zip up and down without issues and there’s a brand new white power convertible top overhead that disappears under a matching burgundy boot for a clean look. And as a large luxury car, you’d rightfully expect a giant trunk, which is still wearing what we believe to be its original mats.
By 1961, the Olds “Sky Rocket” V8 had grown to 394 cubic inches and a very impressive 325 horsepower. The stout V8 is dressed in red engine enamel with chrome valve covers and the stock air cleaner, all of which give it a correct look. You’ll note it is equipped with both power steering and power brakes, which are probably mandatory on a luxury car this size, and the original generator is still making electricity. This sucker always starts quickly and idles smoothly, kicking down to about 650 RPM after it’s warmed up a bit. It has no bad habits and pulls the big ragtop around with genuine enthusiasm—this car is not merely quick for its size, it’s downright fast!
That big V8 is backed by GM’s new Roto-Hydramatic 3-speed automatic transmission, which was less complex, less expensive, and easier to service than the old 4-speed unit. Shifts are crisp and in high gear, it’ll run from 10 MPH to 100 MPH without a hiccup, showcasing the flexibility of that powerful V8. The floors are completely solid and unmarked by rust or rot, the rockers are 100%, and there’s no evidence that this car has even been hit or bent. A recent dual exhaust system fits well and sounds great, giving it a healthy burble that’s never annoying and the front suspension tracks well with a luxury car ride. Power brakes are drums all around, but they’re effective as any other brakes of the era and the car remains a superlative highway cruiser that’s just effortless at speed. It’s sitting on original 14-inch wheels with Oldsmobile’s unique color-matched hubcaps as well as a brand new set of 215/75/14 whitewall radials.
Admit it, you love this car. We sure do! It’s a car we never expected to enjoy this much, but everyone who sees it in the showroom stops to take a second glance. It’s not perfect, but a little TLC on the weekend will take it up a notch, and in the meantime, you’ll have what’s arguably the best-driving luxury convertible of the era. Call today!
For more details and photos, please visit www.HarwoodMotors.com