Last week’s photograph showed the front corner of a two-toned 1950 Oldsmobile 88 Futuramic Club Coupe. The photo was made several years ago in California.
For a history of this particular automobile – which was owned by several celebrities – keep reading and our contestants will tell you all about it.
Chosen randomly from the many correct entries was the name of Curt Berg Jr., of North Augusta, who wrote:
“The easiest way to tell the ’49 and ’50 Oldesmobile 88 apart is the ’50 had one-piece windshield as seen in the photo. The taillights were also different.
“The car in the photo appears to be a 2-door sedan or ‘bubble coupe,’ making it an 88. There were no 98 two-door sedans or bubble coupes that I know of.
“The 88’s were usually the ones that were made sportier like this one with the headlight treatment – a DeLuxe 88 item, fog lights and driver-side spotlight.
“The 88’s and 98’s were factory equipped with overhead valve 303 cubic-inch V8’s. In ’49, an L-head six-cylinder was also offered as a 76 model.
“The Rocket V-8 engine was the high-performance engine of its day – a real contender on the NASCAR circuit.
“I owned a ’49 fastback 76 that I installed a 1960 394-cubic-inch (bored to 417 cubic inch) engine into. I also had a 1950 bubble coupe.”
Berg wins a gift from The Augusta Chronicle. Other readers identifying the make and year of the vehicle were:
AIKEN: Shirley Meredith
AUGUSTA: Lowell Fritsche said: “It’s a 1950 Olds Futuramic 88 rocket launcher. … It was the first muscle car that Olds came up with. It looks like it’s the hardtop, which would make it the Futuramic. and It was really a neat car.”
Also, Carolyn Ogles
CANTON, GA.: David Anderson wrote: “This could not only be your grandfather’s Oldsmobile, but it is also widely recognized as the grandfather of the legendary 1960s and early 1970s muscle cars. That’s right. This bulbous, top-heavy, roll a tire over at the slightest turn of the steering wheel behemoth, in its day, was the King of the Hill.
“Having debuted their brand-new 303-cubic-inch V-8 producing 135 horsepower a year earlier in the 1949 Olds 98, Olds decided to drop this motor in the lighter Olds 88 in 1950.
“Today, even the smallest Kia or Toyota have 0-60 times better than this Olds had when new, but back before anyone could ever conceive of the demise of the Motor City, this beast had many wannabes and few real challengers.
“A year earlier in 1949, a bone-stock 1949 Oldsmobile 88 was chosen as the Indy 500 Pace Car. As the years have gone by, fewer and fewer Pace Cars can make that claim.
“With 263 foot-pounds of torque at only 1800 rpm out of that measly 135 horsepower, acceleration was the kind to plant you in your seat and move out, not make a lot of tire-spinning show-and-no-go.
“The performance of this Olds is so legendary, it spawned the first of many ‘car tunes’ with Rocket 88.
“Although they were not the first to record it, the more popular version of this song was sung by Bill Haley and the Comets and is regarded as the first rock’n’roll song.”
CUMMING, GA.: Chris Rhodes wrote: “The vehicle is a 1950 Oldsmobile 88 … possibly a Rocket 88. The 1950-52 88s were very similar in overall shape, but the head lamp bezel shape gives this one away as a ’50 model.
“As I am sure many of your older readers will attest, the Rocket 88 was one of the greatest hot rods in its day ... particularly in the latter half of the 1950s. With its slippery fastback shape and plentiful (for the time) power, the 88 left many if its contemporaries in the dust.
“I have listened to old-school bench racers brag about their Rocket 88s and watched the gleam in their eyes as they recalled some of the two-lane conquests of their youthful, wild and crazy days.
“The 88 was, indeed, a true performance car in 1950. A basically showroom stock Rocket 88 actually won the 1950 Carrera Pan-American Mexico Road Race, besting cars from all over the globe. In fact, the winner’s average speed across the nearly 2,100 mile six-day race was … 88 miles per hour!”
EVANS: Larry Heath wrote: “This was one of the early performance cars from Detroit. It had a 303 cu in V-8 engine and was really a fast auto for this time period. Olds was actually a leading contender on the NASCAR circuit during the early 1950s (along with Hudson).
“Oldsmobile would continue with various performance offerings during the original muscle car era. Olds eventually returned to NASCAR in the 1970s with drivers such as Richard Petty utilizing the fastback body style of the Cutlass.”
Jerry Paul wrote: “I could tell at first look the car of week is an Oldsmobile; the year is another guess! My guess is a 1950 Olds 88 Futuramic.”
Also, Billy Thompson
GROVETOWN: Robert Martin
MARTINEZ: Joe Bert said: “Good choice! They didn’t call it ‘Rocket’ for nothing. It was a very powerful fast car on the road. Very nice.”
Christopher C. March Sr. wrote: “This week car is a 1950 Oldsmobile 88 Super Deluxe. This was the first generation. The engine was a straight six or the 303-cubic-inch (5.0 liter) V-8. The transmission was an automatic or a three-speed manual.”
Jim Muraski wrote: “This week’s car is a 1950 Oldsmobile futuramic 88 Club Coupe. This particular car is owned by Sharon Osbourne, wife of renowned heavy metal artist Ozzy Osbourne. She won this car in a raffle at a Danielle Steele charity event.”
Jeff Miller wrote: “A few years ago Oldsmobile had a commercial that stated: ‘This is not your father’s Oldsmobile!’ Well, that almost certainly would be true, unless of course you happen to be Jack or Kelly Osbourne. In that case, this car would be your father’s Oldsmobile – because this week’s car belonged to the Prince of Darkness himself. It’s Ozzy Osbourne’s 1950 Oldsmobile Futuramic 88 Club Coupe with a 135 horsepower 303 V-8.
“This Olds was up for sale at a winter of 2007 ‘garage sale’ the Osbournes held that raised $800,000 for charitable cancer research. At that time, this Olds did not sell.”
PERRY, FLA.: Larry Anderson said: “It could be a Holiday Coupe or a Futuramic. I really know the ’60s cars better. But my first car as a teenager was a 1953 Pontiac and then I went backwards to a 1952 Plymouth, so I know a little something about the early ’50s.”
WASHINGTON, GA.: Thomas Lee
Other readers were close with their identifications:
Ted Stringfied, of Aiken, said 1949 Oldsmobile 88.
Bob Hester, of Augusta: 1953 Oldsmobile.
Bob Baisden, of Augusta: 1953 Oldsmobile.
Bill Harding, of Evans: 1949 Oldsmobile.
Ted Shelton, of Evans: 1951 Olds 88.
Charles Johnson, of Harlem: 1953 Oldsmobile.
Glenn Widner, of Keysville, Ga.: 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88.
Larry Morgan, of Louisville, Ga.: 1951 Oldsmobile coupe.
George Bowen, no city listed: 1939 Rocket 88 Oldsmobile.
Robert Powell, no city listed: 1953 Olds.