Historic Custom: 1954 Oldsmobile 88 Add to wishlist

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Location: Castro Valley, CA

Year: 1954

Make: Oldsmobile

Model: 88

Color: Candy Green

VIN: V72580

Mileage: 85,000


NOTE: This car sold after hours for $30k.

In 1962, Bill Olivo became the second owner of this 1954 Oldsmobile 88. It had a green and white tuck-n-roll interior, but was otherwise stock… and Bill was having none of that. It took him some time and lots of run-ins with legends such as Joe Wilhelm, but by 1964 he had the full custom Olds he had always wanted.

He started by stripping the car down to its essentials and chroming just about anything that would fit into the tank – including the brake drums, fender wells, and all sorts of other odds and ends. The resulting bill was somewhere around $2500 in early 1960’s money – well over 25k today.

From there, it was time for paint and body. Joe Wilhelm and Louie Stojanovich were called up for duty and together, they applied what is thought to be the first ever metal flake paint job done in San Jose, CA. But this innovative paint job was only applied after a liberal shave, a nose job, a deck job, frenched headlights sporting 7″ Lucas lamps, and… of course… the addition of 1955 Olds 98 taillights.

To compliment, Bill had the interior redone featuring bucket seats and all black upholstery. This monotone look really sets off the incredibly rare RCA 45RPM record player as well as the Motorola Reverb – both still work fantastically. He never did get around to redoing the trunk upholstery and the green and white tuck-n-roll that was present throughout the car when he bought it, remains.

The final touch was in the engine bay. The 324-inch Olds motor was treated to as much chrome as the rest of the car. Each of the four Srombergs were chromed and they sat on polished U-Fab intake. Detail every where ya looked.

Of course, the car was no stranger to the Bay Area show scene. Bill won over 100 trophies including one for “Best Mild Hardtop” at the 1965 Oakland Roadster Show. Past the glory though, Bill was known to cruise the car almost every weekend and was a mainstay at John’s Drive-In located in San Jose, CA. Decade after decade, Bill and the Olds were inseparable. He just loved the car and his care came through by way of preservation. Everything from the paint (redone in 2015 with House of Color Organic Green Candy) to the mechanicals were looked after with love.

In 2019, Bill decided it was time for someone else to enjoy the Olds and sold it to our pal Marcus. Marcus then set out to freshen up the car a bit and get it ready for further cruising while maintaining compassion for the historical significance he was dealing with. He started with the motor. The U-fab intake was replaced with a more efficient 3×2 Edelbrock topped with Stromberg 94s. The original U-fab intake comes with the car. He then added a Pertronix Ignition as well as a brand new Powermaster PowerGen and a complete exhaust system. That buttoned up, he then replaced the original Hydramatic with a TCI TH-400 tranny using a custom built (Ross Racing) bell housing and flex plate. A transmission oil cooler was added to protect the investment.

Motivation wrapped, Marcus then moved on to other details. He replaced the cut springs up front with new lowered springs from Jamco – retaining the original lowering blacks out back. He then replaced all the shocks and added new wheels and tires – though the car does come with the rare Foresight Venture wheels that Bill installed in 1964. Finally, all the brakes were redone – including a complete rebuild of the original master-cylinder.

Questions From The Jalopy Journal:

What’s the worst aspect of the Olds?
”I really can’t think of anything. I fixed all the annoying mechanical issues.”

What’s the best aspect of the Olds?
”It’s a 1960’s show car survivor. What’s not to like?”

Thoughts From The Jalopy Journal:

Historically significant survivors are rare. Historically significant survivors that cost less than a Toyota Corolla are exceedingly rare. If this era is your focus and Oldsmobiles are your thing, this is your car. You won’t find a better looking or more original example in the country. I guarantee that.

Got Questions?

No sweat, click on the “discussion” tab to quench any curiosities. The owner will be available with answers…


Bidder Bid amount Bid time
oldsman60 $28,000.00 2023-07-18 00:03:23
oldsman60 $26,000.00 2023-07-18 00:02:03
oldsman60 $25,009.00 2023-07-17 23:58:45
countduckula $20,250.00 2023-07-17 23:34:30
oldsman60 $20,000.00 2023-07-17 19:52:33
countduckula $15,000.00 2023-07-16 14:41:10
oldsman60 $11,000.00 2023-07-16 03:47:30
spent1313 $10,750.00 2023-07-16 00:02:23
countduckula $10,333.00 2023-07-15 23:17:22
oldsman60 $10,003.00 2023-07-11 02:00:19
spent1313 $10,000.00 2023-07-03 18:14:50
Start auction $1.00 07/03/2023 10:14:17

Got something to discuss?

10 months 12 days ago

We were asked to provide pictures of both the u-fab intake and the Foresight Venture wheels that were on the car in the 1960’s. I have added them to the gallery. The wheels and intake are provided in the sale.

10 months 14 days ago

A user on the HAMB found a few more vintage images of the Olds from the ’66 GNRS and I added them to the gallery. If any more surface, I will be sure to add them as well…