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Bob Holden’s 1961 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88

Who Wants To “Make A Date with a Rocket 88?”


Story & Photos of OverDrive Hot Rod News Feature Model, Lexi Hansen on Location at Bill Dennison’s Hanger, Gillespie Field, El Cajon, California By Ed Zimmerly.

Some Historical Information From Wikipedia


     And so the story goes that Oldsmobile introduced the 88 in 1949. It combined the relatively small, light body with a powerful engine. Many considered this the precursor to the muscle cars of the sixties. It was also at this time that the staid and somewhat conservative Olds was taking the newly formed National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) by storm. It won six of the nine NASCAR late-model division races in 1949, 10 of 19 in 1950, 20 of 41 in 1952. The Oldsmobile “Make A Date With A Rocket 88” was one of the most popular marketing slogans in the states. It’s also considered the inspiration for the first fifties rock n roll record “Rocket 88”. Oldsmobile quickly adopted the “rocket” as its logo. The 88 remained in the line up well into the nineties. In 1961, all full sized Oldsmobiles were powered by the 394-cubic-inch Rocket V8 with the Dynamic 88 getting a two-barrel, 250 hp version that used regular gas, while the Super 88 was powered by a four-barrel "Ultra High Compression" 394 Skyrocket V8 rated at 325 hp. The Skyrocket engine was available as an extra-cost option on the Dynamic 88. A new three-speed "Roto" Hydra-matic transmission that was smaller and lighter than the previous four-speed unit was introduced as an option. Also in 1961, the Oldsmobile body design came to represent the after-effect of the 1958 recession. While wheelbases remained the same as in 1960, the overall length and width were reduced slightly – a trend seen throughout all of GM's brands. Body design was a trimmer, fuselage design. At the bottom of the rear quarters, a "skeg" - a downward fin - jutted outboard to counterbalance the rearward point of the quarter panel. Round tail- lights, one on each side, were set into the rear cove. In ‘61, GM retired the compound curve windshields that it introduced in 1954, and the much hated body dogleg necessitated by the shape of the windshield. Instead of adopting the cleaner straight angled "A" pillar, Harley Earl, (considered one of the all-time greatest automotive designers) who was nearing the end of his tenure at GM, pushed for a small curved switch back, used in 1961–62, at the outboard base of the windshield.

     Bob Holden, this month’s feature car owner, bought his ’61 Olds Dynamic 88 online out of Missouri. He then shipped it directly to Tampa, Florida for the Annual Oldsmar Days celebration. R.E. Olds (the brand’s namesake) also founded a town called Oldsmar. One weekend every year the town holds “Oldsmar Days” As Holden puts it…”Lots of celebrating, lots of Oldsmobiles and lots more celebrating. It’s an old fashioned kind of event. Folks sitting on their front lawns, watching the endless parade of Oldsmobiles cruise on by. Later on Holden’s 88 was shipped to his home in Virginia, then eventually here to San Diego. The history of this particular Olds is a little out of the ordinary. The internet giant Yahoo.com commissioned Randy Clark of Hot Rods & Custom Stuff in North County to build an exciting and unique corporate vehicle for marketing purposes. This Olds was featured at the 2004 SEMA confab in Vegas. Originally, very little body modification done to the near perfect 88. The drive train consists of a 394 cubic inch Olds engine and three speed automatic transmission that allows comfortable cruising at most any speed. Under hood detailing mixes chrome, paint and stainless fasteners to provide tasteful good looks. The suspension system has been lowered; steering has been upgraded with an AGR Billet Cruiser steering box. The charging system includes a 140 amp Powermaster alternator. Cooling is handled be a four row radiator and dual Spal fans. Rolling stock consists of Yokohama tires on Budnik wheels, sizes are: 21S/40ZR17 front and 24S/40ZR18 rear. Some chrome work and stainless polishing is offset by a stunning House of Kolor “Passion Purple” lower exterior. The icing on this cake is the period correct silver “mini-flake” roof treatment. The interior is basically stock looking. A center console was added to accommodate the Kenwood Touch Screen Audio I video control.  Haas Electronics of Culver City did the install. The state of the art system controls the DVD, Navigation system, Sirius Satellite Radio and 10 changer CD which is also iPod compatible. Finally, for all you gamers out there…this Olds 88 has a Play Station II with wireless remote controllers….and you thought texting while driving was distracting?