This 1949 Oldsmobile “Rocket 88” was photographed at the Good Guys Auto Show at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in 2010. The “Rocket” was a poplar Chevy brand.
“Oldsmobile introduced the 88 badge in 1949. It was named to complement the already-existing 76 and 98, and took the place of the straight-8 engined 78 in the model lineup,” according to Wikipedia. “The new car used the same new Futuramic B-body platform as the straight-6 engined 76, but paired it with the powerful new Rocket V8 engine. This combination of a relatively small light body and large, powerful engine made … the first muscle car.
“The Rocket 88 vaulted Oldsmobile from a somewhat staid, conservative car to a performer that became the one to beat on the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing circuits. It won six of the nine NASCAR late-model division races in 1949, 10 of 19 in 1950, 20 of 41 in 1952, and was eventually eclipsed by the low-slung, powerful Hudson Hornet, but it was still the first real King of NASCAR. This led to increased sales to the public. There was a pent up demand for new cars in the fast-expanding post-World War II economy, and the 88 appealed to many former military personnel who were young and had operated powerful military equipment.
“The 88 enjoyed a great success, inspiring a popular 1950s slogan, ‘Make a Date with a Rocket 88’, and also a song, ‘Rocket 88’, often considered the first rock and roll record. Starting with the trunk-lid emblem of the 1950 model, Oldsmobile would adopt the rocket as its logo, and the 88 name would remain in the Olds lineup until the late 1990s, almost until the end of Oldsmobile itself.
“The 1949 model was equipped with an ignition key and a starter push-button to engage the starter. Pushing the starter button would engage the starter, but if the ignition key was not inserted, unlocking the ignition, the car would not start. The car was equipped with an oil bath air cleaner. At the bottom edge of the front fender directly behind the front wheel was a badge that said ‘Futuramic’ which identified an Oldsmobile approach to simplified driving, and the presence of an automatic transmission.”
Keywords:1949 Oldsmobile, Glenn Franco Simmons, Palo Alto Concours d'Elegance, Rocket 88
© Glenn Thomas Franco Simmons