Monday, June 27, 2011

1957 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight

The Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight was a full-size vehicle introduced in 1941 and continued in production until 1996 with only one brake during that time period while efforts were switched to production of military equipment during World War II. The 98 had been formerly known as the Series 90.
The 98 was the top of the line offering for Oldsmobile while its siblings had lower numbers such as the 76. In 1949 the Oldsmobile 98 received the Rockey V8 engine and was offered in a variety of bodystyles including coupe, town sedan, and convertible. The 303 cubic-inch engine was capable of producing around 135 horsepower and that number continued to climb as the years progressed.

In 1951 Oldsmobile saw its sales slow down considerable and it fell from sixth to seventh place in the American automotive industry. Though their vehicle offerings were attractive and their engines and other mechanical components were on par, or better, than other marques, Oldsmobile was feeling the squeeze of a tough economy and stiff competition. The 1951 Oldsmobile 98 was offered in four models that included a four-door holiday sedan and two versions of the two door coupe. The most popular and expensive style was the two-door, five passenger coupe.

In 1956 the 98 was moved to a new chassis, one that had been enlarged by 4 inches. By the early 1960's there were four bodystyles available including a two door, four door, and convertible. Nearly every luxury or optional item available was offered with the 98. Standard options included power steering, power brakes, six way power adjustable seats, power windows, Hydra-Matic automatic transmission, special wheel discs, dash clock, windshield washers, padded dash, and courtesy and map light.

By 1971 the Ninety-Eight's appearance had grown similar to the Oldsmobile 88. There were large tailfins in the rear that changed in size from year to year. In 1977 the 98 again received a design overhaul. It became smaller and lighter. In 1980 it received minor aesthetic modifications.
In 1985 the rear-wheel drive was no longer offered, in its place was a front-wheel drive construction. A 3.8 liter six-cylinder engine could now be found under the hood.

In 1991 the Ninety-Eight again was redesigned, this time becoming even shorter. It was discontinued in 1996.

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