19th Oct, 2022 13:00

Imperial War Museum, Duxford

Lot 37

1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88

Sold for £18,281

(including buyers premium)

Lot details

Registration No: 72 RNM
Chassis No: 498K9918
MOT: Exempt

  • Still presented in its original shade of Garnet Maroon with Grey cloth interior
  • Benefits from genuine visor, as well as 12v conversion, high torque starter, front disc brakes and more
  • Features in the book ‘Oldsmobile 1948 – 1963’ by Brooklands

Introduced in 1949, the Oldsmobile 88 was joined in 1951 by the more luxurious B-body Super 88, which stayed in production until it was replaced by the Delta 88 in 1964. There were sheet metal and chrome changes every year: the '56 differed from earlier models in having a cleaned-up front bumper and grille arrangement, and all were two-tone. In 1954, a stronger X-frame had been introduced. The Rocket 324cu in/240bhp engine punched above its weight for the time, being one of the first Detroit V8s to adopt a short-stroke, high-compression configuration, pioneering pressed rockers on studs to eliminate the rocker shaft, losing weight and complexity. The Rocket 88 was the muscle car of its day and won the Grand National (Strictly Stock) in 1954; the '51 Ike Turner/Jackie Brenston song 'Rocket 88' further helped its popularity. Oldsmobile's advertising line for '56 ran "More and more young folks - are getting 'Olds' ideas", and Rocket artwork featured prominently.

This Kansas City built 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 fastback was first purchased by a Kansas potato farmer who used the car for 3 years before he died. From here, it rested in one of his barns for nearly 27 years until it was discovered and purchased by a member of the Oldsmobile Club of America. Unfortunately, the buyer decided he couldn’t look after the car sufficiently so elected to sell the car through a dealer. The car was then purchased by a Bob Taylor , who installed a genuine visor, 5 inch fog lamps, wind deflectors on the quarter lights, vent shades and a chrome fuel filler. Bob brought the car to the UK in 1980 and owned it until at least 1998.

Still presented in its original shade of Garnet Maroon with cloth interior, ’72 RNM’ is featured in the book ‘Oldsmobile 1948 – 1963’ by Brooklands. Purchased by its current owner from a collector in Leeds in 2018, this example benefits from a 12v conversion with high torque starter, front disc brakes and has recently benefited from 4 new Longstone tyres. Included with the vehicle is an original owner’s manual, hydramatic drive booklet, Whirlaway instruction leaflet, photocopy of the general and technical specifications data, photocopies of the pages the vehicle features in in the book ‘Oldsmobile 1948 – 1963’ by Brooklands, some photocopies of pages from a magazine on Oldsmobile parts manuals and the current V5C document. The vendor rates the condition of the bodywork, engine, paintwork, transmission and interior trim as ‘Very Good’, with the electrical equipment ‘Good’.

For more information, please contact:
Andreas Hicks


All successful bids must be paid in full by midday the day after the auction at the latest.

You can collect your new pride and joy from our venue until 1pm the day following the sale or our partners are on hand to help arrange safe transportation:


Auction: Imperial War Museum, Duxford, 19th Oct, 2022

An auction of classic & collector motorcars


Tuesday 18th October 2022 from 12pm to 6pm
Wednesday 19th October 2022 from 9am
Additional viewing for lots 200-254 on Thursday 20th October 2022 from 9am

To take part in the auction please click 'Register to Bid | Sign In' at the top of the page

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