I bought my first car, a 1957 Oldsmobile Super 88 four-door sedan, from a neighbor for $15 in November 1967. He was going to junk the car because it was 10 years old, needed a freeze-out plug and a universal joint, and he had just purchased a 1961 Pontiac.
I fixed both things for $2.25 in parts. I also removed three sets of seat covers — two cloth and one clear plastic — and found the original upholstery was in mint condition.
I taught my girlfriend (now my wife) how to drive in this car.
We went everywhere in the car — drive-in movies, parties in New York City, the beaches on Long Island. We enjoyed our Olds.
Before I joined the Navy in 1969, I’d gotten her a ’63 Chevrolet Nova. She wanted to keep the Olds, but it needed new exhaust, tires, a starter and maintenance that made it more expensive to keep than it was worth. We said goodbye to the Olds and I headed off to boot camp.
We were married while I was in the Navy, and she always reminded me that she still wanted the Olds. I retired in 2006, already had a classic car, a 1967 Cadillac, but my wife still wanted a ’57 Olds. So for Christmas 2008 we found one, an 88 four-door hardtop that we could afford.
But like getting a cool Christmas present but no batteries to run it, the car was delivered on a flatbed without its keys. Fortunately, they were overnighted. We had our ’57 Olds, but the universal joins went after a week and there were other things it needed — windshield, door glass, door panels, upholstery, and engine rebuilt and new paint.
I could do most of the work myself; I’d taken auto and body classes in adult ed and have two old Singer canvas and leather sewing machines. I also have an oversize 2-car garage with lifts.
We still have the ’67 Cadillac and a 1962 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 convertible but the ’57 is our favorite. We call it our “Memories Car.”
— Bill Webb, Mastic NY
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