HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: 1949 Oldsmobile 88 California custom built back...

Pick of the Day: 1949 Oldsmobile 88 California custom built back in the day

The ‘mean green’ fastback coupe is a 1950s creation from the original hot rod era


Futuramic! If ever a word expressed the unbridled optimism of postwar America, it was the Oldsmobile brand for the styling design of its premium cars. 

The Pick of the Day, a 1949 Oldsmobile 88 fastback coupe, has the added verve of being “a surviving California custom built in 1959,” according to the St. Louis, Missouri, dealer advertising this unique ride on ClassicCars.com.

The ad calls the Oldsmobile a “Futurama,” and the dealer goes into exuberant detail about the unique qualities of this rock ‘n roll build created more than six-decades ago.

“This hot rod has it all!” the dealer crows. “It has the superb hot rod sound, stunning paint/interior combination, and classy looks to span decades! Oh, and magazine features spanning a couple decades!

“Under the hood of this mean green machine is a 324 Rocket V8 with ‘57 Oldsmobile J-2 heads and a 3/4 race camshaft. Fueling the top end is a Rochester 4-Jet 4-barrel carburetor. The engine breathes through custom headers and dual exit exhaust!


“The transmission is a 1937 Cadillac LaSalle 3-speed manual top loader – beloved by the first hot rodders for its durability and simplistic linkage install.”

While the car’s owner (the Oldsmobile is consigned to the dealer for sale) seems to know a lot about the car’s history, the name of the customizer is not revealed in the ad, and might have been lost to the rust of time.  Although, it might be noted in the printed articles about the car.

The Oldsmobile drives beautifully, the dealer adds, so much so that, “driving doesn’t feel appropriate – this is cruising bliss.”  The coupe also has its share of attention from publications, the dealer adds.

“Documentation exists to help validate this car is the car featured in Hot Rod June 1986, Rod and Custom February 1990, and Hot Rod Deluxe in May of 2010,” the ad says. “The seller also states he has documentation for the upholstery work from 1959 being done by Benne Stohr of Bilt-Rite Auto.”

The Oldsmobile’s green theme is carried over into the wildly striped custom interior that was pieced together so long ago, when tastes were maybe a bit different than they are today.

“The interior is stunningly stylistic with two-tone ivory-and-green upholstery,” the dealer says. “The seating position is comfortable, and the Moon gas pedal completes the look! The Radson Engineering Corporation tachometer helps date the custom build and works as designed.”

The asking price for this period-custom Oldsmobile is $49,000.

To view this vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


  1. That is the ugliest interior I have ever seen. It reminds me of a clown car from the inside. Way to much money for such a bad design… Even the outside green is horrid.


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