These days, there are many smartphone-based apps that monitor driving behavior. Parents can set up alerts to let them know when a newly-licensed driver exceeds a certain speed, or electronically block vehicle performance above a certain rate. Some insurance companies have even started offering incentives to customers who authorize GPS tracking when it comes to acceleration, aggressive cornering, and braking.
But Oldsmobile was way ahead of the game in offering visual alerts about speed control, and that innovative technology is showcased in today’s spotlight vehicle.
Included in this Olds is a trademark “Safety-Spectrum Speedometer.” The ribbon-style bar that moves along the 120-mph speedometer increments is engineered to modify color according to speed: it is green from 0 to 35 mph, orange from 35-65 mph, and red at speeds above 65 mph.
The listing reads, “This ’59 Oldsmobile Scenic coupe spent the first 60 years of its life all with one family in Thompson, North Dakota. The frame and body are rust-free. I purchased the vehicle about a year ago and have invested more than $4,000 into it.”
This car comes from the fourth-generation of the 88 model which shared General Motors’ B-body platform with cars including the Buick LeSabre and the Pontiac Catalina. Oldsmobile called the design language “linear look.” The seller states, “The special features of this vehicle are the full amazing bubble-top glass which allows for maximum scenic viewing while you are cruising the countryside.”
Power comes from a 371cid Rocket V8 mated to a four-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. Recent mechanical work included replacement of the exhaust manifolds, muffler, power steering hose, air conditioning, dash lights, and heater core. The seller believes that the motor received a comprehensive overhaul sometime in the 1990s under prior ownership.
As for that special speedometer, it was more a novelty than anything else, but it’s interesting how even 63 years later, auto manufacturers continue using visual cues to convey speed-based feedback. A segment from Jay Leno’s Garage in 2013 illustrated the speedometer in action at 13 minutes in here.
“Must have a good size garage,” the listing concludes. “It’s a full-size vehicle. This is a special classic which gets plenty of thumbs up!”
The seller is asking $35,000 or best offer for this well-kept Olds, which looks like it would easily make a capable cruiser in the red speedometer zone.