Oldsmobile 88

It is a little known fact that a car inspired "Rocket 88", one of the first rock and roll records. Rocket 88 was the popular nickname for Oldsmobile 88, which adopted the rocket as its logo.

The model followed the tradition of badges 76 and 98 in the Oldsmobile lineup, where it became one of the historical vehicles. As an interesting fact, rocket hood ornament option that cost another $5.

At the time, American automobile design competition was fierce and Oldsmobile wanted to beat Pontiac and Chevrolet wherever possible. This meant changing the public perception of conservative models to modern progressive design.

Rocket 88 used Futuramic B-body platform in combination with new V8 engine, enough to set the model apart from the rest of the competition. Having "light" body and large, powerful engine made the Oldsmobile 88 a precursor to the muscle car that had yet to come.

It was covered with chrome from the outside, while having a relatively simplistic interior. 1949 model was equipped with an ignition key and a starter push-button. Pushing the button would engage the starter, which would start the car only if the key unlocked the ignition first. Most of the equipment was standard for the time period. Braking system with mechanical drum brakes could stop the vehicle, but being as fast many people used handbrake as well.

The Oldsmobile was a pretty much typical 1950s American sedan, with only limited options. Dashboard was simple and contained basic instruments, while additional equipment such as a radio would cost nearly $100. A deluxe option included a dashboard clock. The car was equipped with an oil bath air cleaner. Everything about the performance was meant to create a simplified, yet memorable driving experience.

The results showed on the market as Rocket 88 outsold the six-cylinder 76 lineup, causing the managers to drop it entirely after 1950. How did this simple vehicle managed to leave its mark in the automotive history books? The answer is NASCAR - National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. Oldsmobile 88 was the first "King" of NASCAR, a model that dominated race after race. It won six of the nine NASCAR late-model division races in 1949, making a lasting impression on the fans. The following years continued to be successful with 10 wins in 1950 and 20 wins in 1952.

Strong results were followed by increased sales, especially among the ex-military personnel who returned World War II and wanted powerful "machines" at their side. In 1951, the 88 was considered more upscale model with restyled rear body panels and better equipped interior.

The company decided to allow only minor adjustments in the following year as well. All Oldsmobile models were powered by Rocket V8 engines. New grilles, taillights, and interior revisions were some of the styling changes. The full-size Oldsmobile 88 models were produced all the way until late 1999.

General Motors was satisfied by covering the entire market, since Oldsmobile was longer than the Chevrolet and shorter than the Pontiac. The model could reach 60mph in 13 seconds, which was amazing for the 1950s era. In-house competition produced sound financial results as Oldsmobile had successfully created one of the fastest cars in America, beating their counterparts from Ford and Chrysler.

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