Oldsmobile Concepts 1903-1985

1903 Oldsmobile Pirate

The Olds Pirate took part in the first officially timed run on Ormond Beach later to be known as "Speedweeks". There is some confusion around the Pirate winning a race against the Winton Bullet #1, but both 'Sports Car Digest' and 'Ormond Beach Historical Society' state that the Winton beat Olds by a few fractions of a second.
Nevertheless, the Pirate set a speed record of 54.37 MPH (some sources say 54.38) when most automobiles of the time ran at a top speed of about 30 MPH.
It was named the Pirate because of its bare bones appearance. The car has 2 bullet style tanks on it. One was for gas and the other for water. The original car had a 2 cylinder water cooled engine, providing 7 hp and ran at about 600 rpm. It had a large flywheel and the car was similar to the style of the curved dash olds. .

 

1953 Oldsmobile Starfire X-P Rocket

Two-seater was named after Lockheed's F94B Starfire fighter. It included several ideas that would reach production, although not necessarily by Olds: fiberglass bodywork, wraparound windshield, combination bumper-grille and bucket seats. BHP was over 200.

 

1954 Oldsmobile Cutlass Concept

The 1954 Oldsmobile Cutlass Concept took its name from the military Chance-Vought Cutlass, a Navy fighter plane. Aviation theme was prevalent throughout the Cutlass. Instrumentation resembled aircraft instruments. The underside of the front fenders was wide open and was perforated to permit exhaust of engine heat. The Cutlass had no outside trunk lid to open. Access to the luggage compartment was reached from inside the car. The entire body was of reinforced plastic mounted on a 110-inch wheelbase chassis with a 51.5-inch road height. Other features included a combination bumper-grille, swivel seats and copper-toned glass for screening harsh light.
The Cutlass made its debut at the 1954 GM Motorama. The body of the Cutlass was painted metallic silver with a white and copper leather interior. It was powered with a 250-horsepower advanced version of the Rocket V8 engine.

 

1954 Oldsmobile F-88 Concept

F-88 was a pet project of Harley Earl. Bill Mitchell, Ken Pickering and Zora Arkus-Duntov were a few of the engineers involved in this project. Designed during 1952-53, around the same time as the first Motorama Corvette. The final design was done in the main Oldsmobile studio under the direction of Art Ross.
Its fiberglass body sat on an early Chevrolet Corvette chassis. The F-88 was powered with a hotted up V8 from a '54 Olds Super 88 that produced a reported 250HP. A 4-speed Hydra-Matic transmission was used with a Corvette rear axle.
Chevrolet, which produced more GM products than other divisions, convinced GM's board of directors to cut the Olds project so the F-88 never went into production.
There are many stories on how many F-88s were built, but only one survives today and was auctioned at the 2005 Barrett Jackson Classic Car Auction for $3,240,000.

 

1954-5 Oldsmobile F-88 Concept Variants

Even while the '54 F-88 was on tour, Oldsmobile and Harley Earl were tweaking the F-88 as they expected it to become Olds' flagship performance car. Chevy's Corvette would be considered the entry level, and owners could move up to Olds when they wanted more luxury and performance. Version two had more cut out wheel wells, something Harley Earl was experimenting with. The rear was cleaned up as well (not shown in the pictures here). There was a removable fiberglass top, similar to the '56 Corvette. In a response to the '55 Corvette's adoption of the 225HP V8, Earl commissioned the engine for the 2nd prototype to have a supercharged motor with 370 HP.

 

1955 Oldsmobile 88 Delta Concept

Featured teardrop wheel wells, stacked headlights, two tone blue paint, and only stood 53.1 inches tall. It was advertised to have "Supersonic Shape". The wide ovals housing the headlamps also included scoops to cool the front drum brakes. The 88 Delta was equipped with swivel bucket seats up front. Tires were mounted on 6 lug wheels, exposed brake drums had concentric cooling fins and exposed acorn style lug nuts.

 

1956 Oldsmobile Golden Rocket

2 passenger car, styled to resemble a rocket, made its debut at the 1956 General Motors Motorama.
The Rocket had a fiberglass body with nerf-like built in bumpers that give an overall rocket effect. It was powered with a 275HP Rocket V8 engine and weighed 2,500 pounds.
The upholstery was done in blue and gold leather. The speedometer was mounted in the center of the two-spoked steering wheel along with buttons to tilt the wheel, making it one of the first vehicles with a tilt steering wheel. As either door was opened, the roof panel automatically raised and the seat came up 3 inches and swiveled outward for easy entry or exit.
The Golden Rocket was revised several times and stayed on the show circuit for several years..

 

1957 Oldsmobile F-88 Concept Mark II

In 1957, Harley Earl unveiled a "new" F-88, still trying to convince GM to offer the car as an upscale Corvette. Many styling cues would find their way to the '58 Corvette.
The front prominently displayed "OLDSMOBILE" in large letters.
The interior was upholstered in light metallic blue, the steering wheel was modernized, but otherwise it was much the same as the 1954 F-88 - showing how timeless the original design had been.

 

1959 Oldsmobile F-88 Concept Mark III

Chevrolet, which produced more GM products than other divisions, convinced GM's board of directors to cut the Olds project so the F-88 never went into production. Harley Earl was stunned, and commissioned a red F-88 for himself as a sign of dissatisfaction with the decision - and began driving it as his personal car.
Later, he took the '59 as his personal car (known as Mr.Earl's Private Rocket) when he retired, and he drove it until his death in 1969. The car was returned to GM and ordered to be destroyed sometime in the mid-70s.
This car had a retractable hardtop, a 6 speed transmission which was actually a 3 speed Hydra-Matic with overdrive. The trans was frame mounted at the rear with swing axles. It had fuel injection, but apparently was troublesome and was refitted with a carburetor and a different transmission later in its life.

 

1962 Oldsmobile X-215

X-215 featured a full-width concave grille, within the concavity are 2 headlamps and 2 long range driving lamps. The bumper sweeps around the body and appears to float in front of the grille. The X-215 is finished in Firefrost silver, with a narrow black stripe down the center between the twin rows of louvers on its hood.
A glass-fiber tonneau cover, incorporating an airfoil-section roll bar, covers the rear seat and sweeps down into the cockpit to merge with a special center console.
Black leather bucket seats face a new instrument cluster designed around 2 large dials, the left one a spedometer, and the right a single dial including the four standard engine instruments. Smaller dials flank these, on the left a tach and on the right a pressure gauge for the X-215's turbo-charged engine.

 

1963 Oldsmobile J-TR

The J-TR was a custom designed F-85 convertible made for the 55th annual Chicago Auto Show. Fender openings expose cast aluminum wheels. Front styling includes rectangular shaped headlights, and louvered rocker panel moldings which house stainless steel exhaust outlets.
The interior is custom fitted with 4 bucket seats and full length sports console. Exterior colour is Firefrost silver.

 

1963 Oldsmobile el-Torero

Multiple coats of firefrost gold paint on exterior, the interior reflected a Spanish-motif. The presenter wore a cape that matched the gold brocade fabric used to upholster the inside door panels. Two-plus-two white naturally contoured bucket seats accented with red satin striping. El Torero was a custom version of the 1963 Olds 98 convertible.

 

1966 Oldsmobile Toronado Concept

 

 

1969 Oldsmobile 442 Apollo

Featured fireball red paint with black accent stripes and hood panels. Interior featured four metallic red and black leather "contour couches" and head restraints.

1971 Oldsmobile Toronado Styling Mock-Ups

These cars were made by Olds to test out design concepts for the 71 Toro. Note how the upper and lower fenderlines change and only at the very end do we see the quad headlights. Pictures are in order of early to later works (from mid-year 1968 to December 1968).

 

1972 Oldsmobile Contessa

Not much is known about this particular car. GM photostore lists it as a show car, so it was likely very close to a production model car, perhaps only had minor visual differences. If anyone has further info on this car, please let me know.

 

1977 Oldsmobile Mirage J-Coupe model

This photo was originally posted on Dean's Garage (website), it was one slide that was part of a slideshow likely shown in 1975 as a preview of upcoming 1977 Oldsmobile models.

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1977 Oldsmobile Toronado XSR

Featured electrically retractable t-tops. "XS" was the production model. The XS did not have the power t-tops, but did have the wrap around rear windows which showcased a new 'hot-wire' technology for bending glass.

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1985 Oldsmobile FE3-X Calais Concept

3.0L V6 125HP engine. 16" rims with 225/50VR-16 tires. Monochromatic paint, window tinting, functional aero/ground effects package, headlight and grille covers, front air dam, flush emblems, rocker panel extensions, wheelwell evacuation ducts, brake cooling ducts and an adjustable rear deck spoiler. Was later re-painted to match Aerotech colours (last photo).

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1985 Oldsmobile FE3-X Hurst Olds Cutlass Concept

AKA: Darth Vader - 5.0L, 307-cid V8 200HP engine. 16" rims with 245/50VR-16 tires. Monochromatic paint, window tinting, functional aero/ground effects package, headlight and grille covers, front air dam, flush emblems, rocker panel extensions, wheelwell evacuation ducts, brake cooling ducts and an adjustable rear deck spoiler. See fe3x.com for info on this car and this site for other general FE3-X info!

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1985 Oldsmobile FE3-X Firenza Concept

2.8L V6 120HP engine. 16" rims with 225/50VR-16 tires. Monochromatic paint, window tinting, functional aero/ground effects package, headlight and grille covers, front air dam, flush emblems, rocker panel extensions, wheelwell evacuation ducts, brake cooling ducts and an adjustable rear deck spoiler.

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