In the early fifties, Harley Earl, Bill Mitchell, Ken Pickering and Zora Duntov set about designing a roadster for Oldsmobile.
The initial showcars were both breathtaking and daring, especially compared to the Oldmobile aesthetic. These cars were unveiled on the 6th March, 1954, however of the four cars that came out of the project, only styling order #2265 (F-88) survived.
Styling Order #2265
Like the three others, styling order #2265 was a 2-passenger model with recessed sports car-type seats, a panoramic windshield, jet airfoil wheel disks and a recessed license plate. The instrument panel started at the center of the dash panel and ran vertically to the floor.
Designed during 1952 and 1953, it was a
Corvette-inspired descendant of the 1953 Starfire, finished in brown metallic duco with pigskin upholstery, and powered by a 250 bhp 324 V-8. The F-88 featured cone-shaped clear plastic headlamp covers and a functional hood scoop.
As the promotional material stated at the time..."Oldsmobile's F-88 - The Last Word in Convertibles! Meet a beautiful dynamo on wheels! It's Oldsmobile's experimental convertible, the fabulous F-88! General Motors' stylists have incorporated scores of striking innovations in this spectacular sports car.
Low-poised fiberglass body! Natural pigskin upholstery! Unusual rear deck design! Sparkling interior trim, plus a special 250 horsepower "Rocket" engine".
Unfortunately the Corvette was not selling in sufficient numbers, and as it was the Corvette that inspired other GM Concepts, it seemed pointless to continue the F-88 project. Regrettably the project was cancelled at the conceptual phase, making the sole survivor a very rare beast indeed. That is fetched over US$3 million at a recent auction should come as no surprise.