|1954 Oldsmobile 88 Hardtop|
1954 Oldsmobile 88
The new 1954 Oldsmobile models were originally planned for release in 1955. The cars were about three inches lower than the previous models. Hood lines were almost down to fender height, and the rear fenders maintained what was nearly full height, right back to the taillights. The sweep-cut wheel openings gave an impression of speed, and the new grille continued the previous theme, with increasing horizontal emphasis, and continued use of bumper elements to fill the grille pattern. The new panoramic windshield and wraparound rear-window design gave a greenhouse effect to the whole passenger compartment. Interiors were bright and spacious, for the space lost in height had been gained in length.
The 1954 Oldsmobile co-introduced the wraparound windshield to the complete line. In 1954 only Olds, Buick, and Cadillac lines had this feature. More and more power accessories were being ordered by Oldsmobile owners. Slight improvements for 1954 were made in power steering, power brake and air conditioning systems. A hydraulic power window and power seat system could be ordered on the 98 Series. Other accessories available for the 1954 Oldsmobiles were: signal seaking radio, cadet sun visor, autronic eye, wire wheel covers, and padded dash panel.
Olds bought a new bumper production and plating plant on line in March of 1954. Assembly also began during that year for Oldsmobiles at a 7th Buick-Oldsmobile-Pontiac plant in Arlington, Texas.
When the 1954 program started, they didn't want any lack of power in any car in the Oldsmobile stable; so they bored it out to 3.875 inches, which raised displacement to 324 from 303 cubic inches.
At the same time, compression ratio was raised from 8.0 to 8.25:1. The four-barrel version used in the Super 88 and 98 delivered 185hp at 4000 rpm. Torque readings went up to 300 pounds-feet at an even 2000 rpm. However, NASCAR got smart and attempted to put an end to Detroit's "racer pipeline" and add some meaning to the word "Stock". That didn't stop Oldsmobile, however. Oldsmobile race cars copped 11 NASCAR Grand National wins.
Brake drums of eleven-inch diameter were put in all wheels for adequate stopping power, since the new cars were forty-four to ninety-six pounds heavier than their predecessors. Despite increased car weights, it became possible to alter the overall gearing so at to let the engine run at reduced rpm for any given road speed. The axel ratio for the Hydra-matic 98 went down to 3.23:1, remaining at 3.42:1 for the synchromesh version of the 98.
The 1954-model B-body was reserved for Buick and Oldsmobile only, since Cadillac based all models on the C-body, and Pontiac had to share the A-body with Chevrolet.
The new low-profile bodies demanded a redesigned frame. The basic shape was retained, with nearly straight side-members and a hefty X-bracing plus five lateral cross members. And the rear suspension was reworked. Improved universal joints were adapted along with a new type coil front spring and a new rear spring and shock absorber location. The leaf springs, which had a slight toe-in in the earlier design, were now laid parallel with the wheels, and were moved even closer to the wheels for improved stability.
The ride became softer, and shock damping remained inadequate, both front and rear. The lower center of gravity would theoretically help reduce sway on curves, but in practice, the effect was minimal. Fortunally they kept the anti-sway bars at both ends. The car had lost something in maneuverability and steering response, but that was a general, industry-wide pattern, and did not cause Oldsmobile any sales resistance.
A total of 18 solid colors were offered including: flare red, capri blue, maize cream and copper metallic. Olds had 65 conventional 2-tone paint combinations, with the top of a different color than the rest of the car. A total of 10 special two-tone combinations were offered on the 98 Holiday, 98 Deluxe Holiday and the Starfire convertible.
1954 Oldsmobile Options
|Rear seat speaker||$14|
|Super deluxe radio||$129|
|Courtesy light package||$4|
|Hydraulic window lifts||$165|
|Electric 4-way seat||$65|
|Deluxe wheel discs||$30|
|Accessory group Z - exhaust extension, visor mirror and trunk, under hood and glove box lights||$10|
Engine Specs - 324 V-8 (5.3 Liter)
CARBURETOR SPECIFICATIONSTune-Up Specifications as per Rochester Carburetors 2-15-54:
- Hydramatic - 400 in "Drive"
- Synchro-Mesh - 425 in neutral