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1953 Olds 98 convertible found, rough...


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Hello, I have recently purchased a two tone blue/white 1953 Oldsmobile 98 convertible. I found it way up in the mountains on a backcountry farm and paid 100.00 for it. The man had it since the late 50's. It is decently complete, but the front end is very rough and the quarters are just about gone. Front windshield excellent with all stainless intact. One fender/inner fender is missing, both bumpers rough. Hood is decent. The rear top deck is solid around the trunk/top snaps. Trunklid is decent and rebuildable. Trunk is pretty solid. Splash pan is rough. The rockers are gone, and so are the floors. Driver door is dented badly and rusted badly. Doors still open, close with a little help. Rear axle missing, sitting on the springs. No steering wheel. The frame looks decent, all seat frames are there and all power convertible top mechanism/bows plus all of the stainless is there. Convertible top is still in closed position, some remnants of black top remain hanging. The firewall is very solid, and all the vin/engine id plates are still on the car. It has an original autronic eye on the dash. Dash looks pretty good. No motor, but original auto tranny remains. Should I restore it or part it out? Maybe a good solid 2 door hardtop donor car would put it back on the road? I would love to save this car! Any advice would be appreciated.

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Guest Shaffer

A very collectible car, but restoring it is not going to be cheap. There was a 1953 Oldsmobile 98 convertible for sale here locally a few months ago for $10,000. It was probably a #5 car. It needed total restoration, but was 100% complete and fairly rust free, but had a lot of surface rust, which is OK. It had factory leather interior, padded dash which was still good. It was a non-running car, but again, was complete. My grandfather said he thought the car was overpriced. One thing to remember, it would be a beautiful car when finished. Good luck.

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This one also has the padded dash, forgot to mention that. It is in good condition also. The man also located the original fender skirts for it in the trunk of another old car that was nearby, they are in very good condition. He had kept just about every car that he had bought down through the years, just parked them after he got done with them. There is an old '36 Chevy 2 dr coupe up there too, but it has a lot of surface rust, but no apparent holes in the body, I didn't ask him about that one or really look it over good either. There is also a pink and black '55 Dodge Coronet 2 dr hardtop with it's original Hemi in it. It was still in real good solid shape, he wanted 500.00 for it though, he said the tranny went out in it years ago and he just parked it but he thought it would make a good car if somebody fixed the tranny. I know everyone is wondering what else is up there, so here they are: '54 Olds 88 4 dr. rough, missing engine; '57 Ford Country Squire wagon, wrecked on driver front, but complete as far as I know and old original black paint still has some shine!; 2 '56 chevy 4 doors, missing engines and some various chrome parts, but decently solid; '57 Chevy stepside truck, rough but complete; '76 Ford Maverick 4 dr. ugly and rough; '75? Vega 2dr, rough. The '53 Olds 98 convertible was my pick, I thought I got a pretty good deal on it. Could it have been a tri-power car?(wishful thinking). Did they offer tri-power in '53?

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Nope- no tri-power till 1957.<P>Based on your description of this Ninety Eight, unless it's a Fiesta I'd part it. Too far gone to be a cost effective restoration. I'd estimate you'd have a minimum of $25,000 in it before you're done, because you have a lot of body and mechanical work to do and a lot of rare parts to find. Hate to sound discouraging, but economics has to figure into restoring a car. My advice has always been to find the best car you can to start with. It saves time, money and frustration in the long run and you aren't near as likely to lose interest and throw in the towel halfway thru the job.

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Guest Shaffer

The 55 Coronet is a steal at that price if it is still a fairly solid car. The 1957 Country Squire is a rare and collectible car as well.

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I'm going back next weekend to get the '55 coronet, i'll post about it as soon as I get it home. As far as the '53 convertible 98, what about taking a solid '53 2 dr hardtop and using it for a donor to make one really nice convertible? All I would need to do is do a ground take down of both cars, and go from there. I would have all parts needed since I have all the important parts still on the convertible. I am not talking about just cutting the top off of the hardtop car and pasting parts, I am talking a ground-up resto using all the parts needed FROM the hardtop car and using as much of the original convertible car as possible, frame-up. I am in no hurry to get it done, so I would have time to find a good solid 2dr hardtop donor. Suggestions?

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Well, I might as well buy the old '57 Ford wagon while i'm at it. He wanted me to buy all of the cars at once, but I don't have the room or need for all of them. I'll post about the '57 as soon as I get it home too. No need to let that rarety set up there and rust down. Let me know on the 2dr hardtop donor idea for the '53 98, I think that would be a good way to go on this one. Was the wheelbase the same on the 2dr hardtop 98 and convertible 98 in '53? I think the only difference was the tops, vins, and codes, right? Maybe the back seat was different because of the configuration for the convertible top?

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Yep, reinforced frame. Just starting on this car, going to be a long road, but worth it. Lot's of interest in this one, everyone says: <B>RESTORE IT, DON'T ROD IT!</B> shocked.gif" border="0 I'll try to post with regular updates, and some pics if possible.

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Hey...That 53 project sounds like my 59 98 convert...I paid much more for my rust bucket though. The reason is, I was in love with this car and couldnt afford a nice one. I did buy a 2 dr hardtop and got a quarter out of it, some floor pans and trunk floor as well as some missing mechanicals etc... A donor car is the way to go! Ya have to really love it or the project will go stale especially if it isnt your only car. It is a money pit indeed! When and if ya get done ya will have as much $ into it not counting sweat equity as what it could be worth. As for partin it I would hate to see that and from the description ya wouldnt make much $$ but certainly more than what ya paid....Good Luck!

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I went yesterday and looked at a 1953 88 4 dr.. It was in real good solid running condition, and I got a feel for what mine will be needing. I am hoping to find an unrestored 2 dr. hardtop holiday 98 for a donor located out west somewhere (no rust) that is in original, super solid, running condition, with a continental kit. Hopefully I can find one around 8 or 9,000.00. It will pay off in the long run to get one in that condition. I found out what some of the codes stood for in another post(thanks Scott Mich), the original color of the car is solid Polar White, and the interior is ivory leather with black accents, and a black convertible top. Just imagining this car in top shape with that color scheme is a real motivation, especially with a continental kit on the back and wide whitewall tires all around.

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  • 10 years later...
Guest myold88

Guest: First due to the expensive of restoring a car these days, I hope you can do all the work yourself on that convertible instead of having it done including floors, etc. Also, I would keep an eye out for a decent '98 4 door parts car, as that would be the most cost effective and many misc parts could be utilized. Good luck with all these cars and I look foward to following your thread.

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Guest jerry lagro

Thank You for your interest, I have restored several cars in the past and yes it can get costly, I had a 53 olds 98 convertible once and still kicking myself for selling it, need to find one again, if you ever hear of one please let me know . Thank you Jerry Lagro 612 -490-0938

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  • 2 months later...

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