- Frame off restoration
- Professionally chopped
- Oldsmobile 455 V8
- TH400 3-speed automatic
- Custom interior
- Power steering
- Power brakes
One of the great things about building custom cars is just how many possibilities exist for a blank sheet metal canvas. Some folks take the wild path with custom graphics, retina-scorching colors and huge motors poking through the hood. Others take subtle route, performing modifications that could be mistaken as OEM work to the untrained eye. Rarely do cars define the middle ground between those extremes quite as well as this 1948 Oldsmobile Futurmatic 98 does. The subject of an extensive frame off restoration, the car features a striking color, extensive body modifications, an amazing custom interior and enough power to silence anyone who dares to think this Olds is all show and no go. Ready to hit the road in a different kind of lead sled? Learn a bit more about this awesome Olds.
After World War II, U.S. automakers were understandably dead set on looking forward. Oldsmobile epitomized that mentality with its "Futuramic" design. Even the most basic of its 1948 lineup was tagged as "Fulfillment of the Futurmatic idea". To their credit, the updated Oldsmobile C-bodies were attractive cars and, mercifully, this 98 retains many of those classic lines. What you'll find upon closer inspection is a compilation of the best traditional body modifications. With the shell off the frame, it was nosed, decked, chopped and shaved for the classic lead sled look. All mods were performed professionally and that is certainly evident in the quality of the finished product. Every panel is arrow straight with excellent panel fitment. The completed body was shot with a coat of Martin Senour Purple Metallic paint. A medium purple with plenty of flake, the color suits the smoothed body well while easily standing out from the crowd.
Of course, the difference between a good custom and great custom lies in the details. Unlike many similar builds, this one isn't a hodgepodge of multiple OEM parts bins. Nearly every piece of ornamentation was produced by Oldsmobile. At the front, frenched headlights provide a modernized look while a stock chrome grille with two upside-down "U" bars makes sure the front end is easily recognizable. At the sides, all rear fender trim has been shaved, but the solitary chrome strip that runs from the front fenders to the doors remains for some authentic style. Up top, clean custom glass fills in the spaces between the roofline and door line with showroom quality stainless surround every piece. The sloping rear terminates into another factory chrome bumper with stock taillights capping off the rear fenders.
Under the elongated hood, Olds enthusiasts will be pleased to find a 455cid V8 borrowed from a 1968 Cutlass 442. Legendary for their low-end grunt, this big block was plenty capable in stock form. Of course, this one has a few tricks up its sleeve to make sure this cruiser stays ahead of the pack with ease. Up top, a chrome W-30 style dual scoop air cleaner with an "Oldsmobile Rocket 455" decal on the top and an "Offenhauser-equipped" decal on the front, feeds air into a single Holley 4-barrel carburetor. That atomized fuel is sent into a painted Edelbrock Torker 455 intake manifold that appropriates juice to the cast iron heads wearing attractive finned aluminum valve covers. Up front, a polished pulley system utilizes crank power to spin a chrome alternator, power steering pump and air conditioning compressor. At the heart of the package is an aftermarket cam with .485 intake intake lift and .490 exhaust lift, helping the mill generate an estimated 434hp @ 5,000rpm. Breathing through a set of coated headers into a true dual exhaust system with Hushpower mufflers, the car has the perfect tone for boulevard cruising.
Peer underneath and you'll find a nicely detailed undercarriage with the floors, frame and x-brace painted satin black. Behind the monstrous 455 V8 is an Oldsmobile TH400 automatic transmission that makes cruising this 98 a relaxed experience. Minus the bell-housing pattern, it's the same durable GM three-speed that's appeared in everything from trucks to exotics over the years. Further down the driveline, a sturdy GM 10-bolt differential puts the horsepower to pavement. Around the drivetrain, a modified Oldsmobile chassis features a Chevelle front clip with double A-arm suspension coupled with a NASCAR-style trailing arm rear setup. The end result is a chassis that provides a comfortable ride while remaining confident in corners. Overall driving effort is greatly reduced by power steering and power brakes that clamp down the calipers on four-wheel discs, giving the car a modern feel on the road. At the corners, 15-inch steel wheels with Oldsmobile dog dishes are wrapped in 215/75R15 Firestone white walls that match the car's overall theme perfectly.
Between the doors on this kustom, a show-stopping white interior looks awesome beside the purple paint. The front buckets and rear bench are covered in rolled and pleated white Ultraleather, as is the headliner and visor. Between the front seats, a custom center console, also wrapped in white, houses controls for the Vintage Air climate control system. At either side, custom white door panels feature chrome toppers that tie in perfectly with the factory style dashboard. That dash, an all steel Oldsmobile piece, sports the same purple metallic as the exterior, while providing space to hang tons of period correct brightwork including the center grille, AM radio, analog clock and the stunning stock gauge cluster that keeps an eye on that strong 455. Around the gauge cluster, chrome pulls operate the basic features such as lights and windshield wipers. A white-rimmed billet steering wheel offers the driver a connection to the road through a body color tilt steering column. At the ground level, dark gray carpet provides some visual relief from the sea of white. Behind the cabin, the trunk hides the battery and other accessories behind pleated white leather panels.
Documentation includes a small binder with detailed build photos as well as a brief write up that covers basic specs.
Wild enough for the custom crowd but subtle enough to win nearly universal appeal, this Olds has all the right checklist items for anyone that wants to cruise in both comfort and style. If you're in the market for a traditional lead sled, don't miss the chance to bring this 1948 Olds home.