Mike’s Story


My Three Oldsmobile’s

My first car was a 1972 Cutlass Supreme Hardtop that I bought with my “grocery bagger” money when I was a senior in high school.  The original owner was a local school teacher who decided to get a new car and sold me the brown and tan Cutlass in 1979.  As we all know, our first car is permeated into our soul: the cold Michigan, February day I picked it up is a day that seems like yesterday …….. I even washed it!

My second Oldsmobile came very quickly when an older relative decided to sell her 1971 Cutlass Supreme convertible in May of ’79.  It was blue, with blue interior and a white top…..it had a factory stereo and even air-conditioning. It was a no brainer….keep the convertible and sell the hardtop.

I ended up moving out West for college and had to sell the convertible for tuition.  I assume that the convertible is still around metro Detroit with the same owner who bought it from me……my brother saw it about 10 years ago: it had been restored and used on occasion for pleasure trips.

My third Oldsmobile came along many years later in 1995 – an all original 1961 Super 88 Convertible in Fawn Mist Metallic with a white top and tri-tone tan interior.  The original owner was from Santa Cruz, California and did a factory delivery:  he flew to Lansing, MI and drove it back to California.  I found the “Detroit News” classified ad under the seat many years later.

 I have had the Super 88 for 22 years and have gone to great lengths to keep it original…..right down to the looped tuxedo carpeting that was new old stock out of a Pontiac, MI warehouse…..by the time it arrived in California the jute on the back of the carpet had to be pulled off and replaced due to decades of sitting on a musty warehouse shelf. 

I have the original set of GM keys, a date coded convertible boot (August, 1960), the original windshield washer anti-freeze bottle under the hood, the original “Owner Protection Plan – Protecto – Plate”. Some of the options are the bi-phonic speaker system, a four tube Deluxe Radio, power steering, brakes, side view mirror and back up lights.

 I got the Super 88 before the internet ….. so I bought many parts from Hemmings Catalog  “as back up parts”  I put them in the attic and lost track ……and sometimes repurchased stuff….I guess I was thinking like Johnny Cash rebuilding the car “one piece at a time”.

I wrote to the Olds History Museum after I got the car and received a nice letter back from Helen Earley that my car was only one of 2,626 Super 88 convertibles built in 1961.  They built the ‘61 from September until early January when they discontinued the Super 88 Convertible and launched the Starfire convertible!  The rareness of the car, the fact that it was built in November of 1960, one month before I was born and that we both came from Michigan to San Jose made it “a keeper”.

The old Olds starts right up provides plenty of power with a 394 4 barrel and glides through the “slim- jim transmission” without a hitch….thankfully.  I keep up on the maintenance  on a regular basis, living in California I religiously fire it up and drive it once a week;  I think that is one of the reasons it runs so well….it now has 118,000 miles on it and is dependable as the day is long.