Howard P 1950 Oldsmobile 88 2dr Sedan

Got the dreams, but running short on time.

I Graduated from high school in 1961. My best friend had a 1951 olds 88. It was fast, pretty, sexy, and, oh yeah, fast!! I loved it, but loved the 1950 model even more. I used to watch the old films of 1950 and 1951 Nascar, with the Hudson Hornets and mostly, the Oldsmobiles, hauling in the trophies. I made up my mind that someday, I would have one on the road. I have had a lot of great cars along the way, but always was an Oldsmobile fan. I began running the dragstrips in 1961, at Fremont, above San Francisco. I worked with a friend on his 1955 "88". We ran a crazy class called "O/M". This stood for "Olds modified", and was just about any olds with a 4-barrel carb. There were other classes that were just as cryptic and strange, such as "Big cheater" and "Little cheater" (any modifications with a four barrel, and any with a two-barrel, respectively). I am betting their are not too many folks left that ever even heard of such a thing. I began running a 1949 Chevy Fleetline with a bored out 283. 1/8th inch overbore became a 301 cubic incher. The little fastback weighed in at 3000 lbs, 10 lbs per cubic inch which landed me in "D/gas". It debuted at Fremont in 1962, and in 1963, took a class record run with a blistering 13.40 seconds at 108 mph!!. Pretty tame by modern standards, but keep in mind that when the big mopar hemis came on the scene in 1963 and 64, they were running low to mid 13s... Mine was a hot-rodded old Chevy that was also street-driven to work and back, that could have kept up with the hemis.. But, I still wanted an Olds.!

I got drafted in late 1964, and served from 1965 to 1967. I moved to the East coast, and got married, etc. In late 1969, I traded in my 1966 Olds convertible towards a new 1970 Olds Cutlass, rallye 350. My wife wanted a fast ride too, so I bought her a 1969 Corvette with a blown motor for $2000. I worked on both of them, and enjoyed a lot of fun and success running the Rallye 350 in the legal stock classes at New England Dragway for the next 13 years.

Eventually, the NHRA quit running class racing and opted for bracket competitions. I quickly tired of the style of bracket racing, where if you go too fast, you "break out" and lose. It just wasn't the same as " the guy that gets there first---wins"! I often went over the finish line with my brakes on, trying not to break out. Bah, humbug! I stopped racing the Cutlass, and along came the wife. She had driven my car a few times at the track, and now wanted to try her luck with her Vette.

I had run the drags for over 15 years, and never won the big one. To win a "Winston Cup National" race was the quest for the "oily grail". We worked the Corvette and got it to be a dependable, fast, and (the key word for brackets) consistant. I watched my wife win two Winston cup Nationals within 5 years of running... You may not believe this, but I enjoyed watching her win, even more than if I had done it myself. After all, I was the designer and wrench that got it where it was in the competition, and also kept it together on the track. She was also overjoyed at her successes. A bit tough to live with though.

In 1989, I bought the remains of a gutted model A coupe, street rod from the Mill City Rodders in Lowell Mass. The next few years were spent on getting the little coupe up and on the road again. I have now owned it for over 25 years, and drive it around all 4-5 New England months that allow such a thing. Chopped, channeled, and really East Coast. Power is from a 302 Ford driveline. Then in 2012, I bought my 1950 Olds 88 2 door sedan. I have been tinkering and restoring her for 2 years, and am hoping this will be the year to run it on down the road.

I worked for a major electronics firm for 38 years, and ended up with cardiomyopathy and pulmonary embolisms. Came close to death, but managed to make it back home. Things have improved somewhat, and I keep busy with the home and cars. The ticker is still not up to par, however, and it is a struggle, but I am trying to pace myself as I go. My wife is also applying a little pressure, as she would like to get her old Corvette back on the road (or dragstrip) that has been on blocks in a garage for about 12 years now. Additionally, we have three great kids (now in their 30s and 40s) and they have all laid claim as to who gets which ride. The 1950 Olds, the 1969 Corvette coupe, and the 1930 Street rod coupe. It makes me proud that I have managed to keep all of these cars, with out selling them off, but I am just hoping the the guy upstairs will continue to let me get them done. When the time comes, I won't need a headstone or a marker. The cars will be our legacy, and gifts of remembrance to the family, from my wife and I.

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