1947 Oldsmobile CustomCruiser 98 Convertible
Year of manufacture1947
- Surely among the finest extant examples of the Custom Cruiser 98
- One of just 3,940 produced for the model year
- 2001 AACA National First Prize winner
- Powered by a 257 cu. in. inline-eight-cylinder and Hydramatic automatic transmission
- Acquired by the consignor in 2009
Immediately after clearing its production lines of automobiles on 5 February 1942, Oldsmobile devoted its full capacity to war production, which had already begun in 1940. With the cessation of hostilities in 1945, civilian automobile production began again in earnest with slightly updated 1942 models, while the all-new 1948 “senior” and 1949 “junior” models were under development.
Sales of these automobiles were brisk during the frenzied postwar seller’s market, with pent-up demand for new automobiles greatly outstripping the available supply. For 1947, Series 68, 78, and 98 Oldsmobiles continued to be powered by the 257-cubic-inch flathead inline-eight-cylinder engine, with 110 horsepower. Although they may not have been high-performance vehicles, Oldsmobile’s “senior” Series 98 models were quite popular, particularly with the continued availability of the revolutionary and proven GM Hydramatic Drive automatic transmission. With refreshing operating simplicity, Oldsmobiles equipped with Hydramatic Drive were renowned for their very smooth cruising capabilities, hence the moniker “Custom Cruiser.” While Oldsmobile sold approximately 194,000 automobiles in 1947, just 3,940 were Series 98 convertibles. Very few of these stylish and mechanically sophisticated automobiles remain intact today.
The previous owner of this example reportedly found it in some state of disuse after many years of searching for a restorable example with uncompromised bodywork. At time of discovery, it was equipped with an antiquated public-address system from its earlier days of use as parade vehicle for the small, Midwestern town in which it was found. Upon purchase, that previous owner ordered a meticulous and faithful restoration to factory-correct specifications, and this Custom Cruiser 98 Convertible was soon thereafter awarded a National First Prize from the Antique Automobile Club of America. It remained a part of their private collection for several more years until acquisition by the consignor in 2009.
This 1947 Custom Cruiser 98 Convertible is presented today still wearing this previous restoration. The car’s Havana Beige paintwork contrasts with a maroon cloth and leather upholstered cabin featuring wool carpeting, which is fronted by a stunning burl woodgrain dashboard. The power convertible top is trimmed in a matching beige fabric which blends nicely with the car’s exterior “pontoon” aesthetic. The interior is further equipped with wonderful factory items including power windows and a power front seat, a radio, heater, dash clock, directional lights, and a chrome-plated spotlight. This Oldsmobile’s stunning visual appeal is rounded out by a full set of chrome factory hubs which feature Havana Beige detailing and are wrapped in wide whitewall tires.
This award-winning 1947 Custom Cruiser 98 Convertible is surely ready to win its Senior or Grand National awards, and worthy of consideration for entry into the most prominent collections of postwar American classics. To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/hf21.