| MY FIRST HIGHWAY CAR
( My new 1955 Oldsmobile
is featured at the bottom of this page)
The first car I had (14 years old) was a 1947 Plymouth 2 door Fast
Back sedan but that was never (legally) driven on the highway. When I was
sixteen years old, this 1955 Oldsmobile came into my life for $150.00. It
wasn't a rag top like in the picture, but rather a 2 door sedan and the
same color. In 1959, this car was only four years old and in good shape.
The cheap price was a knock in the engine which gave me the perfect excuse
tear down and see the inside of a Rocket V/8. According to the plas-i-gauge
readings, I ordered a few of the rod bearings .001 and .002 under from standard.
I felt plenty stupid about this because the engine wouldn't turn over now
as it was to tight. Now the story gets worst. By spring, the engine had
a five inch crack in number three cylinder. How do you tell your father
that water was left in the cooling system over winter. The car sat there
about three years while I finished High School and flubbed a year and a
half of college.
In 1963, I was enrolled to start Dunwoody Institute in Minneapolis
Minnesota. I came back home a couple months before classes started to see
what could be done about the car. The next day, dad told me he called Demars
Junkyard and they had a used engine and they would bring it over. A couple
days latter, it was running and sounded just perfect. I was very grateful
for that car and got several years use of that Oldsmobile because it was
never hot rodded.
A few years later, my ex-wife (girl friend at the time), thought we
would look more debonair in a 1961 Pontiac convertible like her friend had.
The car dealer offered me $50 trade in value for my Olds, but said I had
to keep the car. I was insulted and happy at the same time. A few months
later, I sold the Olds to a private party in Minneapolis. That Pontiac was
extremely troublesome and to rub it in, I would frequently see that old
Oldsmobile of mine cruising the streets of the city. I have founder memories
of the car than that woman in my life.
|| The 1955 automotive year was something exiting as all the manufactures
completely got away from the old car look. Oldsmobile started development
of the automatic transmission back in the thirties and by 1955, had perfected
the Dual Range four speed. Mine never gave me a lick of trouble. These were
still the days when Oldsmobile made their own frames, engines and bodies.
This changed in 1969 when the corporate car was introduced without much
difference between the GM car lines. 1965's were very sturdy automobiles
by todays standards as they used plenty of Bethlehem Steel. If I ever found
one to own today, I would find some way to install disk brakes, Radial tires,
Dual master cylinder, and an alternator charging system. The tube radio
had a warm sound the transistor units lack. I even know a guy down the road
that specializes in repairing tube radios if need be.|
| A 1955 Oldsmobile still around today.
I had a coup just like this, only it was painted red and white. The
car below is owned by Karl Underwood out of Vallejo California and he had
it listed on ebay which did not sell yet. I contacted Karl about how much
my 55 Olds meant to me, so he sent me this picture of his. Whoever ends
up owning this car, hopefully will be a thankful person, as I can't come
up with the funds to buy it.
| The unique sound from an Oldsmobiles exhaust.
A friend of mine back in Michigan used to call Oldsmobiles, "Oldsmobubbles".
That was in reference to the bubbly sound coming from dual exhaust. Their
the only cars I know of with that special sound. I sat down the other day
to figure out why that is. If you compare the engine firing order to the
common Ford, Chevrolet and Chrysler, you'll see a difference. First look
at the firing order of a Chevrolet. The left bank cylinders are numbered
1-3-5-7 and the right bank, 2-4-6-8. the firing order is, 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2.
From this you can see that the firing sequence alternates from bank to bank.
The engine in this 55 Olds has the same cylinder numbering with 1-3-5-7
on the left bank and 2-4-6-8 on the right bank. However, the firing order
is different with 1-8-7-3-6-5-4-2. Now notice that cylinders 7&3 are
on the left bank and fire in sequence, while Cylinders 4&2 fire in sequence
on the right bank. This is why you get that double blurt out of each tail
Another interesting note about four cycle engines with an even number
of cylinders is that there are partner cylinders. In other words, when a
piston is at top dead center, it has a partner piston at the top also. One
cylinder is firing and the other is about to go down only to draw in a fuel/air
mixture. To determine the partner cylinders on a Chevrolet or Oldsmobile,
you wright the first four numbers of the firing order on a line and the
remaining four below the line.
1&6 are partners as well as 8&5, 4&7 and 3&2 on and
chevy and Olds. Now you can see that Oldsmobile (1-8-7-3-6-5-4-2)ground
the camshaft different so cylinders 4 &7 fire in a different order than