Abandoned 1969 Oldsmobile 98 Gets First Wash in 26 Years, Rocket V8 Fires Up

Dissolved in 2004 after a whopping 107 years on the market, Oldsmobile was noted for debuting several groundbreaking technologies and designs. And it also left a few iconic vehicles behind.
1969 Oldsmobile 98 barn find 10 photos
Photo: SwedeMachine/YouTube
1969 Oldsmobile 98 barn find1969 Oldsmobile 98 barn find1969 Oldsmobile 98 barn find1969 Oldsmobile 98 barn find1969 Oldsmobile 98 barn find1969 Oldsmobile 98 barn find1969 Oldsmobile 98 barn find1969 Oldsmobile 98 barn find1969 Oldsmobile 98 barn find
Fans of muscle cars will obviously remember the 442 and the Hurst Olds, but the front-wheel-drive Toronado and the turbocharged Jetfire also brought game-changing innovations into showrooms. The Rocket 88 from the late 1940s is by far my favorite Oldsmobile rig but I'm here to talk about its bigger sibling, the 98.

One of the brand's longest-running nameplates, the 98 was first introduced in 1941. It remained in production for only a couple of years but it returned right after World War II and soldiered on for 50 years and eleven generations.

It was Oldsmobile's range-topping model for all these years and was used to introduce various market-first technologies, including the Hydramatic automatic transmission, the Autronic Eye (automatic headlamp dimmer), and Twilight Sentinel (automatic on/off headlamps).

The 98 became increasingly bigger and more luxurious in the 1960s. In 1969, the body style lineup expanded to include no fewer than six versions when a hardtop variant of the Luxury Sedan trim was added to the options list. The barn-found Olds you see here is part of that lineage.

A two-door convertible finished in white, this land yacht spent 26 years off the road as of 2022. But that didn't stop "SwedeMachine" from saving it and putting it back on the road. Yup, while almost three decades of sitting is enough to render a classic car useless, he resurrected the drivetrain and gave the full-size a proper cleaning, turning it into a beautiful survivor.

Luckily enough, the 98 was still in relatively good shape. Once cleaned, the body revealed only a few rust holes, solid chrome, and a decent paint job. But it's the interior you have to check out because the blue upholstery took all those decades of use and neglect like a champ. Yes, it has a bit of wear and tear but it looks downright fantastic all cleaned up.

The drivetrain proved to be the most difficult part to revive. But even though it took a lot of work and a new carburetor to get the engine running again, at least it came back to life without a rebuild. Speaking of which, this drop-top is no slouch either. Or at least it wasn't when new. Not only the 454-cubic-inch (7.4-liter) Rocket V8 under the hood is massive, but it was also rated at 365 horsepower and a whopping 510-pound-feet (692 Nm) of torque.

See and hear it running again after 26 years in the video below. The footage is quite long but make sure you catch the end because this Olds 98 celebrates its revival with a trip to the beach.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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