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08/07/2010 904

Oldsmobile - Cutlass

The XP-20 project, known as F-88 was a pet project of Harley Earl. Bill Mitchell, Ken Pickering and Zora Arkus-Duntov were a few of the engineers involved in this project. Designed during 1952-53, around the same time as the first Motorama Corvette, the preliminary sketches of the F-88 came from designer Bill Lange. The final design was done in the main Oldsmobile studio under the direction of Art Ross.

Unveiled at the General Motors 1954 Motorama at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York the F-88 was painted metallic gold with metallic green inside the fender wells. Its fiberglass body sat on an early Chevrolet Corvette chassis with a 102-inch wheelbase. The F-88 was powered with a hopped up 324 C.I.D. V8 from a 1954 Oldsmobile Super 88 that produced a reported 250 horsepower. A 4-speed Hydra-Matic transmission was used with a 3.55:1 Corvette rear axle.

The upholstery and steering wheel were finished in pigskin. Two 88s in six-inch numerals were located on the front fenders ahead of the doors. Seven vertical bumper guards were part of the rear bumper. This bumper unit dropped down to reveal a horizontal compartment for the spare tire.

Unfortunately Chevrolet, which produced more GM products than any of its other divisions, convinced the GM board of directors to cut the Oldsmobile project so the F-88 never went into production.

There are many stories and theories on how many F-88s were built and what became of them, but only one survives today and was auctioned at the 2005 Barrett Jackson Classic Car Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona for three million, two hundred, and forty thousand dollars.


Here's what the Corvette Oldsmobile Division wanted, but never had. This experimental sports car would have been in direct competition with the Chevrolet Corvette. While debating the matter, GM built three Olds F-88 showcars, each one slightly different, all with concealed folding tops. It is powered by a 324-cid 'Rocket V8' producing 250 bhp. Brought out of GM styling in pieces, and owned briefly by financier and luxury auto magnate, E.L. Cord (CEO of Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg). One version was gifted to Harley Earl upon his retirement in December of 1985. The only surviving F-88 was sold at auction in 2005 for $3.2 million.

The XP-20 project, commonly known as F-88 was a pet project of Harley Earl (working with him was Bill Mitchell, Ken Pickering, Zora Duntov etc.). Four cars came out of the project, but only styling order #2265 (this car) survived. It was sold or given to E.L. Cord (Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg owner) in 1955. Hundreds of internal GM documents and original blue prints are still with this sole survivor.

source: Barrett-Jackson

1954 Oldsmobile F-88 concept car was a 2-passenger model with recessed sports car-type seats, a panoramic windshield, jet airfoil wheel disks and a recessed license plate.

The instrument panel started at the center of the dash panel and ran vertically to the floor. In the background are 1940 GM Futurliners, which were constructed by GM to tour North America, presenting the Parade of Progress to millions of visitors who enjoyed demonstrations of cutting-edge science and technology.



1954  Motorama


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