Back When I Was A Kid

Cars were very colorful and some were even pastels or pink.

We would get dressed up for birthday parties and sometime there was even a pony.

We would play in the street and our parents didn’t worry about us being kidnapped.

Gas was really cheap. A dollar or two would get you pretty far and the attendant even washed your windows and checked your oil. (I know, this was my summer job when I was in high school.)

When TV stations went off the air they would show a test pattern.

Hula hoops were the rage.

Girls passed notes all the time. Today the text each other.

These coolers were filled with ice-cold circulating water, so the drinks almost hurt when you first took a swig.

You could find most anything at a five and dime store. I used to go to them with my Nana, would would always get me something.

If you were lucky, you had a TV in the living room. Black and white at first, then color that wasn’t really very good. Wow, how things have changed.

Records were a major form of entertainment for kids of all ages.
Yes, things were a lot simpler, AND SAFER, back then.

My 1955 Oldsmobile

I bought my Olds in early 1994. The car was compete, with 135,387 miles on the odometer and a big dent in the right-rear quarter panel. I can still remember the first words out of my wife’s mouth when I pulled up in front of our house with it on a car trailer, “You paid $1,000 for that!”

Before - Right Rear AngleBefore - Front Before - Left Rear AngleI didn’t do a full body-off restoration, but the engine compartment and underbelly of the car were sand blasted and painted black. The body was sanded down to bare metal with a special coating applied before priming and then it was painted to match the original factory colors. In addition to the professionally done body work and paint job, all of the chrome and stainless steel was redone, along with new glass all around, except for the rear window.

Paint Shop - Rear - Paint Stripped Paint Shop - Rear - Primed and Dent Fixed Paint Shop - Side at Various StagesI originally planned to rebuild the stock 324 cubic-inch engine and Hydromatic transmission, but found a ’68 Olds big-block 455 with over-sized valves and Turbo 400 combination that had been built for a hot rod, but was never installed in the intended car. The engine was balanced and blue-printed, and had a racing cam as well as dual AFB carburetors installed on a nice Offenhauser intake manifold. (I later replaced the ignition with an electron setup for a stronger spark and reliability.)

Progress - 455 Installed With Dual AFBs & Fuel Pressure GaugeSo why the big-block? When I was in college I had a ’55 Olds with a ’58 Olds engine mated to a B&M hydro. This car was definitely a sleeper and provide many happy times. (That’s me back then, with a side view of my original Olds below. If you look in the wind-wing you can see a reflection of my then girl friend, who later became my wife, taking my picture with her Brownie camera.)

Me in My Original '55 Olds Original '55 Olds2Consequently, the 455 Olds big-block was something I just couldn’t pass up.

The upholstery follows the original patterns, using two shades of gray Naugahyde and pleated gray material, which looks better than when new. I must say that my latest little sleeper would definitely embarrass my original one at the drag strip.

After driving it for a while I realized it was pretty hard to stop, so I fitted the front with disc brakes. Now it stops fast and straight.

It took a little over five years to complete the car and I am proud to say it gets lots of attention. People are used to seeing a lot of ’55-57 Chevy’s here in California, but not many ’55 Oldsmobiles.

In case you are wondering, my wife loves this car now.

My Olds - Left Front Angle My Olds - Left Rear Angle My Olds - Left Side Rear Angle My Olds - Right Rear Angle My Olds - Steering Wheel My Olds - Trunk Opened My Olds - Driver Seat My Olds - Engine Front My Olds - Engine Left My Olds - Engine Right

The video below doesn’t have any ’55 Oldsmobiles in it, but has some very interesting facts about cars in the 1950s.

Click Here to see all the cars I have owned over the years.