Automobiles of Amelia Island

14 March 2009

Lot 243

1953 Oldsmobile 98 Fiesta Convertible Coupe

To be auctioned on Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sold for $143,000

  • Chassis no. 539M26760
History is important to us, and all lots offered are fully researched. All corresponding information and accessories, from certificates to tool kits, stays with the lots we sell. All of this is held at our library on site, under the Access the Knowledge banner, so please visit us there or contact us before the auction if you require further information.


170bhp, 303.7 cu. in. “Rocket” overhead valve V8 engine, four-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel power-assisted hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 124"

Oldsmobile, which had steadily grown in market share with strong engineering and excellent value for the money, added trendsetting style to its repertoire with the dashing Fiesta Convertible. The most luxurious and powerful model Oldsmobile had offered to date, the Fiesta was based on the 98 model and originally created for the GM Motorama travelling auto shows of 1952. It clearly represented a styling preview of upcoming Oldsmobile models and included a fashionable panoramic wraparound windshield, distinctive “spinner” hubcaps, and a multitude of impressive options and amenities.

The production car was available from Oldsmobile dealers in 1953 and was priced at a then-lofty $5,715. The Fiesta carried an impressive list of standard features, many of which were previously unavailable, including power steering, power brakes, a deluxe radio, a heater/defroster, whitewall tires, backup lights, hydraulic servos for the windows and seats, a custom leather interior and a shiny black or natural tan Orlon convertible top. Up front, the Fiesta’s “Rocket” V8 engine was equipped with a larger, less restrictive carburetor and air cleaner assembly as well as special high-compression cylinder heads and larger exhaust manifolds. Producing 170 horsepower, this 303 cubic inch V8 engine was mated to a standard Hydra-Matic automatic transmission.

Oldsmobile produced just 458 Fiestas in 1953, and while the model reportedly never generated any profits for the marque, it certainly fulfilled its intended purpose – drawing many potential buyers to Oldsmobile showrooms and encouraging additional sales. This excellent example continues to draw crowds of admirers to this day. Upon its acquisition by the current owner, it received a comprehensive, professional restoration to original condition and specifications, and it shows approximately 80,000 miles. Thanks to careful and knowledgeable ownership, maintenance and storage it continues to present very well.

Its characteristic two-tone exterior finish remains glossy and beautiful and is joined by very impressive brightwork, as well as dual sideview mirrors, rear bumper guards, and a set of period correct wide whitewall tires and skirted rear fenders. The roomy leather-trimmed interior is likewise period correct and impressive in its presentation, with comfortable seating accommodations and a padded dash, as well as correct and handsome instruments and controls.

The current owner is an astute collector of the finest American cars and this car is no exception. It remains in running order and benefits from strict maintenance, as do all the cars in his collection. Beloved by collectors, the number of surviving Fiestas is relatively low, particularly when compared to the original production run of nearly 500 cars. In fact, some enthusiasts believe fewer than 50 remain today.

Elegantly finished and presented, this wonderful example is sure to please the collector who is looking for one of the most rare and stylish automobiles of the 1950s, built by the sole American marque to be established in the 19th century and survive into the 21st. Additionally, as one of the original “Triple Crown” of GM Motorcars, which includes its Eldorado and Skylark counterparts – both of which also made their debut in 1953 – the Fiesta holds tremendous value in the eyes of astute collectors.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alain Squindo


Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alex Classick

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+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Alex Classick joined RM Europe in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in Business Mana... read more

Alexander Weaver

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+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Alexander Weaver joined RM Auctions in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born into ... read more

Annette Abaci

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Germany

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Dan Warrener

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+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

Don Rose

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+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, USA

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Auctions in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and restora... read more

Ian Kelleher

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New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

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+1 818 703 2816
Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Auctions in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in Monte... read more

Max Girardo

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+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Max Girardo started his career in the vintage automobile industry in 1998, joining Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) as a car specialis... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Auctions, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Graduati... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

rmyers@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Shelby Myers literally grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to w... read more

Vinnie Mandzak

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+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Vinnie Mandzak joined RM Auctions’ California office in 2012 as a car specialist, following more than 30 years’ experience... read more