THE CAR AND ITS OWNERS: 1953 Oldsmobile 98 Holiday coupe owned by Clyde and Phyllis White
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING: Back in 1953, many upwardly mobile Long Islanders would have put the powerful and luxurious Olds 98 on their car-shopping lists. Except for the limited production Fiesta, the 98 was the Olds to buy if you wanted to keep up with the Joneses and you could afford one for a base price just under $3,000 (at a time when average American family income was $4,200). Because of its luxury status, the Holiday coupe was still fairly rare at the time, comprising just eight percent of total Olds production for the year. "I have only seen four of these cars," say Clyde White, "the first in 1958 when I was in the Air Force." The Whites made their gleaming blue coupe into a unique ride by converting it to a "restomod," a car that appears to be restored to original condition on the outside, but contains some modern mechanical pieces and features.
HOW LONG THEY'VE OWNED IT: Since 1994
WHERE THEY FOUND IT: They bought it from an owner in Connecticut.
CONDITION: White says he created his "restomod" by drawing parts from two '53 Olds models: a four-door 98 and the two-door coupe. He added modern features, such as power disc brakes, power steering, power windows and air conditioning. Under the hood, the original engine is long gone, replaced by a big Chevrolet LS1 V-8 usually found in Corvettes and Camaros. Power reaches the rear wheels through a late-model General Motors automatic transmission and a Ford performance rear end.
TIPS FOR OWNERS: "Make sure what you are buying and never go to look at a car alone," White advises.
VALUE: The Whites value their Olds at $80,000.
THE BOTTOM LINE: "When I got the cars home," White says, "the four-door was good and the two-door was junk. But who wants a four-door? So, I started the restoration and quit in 1996. I almost junked it when I retired. I started again and finished in 2013."