• The Oldsmobile F88 Is What The C1 Corvette Should Have Been From The Start

  • The Chevrolet Corvette not always had a V-8, but Oldsmobile changed that Earlier C1 Corvettes were revolutionary in many ways, but they lacked a key feature - a V-8 engine. Before Chevrolet put its own V-8 in it, Oldsmobile made their own version of the car, called the F-88
  • The Olds F-88 shared a chassis and much of the C1's design But instead of the Anemic, 3.9-liter (235 cu in), 150 hp "Blue Flame", it had a 5.3-liter (324 cu in) Super 88, rated at 270 hp. It was mated to a 4-speed Hydra-Matic and utilized a Corvette rear axle with a 3.55 final drive
  • A total of 8 purchasing orders for the Oldsmobile F-88 were said to be made A Hemmings investigation suggests that at least 3 fully funcioning cars exist. One of the cars is currently residing at the Gateway Colorado Automobile Museum
  • The Oldsmobile F-88 also featured its own interior, instead of using the C1 Corvette's The interior of the F-88 is actually a reworked version of that of a 1953 Olds. It features a big center gauge that combines both the speedometer and tachometer
  • The same Oldsmobile F-88 that resides at the Colorado Museum was auctioned off back in 2005 Through a Barret Jackson auction, it was obtained by the Founder of Discovery Channel, for the price of $3,240,000. It was later exhibited at the Gateway Colorado Auto Museum
  • Swipe up for more information on the Oldsmobile F-88 It's amusing how GM let Oldsmobile build a better version of what would later become America's definitive sports car. Do you think it was a better sports car than the early C1 Corvette?

The first Chevrolet Corvette did not come with a V-8. Oldsmobile changed that by introducing the F88

The story of the Chevrolet Corvette started back in 1953, with the introduction of the C1. Although America’s sports car is known for its potent V-8 engines, the earliest production examples started with the anemic Blue Flame – a 3.9-liter (235 cu in) inline-six that made 150 horsepower and 223 pound-feet (302 Nm). And while, eventually, they put a V-8 in it, it was Oldsmobile that beat Chevrolet to it by making their own version of the Corvette called the Oldsmobile F-88.

You would be right to think that GM would never allow that, except somehow, it slipped past the executives. Initially, it was believed that this was a single prototype that never saw production. But an editor from Hemmings actually did some digging a while back, discovering that no less than eight of these C1 Corvette-based Oldsmobiles were commissioned.

While the Oldsmobile F-88 was visually similar to the C1 Corvette, it packed Oldsmobile’s very own Super 88, 5.3-liter (324 cu in) V-8 with a four-barrel carburetor, rated 270 horsepower – 120 more than the C1 Corvette’s Blue Flame engine. The Olds V-8 was mated to a four-speed Hydra-Matic (automatic0 transmission and featured a 3.55:1 Corvette rear axle.

The Oldsmobile F88 Is What The C1 Corvette Should Have Been From The Start
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Although not all of the cars were completed, at least three fully functioning examples made it. One of them was a bright-colored example with a dark stripe that, according to a Hemmings investigation, found itself in the hands of Bill Dobbins – at the time manager of a used car dealership called Velie Olds, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

No one can definitely say how many cars are still roaming around. What was believed to be the only one is displayed at the Gateway Colorado Automobile Museum, while another example, reportedly, met a grim end, during a fire. Back in 2005, the same Oldsmobile F-88 that’s displayed in the Gateway Museum, in Colorado, was acquired by Discovery Channel founder, John S. Hendricks through a Barrett Jackson auction. The car was auctioned off for $3,240,000.

Dim Angelov
Dim Angelov
Born in 1992, I come from a family of motoring enthusiasts. My passion for cars was awoken at the age of six, when I saw a Lamborghini Diablo SV in a magazine. After high school I earned a master’s degree in marketing and a Master of Arts in Media and Communications. Over the years, I’ve practiced and become skilled in precision driving and to date have test driven more than 250 cars across the globe. Over the years, I’ve picked up basic mechanical knowledge and have even taken part in the restoration of a 1964 Jaguar E-Type and an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. Lately, I’ve taken a fancy to automotive photography, and while modern cars are my primary passion, I also have a love for Asian Martial Arts, swimming, war history, craft beer, historical weapons, and car restoration. In time, I plan my own classic car restoration and hope to earn my racing certificate, after which I expect to establish my own racing team.  Read full bio
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