When Ransom Eli Olds created Old Motor Company in 1897, it never dawned to him that the marque would become one of the oldest in the industry. It is just a shame that after a century-long run, General Motors pulled its plug in favor of Buick. Despite its demise, Americans continue to scout for Oldsmobile parts for their respective vehicles. We take a look back at how the marque evolved into one of GM\'s top brands during the golden age of American cars.
Beginnings in Detroit
The auto manufacturer was established in 1897 as the Olds Motors Company. Four years later, its first assembly was set up churning out 425 units assembled out of Oldsmobile parts. It exponentially increased to 4,000 units in 1903. In the succeeding years, the marque was able to come up with handful of vehicles and Oldsmobile auto parts like the Automatic Safety Transmission and the Rocket V8 engine. The Rocket became a favorite power plan among hot rodders that time. But it would only be a matter of time before newer V8s would challenge the status quo.
A preview of Olds\' Rocket engine
The Oldsmobile Rocket V8 engine was designed by Charles Kettering and first produced in 1949. It became the second mass-produced over head valve V8 engine following the Chevy 265 V8 that was produced from 1917 to 1919. As the hot rodding scene gained popularity, so did the demand for capable high-input blocks. Some engines from this particular Olds group are the Rocket, Rocket 88, Sky Rocket, Super Rocket, 4-4-2 Rocket, and Jetfire Rocket. These engines can usually be identified by the mark on their air cleaner housings.
By the 1950s, more V8 engines came into the picture. Under the General Motors umbrella, Buick introduced its Nailhead V8 in 1954 followed by a new Chevy V8 in the late \'50s. But the following decade paved the way for one of General Motors\' most celebrated engine: the small block 350 ci V8. Nevertheless, Oldsmobile performance parts allowed owners to keep up and stand their ground.
The Oldsmobile Cutlass and the 4-4-2
As the American automotive industry celebrated its golden age, a new breed of Detroit iron was about to tickle the fancy of the younger market of that time. Lo and behold, muscle cars made their way starting in the mid-60s. Ford showcased the Mustang and Torino, while Mopar introduced the Dodge Charger, Plymouth Road Runner, and Plymouth Barracuda. General Motors also had their answer. Chevrolet sped with the Chevelle; Pontiac roared with the GTO; Buick rumbled with the Skylark; and Oldsmobile peeled out with the Cutlass. GM did not stop from there as it motivated its marques to come up with performance trims of these models. This bolstered the muscle car era mantra of .there is no replacement for displacement..
In compliance with the mantra, Oldsmobile dropped in big engine blocks to power its machines. The most powerful among the Olds engines was its 455 ci V8. When fitted with a four-barrel carburetor, it was able to produce 390 horses and 500 ft lbs of torque. The only engine that rivaled that much power was Buick\'s Stage 1 455 V8 that produced higher figures. The Olds 455 found its way into the engine bay of the 4-4-2. It was the performance package of the Cutlass that meant to go against the Chevelle SS, GSX, and The Judge. Encountering one today complete with the classic Oldsmobile parts will sure be a treat.