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Mario's Tribute to 1954 Olds F-88 XP20

1954 Olds F-88 Concept Car

1954 Olds F-88 XP20 GM Concept Car.

The XP20 project was a pet project of Harley Earl (working with him was Bill Mitchell, Ken Pickering, Zora Duntov).

Four cars came out of the XP20 project, but only this car survived.

The F-88 was built on a Corvette chassis, and was an attempt to create a similar high performance fiberglass body roadster, but with Olds styling.

Harley Earl invented the annual model change over, the concept car and put swagger and some Hollywood panache into a staid industry.

The Survivor F-88 was powered by a souped up Olds Super 88 engine 324ci V8, with four barrel carb 270 hp.

The 1954 Olds F-88 is using the Corvette chassis and the body is made from fiberglass just like the Corvette.

GM “killed” this beautiful Olds classic to promote the new six-cylinder Corvette.

Bucket seats, console, 4 speed automatic, power steering, power brakes, power windows, power top.

Rear speaker mounted between the leather bucket seats.

The interior was very modern for 1954 with true leather bucket seats.

An electric folding top in a convertible sports car was unheard of in 1954, a hidden one was even more so.

The rear on the F-88 was a bit over the top. Note the hide away electric top.

Miss Armed Forces USA and F-86 Sabre USAF Fighter Jet with the F-88.

The F-88 at a GM Motorama show.

The F-88 at a GM Motorama show.

The F-88 at a GM Motorama show.

The F-88 at a GM Motorama show.

The F-88 at a GM Motorama show.

The F-88 at a GM Motorama show.

To prove how close to production the car was note the Interior color choices brochure that was handed out at auto shows where the F-88 was displayed.

F-88 Color Sales Brochure. "Rocket Power in the Jet Age" was the theme.

The original surviving F-88 was sold to a private collector at a Barrett Jackson Auction in 2005 for $3,240,000.

On tour at a GM Motorama show.

This engine sported two 4 barrel carbs, ultra high compression and a hot cam.

There were 4 F-88's built with some differences and only one survives today.

Engineering photo with the top up. Still a handsome piece.

The power is transferred via four speed Hydra Matic transmission to a 3.55 Corvette rear axle.

This production shot shows that the buckets had side bolsters, something few race cars even had back then.

Curved windshield.

The instruments were center stacked anticipating right and left hand drive.

The center stack in more detail, with a clock, tach, and full gauges.

This picture shows the original door panel, with the ash tray not quite finished and the glove box open.

The cover on the Motorama brochure shows the car off well. It was a stunner.

The trunk was fully functional and the spare tire was uniquely stowed giving more usable space.


Video and audio clips

1954 GM Motorama


1954 GM Motorama


1955 GM Motorama


1954 Olds F-88


1954 Olds F-88


Documenting Harley Earl/GM's '54 Olds concept car


Harley Earl - GM Designer Extraordinaire


1954 F-88 Concept Car by Oldsmobile



Related

More Cars of the 1950s
More Olds Coverage

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Comments

Mario on Jun 15, 2021 said:

Another great looking GM Concept Car, the 1954 Olds F-88 XP20 from the studios of Harley Earl and his Team.

The front end is all Oldsmobile in a smaller scale but the rear end is the new Corvette with tail lights and styling.

This is a beautiful car well engineered and years ahead of its time.

The Center mounted instruments was a novel idea for left or right hand drive although I think it would be difficult to read them while driving.

Still it's a survivor today and with such a high price tag, I'm sure it will be kept safe and be around a long time.

[Reply to this comment]

azmusclecar on Jun 22, 2021 said:

Hey Mario...I keep looking and looking and looking..and it looks like a Corvette and an Oldsmobile conceived a child. The front, all OLDS. But the rear doesn't work on this. The rounded front hood and then a dramatic change in angles and confusing add ons. Not GM's best work. It's hard to find anything thet truly flows in this design both in and out. Just my 2 cents. Keep up the great work Mario.

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Jun 23, 2021 said:

It's like 2 cars in one Rob! The 2 separate cars front and back have their own characteristics which is why I think the designers did this.

The concept cars were toured and seen at the GM Motoramas and they were looking for the public's reaction.

They probably heard exactly what you said and the stylists had a reference point to go on. I can only imagine the comments made on the various styling ideas.

Thanks for your input, Mario

[Reply to this comment]

Anonymous on Jun 27, 2021 said:

The styling! The color! Just perfect! I wish somebody repro'd these- it wouldn't matter if it had a modern, small block. Just to BE SEEN in it!

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Jul 1, 2021 said:

Thank you for your comments.

Olds was serious when developing this car since they produced 4 prototypes! That's unheard of back then.

Unfortunately only 1 survives today sold by Barret Jackson in 2005 for $3.2 mil to a private collector.

Olds in front and Corvette in back but a real sharp looking roadster! Cheers, Mario

[Reply to this comment]


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