SOLD: 1953 Oldsmobile Fiesta Convertible

Details

170bhp, 303.7 cu. in. Rocket overhead valve V8 engine, four-speed automatic transmission, independent front coil spring suspension, live rear axle, power-assisted four-wheel drum brakes. 

Oldsmobile entered the 1950s with strong momentum, thanks to advancements in styling and engineering that pre-empted the competition. While the new-for-1949 Oldsmobiles carried the exciting, aircraft-inspired styling of Harley Earl’s Art & Color staff, the real thunder was created with the release of the “Rocket” V8 engine. Oldsmobile posted sales of over 288,000 automobiles for 1949, an impressive increase of 67 percent over 1948. Moreover, even after the entire new car market dipped in 1950, Oldsmobile continued to post strong sales results. Racing victories, including first place in the inaugural Mexican Road Race, translated into sales success in the showroom. 

By 1953, total Oldsmobile production amounted to 334,462 units, placing the GM Division to sixth place overall in the sales race that year. While the famous Hudson Hornets of 1952-54 proved troublesome on the racetrack, Oldsmobiles remained competitive, and began to overwhelm the competition, capturing nine NASCAR victories in 1953. Most notably, the famed Buck Baker won the Southern 500 and Bob Pronger set a new record with a 113.38 mile-per-hour run in the flying mile in an Olds 88 two-door sedan at Daytona. 

However grand these achievements may be, the Fiesta eclipses them, as it was the most luxurious and powerful model offered by Oldsmobile by 1953. Originally created for the auto show circuit in 1952, the Fiesta was shown across the country as part of the GM Motorama road show, to enthusiastic reviews. It was clearly a styling preview for the next generation of Oldsmobile’s lineup, with its wraparound “panoramic” windshield and other soon-to-be-trademarked Oldsmobile design elements. While at first glance the Fiesta appears to be a regular 1953 Oldsmobile, many differences distinguish it from the normal Olds 98 ragtop. 

The production car, priced at $5,715, carried an impressive list of standard features, many of which were previously unavailable. Features included power steering, power brakes, super deluxe radio, heater/defroster, whitewall tires, backup lights, hydraulic servos for windows and seats, and the Autronic Eye that automatically controlled operation of the headlights. The custom leather interior was matched with a shiny black or natural Orlon convertible top. Exterior trim included the soon-to-be-famous “spinner” hubcaps, which proved very attractive and popular. In fact, this adornment was extensively copied and reproduced, and became sought-after items for many period hot rods and customs as well. The top Oldsmobile engine powered the 1953 Fiesta; the 303.7 cubic inch “Rocket” V8 powerplant, backed by the smooth-shifting Hydra-Matic transmission. Interestingly, this engine incorporated engineering advancements of the World War II years, and was built from the outset with higher compression ratios in mind. However, gasoline quality did not improve as anticipated, and compression remained lower at 8.3:1 for several more years. For 1953, a larger carburetor and air cleaner were added to the “Rocket”, helping it produce 170 horsepower. More importantly, this engine delivered a strong torque curve, boosting acceleration. 

We are extremely pleased to present this beautiful, blue-on-white Fiesta. The recipient of an older, high-quality restoration, it possesses very good paintwork, with a smooth surface finish and no apparent signs of exterior damage or imperfections. The eye-catching chrome and stainless steel trim is also observed to be in very nice condition, having aged very well, contributing a uniquely 1950s air of sophistication. The convertible top is white in color with a matching white canvas boot. The wraparound windshield is free of any obvious defects and appears to be a new and correct replacement unit. 

The roomy interior offers comfortable seating accommodations, functioning gauges, and a spectacular view of the car’s classy design. The upholstery is trimmed in two-tone blue and white leather. While the leather is exhibiting some signs of aging, these symptoms are not severe in nature, and rather reflect the patina of an older, quality restoration. The side panels, carpeting, and rear trim panels are all in good condition as well. Again, while some of the interior chrome does show slight indications of aging, the instruments are quite presentable. The steering wheel, which appears to have been restored and refinished, is in good condition, along with the blue padded dash. 

The detailed engine compartment reveals the “Rocket” V8 displayed in Oldsmobile green, while the various other components are refinished in black. Although the engine bay does exhibit some signs of road use, it remains in presentable overall condition. While the floor pans have been undercoated, the undercarriage is effectively unrestored. 

The Fiesta is equipped with all of the original standard features, including Hydra-Matic transmission, power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seat, factory clock and radio, factory windshield washers, and twin mirrors. It is also adorned with rear fender skirts and a continental kit, further accentuating the style and length of this dream machine. 

Mr. Davis is an astute collector who is well known for the fit running order, maintenance, and drivability of the vehicles in his collection. This 1953 Oldsmobile Fiesta is no exception. As a collector who drives and enjoys his vehicles as intended, Mr. Davis describes this Fiesta as “Just a fabulous running/driving car.” 

This historic automobile represents one of a mere 458 examples built, of which there is estimated to be less than 50 and some believe as few as 30 examples remaining in existence.