Oldsmobile Fiesta Convertible
General Motors’ 1953 Motorama exhibit was headlined by four dramatic show cars: the Chevrolet Corvette and three futuristic convertibles from Cadillac, Buick and Oldsmobile. The Corvette, of course, was ready for primetime and was ushered into production within months as America’s first fiberglass-bodied sports car. Fifty-eight years and six generations later, it’s still in the catalog. Cadillac’s Eldorado begat a long line of special Cadillac series by that name, while Buick’s Skylark, the only one of the three without a wrap-around windshield, had a short run before the name was co-opted for a succession of entry-level models. Oldsmobile’s Motorama car was called “Fiesta,” and a festival it became.
Based on the 98 series convertible, the Fiesta boasted the wrap-around windshield, which was being consumer-tested for 1954. Unlike the Eldorado and Skylark, the Fiesta had regular body contours, but it was loaded with virtually every factory option, save for air conditioning, which at the time was considered superfluous on a convertible.
The Fiesta had a number of trim features not seen on other cars. Instead of using conventional vent windows on the doors, Olds gave the car frameless wind wings. The trunk had special trim, and all Fiestas had Hydra-Matic transmission, power steering, brakes, Super Deluxe radio, heater and defroster, Autronic Eye headlight dimmer, backup lights and whitewall tires. There were initially just four color combinations: solid black, solid white, Noel Green with Nile Green, and Surf Blue with Teal Blue. Interiors were either light green, light blue or black buffed leather, trimmed with ivory leather. Although the engine was Olds’ regular 303-cubic inch Rocket V-8, the Fiesta had 8.3:1 compression and a single Rochester 4GC carburetor, developing 170 bhp.
Additional color combinations were added to the catalog later in the year. At year’s end, 458 Fiestas had been built. Unlike the Eldorado or Skylark, both of which continued into 1954, that was it. There was no corresponding Oldsmobile model for 1954, but the name returned in 1957 on a station wagon.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in July of 2011 at The Inn at St. John's, Plymouth, Michigan and in January of 2012 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona.
165 bhp, 303 cu. in. overhead valve V-8 engine, four-speed Hydra-Matic transmission, coil spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 124"
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel