1950 Olds Rocket Ship
For a lot of present day automotive enthusiasts, the current muscle car craze is totally related to those factory productions that began showing up in the early to mid-60s. There were the SS modes from Chevrolet, the Mopar Connection was being established, and Ford was changing the Pony Car.
Article and Photos By Michael A Marrs
    For a lot of present day automotive enthusiasts, the current muscle car craze is totally related to those factory productions that began showing up in the early to mid-60s.  There were the SS modes from Chevrolet, the Mopar Connection was being established, and Ford was changing the Pony Car.  However, using the current concept of big power in a lightweight package from Detroit, there are a lot of options that need to be considered.  Even the infamous Clyde Barrow understood the horsepower to weight ratio, as his first choice of a stolen getaway car was the new Ford V8s.  Heck, he even wrote a letter to the Ford Motor Company extolling the many attributes of their fine vehicle.
    Another consideration has to be the Oldsmobile Rockets with a performance level that brought factory Hot Rodding to a new level that even inspired its own song that is still being covered.  The ’49 and ’50 model year Oldsmobile was available in several factory options, but the muscle came from the momentous decision to put the 303 ci. engine out of the heavier ‘98’ under the hood of the ‘88’  –  a decision that changed the factory Hot Rod landscape.  Since then, the Olds has been raced, modified, restored, and customized, much like the 1950 model owned by Ronnie Herrera, of Beaumont, Texas.
    The Olds looks a lot like a factory car, but a closer look quickly shows the classic custom touches that have been subtly made to ‘change’ the factory look.  It is easy to look down the long bodylines that have received several layers of Brandywine, and appreciate the artistic efforts of the early designers.  The massive hood has been smoothed, filled, and then louvered in a custom touch that is also functional.  Getting past that first blush, it becomes easier to appreciate the remaining subtle changes, such as the shaved door handles that are not missed on the first look.  The radio antenna and head lights have been ever so slightly ‘frenched’, while the taillights have been upgraded to later model pieces from a ’56 Olds, and the rear bumper is a chopped down Cadillac piece.  Other additions to the lowered Rocket ship include a set of fender skits, and lake pipes that are in alignment with the factory chrome to bring the eye of the beholder back to the smooth lines of color.  
    To get the Olds down to the classic lowered levels, new technology in the form of an air suspension was installed, which allows the Olds to be very drivable on everyday streets.  The interior is classic Hot Rod show work, with a white leather material covering anything that is not Brandywine.  The seats are large and the white is impression, with the rear seat including the addition of a fold down armrest.  The door panels use the same Brandywine color scheme with the paint matching the exterior while leather covers the main sections of the door.  The headliner is also combination of white and Brandywine stripe scheme that even has the sun visors covered.   That same color scheme is carried over into the massive trunk that is completely finished in while leather, with the embossed trunk lid cover proclaiming the cars’ birth.  
    Under the hood there is plenty of classic hot rod chrome and polished brass in the finished engine compartment that is highly detailed.  The 303 ci engine came from the factory rated at 135-horsepower, which was very respectable due to the engines 7.25:1 compression ratio.  So while the engine remains close to factory, the engine has received a few upgrades such as the Mallory ignition system components.  The intake is a polished Edmunds twin carb setup that has a pair of polished carbs setting up top that helps the 303 get to the 195-horse range.  This is plenty of power to roll the wide whites tucked up under the fender skits, pushing the Rocket Ship to any of the many local cruise nights, and cars shows.  
For Ronnie, it is simply a matter of plugging a six disc set of cruise tunes into the changer mounted in the monster trunk, and watch the white lines roll by as the Rocket Ship does what it does best…

The dash has been upgraded with new gauges along with the custom white pleated seats, door panels, and even the Brandywine and white headliner.
-The massive body of the Olds has some very distinct lines that draw the eyes down the sides which have been been smoothed by shaving the door handles, installing a set of fender skirts, as well as french’n the headlights and radio antenna. The factory chrome seems to force a look from front to back, along with the chrome lake pipes that seem to be factory pieces as well.
-The suspension on the ’50 Olds relies on a Knee Action Rear air suspension setup that will allow the rolling height to be adjusted to get over the occasional speed bump.
-Originally coming from the factory rated at 135-horse power, the 303 Olds Rocket engine has been bumped a bit with the aid of a late model Mallory ignition system, aluminum intake, and dual carb setup that puts the power plant near the 195-horse mark.With plenty of hot rod chrome, polished brass, and aluminum, the highly detailed engine compartment is show car quality, yet the Olds does make many of the local car shows and cruise nights.
-While the custom cruises the local Hot Rod scene, the tunes flow from the six disc changer that is custom mounted in the fully finished trunk area which carries the same white leather and Brandywine color scheme.

Last comment posted Jan 11th, 2010
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