1959 Oldsmobile F-88 Mark III

Chevrolet, which produced more GM products than other divisions, convinced GM's board of directors to cut the Olds project so the F-88 never went into production. Harley Earl was stunned, and commissioned a red F-88 for himself as a sign of dissatisfaction with the decision - and began driving it as his personal car.

Later, he took the '59 as his personal car (known as Mr.Earl's Private Rocket) when he retired, and he drove it until his death in 1969. The car was returned to GM and ordered to be destroyed sometime in the mid-70s.

This car had a retractable hardtop, a 6 speed transmission which was actually a 3 speed Hydra-Matic with overdrive. The trans was frame mounted at the rear with swing axles. It had fuel injection, but apparently was troublesome and was refitted with a carburetor and a different transmission later in its life.

Bright red with a brushed aluminum retractable hardtop, this low, sleek two-seater was Earl’s design swan song. Its 102 inch wheelbase carried a combination fiberglass and steel body, and it stood only forty-six inches high. Inside were bucket seats and aircraft-type instruments featuring rotating disc-type tachometer and speedometer, color-coded according to range.

To obtain a very low hood, there was a special carburetor arrangement and an altered-from-stock crossflow aluminum radiator. The muffler / exhaust system was mounted ahead of the engine, exiting forward of the front wheels; an experimental Hydra-matic was mounted in the rear to improve weight distribution. Harley Earl drove the Mark III for a while during his retirement.

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