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Lot 118

1953 Oldsmobile Fiesta Convertible

  • Chassis no. 539M41972

Sold for $143,000

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"

- Offered from the Estate of Don Kizziar

- Prestige model introduced at 1953 Motorama

- One of less than 500 built

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 1953 Oldsmobile Fiesta was the recipient of a body-off restoration in 1990. The engine, transmission and all mechanical systems were rebuilt. It was judged at 985 points for First Place by the Oldsmobile Club of America at an Ohio national meet later that year. It was also selected to drive in the “Ring Around the Capital” event at the Olds Centennial Celebration in Lansing, Michigan in 1997. It achieved 999 points out of 1,000 in judging that was very in-depth, going so far as under-dashboard inspection.

Time has been kind to this Oldsmobile. The paint remains very good with minor cosmetic issues, and the brightwork, both chrome and stainless, are in very good condition as well. The interior shows only minor wear and discoloration, and the top similarly has only slight discoloration from age. The car’s odometer reads 89 miles, likely the distance traveled since restoration. No doubt the hardest to find of the Motorama triumvirate, the Oldsmobile Fiesta remains the most desirable in the eyes of many collectors today.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

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Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

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Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

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David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

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Michael Squire

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Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

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As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

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With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

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Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

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Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more