With its futuristic styling and Rocket V8 engine, Oldsmobile was king of NASCAR (the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) in the early 1950s. The slogan this year makes reference to three things-a more powerful "Rocket" engine, more color choices both inside and out, and "exclusive flying color styling."
The more powerful engine seems to go without saying, as the mid-fifties were all about horsepower and who had the most. The 324 CID engine was boosted to 202 horsepower @ 4000 rpm in top form. Backing it up was the Hydra-Matic Super Drive automatic transmission. Dual exhaust would become available during the year, further boosting the performance and sound of the engine. Interiors continued the two round dial theme on the instrument panel, with a large horizontal trim piece worked in through the top half, housing the gauges and radio controls. The optional air conditioning system was moved to a location under the hood, meaning that the vents and ductwork were now located within and under the instrument panel. Large vents positioned at opposite ends of the dash delivered cooled or heated air to passengers. New leathers and fabrics in a wide array of hues and shades were becoming an Oldsmobile signature.
The "flying color" styling theme was best expressed in the side trim. A nearly full-length trim piece ran straight back from the top of the "swept-cut" front wheel opening (meaning, that the trailing edge flowed back gradually creating a sportier look) then stopped just aft of the rear wheel opening. From there it came back forward, gradually moving up, and then at the back side window, curved up to the beltline dip. A straight trim piece also came forward from the backup light bezel and ended just inches short of the main bodyside trim. Ninety-Eight 2-door models used a variation of the main trim that ended in front of the rear wheel opening. The "98" also used the "swept-cut" rear wheel opening styling. All other Oldsmobile models used a rear fender skirt shaped to make the rear wheel opening appear to be "swept-cut." A new 4-Door Holiday Hardtop model arrived mid-year in all three series with styling very similar to the 2-Door Hardtops.
New front styling included a combined bumper and grille setup that retained the over-arching upper grille that Olds had become known for, while the bumper reflected the theme, giving an oval opening which housed the horizontal bar. Oval pod style bumper guards were again used, but the center bar this year had actual block lettering affixed on top of the bar, instead of molded into it. Hooded headlamps, the Oldsmobile globe hood emblem, and a new Rocket styled hood ornament completed the new front end. All cars now used one-piece wraparound front and rear windows. Minimal changes were seen at the rear, consisting mostly of badge placement changes and revised taillamp and bumper design.