1956 Oldsmobile Super 88
|Season||The Southern Stab|
|Air Date||August 24, 2015|
The 1956 Oldsmobile Super 88 is repressed sexuality.
[AUDIO FADE IN, MR. REGULAR:] *car starts, revs aggressively* The 1956 Oldsmobile Super 88 is repressed sexuality. --- INTRO SONG, THE ROMAN to the tune of ‘Can't Help Falling In Love’, Elvis Presley Car guys say, “Don’t be fools, drive stick”, But I can’t help loving this Oldsmobile. --- MONOLOGUE by MR REGULAR The ’56 Super 88 is so pent up, mechanically and aesthetically, it’s the perfect representation of 1950s American sexual frustration. In 1956, sex just wasn’t spoken of, and if you wanted anything other than hetero, missionary-matrimony with the lights off and the curtains drawn, and by that, I mean if your dick needed a pal… well, what could you do, ask somebody? Being gay was considered a mental disorder in the 50s. And the Civil Rights Act, that was twelve years away. [TEXT, WRONG FONT: 8 years away, my mistake] And so was Title 9, that was sixteen years away. Imagine… all of that bottled-up furious homosexuality swirling around in the minds of slick batchelors from sea to shining sea. Hurricane thoughts of hot cock, with a good amount of Catholic guilt thrown in for flavour. *door slams* Look at this car – the 1956 Oldsmobile Super 88 was a turning-point for Oldsmobile, because this was the year the car received the new-reworked ‘Rocket’ V8. The Rocket V8 was GM’s powerhouse, and in 1956, this 324 cubic-inch; overhead valve; high-comp pounder made a huge then and respectable even today 240 horsepower and a hair-pulling 350 pounds of torque. Also, in the same year, 1956, the US Interstate Highway Act was passed, this was the most important piece of legislation for American car culture because it created a new habitat in which American cars were to survive. [TEXT: Officially called the “Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956”] Big, wide highways; multiple lanes; high-speed straight-shots between major cities and states. No more farting around on those meandering US numbered highways, no, none of that – 50 miles per hour, no, we’re talking roads big enough, straight enough and smooth enough to handle 70, 75, 80 miles per hour for hour after bleeding hour. Think your Nancy straight-six with it’s reverse-flow head; single-barrel carb and wet-noodle compression can do that? No. No it can’t. [TEXT: No.] Say hello to the new alpha. The new evolution. And say hello to it’s heart – the Rocket 88, a yoked, ripped, sexy squatter for the new interstate order. If you had the Oldsmobile 88 with the Rocket 88 V8 in 1956, you were the king. And this car is the reason Americans love the V8. Yeah, we had it before with the Ford V8, going back to the whole ‘Gangster Era’ during Prohibition, but that was a flathead. Yeah, you can do some stuff with flatheads, but once you go to overhead valves…mmm. Once you embrace high-compression, yes. Because the V8 – or more specifically, the Rocket 88 – cemented V8s as the engine to have. You want to cruise at 65 miles an hour, and still be able to accelerate? This is what you need. Such a good name, too – Rocket 88, very masculine name, isn’t it? A car with this engine could pass anybody on the highway, and every man wanted this feeling. It was strange. It was new. It was passionate. And everybody wanted to be the king, so everybody ordered the Old Super 88 with the Rocket 88 engine, so much so, that people started calling this car the Rocket 88 instead of the Super 88. Austin’s Super 88 doesn’t have the original 324 Oldsmobile engine, he has a 350 cubic-inch engine from the 1975 Olds of the same family. He’s using an Edelbrock carb and a three-speed automatic. This Oldsmobile came with power brakes but no power steering – the manhole-cover-sized steering wheel is your power steering. --- LIVE, MR REGULAR AND OWNER [MR. REGULAR:] Already, I’m enjoying this… *Austin laughs* Any special starting procedure? [AUSTIN:] Tap the gas maybe twice and crank it over. *Mr. Regular does just that, but cranks it once* [AUSTIN:] One more time. Crank it, then give it some gas at the same time. *Engine starts, revs aggressively* [AUSTIN:] There you go. [MR. REGULAR:] Hoo! From - oh that – oh everything is metal, this is metal, that’s metal! *Austin knocks metal dash* [MR. REGULAR:] Drive, oh yeah, it chu-chunks. And it creeps…nicely… is this power steering or not? [AUSTIN:] No. [MR. REGULAR:] Now, aw. [AUSTIN:] It kinda offsets with the- [MR. REGULAR:] Big steering wheel. [AUSTIN:] Gives you enough room to muscle it down [MR REGULAR:] Ooh! --- MONOLOGUE by MR REGULAR: You also have self-cancelling turn signals and pillarless doors and windows. Originally, this Oldsmobile had vacuum-operated windshield wipers, but they were replaced with electric motors long ago, because UGGH! [TEXT: Anyone who thinks vacuum-operated windshield wipers are a good thing has their ass so stuffed full of Pebble Beach sand, that they think they really *OBLIQUE* are */OBLIQUE* a time-traveller from the year nineteen hundred and polio-rules!] Ah, and when you drive the Super 88, you are the man Jim Croce sung about in ‘Rapid Roy’. “I saw myself kicking off work at 5PM, climbing through the window of my 1956 Olds, because I’ve welded the doors shut, and I’m ready to tear it up on the dirt track!”, and as Jim would say, “Do a hundred mile an hour smiling at the camera with a toothpick in your mouth.” And in traffic… [TEXT: And when you drive it in modern-day traffic…] Oh, oh, I’m taking too long at this stop sight? (sic) Wh-what are you gonna do, honk at me? Ooh! Or maybe you have neck tattoos and a mushy brain and you’re gonna bump me from behind in your Dodge Durango – oh, oh, go ahead, yeah, run into me, I dare you! I have sixteen-gauge steel all around me, your Kit-Kat SUV will shatter! Oh, yeah, yeah, I’ll be dead, because of there’s no seat belts, head restraints, and the steering column will impale me, but, ha, your day will be ruined! This review was shot in North Carolina, and it had a lot of ground to make up, considering our previous experience in Fairfax, Virginia. We saw a guy almost die, and we had to drink irresponsible amounts of beer to make sense of the fragile nature of human existence, but back to the 1950s and butt-sex! [TEXT: Back to the 1950’s and buttsex] The ’56 Super 88 was drawn through the lens of someone completely horned out. Look at the face of this car, that’s the face of someone getting his behymen busted. [TEXT: “behymen” coined by Adam Carolla] Look at the delicate chrome lines on the Super 88’s dash – thin, sensitive, concentric, moving in, in, in, down, down, inward, inward to a puckered oval where information lies, and time stops. How long can you pass for straight? The exhaust pipes reek of carbon and gender. The seats, soft and forgiving with an outward appearance of Protestant contentment, at the same time, embracing the feminine yielding touch. Everything about the Super 88 was repressed sexuality! The sexual revolution was at least four years away, but Playboy Magazine started in 1953, and… [TEXT: and…] Once this car was safely on the road in 1957, Liberace sued the US tabloid Rag Confidential for trying to out him, in 1955, Little Richard recorded ‘Tutti Frutti’, and in 1957, the top five songs in the US were [text follows, title marked in quotes] number one, Elvis Presley, ‘Jailhouse Rock’, song about having fun in jail; number two, Paul Anka, ‘Diana’, a song about creeping; number three, Elvis Presley, ‘All Shook Up’, a song about being horny; number four, Jerry Lee Lewis, ‘Great Balls of Fire’, a song about vasocongestion; number five, Danny & The Juniors, ‘At The Hop’, a song about touching each other’s genitals while on the dance floor. The designer of this car tried to keep it together with all of these sex fumes growing around him, thicker and thicker and heavier and denser with each passing month, and he tried to draw straight lines, but his mind kept wandering, and he kept drawing ASSHOLES: the taillights are engorged red ASSHOLES; if you opted for no reverse lights, because reverse lights were safety options, not mandated yet, where the reverse lights would be are PLUGGED-UP ASSHOLES; and all these weeping chrome trim pieces, all they do is point towards SAID ASSHOLES. And then the designer drew an asshole on the front of the car, but then he remembered not to do that, so then he drew a line through the asshole! No, no assholes! [TEXT: NO ASSHOLES] But then he felt he felt sorry for the asshole and put stars in it, unknowingly drawing a Dragon Ball. And then, after all that, the project lead on the Super 88 had a horny level equal to or greater than the designer because he approved all these assholes! And the wheels too. Now imagine: a 1950s bachelor with bachelor disposable income, which means he could buy the Oldsmobile instead of the cheaper Chevy, but not quite the Cadillac. This bachelor has got McNamara parted hair; a start-shirt and a stiff collar. And he’s been going on dates with church girls but… he’s bored. He needs more. And he knows what he wants… but he can’t put it into words, or maybe he can, but it would be suicide to speak them, and there’s nothing he can do, and- and all those hot feelings and- and urges are locked up in Vault 101, and he’s- he’s looking for any outlet, so he gets into his ’56 Oldsmobile – the only thing he understands, and the only thing that understands him, with it’s 324 cubic-inch Rocket 88 engine with over 200 horsepower and even more torque – A HUNGRY ENGINE UNDER A BULGING HOOD, AND HE MERGES, BELLOWING ON AN ON-RAMP ON EISENHOWER’S AUTOBAHN, AND HE LIGHTS UP A CIGARETTE WITH A-WITH A LIGHTER THAT’S THOROUGHLY PROVIDED ABOVE THE IGNITION BARREL, AND WITH EXPOSED TEETH, THOSE EIGHT CYLINDERS, POUNDING AND PUSHING AND POUNDING AND PULLING HIM TO SOME FAR-OFF PLACE, BEYOND THE HORIZON…surely…where he can be free…where people will understand him…and there, surely it’s out there…Valhalla, shiny and chrome. --- LIVE, MR. REGULAR DRIVING WITH OWNER [MR. REGULAR:] Alright… turning radius… I’m gonna wait for that truck to go by… [AUSTIN:] Yeah, you… you need some time, you have to plan your turns in this thing, it’s…it’s not something to dodge the traffic with. [MR. REGULAR:] And I understand, the thing I like about driving this is that I already like that- people look upon you and understand… if you’re driving slow, there’s a reason. No one’s gonna honk at you, telling you to keep going – what are you gonna do, run into me? That’d be horrible for you, huh? [AUSTIN:] This… there’s that quote from Hitchhiker’s Guide at the very beginning, where he asked the main… the city councillor asked the main character, “Do you know how bad this truck is going to feel if it runs over you? [MR. REGULAR:] Yeah…absolutely nothing. Oh…squealing a little bit! *engine revs* [MR. REGULAR:] Oh… I’m making my way! Ha…I’m gripping the steering wheel harder than I think I am- and those finger lo- there’s finger grooves around the entire thing, so you get that little bit extra leverage. [AUSTIN:] Yeah, so you can easily grip it, then shift down… [unintelligible] [MR. REGULAR:] Over I go, good luck everybody! *laughter* --- OUTRO SONG by THE ROMAN Obey the signs for a while, Did 65 for a while, Then I caught you inside, Your clenched butt so tight, As I hit you with my Olds, Oh, I sped like hell, But please don’t tell, That I was driving… over you, Driving… over you, Oh I… couldn’t stop, Had a human engine swap, And now I’m driving… driving… driving… driving it all, Went so fast, with just a touch of the gas… And I was driving… ---