Meet the new Oldsmobiles for 1958, now with an exciting high-tech feature: the Trans-Portable Radio.
The special focus of this 1958 Oldsmobile spot is a short-lived General Motors feature called the Trans-Portable Radio. (Note GM’s distinctive rendering of an ordinary word, “transportable.”) This optional gadget was essentially a 10-transistor portable radio that nested within the car’s in-dash radio. The removable sub-unit included its own tuner, battery pack, and 3-inch speaker, allowing it to be operated separately from the car—for entertainment at picnics, at the beach, and so on. (Pontiac and Buick offered versions as well.) Trans-Portable Radio lasted only two years, ’58 and ’59, overrun almost overnight by the rapid advances in semiconductor technology. Soon, personal transistor radios of shirt-pocket size were everywhere, and they sold for far less than the expensive ($146) Delco in-car unit.
At Oldsmobile, 1958 will forever be known as the year of chrome. All five GM brands for ’58 were lavishly decked out with bright metal, Oldsmobile more than most. It was said that longtime Olds general manager Jack Wolfram, who ran the division from 1951 to 1964, had a special love of the stuff. From the base-model Dynamic 88 to the deluxe Ninety-Eight, all ’58 Oldsmobiles featured multiple chrome side spears running in both directions. And as we can see here, most of the instrument panel was dressed in shiny chrome as well. Grab your sunglasses and check out the video below.
Article courtesy of Mac's Motor City Garage.