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John Vincent 1954 Oldsmobile




Riley Collins from Chico, California created this 1954 Oldsmobile semi-custom. Jim Roten took the photos.

Riley Collins, had a body show in Chico California. Riley was a famous custom car builder, mostly in the Chico area, but he also created some customs that made it in the magazines.  His good friend, Jim Roten worked part-time with him in the shop. Jim was the designer of the team. And Riley the guy doing the actual metal work and paint. The Riley Collins Custom Car we are highlighting here is an 1954 Oldsmobile 88. It was originally built for John Vincent and later owned by Calvin Keeman. The car, classified as semi-custom, was subtile, but the team of Riley and Jim restyled it enough to make this car a show winner at many shows.

Riley smoothed the body, shaved the handles. At the front he installed 1953 Buick headlights and molded in the top grille bar. The bumper guards where removed and replaced with bullet units from a 1955 Cadillac. The opening was filled with a rectangular mesh chrome plated grille. In the later version some smaller bullets were added to it. At the rear the rear fenders were reshaped to accept 1954 Packard taillights. The back up lights were removed in the process as well. The car was painted maroon for the first edition. The lighter color on the top and above the side trim is unknown. In the later version the car was repainted in Candy Red. The photos below show to car in three different stages.
The photos were all taken by Jim Roten and come from his personal Collection. 

CCC-ron-vincent-54-olds-02-WThe 1954 Packard taillights make the rear of the Oldsmobile really interesting.

CCC-ron-vincent-54-olds-09-WTo get the car low the rear of the frame was z-ed.


CCC-ron-vincent-54-olds-06-WThis photo shows a small portion of the wonderful wide pleated interior done in two tone maroon. This photo shows the newly added lake pipes.


CCC-ron-vincent-54-olds-07-WOwner demonstrates how low the car is, especially with the new lake pipes installed. This photo gives us a good look at the Buick headlights and how great they look on this Oldsmobile.

CCC-ron-vincent-54-olds-05-WJohn Vincent’s ’54 Olds 88 at the 1956 Sacramento Autorama

CCC-ron-vincent-54-olds-03-WSome times later small scallops with bold white pin-striping was added to the car.

CCC-ron-vincent-54-olds-04-WSubtile scallops on the top of the rear fenders.


Rod & Custom Magazine featured the ’54 Oldsmobile in the March 1961 issue. By then the car was owned by Calvin Keeman. The car was now repainted in candy for the complete body. New for this version are the addition of Cruiser Skirts and the bullets on the mesh grille.




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Rik Hoving

Rik is the CCC editor in chief. As a custom car historian he is researching custom car history for many years. In 2004 he started the Custom Car Photo Archive that has become a place of joy for many custom car enthousiasts. Here at CCC Rik will bring you inspiring articles on the history of custom cars and builders. Like a true photo detective he will show us what's going on in all those amazing photos. He will write stories about everything you want to know in the realm of customizing. In daily life Rik is a Graphic Designer. He is married to the CCC webmaster and the father of a 10 year old son (they are both very happy with his excellent cooking skills)

2 thoughts on “John Vincent 1954 Oldsmobile

  • Riley’s shop put out some great cars, it’s good to see them get some publicity. Their cars are up in the same category as any of the more well known customizers, in my opinion.

    Jim Roten’s photos are great too! I couldn’t believe it a few years ago when all of them appeared on the Hamb. He really had some foresight to take those and KEEP THEM. I have heard about many (and talked to a few) people who were photographers who threw everything away. What a waste! Thanks Rik, I hope to see more of Riley’s work in the future.

  • I really like this custom . It has a lot more done to it then most of the cars that I like but it all just seems to flow together really well. Im not so crazy about the huge pleats on the seats but thats ok. 🙂 I know there were plenty of that type during that era.

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