Custom Car Chronicle
Lost & Found

58 Oldsmobile Starfire


Chuck Layman created his Starfire Oldmobile Custom in 1961. He last saw it in 1965, and is now wondering what ever happened to it after 1965.

Chuck Layman from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania recently had a nice conversation with our friend David E. Zivot. They were talking about the local Custom Car scene, and Chuck mentioned that he owned a 1958 Oldsmobile mild Custom back in the early 1960’s. Chuck was really fond of the Olds, which he named “Starfire” and mentioned that he lost track of the car in 1965, two years after he had sold the car. He now is trying to find out more about what happened to his car after 1965, when he last saw it in Maryland. Hopefully somebody here on the CCC will recognize the car, and can help Chuck find out more about the car, or even better let him know where the car might be today.
Chuck Layman is the brother of Bill Layman, who, among many other things, restored the Barris Kustoms built Fred Rowe 1951 Mercury.

The story

In 1961, when Chuck Layman got out of the service he went looking for a real nice car to customize. He originally had a’57 Olds rag top in mind… However when he visited Walker Pontiac in Pittsburgh, he spotted a real cherry 1958 Olds “98” convertible that was loaded!… factory tri-power, air suspension, trans-portable (walk away) radio, power seats, power windows, etc. He decided that this car, which was in a very good condition, was going to be he new Custom Car. He started to work on the car tight way, he de-chromed the body mildly, and made sure the body was super straight before he took it to Nick Hartman’s Auto Body in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania for 20 coats of hand rubbed dark blue lacquer.

ccc-58-buick-starfire-04Chuck’s Oldsmobile’s highlight was the wonderful hand rubbed paint job and really nicely done interior. He won several big awards with the car, including this very impressive one at a 1962 Pittsburgh civic arena car show.

ccc-58-buick-starfire-01Chuck’s ’58 Oldsmobile “98” convertible looked stunning with its custom paint pin-striping on the hood and truck and a super sharp interior.

ccc-58-buick-starfire-05Local outdoor car show shows the car with more trophies and the set of gas, water and oil cans Chuck created to fit with the car. Matching tools and cans were the big rage in the early 1960’s.

Chuck created a special console under the dash for a 45 rpm record player, and also re-located the power window switches to the new console. He then had Art Meyers Custom Upholstery, also from Pittsburgh, do the interior in Dark blue nylon frieze & white naugahyde upholstery. They also did the floor in nylon frieze carpeting with a special foom padding. The brake & accelerator pedal received some special upholstered covers as well. Art also created a set of pleated wheel-well-covers which Chuck installed when he entered the car at a show. Chuck had all the interior window moldings chrome plated and installed twin blue Stewart & Warner gauges.

ccc-58-buick-starfire-06Beautiful interior in dark blue frieze and white naugahyde tuck & roll. This photo also gives us a bit better view at the console under the dash in front of the front seat.

ccc-58-buick-starfire-07Art Meyers Custom Upholstery shop was responsible for the upholstery including the gas and brake pedals, the dash and the sun-visors.

ccc-58-buick-starfire-08Two-Tone Angel hair display with matching tools and gas and water cans. 

ccc-58-buick-starfire-03Even thought the photo is dated ’67, it was actually taken a few years prior to that. Chuck’s Oldsmobile with the Hostess of the show.

ccc-58-buick-starfire-02Chuck had a nice show sign created for the Oldsmobile.

At one show, where he won the 1st place trophy, George Barris had set up his camera and tripod and was diligently taking numerous and detailed photos of the interior. This was more than likely the 1962 Pittsburgh civic arena car show. Chuck never found out if any of these photos have been published or not.
Bill sold the car in 1963 when an offer was just too generous. Two years after he had sold the car he saw the car for the last time at a local car show in 1965 in Maryland. He is not sure if the car stayed in Maryland after that, it could also still be located in PA. Check remembers that the new owner in 1963, removed the factory air suspension. After that, he has no idea what happened to his Olds, and he very much likes to know. Please let us know if anybody knows more about Chuck’s old car, email Rik, and we will forward the information to Chuck.

Special thanks to Chuck Layman and David E. Zivot for sharing the story.

(This article is made possible by)







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)

3 thoughts on “58 Oldsmobile Starfire

  • The ’58 Olds was rarely customized, but this convert looks great! The upholstery and the show displays really capture that early sixties show car vibe. Hope he finds it.

  • its true i never seen a 58 like this one kustomized before, this is the first i seen its beautiful me too hope he finds it,

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