Oldsmobile's only off year in the 1950s was 1958. The nation was beginning to feel the results of its first significant post war recession, and all U.S automobile sales were off for the model year. However, Oldsmobile, Buick and Cadillac received a heavy-handed makeover of the 1957 GM designs. The Oldsmobile that emerged in 1958 bore little resemblance to the design of its forerunners; instead the car emerged as a large, over-decorated "chromemobile". Popular Mechanics automobile writer Tom McCahill liked the cars performance, but felt that the outside appeared to be designed by two separate studios, working without knowing what the other was up to. Up front, all 1958 Oldsmobiles received one of GM's heavily styled front fascias and quad-headlights. Streaking back from the edge of the headlights, was a broad belt of consisting of two strips on regular 88s, three strips on Super 88s, and three strips (top and bottom thin, inside thick on 98s) of chrome that ended in a point at mid-body.
But the bottom of the rear fender featured a thick stamping of a half tube that pointed forward, atop which was a chrome assembly of four horizontal chrome speed-lines that terminated into a vertical bar. The tail of the car featured massive vertical chrome taillight housings; two chrome stars were fitted to the trunklid. Ford styling consultant Alex Tremulis (designer of the 1948 Tucker Sedan) mocked the 1958 Oldsmobile by drawing cartoons of the car, and placing musical notes in the rear trim assembly. Another Detroit stylist employed by Ford bought a used 1958 Oldsmobile in the early 1960s, driving it daily to work; he had detached and rearranged the OLDSMOBILE lettering above the grille of the car to spell out SLOBMODEL as a reminder to himself and his co-workers of what "bad" auto design meant to their business.