Nearly 100 years ago, just as the 1920s were in the midst of a roaring good time and President Calvin Coolidge was quietly going about his business in the White House, this Oldsmobile rolled off the assembly line in Lansing, Michigan. It was one of 53,015 automobiles built that year by Oldsmobile, the company's largest total to date.
Known as a Model 30-E four-door DeLuxe sedan, it was a well-built and well-engineered automobile; reliable, durable and affordable. Oldsmobile's slogan, "Beauty. Performance. Price. Not one, but all three," targeted those redeeming qualities, promoting everything that was special about these handsome, conservatively styled automobiles.
The engine is a straight-six flathead displacing 185 cubic inches. With a 27/8-inch bore fitted with cast-iron pistons and a rather long 43/4-inch stroke, the cast-iron engine is fed by a single-barrel Carter updraft carburetor that allows the small-displacement engine to develop 40 horsepower.
Forward motion is provided by a three-speed sliding gear manual gearbox that's equipped with a dry clutch disc and a reversing gear. And typical for the period, the differential has a relatively low 5.1:1 gear ratio, which was ideal for the non-Interstate roads back then. Perhaps the most difficult daily challenge for drivers back in the day was stopping, as only the rear wheels were fitted with brakes.
The Fisher-built all-steel body, whose boxy shape was similar to most other cars of that price range in that era, sits atop a separate steel-channel frame that has a wheelbase of 110.5 inches; semi-elliptic leaf springs were fitted front and rear. Wood artillery wheels were the standard , Tires are Firestone cord types, size 30 x 4.95; blackwalls, of course.Finishing the exterior body was an intense, highly laborious task due to the use of hand-applied nitrocellulose lacquer. This was also the year that Oldsmobile first offered two-tone painted bodies, in addition to black fenders, running boards, headlamp housings and upper body and roof. This DeLuxe models were decorated with two pinstripes, both on the main body and on the solid wheels; gold was the primary color used for the pinstriping.Other features included a rear trunk rack and accompanying black trunk, front and rear bumpers, an interior rearview mirror and a Boyce Moto-Meter with a red Oldsmobile insignia that sat atop the chrome-plated radiator surround. All these extras made the DeLuxe Oldsmobile's best-selling model for 1926 with 15,302 produced Period Oldsmobile-issued brochures state that the 1926 four-door sedan deluxe was priced new at $1,115.
it's a real treat for me to see the amazement on people's faces when they realize what they are looking at. It's always a "somewhere in time" moment.
The longest I have ever driven this Oldsmobile is approximately 5 miles and around the block a few times. It drives great from the little I have driven it and has a fairly tight turning radius, but the brakes and stopping ability are questionable, thanks to the two-wheel brakes.