The 1926 Oldsmobile is a true survivor from an era long gone

A vintage Olds is on display right here in Hemet

Courtesy of VIP Autos
A 1926 Olds is the centerpiece of VIP Autos’ Hemet showroom.

■ By Richard Perry / Contributed

Greetings from the Hemet Car Guy,
When I was a kid in school, history was my favorite subject. That’s probably another reason I like historical cars so much.
VIP Autos is fortunate enough to have a 1926 Oldsmobile on the showroom floor, a true survivor from an era long gone. It’s as authentic as the day is long. This got me thinking that 91 years ago, in the 1920s, when the country was in the midst of the roaring 20’s and President Calvin Coolidge was in the White House, this Oldsmobile rolled off the assembly line in Lansing, Mich. It was one of 53,015 automobiles built that year by Oldsmobile, the company’s largest as of that 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.

Absorbs road punishment
The original brochure (we have a copy) says: “The ease with which the Oldsmobile Six absorbs road punishment is directly traceable to the exacting standards and precision of Oldsmobile’s manufacture. Soundly designed, accurately constructed, superbly capable of meeting every driving condition, here is a car, high in quality, low in price. Big, beautiful, staunch—powered by a motor of extraordinary performance capacity—it asks no favors and fears no road!”
The engine is a straight-six flathead displacing 185 cubic inches. The cast-iron engine has a single-barrel carburetor with 40 horsepower. It has a three-speed sliding gear manual gearbox that’s equipped with a dry clutch disc and a reversing gear that was typical for that era. The differential has a relatively low 5.1:1 gear ratio allowing it to climb up hills great—which was just fine for the roads back then. However, the most difficult daily challenge for drivers back then was stopping, as only the rear wheels have brakes.

Features wooden wheels
The Fisher-built all-steel body has a boxy shape, which is similar to many cars of that period. Noteworthy features include a front hood ornament containing a thermometer and wheels that are made of wood. When people visit our showroom, the wooden wheels are one of the things they are most likely to point out—usually with a smile.
I was told by an automobile historian that applying the exterior body paintwork was an intensive, highly laborious task due to the use of hand-applied nitrocellulose lacquer, best known as Duco. The original color of this car was a dark blue.
According to my automobile encyclopedia, 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. The DeLuxe models were decorated with two pinstripes, both on the main body and on the solid wheels. Gold was the primary color used for pinstriping—just like ours.
Stop on by our showroom and check it out!
Now, for a little quiz…

Who made the first car?
Karl Benz was the inventor of the automobile. He and his wife owned the factory, where he worked on a reliable gasoline powered, two-stroke engine. Benz created his two-stroke engine on New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, 1878.
Karl Benz was a real genius. He soon invented the ignition (using sparks from a battery, the spark plug, the carburetor, the clutch, the gear shift, and the water-filled radiator.
Benz began selling his vehicle (advertised as “Benz Patent Motorwagen”) in the late summer of 1888, making it the first commercially available automobile in history.

How many cars did Benz Manufacture in 1899?
After 10 years, Karl Benz grew his factory in Mannheim from 50 employees in 1889, to 430 employees in 1899. That year, his was the largest automobile company in the world.

How many cars did Benz produce in 1899?
A. 1,342
B. 572
C. 837
I’ll give you the answer in my next column.

Good Driving,
The Hemet Car Guy

Richard Perry of VIP Autos is The Hemet Car Guy. For more information, go to

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