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In the Garage: 1941 Oldsmobile Club
THE CAR AND ITS OWNER
1941 Oldsmobile Club Sedan owned by Paul Jacobs
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
In 1941, car buyers wanting a change from the stodgy designs of the day could opt for this swoopy Olds Club Sedan, a new fastback style also sold by Pontiac, Buick, Cadillac and, later, Chevrolet. This was the second year for General Motors’ pioneering “Hydramatic” automatic transmission, “a $57 option only in Olds and Cadillac,” according to Jacobs. His Hydramatic is powered by a six-cylinder, 238-cubic-inch engine putting out 100 horsepower. “The early design of the Hydramatic transmission is primitive by modern standards because it lacks a torque converter,” he says. “It functions entirely by action of a fluid coupling. This means that you have to let the car sit a while when it’s started after a long rest and ‘rev’ the engine a little to work the transmission fluid up into the coupling assembly before driving away.”
HOW LONG HE’S OWNED IT
WHERE HE FOUND IT
Jacobs, the Olds’ fourth owner, bought it during a Portland, Maine vacation. “The car had the original bill of sale and registration forms, including the 1941 Maine license plate and the manufacturer’s tag tied to the clock in the glove compartment,” he says.
“The car is basically original,” he says. “The second owner, after ‘awakening’ it from its nineteen-year slumber in a barn, had a valve job done and the transmission rebuilt. He also had the car repainted from its original black to ‘Garnet Red,’ an authentic 1941 Olds color.” Jacobs and others restored or replaced multiple parts and the interior was professionally redone. “I’ve reached the point,” he says, “where the car needs very little maintenance other than basic oil changes, lube, infrequent coolant and brake fluid flush, brake shoe adjustment, and spark plug and point cleaning.”
TIPS FOR OWNERS
“Don’t even think about owning an old car unless you have an original shop manual and a master parts list for chassis and body,” Jacobs advises. “It helps to have a garage to get the car into a more protective surrounding.”
“I believe a fair resale value of the car in its current condition is about $12,000,” he says. “I have the original bill of sale from July 1941, which listed it at $1,222 including options.”
THE BOTTOM LINE
“I always wanted to own an antique car, something from the ‘40s or ‘50s, which were car models that I recall being on the road when I got into my teens in the ‘50s,” Jacobs says of the Olds. “I loved the big, wing-like front fenders, the long hood, the ‘fastback’ silhouette and the art deco style of the dashboard and front grill. It’s certainly far from being a concours d’elegance restoration, but -- warts and all -- it’s a terrific relic of the pre-war era and a great example of automotive history.”