This old photo, bought from the US a few years ago, has been sat in my "unidentified" car photo pile for some time now. A flick through a recent book purchase identified it though, finally, as a 1937 Oldsmobile. With that snippet of information to hand, an online search narrowed it down to being an example of Oldsmobile 8 4-door Touring Sedan. For anyone wishing to identify American cars, I can recommend the book in question - the modestly-titled "Monstrous American Car Spotter's Guide 1920-1980", a heavyweight publication comprising 1000+ pages of car images and accompanying notes. A very large book for (typically) very large cars.
There are no notes with this photo, so who the mum (?) and young lad are isn't known unfortunately. Nor is the location either, which is a shame as it'd be interesting to find out more about the used car lot that can be seen in the background.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
This year's cars were billed as "The Cars that have Everything for 1937", and "Best Looking Cars of the Year!". Two principle versions were offered - a "six" (code F37) and an "eight" (the L37), available as two- or four-door Sedans, Club Coupe, Business Coupe, or Convertible Coupe. They featured Fisher-built bodies, incorporating No Draft Ventilation, safety glass all round, hydraulic brakes, and "dual-ride stabilizers" (anti-roll bars). Asking price for the 110bhp 257 cubic inch Eight was $785, or $685 for the 95bhp six-cylinder version which used slightly different front-end panelwork, to differentiate it from the straight-eight model.
Accessories designed to tempt the aspiring Oldsmobile owner included the smart "Standard" and "Deluxe" radio options, two different types of heater, dual windshield defrosters, and tailored seat covers. Much more unusual though were the customised hood, or bonnet, badges that were offered. Basically, you could have chrome letters to match your initials, fitted to either side of the bonnet, to make your Olds truly personalised. The car shown above doesn't appear to be thus adorned.
Oldsmobile celebrate their 40th anniversary.
1937 saw the Oldsmobile company celebrating its 40th birthday. Because of this, and to promote the new-for-1937 range, the following promotional film - titled "Follow The Leader" - was produced. It sheds a useful light on the thought that went into the car's design, and the tests that prototypes underwent.
Hopefully a few more in-period photos of Oldsmobile 8s will turn up, describing the other styles of body that were on offer at the time. A number of other models produced by the company at different points in time, can be found in this section of the site. A photo of a 1939-season car can be found here as an example.