The 1937 Oldsmobile Business Coupe is a great looking automobile. Our featured Olds represents an excellent restoration.

Olds Motor Works Turned Out Automobiles in the 1890’s

olds business coupe
1937 Oldsmobile Business Coupe

A man named Ransom E. Olds along with financial partners began the Olds Motor Works in 1896.This was when Olds began selling his one cylinder four cycle Runabout. This was the curved dash Olds car which was produced all the way until 1904.

As a historical note, it is said that Ransom E. Olds actually turned out America’s first mass produced automobile. This was the Olds Dash built from 1901 to 1904. Most all of this happened prior to Henry Ford who turned out his first car in 1903. There is a difference however in what exactly was accomplished by both men.  The key here is that Ford assembled cars on a moving assembly line. The moving assembly line concept is what is credited to Ford. Ransom E. Olds turned out several cars, you could even say mass produced cars on an assembly line, however it was not on a moving assembly line where many more cars could be built and built faster.

Oldsmobile Brand Credited with Much Automotive Innovation

Although the Oldsmobile is no longer being produced, the brand is credited with introducing a lot of automotive firsts. The first all automatic transmission in 1938 is a good example. The Oldsmobile brand also introduced the first high compression V-8 engine in 1948. Oldsmobile history also mentions that the brand was the first to utilized chrome decorative parts. In 1974, Oldsmobile was the first U.S. automaker to offer air bags as an option. In essence, the brand had been around for a very long time and was credited with much automotive innovation. It can be debated whether GM did the right thing by discontinuing the brand. There is no doubt however that when they did, they killed an automotive icon.

The 1937 Oldsmobile

1937 oldsmobile specsThere were both styling and mechanical changes for the 1937 Oldsmobile. The bodies themselves were made of all steel. Both six and eight cylinder engines were offered and the eight had it’s horsepower increased by 10 to 110 HP.  The six and eight cylinder automobiles each had several different styling features that were unique to each car. The six-cylinder cars had a horizontal bar at the front while the eight cylinder cars had a cast grille with mesh. Another styling change for 1937 was a new dashboard layout.

Dimensions changed for 1937 where there was an overall height reduction of 3 inches. In 1937 Oldsmobile also offered a new ‘Automatic Safety Transmission‘ (a semi-automatic) as an $80 option for their eight cylinder cars. The automatic at first was not offered on the sixes. Another change which was an automotive first was that the shifting arm was located on the steering column rather than on the floor. This change was with the semi-automatic transmission and let the driver keep both of his or her hands on the steering wheel much longer than a floor shifter allowed.

1937 Oldsmobile Business Coupe Specifications

Available engines for the 1937 Oldsmobile included a 230 cubic inch straight six with 95 HP and a 257 cubic inch straight eight with 110 HP.

The standard transmission was a three-speed manual, synchronized in the top two gears, and controlled by a floor shifter. As mentioned above, there was a new option for the eight cylinder cars and later extended to sixes was the semiautomatic named the “Automatic Safety Transmission” with the steering column shifter.

Suspension was independent and coil-sprung up front and a solid axle supported by semielliptic leaf springs in back.

For 1937 Oldsmobile also moved the battery location from under the front seat to a space under the hood.

oldsmobile business coupe specificationsBrakes are four wheel hydraulic drums

Wheelbase for the coupe is 117.0 inches.

An interesting production note is that Sixes accounted for 77.5 percent of 1937 total Olds production of 206,086 units. The 1937 model year production numbers ended up being Oldsmobile’s best to date.

Additional Auto Museum Online articles can be found on the links below…

1930 Oldsmobile Deluxe

1937 Buick Special

Reference material for this article included…The Production Figure Book for U.S. Cars by author Jerry Heasley…Setting the Pace: Oldsmobile’s First 100 Years by Helen Jones Earley and James R. Walkinshaw..GM Oldsmobile Archives.

1937 Oldsmobile Business Coupe Collector Car
olds coupe photos
New dashboard design for 1937
Classic automobiles from the mid to late 30’s are generally popular collector vehicles especially when they’re sporting nice restorations such as the one featured in this article. When you attend local car shows you may also see later 1930’s Olds Coupes that have been modified into street rods.
At this date we are seeing restored 1937 Olds Business Coupes priced in the $30,000 to $35,000 range. Newer restoration, older restoration, originality, mileage are all going to drive asking prices.
(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)