The beginning of "Rythmic Ride"
By Rohan Russell
Its fair to say that 1939 was certainly a innovative year for Oldsmobile with the introduction of coil sprung rear suspension, column shift manual transmission and 2 new six cylinder models.
General Motors - Holden offered 2 models and 3 body styles of 1939 Oldsmobile here in Australia, these being the Sedan, Sloper Coupe and Sports Roadster on the shorter 115" wheelbase Series "60" chassis, and just a four door Sedan on the more expensive Series "70" (120" wheelbase) chassis.
The Sloper Coupe and Sports Roadster body, are particular scarce models today. Only one Roadster is known to exist from just 10 that were originally built. The Roadster largely shares the same body as the Chevrolet Master and Pontiac Roadsters, but regrettably with the exception of Holden body records and a Road Test by the NRMA printed in a Sydney paper, there appears to be no other official literature of the time showing reference to this body style.
The 1939 Series "60" Sloper coupe
The 70 series was the first of the two models made available in Australia and was released for sale in very early January of 1939. It was targeted at the increasing number of affluent business people looking for something a little more distinctive to perhaps their ageing Straight eight Olds .
(8 cylinder models were discontinued in Australia at the end of 1938)
By comparison to the more affordable "60" series, the series "70" sedan received many features such as wheel trim rings, clock, deluxe steering wheel, cigar lighter, larger 260 cubic inch engine (vs 213ci on the "60"), rear window roller blind and the more fashionable look of "no running boards". The "70" series sedan also became the platform from which all Australian Holden bodied Oldsmobiles thru to 1948 were based upon.
The "60" series which was released on February 13th 1939 was clearly the preferred option of most new Olds buyers. The price differential of £33 between the "60 & 70" Sedans in what was the entry period of World War 2 clearly impacted on sales of the "70", and whilst there may have been value for money in the "70", many could not afford it and opted for the "60".
The Price list for 1939 (not including sales tax) was as follows -
Series "60": Sedan £454, Sloper Coupe £436, Roadster £400
Series "70": Sedan £489,
Colour & Trim Combinations: *Indicates "Pearlecent" (metalic) paint
The 1939 series "60" sedan
Literature released by GM-H for 1939 was quite comprehensive, and included workshop manuals (US print) in both small and large format along with locally printed owners manual, full colour sales catalogue, price list, accessories catalogue and a variety of small sales leaflets.
Some of the literature for the Australian 1939 Olds
Back in the US, Oldsmobile offered a much larger range which included a series "80" & "90". Primarily these models had a much longer wheelbase and the eight cylinder engine. One or two American "Fisher" bodied vehicles made it to Australia, but regrettably it appears that most, if not all were 60 & 70 series models.
There are certainly a number of excellent examples of 1939 models being restored and returned to the Australian roads today.