1937 Oldsmobile L37 Convertible Sedan

This is the only Oldsmobile to have been recognized by the Classic Car Club of America as a Full Classic

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There was a time when neither Ford nor Chevrolet were America’s leading automobile producers. You have to go back to the dawn of the auto industry, but from 1903 to 1905, Oldsmobile was top dog. Rolling out of Lansing, the little single-cylinder, curved-dash runabout was touted as able to go the distance of 40 miles on one gallon of gas.

In 1897, Ransom E. Olds is credited with the first production automobile, making Oldsmobile the second oldest nameplate in America, behind Studebaker. Success often comes with change, and in 1904, Ransom Olds stepped aside from the company he pioneered to start a second venture in the automobile world called Reo-using his initials R.E.O. (That company built cars through 1936. Oldsmobile was purchased by General Motors in 1909, and was the oldest surviving American car company when it was killed by GM in 2004.)

It is no surprise that the popular Oldsmobile was exported all over the world. In some cases, such as this example, they received custom bodies by noted coachbuilders. This very elegant convertible sedan coachwork was constructed by Maltby of Folkestone, England. It is a one-off design and perhaps the only Oldsmobile chassis to be handled by the British company. It was sold new in England to a postal executive. Legend has it that the man found it necessary to remove bumpers in order to fit the lengthy car in his carriage house.

There are other features on this L37 Convertible Sedan that are unlike any other Oldsmobile in its day: It has a fully actuated hydraulic folding top and independent jacks that can be used to raise the car in the event of a flattened tire.

To date, this is the single Oldsmobile to have been recognized by the Classic Car Club of America as a Full Classic and would be an important addition to any collection.

Carl Bomstead

Carl Bomstead - SCM Senior Auction Analyst

Carl has been writing for SCM for 19 years. His first article appeared in the February 1997 issue, and at least one of his articles has appeared in every issue since. When he’s not writing, he serves as a National Director for the Classic Car Club of America and tends to his extensive collection of automobilia. He has been a judge at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for the past 20 years, and he also judges at Amelia Island and other major concours. An extensive number of collector cars have passed through his garage, and a 1947 Cadillac 62 Series convertible and a 1968 Intermeccanica Italia are current residents.

Posted in American