1936 Oldsmobile Sport Coupe: My coffee and cream

Staff reports
Farm Forum

By 1936 Oldsmobile had been producing a wide variety of models for the better part of four decades. Among the more than 200,000 Oldsmobile cars manufactured in 1936 was an “F” series Sport Coupe with a rumble seat.

This particular 1936 Oldsmobile Sport Coupe had six previous owners who took good care of the vehicle through good times and bad. All six owners lived in Pennsylvania. Then, after a through restoration in 2014, the Oldsmobile was taken to an antique car show and put up for sale.

That is where Randy Denchfield first saw the beautifully restored three-window Oldsmobile Sport Coupe. Denchfield, has long been attracted to three window coupes regardless of pedigree.

A lengthy discussion with the owner took place inside the Oldsmobile because of a passing rain shower. Denchfield gave the owner a cash deposit. The next weekend Denchfield drove to Scranton, Pa., pulling a trailer. He claimed his 3,054-pound acquisition, becoming the seventh owner, and towed it home to Maryland.

Since he now has more time to thoroughly inspect his Oldsmobile Sport Coupe he has found no surprises, unpleasant or otherwise. He has learned that Oldsmobile built 2,838 cars like his, each one with a six-cylinder engine developing 95 horsepower. The advertised base price on such a vehicle was $739.

To help the engine breathe, both sides of the engine hood were ventilated with three sets of louvers. Mounted atop the engine is the oil bath air cleaner.

The sporty Oldsmobile rides on 6.50×16-inch white sidewall tires supporting the car on a 115-inch wheelbase. Each wheel is dressed up with trim rings.

Because this Oldsmobile is equipped with a rumble seat instead of a trunk, the spare tire is mounted vertically inside the cabin in a compartment behind the passenger seat. Behind the driver’s seat is another compartment where the jack and tools are stored. Both compartments are conveniently out of sight.

Oldsmobile designers addressed the lack of cargo space on this F series model by installing a luggage rack on the rear of the coupe, which can be folded close to the car when not in use. When the rack is in the horizontal position it can accommodate a small steamer trunk.

Both sides of the 1936 Olds have rubber covered running boards, but Denchfield finds that entering and exiting the cozy cabin is easier by stepping over the running board. Once inside the cabin the craftsmanship of the restorer is evident from top to bottom. Denchfield marvels at the attention to details.

Although the needle on the speedometer is ready to climb to 100 mph, Denchfield seriously doubts the car has ever come close to such a speed, “It won’t go over 60, I’m sure,” Denchfield says.

Steering the sport coupe requires some muscle and determination to turn the shoulder-wide banjo-spoke steering wheel. The task of stopping the Oldsmobile is made easier because it is equipped with hydraulic brakes. The three-speed manual transmission is shifted through the gears via the gear shift lever sprouting from the floor.

Inserting the key into the ignition slot on the dashboard is required, but that alone will not start the Oldsmobile. The starter, located above the accelerator pedal, must be stepped upon.

Ventilation is provided by the cowl ventilator and both doors also have enormous vent windows that can be cranked open to direct air into the cabin.

Not anywhere near the two-piece, 10-inch high windshield can a defroster vent be located. However, under the passenger side of the dashboard is a two-door heater. Located in the center of the dashboard near the ignition, cigarette lighter and throttle is the AM radio.

Regarding what he calls his “coffee and cream” colored Oldsmobile, Denchfield happily reports, “It looks as good underneath as on the top.”

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