When you spend the better part of a morning under the hood battling emissions equipment in a small car, it’s nice to think what life might be like with a large car that has no emissions equipment whatsoever, unless you count the exhaust system. No matter how cool, no modern car has the same visual impact as a prewar model with (nearly) separate fenders, a tall grill, and Rubenesque styling. And the fun thing with one of these that’s unrestored is it’s a bit like that grandma house on the block that hasn’t been on the market since the fifties – it’s a bit musty, and a bit dim, but you can just feel the past 60 years in its walls. With that, let’s take a look at this 1941 Oldsmobile Dynamic 78 for sale for $4500 in San Francisco, CA.
While the car is listed as being for sale in the Nob Hill neighborhood, the pictures clearly aren’t in an urban setting. All trim appears to be present, and that gorgeous art deco grill is a treat to look at. From this angle, the car appears as if it should have fender spats, but period advertising clearly shows plenty of 70-series cars without them.
While it’s not likely the paint is original, it’s definitely showing its age with a nice, evenly oxidized finish. Speaking of servicing difficulties, how do you actually reach the engine over those broad fenders? The rear bumper is also in decent shape, and shows art deco cues itself. The massive trunk and front and rear benches should handily accommodate a vacationing family. The car is said to have no rust or filler, and all trim is said to be present. The title is missing, but it seems unlikely anyone would steal this and expect to make enough money to offset the risk of being caught.
Styling carries through to this excellent grill, and while the steering wheel suffers from several cracks, the only other interior damage is to the driver’s seat base. The rest of the interior, including the headliner, is in remarkable condition for being 75 years old. Beyond that, the gauges and AM radio are also said to function. Take a breath, you can just smell that fine blend of old mohair, burnt hydrocarbons, and old rubber.
The 110hp straight eight, paired with an automatic transmission, is said to start and run just fine. The seller’s statement that “tires hold air” does not inspire confidence for anything more than getting it up on a flatbed, but at least you can move it around until you get something trustworthy. There are plenty of these for more money in shined up condition, but it’s lovely to see one of these as you might have seen it in used condition back in about 1955. Does pre-war simplicity and style appeal to you?