Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Olds Classic cools its wheels in Dubai

The Classic "Olds"
You probably know by now how hopeless I am with cars, that I don’t enjoy driving and I am not a good passenger either. But a Classic is something else!

This Classic beauty came to rest on Jumeirah Beach Road in Dubai recently. Always parked in the same spot, I’ve been passing it for a couple of weeks. I finally stopped, had a close look and took some pictures. That’s when I discovered it was an Oldsmobile “Ninety Eight.” A lot of reading followed.

Ransom E. Olds (via Wikipedia)
Oldsmobile, founded by Ransom E. Olds in 1897, was a brand of American cars produced for most of its existence by General Motors (GM). In 1901, the company produced 425 cars, making it the first high-volume gasoline-powered automobile manufacturer. In its 107-year history, it rolled out 35.2 million cars. When it was phased out in 2004, Oldsmobile was the oldest surviving American automobile trademark, and one of the oldest in the world, after Daimler and Peugeot. Oldsmobile's discontinuation presaged a larger consolidation of GM's brands during their bankruptcy reorganization in 2009.

Officially, the cars were called “Oldsmobile automobiles,” colloquially referred to as "Oldsmobiles," popularized in the lyrics and title of the 1905 hit song “My Merry Oldsmobile.”

The Oldsmobile “Ninety-Eight,” like the one on Jumeirah Beach Road, was a full-size automobile and the flagship of GM’s Oldsmobile division. The name first appeared in 1941 and was used again after American consumer automobile production resumed post World War II. As far as I could gather from my reading of different sites and comparing the Dubai Classic Oldsmobile with other models in pictures, my guess is that it probably dates to around 1959, although the model was introduced 10 years earlier.

In 1949, several months into the model year, GM launched three highly styled "hardtop convertible" coupés, the first of their type to be offered on a regular production basis. The Oldsmobile version, called “Holiday,” was exclusive to the “Ninety-Eight” series that year. Available in four special “Holiday” colors, as well as four two-tone combinations, like the Jumeirah Classic, it was priced the same as the convertible, and was similarly equipped, with hydraulically operated windows and seat. In 1950, for one year only, Oldsmobile added a four-door fastback to the lineup, which they called “Town Sedan."

In 1959, Oldsmobile models were completely redesigned with a rocket motif from front to rear, as the top of the front fenders had a chrome rocket, while the body-length fins were shaped as rocket exhausts that culminated in a fin-top taillight (concave on the “Ninety-Eight” models, but convex on the “Eight-Eight” models). This is probably one of them.

Is this the 1959 "Linear Look" model?
The 1959 models were marketed as the “Linear Look.” They featured a bar-graph speedometer that showed a green indicator through 35 miles per hour (56 km/h); changed to orange until 65 miles per hour (105 km/h); was red above that until the highest speed read by the speedometer, 120 miles per hour (190 km/h). Power windows were available on the “Ninety-Eight” models, as was two-speed electric windshield wipers with electrically powered windshield washers. The 1959 Oldsmobiles were offered with "Autronic Eye" (a dashboard-mounted automatic headlight dimmer) as well as factory-installed air-conditioning -- convenient for Dubai -- and power-operated front bench seat as available options.

Who owned this car before it landed in Dubai? Who were its previous owners? What stories does it have to tell? Who’s the current lucky driver? Maybe I’ll see him/her one day and stop to hear the story.

Enhanced by Zemanta