Note: The following story is excerpted from the February 2019 issue of Collectible cars Journal
The 1942 Oldsmobile flyer claimed that the cars were “Beautiful. . . Better stretching. . . Built better than any old cell phone in forty-four years. ” Beating “B” in “better” and 44 years, all 1942 Olds wore B-44 badges. This ’42 Series 66 Special’ owned by Dave and June Simon of Gardena, California, affirms Olds’ pride in quality and durability. The coupe club has gone 76,000 miles and is mostly original. It has been repainted in its original Metallic Mist Blue, although the engine bay and trunk remain the same factory paint. The bedford interior in woven fabric and tan ribbed canvas is original.
Dave Simon says he loves driving the Olds and it’s “a nice, simple car.” As a six-cylinder member of the Special Sixty line, it was dubbed the 66. (A Series 68 inline was a less common choice for Specials.) Plus, the original owner didn’t. overtakes Oldsmobile’s popular Hydra-Matic automatic. transmission in favor of the standard three-speed manual. The only options on this car are fog lights and a package that includes a luxury instrument cluster, instrument cluster and steering wheel, glovebox lights and hood trim. It lacks a fireplace and radio. A basic coupe would have been a common sight in the Forties and this Olds appeared in movies set in the Forties like Aviator told the story of Howard Hughes. Today, it can be seen at Cornwell and Sheridan Motor Cars in Gardena.
For 1942, Oldsmobile updated the design for 1941 with a new front fascia, featuring a “Double-Duty” bumper with an upper bumper supported by longitudinal bumper guards. The rather busy grille was designed by Roy Brown, who later designed the front end of the 1958 Edsel. In common with most 1942 General Motors vehicles, the front fenders were extended back to the front doors. This is a more modern look that will serve Oldsmobile well in the post-war years when the ’42 design returns with the addition of a much cleaner grille.
The old tram rides on a sturdy X-braced frame with coil springs at each corner. Up front is GM’s “Knee-Action” independent suspension. Three wheel bases are offered: 119 inches for the A-body Special, 125 inches for the B-body Series 70 Dynamic Cruiser, and 127 inches for the Series 90 Custom Cruiser on the company’s “C” body. The Special and Dynamic cruisers offer a choice of 100 hp, 238 cid six or 110 hp, 257 cid eight, both L-ends. The smoother eights are available for just $42 or $43 more. , but the country is still feeling the effects of the Recession and, perhaps, anticipating gas distribution. The majority of Special and Dynamic Cruiser buyers opted for the more fuel-efficient six. The cruiser Custom consisted of only eight ships, making her the 98 that has long been the division’s prestigious nameplate.
Old customers tend to buy more optional Hydra-Matic. Oldsmobile introduced this fully automatic transmission in 1940. Others offered semi-automatics, but only the Hydra-Matic completely eliminated the clutch and switched between high and low gear ranges. Cadillac offered the Hydra-Matic starting in 1941, but in the mid-price arena, Olds was the only self-converting game in town. Aside from the ease of handling, the four-speed Hydra-Matic is said to offer better gas mileage than the manual, thanks to its lower gear ratio. Nearly half of Oldsmobiles in 1941 had automatics, and the percentage was probably the same for ’42. Used car sales peaked at 270,038 vehicles in 1941. Only 67,999 Classic cars produced for 1942 shortened the length of the war — including 3,803 special-series 66 club coupes.
1942 Oldsmobile Special 66 Club Coupe Gallery
Click below to see enlarged image.