1938 Oldsmobile L-38 Convertible Coupe
Engine: Side-Valve Inline 8
Displacement: 257 Cubic Inches
Horsepower: 110 BHP
Cost New: $1,163
Harley Earl, one of the Men Who Moved America, played a large part in the beautifully designed car you see before you. Earl, the iconic Head of Design at General Motors, helped shape the 1938 Oldsmobile into one of the most attractive cars to be designed in the 1930s. In addition to the graceful design by Harley Earl, General Motors also packed a lot of technological innovations into their 1938 lineup. One of the most important was the Automotive Safety Transmission (AST). Initially developed by Cadillac, the project was sent to GM Central Research in 1935. The transmission used a clutch to start but then automatically shifted the two forward gears. It was first used in the 1937 Oldsmobiles and was the forerunner of the very successful Hydra-Matic Drive.
This beautiful eight-cylinder convertible from 1938 was one of only 445 built that year. Adding to the rarity is the fact that this is one of only 155 eight-cylinder convertibles to be equipped with the Automatic Safety Transmission, with only ten still remaining today. When you add the factory options of the dual side-mounted spare tires, only available on the eight-cylinder model due to its longer wheel base, it is believed that only four of this model were built. It is unknown how many of the original four still exist, but one of them sits right before you.