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1939 OLDSMOBILE CLUB COUPE
1939 OLDSMOBILE CLUB COUPE
(As printed in the June 1988 Vintage Car Club of Canada "Vintage Car" magazine)
Owned by Jim and
This 1988 article covers finding the car, getting it running, and some of its history!
It was late June 1986; we had come up to Revelstoke as
tomorrow would be our wedding, then back to Coquitlam.
We'd come over the Coquihalla in the ‘54 Dodge, trouble-free as usual,
getting 26½ MPG from Abbotsford. If
only my best man had been so lucky. His
‘78 Oldsmobile Toronado only made it halfway to the Toll Gate and had to be towed
to Hope for distributor repairs.
I was trying to find downtown Revelstoke and was bouncing
down a back lane in the Dodge when I saw it for the first time parked in the
grass behind a place called the Revel Inn; a ‘39 Oldsmobile coupe with all its
glass, lights, hubcaps and wheel trim rings.
It was 99% complete but looking neglected and abandoned.
Grass and weeds were tangled high around the tires, moss
trimmed the fender welting and last fall's leaves decorated the running boards,
with the tires flat, the hood up and the driver's window halfway down, I had to
get a closer look in spite of the rain. Under the hood everything was there, even an old battery,
but no cylinder head.
What a shame the old flat head had been left to the
elements. The top of the block was
quite rusty and four of the cylinders were full right to the top with water.
I had a busy schedule with our wedding tomorrow so I had to leave, but
couldn't help wondering who could neglect such an old timer.
As a city boy I was equally amazed as to how it hadn't been vandalized.
Later that year my wife and I were ending our vacation with
a stay at her folks' place in Revelstoke. The
morning after we arrived I was gone to see if the Olds was still there.
It was a short drive to the Revel Inn right past the Lamplighter Campsite
and fireworks site of the 1983 Vintage Car Club Circle Tour.
Moments later I was banging on the door of the Revel Inn with the Olds
still parked just the same as it had been four months earlier.
A woman in her late forties answered the door.
It was her brother's car, but he lived in Fort Nelson and had left it
with overheating problems over three years ago.
If I wanted to talk to Bruce he would be here from Fort Nelson tomorrow
because of an illness in the family.
We met the next day. The
car wasn't really for sale, but he didn't seem to care what happened to it.
He just kept saying how nice it once was and how much he was once offered
for it when it was still shiny. I
remarked it was worth less each year with neglect and he agreed something should
be done with it.
The next thing I knew we had set a price and I was trying
to figure out how and when to get it home.
I didn't want to leave it outside for another winter, but the frost was
already here and snow conditions would soon make trailer towing too risky.
Two weeks later it was loaded on a car trailer behind a
borrowed 67 GMC six cylinder half ton. We
had to visit relatives in Kelowna Hospital, which meant the Hope-Princeton would
be part of our route home. With no chance of fixing the trailer brakes, and no power
drum brakes on the pickup; the trip home was another story.
However, we managed it safely (?) while averaging 15 MPG.
Getting Ready for the Vintage Car Club
May Tour 1987
It is now early March, and the only things I've done are
finding a shop manual and replace the water in the cylinders with WD40.
I wanted the car drivable so my father, who was recovering from a cancer
operation, could take it on the May Tour. Money and time was short.
After several years of holding water, the cylinder walls were badly
pitted and looked as rusty as an old exhaust pipe.
The pistons were already .040" over with a ridge at
the top of the bores; so going to .060" wouldn't guarantee much.
Another motor would be nice, but I had no idea where to find another Odds
flathead six; besides, my engine number matched the engine number on the body ID
plate. With barely two months to go
I decided to go with the motor I had and hone the worst of the rust off the
The shop manual told me I had to remove the rad, bumper,
grill and fenders before adjusting the valves or doing any major engine work, so
that was the first task. The head was inside the car at this time so I didn't
have to take it off but everything else was still intact. Removing the manifolds
dumped about a quart of water from inside, onto my shoes.
An open intake valve had allowed all kinds of water into the block and
the intake manifold.
Aside from my wet shoes and handfuls of loose rust flakes
inside the manifold, the water had caused damage that I would find only after
starting the motor for the first time. Next, I removed the oil pan drain plug
but nothing came out. Moments later
a large steady drip started forming when all at once it opened way and clear
water started flowing into my drain bucket.
I got about two quarts of water, but at least my clothes didn't get wet
this time. When the pan was empty I
got a couple of quarts of semi-emulsified "oil" as well.
Although there was a lot of visible rust inside the block and pan the
bearings and crank looked salvageable.
The next big task was getting the pistons out.
The two at TDC were no problem.
I ridge reamed the remaining four and carefully honed them in a bath of
WD40 until I had taken the worst of the rust off the watts. This left a
half-inch layer of sludge and a quantity of WD40 to empty out of the cylinders.
With some serious hammering from below on the rods I got two more pistons
out. So far they looked okay but
the rings were stuck and were only going to come off in many pieces. No amount of hammering on rods 4 and 6 would budge the
remaining pistons, and with the block and crank still in the car and April
almost here, I was in trouble.
I tried hammering down against the crank to no avail, and
for that matter the crank was stilt frozen. Going back underneath I discovered
the saving grace. There had been
enough clearance that one of the rod shells had started to slide out.
Removing this and then the other remaining shell allowed me to rotate the
crank slightly so that I could go back up top and hammer down.
With a bit more honing and hammering piston #4 was out, and by hammering
#6 down and back up the same way all six were now out. There was some damage to
the rods from the brass drift but careful filing would fix them.
The valves had to be pried out with tie rod and ball joint
forks, but now finally the crank would turn.
I was now mid April. I to
locate lots of parts and had lots of work to do.
Most of my days were busy with my job at B.C. Tel. The engine had been
bored to .040" years ago and my big problem was the .040" rings.
I listened to a jobber's promises of delivery for three weeks before
getting them from Arnold Hopp. Re-assembling the motor was quite straightforward
except for surfacing the block with emery cloth and WD40.
The other problem was the deeply pitted valve seats, which I fixed by
very rigorous lapping with a rubber wheel in my electric drill.
It was now a week before we were to leave for the tour to
Kamloops, and I was starting the motor for the first time, white the front-end
sheet metal was stilt in the back yard. I'd done the brakes and changed an idler
arm and tie rod end. The starter
and generator were okay, but after running the motor a few minutes I had two
problems. The lower rad hose collapsed above idle speeds, and I discovered gas
leaking out of a 4" crack in the intake manifold from he effects of
Revelstoke winters. It is Mothers Day, and on Friday we were to leave for
The car is all together and I made it around the block.
We're late for Mothers Day dinner 30 miles away.
The Olds made it there and back okay. Friday is the big day.
Kamloops or bust. Everything
is going fine as I follow in the Dodge watching the Olds take the curves from
Harrison Bay. On the last curve I
saw something shiny and circular come off the car and go in the ditch.
A U-joint? A pulley?
What about the rad? My
father putted the Olds over moments later and we saw that it was only the poorly
fitting gas cap. Concerned about
having no gas cap, we stopped at a garage in Yale with many wrecked cars around.
I asked if we could took for a cap on the wrecks out back when I spotted a shiny
new gas cap in its blister pack on the shelf in the garage.
To our amazement the back of the package listed half the cars ever made
including Oldsmobile from 1937. It was a perfect fit. Aside from this, the rest
of the May Tour was entirety without trouble.
The wiper was rather sluggish clearing the snow on our
return over the Coquihalla, but that was quickly forgotten on the downhill.
We added no water. Even now
after a thousand mites, in spite of all those pits in the cylinder watts, the
oil is down less than half a quart. The
inside of the tailpipe is a perfect grey and the engine sounds tike a million
dollars. The Olds may have had the
dullest paint of any car on the tour, but we sure had a good time.
History of the Olds
When I purchased the car in Revelstoke I noticed two
holes through the front of each side. There
were also several holes on top of the right front fender.
This meant to me that some time ago this must have been a police or fire
chief car, but when? I sent a copy of my registration to Victoria Motor Vehicles
asking for a trace and hoping for an answer.
When the trace came back it showed the car entering B.C.
from Manitoba in 1969. B.C. Motor
Vehicles said I would have to go to Manitoba Motor Vehicles to get any history
previous to 1969. I tried
this but Manitoba doesn't keep records over ten years. My only hope was the 1969
B.C. owner who purchased the car from the Manitoba owner. The B.C. Motor Vehicle trace gave me his name and 1969
address in Duncan, B.C.
I called B.C. Tel directory and got a number for the same name and still at the same address in Duncan. This was indeed the owner of the Olds from 1969 to 1972 and he was able to fill me in on the car. It was originally purchased in 1939 in Brandon, Manitoba as the fire chief's car. After six years the fire chief and the car were retired together. The retired fire chief drove the car until his age became a problem and the car was parked for ten years. At a funeral in Brandon in 1969, Bob Sabastion of Maple Ridge suggested to his brother-in-law from Duncan that he buy this car. The car was driven back to B.C. The car had six owners since then and a lot of neglect, but still has all the holes in the roof and fenders from the fire chief's lights and sirens. My next goal is to see if the City of Brandon or its Fire Department has any pictures or mentions of the car in their history files. My plans are to carry on with the restoration of the car, but at a more leisurely pace.
History On Wheels
This is the story about discovering the '39 Olds was a fire chief's car 1000's of miles from home and its
journey to a reunion with the fire hall and staff decades later.
The Discovery Jim Carpenter
You may recall the story about the 1939 Oldsmobile coupe found in Revelstoke B.C. It was June 1986,
several days before my wedding and I made a wrong turn in the '54 Dodge Regent. I was at my in-laws
home town when I spotted the Olds parked near a back lane behind a house. The hood was up, the
cylinder head off the Flathead 'six' engine and four cylinders were fall of water. Judging by the rusty
cylinder block, moss growing on the body and grass tangled through the wheels, the car had been sitting
this way several years.
Although it was almost complete and not vandalized I left it so I could continue preparing for my wedding
the next day. I could not stop wondering how anyone could leave a complete and solid 'oldie' like a '39
Olds coupe in a state of total neglect. I had to drive back to Vancouver the next day so the Olds was
forgotten but not out of mind.
Later that same year a fall tour in our '71 Opel GT saw us back in Revelstoke to visit my new in-laws.
This was an exciting visit! As soon as I had an appropriate chance, I jumped in the Opel and drove it
about a mile across town to see if the Olds was gone. There it was, the hood still up, the driver's window
still down, the cylinder head off, and the same four cylinders still fall of water. I knocked on the back
door of the house and learned from the woman that answered that the Olds had indeed been there several
years and belonged to her brother who lived out of town. He lived in Fort Saint John, about 700 miles
away. She said come back tomorrow as he would be in town on his way south to Penticton.
I bought the car after borrowing the money from a friend and made arrangements to get some trim parts
that belonged to the car but were in Campbell River on Vancouver Island. I learned the Olds was being
driven from Campbell River to Fort Saint John several years ago but was left in Revelstoke with
overheating problems. I could tell its elderly owner was not one for taking care of things and this car was
an obvious example. By now I had noticed numerous holes on top of the roof and right front fender. He
told me this car had been a police car on Vancouver Island in its earlier years and the holes were from the
lights and siren it once wore.
Two weeks later I managed to trailer it to Vancouver just before winter road conditions arrived. The
trailer trip via the Hope Princeton Highway was without incident however the trailer brakes were worn
beyond repair and the six cylinder '68 GMC 1/2 ton tow vehicle required plenty of respect to safely
transport the 4500 pound car and trailer load to the coast.
Home In The Shop
Several years exposure to the elements had grown plenty of rust on the engine. After emptying the
cylinders of water a heavy coating of rust was visible on the cylinder wall. I wanted to keep the car
completely original and had verified the engine block number was the same as the engine number on the
cowl identification plate. For these reasons I decided to use a lot of patience, penetrating oil, and care to
save the engine. After lots of hammering, honing and prying, all six pistons were removed undamaged.
Even with considerable honing the cylinder wall showed many deep pits. A number of the valves also
required a great deal or effort to remove them from the block. Several quarts of water were drained from
the oil pan along with some oil. It was also discovered the intake manifold had a four inch split in it
This split was from filling with water while the top of the block was open to the weather, followed by solid
Revelstoke winter freezing. By May 1987 the engine was running again and was smoke free. It seems the
two oil control rings per piston had no trouble doing their job in spite of the heavy pitting on the cylinder
walls. The brakes and several other important areas were checked to make the car reliable. A year later
the crank was removed, again with the block remaining in the car, and machined for undersize bearings.
From 1987 to 1991 the car was used in the filming of about six different movies. Its distinctive coupe
styling complete with all its trim and only very minor visible body deterioration helped make it a good
movie candidate. The heavily faded flat black paint gave the car a very weathered appearance that was
perfect for the background of '40's and '50's movies. Movie credits include This Boy's Life with Robert
DeNiro, and Stay Tuned with John Ritter. I had the fortune to dress in costume and become hired as the
driver for both movies. These movie jobs almost made enough to cover the original purchase amount for
the car, however, I've seen both movies and did not see the car on the screen.
By now I had established that the car was the 138th 1939 Olds built in Regina, Saskatchewan and that it
was the 15th coupe but there was more to be learned about the car. The holes for the lights and a siren,
the chrome pull switch added to the dash for the siren and the mysterious 20 inch diameter hole through
the panel from the back seat to the trunk were curious clues to years gone by.
I wrote to the B.C. Department of Motor Vehicles to try to find more about the history of the car. The
results only went back to 1969. I learned the Olds had nine other previous B.C. owners. They were
mostly in Port Hardy with one in Nanaimo and the first in Duncan. The Duncan owner had transferred
the registration from Manitoba in 1969. I wrote to Manitoba Motor Vehicles only to find they do not keep
records over 10 years. Next I decided to try contacting that first B.C. owner from 20 years previous. I
called B.C. TEL Directory Assistance giving the name and Duncan address from the 1969 registration
hoping by chance there might be a listing. The unsuspecting operator promptly responded with a number
meaning luck was on my side as they had not moved in 20 years. Moments later I was dialing the number
and got an answer. I explained I had a '39 Olds that had once belonged to someone at this number. The
fellow on the line knew the car instantly and explained that he had been in Brandon in 1969 and heard
about the car, bought it, and drove it home. He was able to tell me it had been the Brandon Fire Chiefs
car for many years and in 1969 was still in good condition. I now knew the holes on the body were for the
lights and siren and that the once olive green Oldsmobile had belonged to the fire department. This also
helped explain why the engine had so much wear for only 50,000 miles as it would have seen many short
high speed trips on a cold engine and minimal highway miles.
Five years later in the spring of 1994, my parents were planning a trip to Manitoba with a possibility of
going to Brandon where my father and his parents (Helen and Harlow) coincidentally lived during the
'40's while the Olds belonged to the Fire Department In the early '40's my father attended elementary
school while his father and another projectionist worked at the Brandon Strand Theatre. Their trip
inspired me to give the Brandon Fire Department a call. I explained to the receptionist who answered the
phone that I had their fire chiefs car from 55 years ago. She suggested I should talk to Norm who was
their historian. Later in the day Norm returned my call but said they did not have a coupe in 1939. He
knew there had been a Buick coupe in 1927 but new nothing of a 1939 coupe. I explained all I knew
about the car and we both ended the conversation on a puzzled note. A couple of hours later the phone
rang again and it was Norm, but with an entirely different tone to his voice. He explained that he had
mentioned my call to some of the other fellows around the hall and learned that there had been a 1939
Coupe, an Oldsmobile. He said they had pictures up of most of their early vehicles but not the Olds and
he had not been aware of it. He went on to say he was going to check the records for mention of the car
and would get back to me. Next time he called he had located entries in their log book for 1939 showing
the Olds had been purchased April 4, 1939 and that on April 20,1939 a young fire fighter by the name of
Bill Cary had gone to General Motors in Regina to pick up the car. Norm also went on to tell me that the
car had several duties from 1939 to the early '50's working for the fire department. He said it was always
used to transport the Chief to fires and meetings and that it was the job of the junior employee to do the
He also said it was used to check the alarm boxes throughout the city and that it had a large tank in the
trunk extending into the rear of the passenger compartment. The tank was fall of a solution for
extinguishing fires so that the Olds could be dispatched to chimney fires and other small fires and thus
explained the 20 inch diameter hole through the panel dividing the trunk from the car interior. My
parents trip did not take them to Brandon so I suggested to my father that a journey to Brandon in the '39
Olds might be an interesting adventure following our 1992 round trip to Fairbanks in the Alaska Highway
50th anniversary rally with the '54 Dodge. He agreed it would be worth considering if it could be in late
summer after the heat of the summer and before winter snow.
The trip was on for late September 1994. I called Norm to let him know we were coming and also
inquired about any Brandon vintage car clubs we could contact. Through August I prepared the car. I
checked valve clearances, torqued the head, changed the sparkplugs, replaced the 7 year old battery and
replaced the upper and lower outer front suspension pivots, followed by a wheel alignment The paint job
looked pretty bad but went well with the decades of dirt under the hood. To fix the paint I used four cans
of flat black spray paint to make the panels weathered through to primer match the rest of the flat black
paint. The other big job was the differential. I had never done anything to it and it left an oil slick
wherever it was parked. The other problem is that its 4.2 to one axle ratio and 4 1/8" inch engine stroke was a
slow combination for the prairie freeway. Through a tip from an old interchange manual on Canadian '39
Oldsmobile differentials and some very careful modification I was able to get a '40 - '54 Chev 3:54 to 1
ring and opinion gauge to fit my original carrier and fix the oil leak. This would give me almost a 15
increase in cruising speed or reduction in engine RPM.
It was now less than a week before I was to be in Brandon. We had were planning to join the Western
Manitoba Pioneer Auto Club in Brandon for a Sunday afternoon pitchfork barbecue. I could not leave
work until Wednesday noon but the schedule was quite feasible if the car cooperated. As well as taking
my father I also wanted to take my 4 year old son Aaron but on Sunday morning, 3 days before leaving we
discovered he had a serious infection from stepping on something several days before. The bottom of his
foot was swollen and flaming with pain. A tip to emergency revealed that he had to have his foot soaked
for 10 minutes twice a day and the had to have refrigerated antibiotics 4 times daily for the next 10 days.
By Tuesday his foot was showing signed of improvement so it was decided to pack an ice chest for the
medicine and take Aaron as originally planned. Finally by 5 p.m. Wednesday it was time to leave. My
father lives in Logan Lake, near Kamloops about 200 miles away and that was the destination for 10 or 11
p.m. It was a rainy dark night by departure time and I had two extra passengers to carry over the
Coquihalla to Logan Lake.
It was a heavy Vancouver rush hour but eventually we were over the Port Mann bridge and rolling up the
Fraser Valley to the Coquihalla. The car was running fine but the suspension and rear end were yet
unproved as I had only driven about 50 miles since the work on the rear axle. The vacuum wipers did a
fine job while driving on the level but they quickly came to a standstill as the engine vacuum disappeared
on the steep hills to the Coquihalla toll gate. Also by now were in fall darkness except for the light from
the 6 volt sealed beams. I was consuming a napkin per hour wiping the inside of the windshield clean
with 4 people in the car, a continual down pour outside and no defroster action, the windows were heavily
fogged. Except for the steepest section of the snow tunnels we had no trouble staying in high gear but did
have trouble seeing a broken down Ford pick up in our lane on one of the hills. At Merritt we turned off
the main highway to take the road to Logan Lake. The next day gave us excellent weather and having
traded my two extra passengers for my father we were set; a 55 year old car, my 4 year old son, a 62 year
old grandfather and myself. It was not long until we were back on Highway 1 heading from Kamloops to
Revelstoke. I wanted to keep our cruising speed down to about 55 mph to minimize the chance of
problems like blown gaskets and internal engine problems. This turned out to be a challenge because at
this speed we had significant rear wheel hop. It went away above and below our desired cruising speed
but persisted at 55. I knew the problem was likely the looseness in the rear lever type shocks. Too bad I
didn't make time to put on the new ones I've got stashed away at home.
I thought a wheel balancing might help and had both rear wheels balanced in Revelstoke. While at
Revelstoke I found some chalk and labeled the trunk lid for the trip,
Vancouver — Brandon
Passing Side Suicide"
Leaving Revelstoke for Rogers Pass we found we still had the rear wheel hop problem but fixed it by
reducing the fire pressure of the 650-16 rear tires to 22 Ibs. We checked in at Camrose that night after an
easy drive through Rogers Pass. My father filled in the motel registration and passed it to the woman
across the counter. She checked it over and says, "a 39 Olds! Nobody travels in a 39 Olds". She looked
up at us again and realized it was parked right in front of her door. We told her we were going to the
prairies from the coast and she replied there was a couple just here with a 1990 something Olds who
would gladly trade us as their transmission had packed it in. At Canmore the next morning I decided to
put a few washers under my right rear engine mount to give the exhaust pipe more clearance to a running
board bracket. I didn't want any stresses at the pipe to manifold connection from the pipe hitting the
bracket. It was quite easy to undo the bolt, jack the engine a bit, put a washer in and put the bolt back.
However what didn't look simple was the water that was now dribbling from the radiator. I realized I
may have caused the radiator hose to pull on the radiator and damage it resulting in big trouble. It turned
out that it was just a leak because of loose clamps. In fact what I did find was almost spooky. The lower
radiator hose clamps were both large spring wire types, however, both were broken in half from age and
fatigue The only reason they hadn't fallen off completely is because they were stuck to the rubber of the
hose. We were soon on our way after getting two clamps from the auto parts store we were parked in front
From Camrose Friday morning to Brandon mid day Sunday, things went well. We had a spell of vapor
lock one evening while looking for our motel. This was a surprise but I later established that our 6 volt
pulse type electric fuel pump stopped functioning after being switched on for about 1/2 an hour. I thought
it was good insurance against the weak mechanical pump I'd never attended to, but was wrong. From
there on we managed okay by leaving the electric pump switched off unless it was needed. On Saturday
night we were amused to look out our motel window and see a group of travelers having their picture
taken in front of the Olds. We often got waves and friendly horn honks rolling down the freeway in our
unrestored relic from the past as people read the writing on the back. Their attention made an interesting
element of travel compared to riding in modem iron. On Sunday morning we had a short jaunt to
Brandon and found time to check out the Manitoba Antique Auto museum at Elkhom. This stop was in
the middle of nowhere yet had a thorough collection of automotive, farm and home artifacts from the past.
I had to twist my father's arm to agree to stop there and more than an hour later I was having trouble
getting him out. An hour down the road we were at the outskirts of Brandon taking pictures in front of
the "Brandon" sign. We were right on schedule for the Sunday afternoon barbecue at Roy Gregory's with
the car club.
A prairie popsicle stop for Aaron!
Welcome To Brandon .
When we pulled in we were strangers but within moments we felt like old friends. The club called their
event a fondue. The fondue was a very large barrel 2/3 fall of hot liquid shortening heated by propane
flame throwers. When the temperature of the oil was ready (probably just below flash point) they spiked a
couple of steaks with pitchforks reserved for the fondue and cooked the steaks to perfection by putting
them in the fondue for several minutes. The late September weather was still warm flawless as evening
came and we said good-bye. We exchanged addresses and they took pictures of us three generations of
Fire Hall Reunion
The next morning we met fire Department historian Norm Ward at the fire hall on schedule at 9 a.m. The
fire hall itself was a remarkable structure. Built of brick in 1911 for horse drawn fire pumpers it was in
perfect condition and fully utilized as the downtown fire hall.
Norm took us all through the multi-story structure showing us everything from the roof top door to load
the hay loft for the horses in 1911 to the hose tower drying hoses used last night. We also checked out the
archives and saw that the Olds purchase and maintenance records from 1939 - 1950. He showed us the
section of the hall they used when servicing the Olds behind the bay it resided in 45 - 55 years ago. Norm
had also found several old pictures with the Olds in it. The most interesting clearly showed the Olds in
front of the fire hall with all the fire trucks in 1950. One of the retired fire captains came down to the hall
for the occasion with his scrapbook. He found several newspaper pictures with the Olds in it. The captain
clearly remembered driving the '39 Olds when he hired on with the Fire Department. He recalled picking
up the captain at home and driving as fast as the conditions would permit to get to the fire. He said this
new Olds coupe was quite flashing during the tough times of '39. We also met Jack Cary who was the son
of the Bill Cary who had picked the car up at Regina GM in 1939. Jack followed his father's foot steps
and had also been a Brandon fire fighter. He was now 70 but recognized the car as the old captain's car
from his and his father's days.
We also met with a reporter from the Brandon Sun who took several pictures and pages of notes. After
our visit with the fire hall we went across town and took several pictures of my father's grade school and
houses he lived in during the 40's. The same wood and distinctive wire fence still surrounded the yard 50
years later. Our final point of interest in Brandon was the Strand Theater where my grandfather had been
a projectionist. We visited his old projectionist room and saw the movie. The movie then was an
interested coincidence as it was about life in Brandon and the nearby army training base in 1942.
Tuesday morning we were set to return home except for a stop by the newspaper office. We were waiting
to see if we made the days paper at all. I went inside and got one of the first papers off the press. The
wait was worth it because the Olds and I were in a big picture on the front page and there was a story
inside to follow. We left for home right after that choosing to stay on the southerly routes whenever
possible. Our route included the Red Coat Trail across the southern prairies and the Salmo - Creston
route. We had perfect weather since Kamloops and when a day of wind and rain greeted us for our return
home it was a pleasant diversion to a routine day of prairie motoring. Things got entertaining when a red
Ford Probe slowly passed us towing a tall homemade trailer. It no sooner got passed us when a cross wind
flipped the trailer on its side at 55 mph. The car and trailer did a slow 180 degree turnaround in front of
the Olds while sliding off the road onto the grass on our right. The car tipped up and back down coming
to a stop facing the direction it came from and we stopped our relic from the past off the road beside it
without hitting anything. We checked that no one was hurt and called for 911 with our pocket cellular.
The trailer had been stacked high with personal belongings covered by a tarp but the contents were now
scattered all over the roadside. The car had no body damage but both left tires were flat and the
suspension was obviously damaged. The police arrived shortly. They wanted to know more about what I
was doing in Saskatchewan with B.C. plates on a 55 year old car that looked like it came out of a bam but
we excused ourselves and continued on.
The Salmo - Creston was a welcome delight after days of prairie flat The climb at the east end of the
Salmo - Creston was too steep for high gear but we had no trouble in second. Near the top of the first
steep hill there was a burned out hulk of what looked like a Ford motor home chassis that had blackened
the rocks above when it burned. At the summit there were several tame moose enjoying the salt at the
Highways yard. They didn't mind the dump trucks passing by and let me take several pictures close up.
At Princeton it was very hot and this seemed to trigger my horn button to stay on. There was smoke
coming from the blasting horns before I got the battery disconnected causing a few tense moments. About
20 minutes later I was stalled on one of the Hope Princeton hills with vapor lock again. I decided to get to
the bottom of the trouble with the electric pump. I removed it from its position under the car ahead of the
gas tank and tried it again hooking it directly to the battery. It now pumped instantly and sprayed gas
everywhere. I put it back in place under the car and it worked fine.
Two thousand five hundred miles and 8 days later we were back borne. The car had given very little
trouble, the visit in Brandon was better than I expected and the regular soaking and ice chest doses of
medicine for Aaron had healed his foot. A great time was had by all.
Engine: Oldsmobile Flathead Six Cylinder
Engine Specifications: 230 C.I.; 95 HP at 3400 RPM
180 Ft. Lbs. torque at 1600 RPM
3-7/16 bore; 4 1/8 stroke
6.1 to 1 compression ratio
Precision insert engine bearings
Features: Automatic Choke
Column shift transmission
Independent front suspension with stabilizer bar
Wheelbase: 115 inches
Emissions: HC Idle: 844 PPM; Loaded 102 PPM
CO Idle: .24; Loaded .68
B.C. Air Care Result: Pass
Here I am with the Olds on the movie set "Stay Tuned"
in Vancouver staring John Ritter.
The article and pictures below are about an adventurous trip around British Columbia with the 1939 Olds in support of a
1998 RCMP fundraising event.
A '39 Olds Adventure (1998 RCMP Wheels For Kids Rally) CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE STORY!
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