Asking Price: $167,500
CHASSIS NO: 8032470340
• Outstanding restoration and wonderful presentation
• Excellent Brass Era speedster
• First year for the Oldsmobile Defender
• Solar headlamps and Rushmore spot/search light
• Electric lighting and fuel pump
267 cid T-head inline four-cylinder engine, 35 HP, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, live rear axle with ¾-elliptic leaf springs, two-wheel mechanical brakes; wheelbase: 116”
As one of America’s oldest builders of motorcars, Oldsmobile had a good start in the market. Introducing the little curved dash Olds in 1901, Oldsmobile quickly became one of America’s leading car builders, but declined just as quickly as it rose. By 1905, the curved dash was showing its age and company officials wanted to move into the production of larger cars, something Ransom Eli Olds wanted no part of, so he left to start REO. The company then started building bigger cars and business soon crashed. By the time Billy Durant bought the company in 1908, Oldsmobile was hemorrhaging money. What Durant bought was a company in dire need of direction, something Durant was a genius at. He retooled several of Oldsmobile’s product line, offered several price lines, and suddenly, Oldsmobile was viable and profitable once again. These were grand years for Oldsmobile as the company built some huge cars that were both powerful and luxurious. Durant had worked his magic, but just like Ransom Olds, he would soon be ousted from GM only to return a few years later to reclaim his seat at the helm of the corporation.
Oldsmobile marketed three cars for 1912 with the Limited, the Autocrat, and a new model called the Defender – all available in any body style. Offered here is a gem in the form of a 1912 Oldsmobile Defender Speedster that has been restored and further wonderfully preserved and presents today in excellent condition. This is a car that speaks to the daring days of early competition at the local fairground. This Defender wears a number of period-correct options that gives it just the right look for an early performance car. It’s finished in a beautiful cream color, which nicely accents its brass accessories. Up front is a pair of Solar Eclipse head lamps that have been fully refurbished by noted restorer Rick Britten of Britten’s Brass Works at a cost of $10,000 alone. The Oldsmobile name is also proudly carved in fine brass on the radiator that also holds an authentic Olds motometer. The charming look of this speedster is further enhanced by a monocle windshield and a Royal Deluxe search light built by the Post & Lester Co. from Hartford, Connecticut. Brass lamps from The Castle Lamp Co. of Elmira, New York flank the cowl and complements all the other fine accessories. Fuel is contained behind the seat in a beautifully polished copper tank and this Olds carries twin spare tires at the rear, a necessity in the early days of motoring. It rides on wood-spoke artillery styled rims with blackwall tires. The interior is everything one would expect for a fine Brass Era car with finished woodwork on the dashboard that carries polished brass gauges. This Olds is also equipped with a Jones speedometer. The floorboard is aluminum and a huge wood steering wheel ensures steady control. Indeed, the Defender Speedster was not a car of comfort and this is a car that exemplifies the “wind in your hair” experience of early motoring. Power for this Olds comes from a 267 cubic-inch inline T-Head four with 35 horsepower. The engine compartment in this Olds is a marvel of technological simplicity as the cylinders are cast in pairs for easy servicing. This speedster is mechanically sound with a six-volt electric system powering all lighting and the fuel pump for reliability. This Defender is emerging from 12 years of meticulous ownership and has been regularly serviced and thoroughly maintained.
Oldsmobile was one of America’s greatest cars and their demise in 2004, after 103 years of car production, left a gaping hole in the U.S. car business. Through the years, they built some great cars, and this 1912 Defender Speedster is a car that takes us back to the very foundation of this great company.