An event like the 2014 Carmel Artomobilia introduces all of us to some incredible classics,
like an original ’78 King Cobra (in mint condition no less) and the Ami G, a full restoration and customization of a 1965 Chevy Malibu SS chronicled on American Modern Insurance Group’s digital video show, The Build.
Another rare sighting we first spied at last year’s Artomobilia still leaves our jaws dangling on the ground. It’s a one-of-a-kind 1941 Oldsmobile 98 in near mint condition.
We’d never seen this historic car before in person, probably because you can count the number of remaining models on one hand. “They only made 6,305 of the club coupe,” says Mr. Mike Smith, only the second person to own the Olds, “and I've only been able to find three of them in the United States.”
What an honor.
“The headliners are original, the door panels are original. I’ve replaced a lot of parts and pieces, but it’s all original, new old stock that you can still find.” Mike Smith has been giving his Olds tender loving care and maintenance for over 40 years.
The Olds 98 comes out of a time of incredible struggle for the brand. Oldsmobile is struggling through the Depression era, only producing 18,846 units in 1932. Even though the auto company is purchased by GM in 1908, it isn’t until the creation of the Phaeton 90 Series in 1940 that the line really starts to take flight. With the Phaeton, which morphes into the 98 Series the following year, GM and Oldsmobile introduce the world to the Hydra-Matic engine (the world’s first fully automatic engine), and their production rises to a whopping 185,154. The Hydra-Matic in Mike Smith’s 98 is an original straight-eight flathead with 47,000 miles on it. He says, “It’s not a trailer queen. It’ll run 70 miles an hour all day long.”
The 98 is a special line, as Mike Smith well knows. It is only produced as this specific model for one year, before GM takes a break from 1942-1945 to assist with materials production for WWII efforts. Although production of the 98 continues in different forms until 1996, the later models take on a different shape and style after the war. We are thoroughly impressed by Mike Smith’s dedication to his car, an awe-inspiring piece of history that he continues to preserve for his enjoyment, and the enjoyment of future generations.
Get a Closer Look at the 98
Watch our full interview with Mike Smith and find out why his treasure wins the Oldsmobile National in 2012:
We thank Mike Smith for sharing his passion with us, and we’re so grateful to be surrounded by a community of such passionate car collectors. We’re also looking forward to the next Artomobilia, which takes place August 28-29, 2015 in Carmel, Indiana. If you would like to participate in this year’s event, registration is open for volunteers, exhibitor spaces and for judged classes … and check out Classic Auto’s tent when you visit!
If you missed last year’s event, you can catch up on Classic’s Instagram.