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Oldsmobile Get’s a Straight Eight in 1932 – The Cycletow Conversion

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  • 1932 Oldsmobile, Series L Eight, Deluxe Convertible Roadster and a Harley-Davidson single equipped with a Cycletow conversion kit

The Paul A. Ziegler Oldsmobile Agency was located at 4515 South Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles when this promotional photo was taken for the car dealer in 1932. Shown in the photo is an Oldsmobile Series L Eight, Deluxe Convertible Roadster and a Harley-Davidson single-cylinder motorcycle equipped with a Cycletow conversion kit.

1932 was the first year that Oldsmobile offered its new straight-eight along with the six, which had been the standard fare for quite some time. Even with the addition of the new power plant in one of the most trying years of the Great Depression, Oldsmobile’s sales dropped from forty-eight thousand in 1931 to a low point of only seventeen thousand for the year.

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  • Full 1932 Oldsmobile details, “Automotive Industries”,  January 2, 1932

In addition to the new 82-hp. 240-c.i. eight-cylinder engine, Oldsmobile featured the following new innovations: the Stromberg downdraft carburetor featured an automatic choke; a decarbonizer operated by dash-mounted plunger, injected a chemical into the intake manifold, which then entered into the cylinders when used just before engine shutdown; two other new features were free-wheeling and a Harrison oil cooler.

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  • Chassis details and a Deluxe Convertible Roadster illustration

No further information was found about the Ziegler Oldsmobile dealership, but full details did come-to-light about the Cycletow attachment seen here mounted on a single-cylinder Harley-Davidson. Look a full report with more great photos and the patent drawings of the Albert L. Hess designed motorcycle-towing arrangement tomorrow. The images are courtesy of the USC Libraries. The illustrations above are courtesy of the Old Car Manual Project and Alden Jewell.

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  • Albert L. Hess designed Cycletow motorcycle-towing arrangement

3 responses to “Oldsmobile Get’s a Straight Eight in 1932 – The Cycletow Conversion

  1. This 1932 Oldsmobile looks like a scaled down Cadillac. In fact, even the Chevrolet of that year looks like an unsanforized Cadillac. The Packard 900 as a less expensive offering, sold fairly well but Packard was always far more vulnerable to charges of “cheapening” the product than Cadillac. Does anyone know the marketing thought on this during the depression.

    • Packard saw its sales fall apart, from the 6th series, current 1929, cars made 55,062 to 15,447 fo the 8th series, current 1931. What to do? The “solution” was to introduce a lower-priced car, the 900. Sold for $1,750 FOB factory for the 5-passenger sedan , the next cheapest similar model, on a 2 1/2 inch longer wheelbase, sold for $2,485. The problem: the cheaper car cost nearly as much to make as the higher priced car and probably stole sales from it. Nevertheless , the 900’s production of 6,750 units was 41% of the total production in 1932 of 16,613units. The following series, the tenth, albeit with a short production run from January to August 1933 ,saw volume plummet to 4,800 cars. More misery, not really overcome until a truly medium-priced car, the “120” was introduced in mid-1935. It sold like hotcakes and saved the company , for another 23 years anyway.
      Pierce tried a similar approach to the Packard 900, in 1934, it too
      cost nearly as much to make as the next-larger car and stole sales from it. Pierce went under in 1938.

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