1910 Oldsmobile Limited

Meant to compete with companies such as Packard, Peerless and Pierce-Arrow, the Oldsmobile Limited was prestigious luxury cruiser. It was built only two years after GM purchased Oldsmobile and represented both company’s top product. Due to slow production required with the design, the model was named after its limited availability.

Based on the 1908 Model Z, the Limited used the same chassis and engine, but with oversize 42-inch wheels. The engine remained unchanged, but was powerful enough to support the tall bodies that adorned the car.

Offered as a roadster, 7-passenger touring car or limousine, the Limited was at the top of the range. A 1911 limousine was priced at $7,000 and most of these were highly decorated. Huge Solarclipse 950 headlamps were fitted, as were optional driving lights, horn and speedometer. Pressed steel panels included lines that were frequently painted in an accent colour, but this did little to hide the size of the car.

While not particularly wide, the Limited was tall. The massive 42 inch wheels raised the ride height and the fender line beyond normal standards. This gave the car an immense presence in height alone. To get in and out double running boards were fitted.

After the first production year was over, Oldsmobile upgraded the Model Z engine from 505 cubic inches to 707. For some reason both versions were rated at 60 horsepower. Wheelbase was stretched from 130 to 138 inches as well. By 1912, the smaller Oldsmobiles such as the Defender were much more successful and the Limited was dropped from the range.

Over 800 examples of the Limited were produced from 1910 to 1912.

In Detail

engineInline-6 cast in pairs, w/T-head
positionFront Longitudinal
valvetrainPushrod, 2 Valves per Cyl
displacement11586 cc / 707 in³
bore127.0 mm / 5 in
stroke152.4 mm / 6 in
power44.7 kw / 60 bhp
specific output5.18 bhp per litre
bhp/weight25.94 bhp per tonne
body / frameSteel Body on Steel Frame
driven wheelsRWD
front brakesNone
f brake sizemm / in
rear brakesDrums
r brake sizemm / in
f suspensionRigid Axle w/Front Semi-Elliptic Springs
r suspensionLive Axle w/Elliptic Springs, Hartford Shock Absorbers
curb weight2313 kg / 5100 lbs
wheelbase3505 mm / 138 in
length5029 mm / 198 in
height2438 mm / 96 in
transmission4-Speed Manual
gear ratios:1

Auction Sales History

1910 Oldsmobile Limited
1908 Oldsmobile Limited Prototype
– sold for $544,500

Only known remaining factory prototype. Believed to have had just a few owners from new. Fresh high-point restoration.
Many years ago, the car found its way into the hands of a friend of the vendor, who then purchased the car, unrestored, several years ago. He owned the car for several years and commissioned a restoration by Alan Schmidt, a San Diego area restorer. After the body and chassis were separated, they were kept in different buildings; unfortunately, the tragic fires in that area a few years ago claimed the body. The body, however, was in any event not the original. For unknown reasons, Pollard had replaced the original body with an unidentified body from another car.

As a result, during the restoration the vendor decided to reconstruct the body. Having nothing to go on, he consulted with the experts and built a body identical to those Oldsmobile was using in the 1908 – 1910 period, choosing common options to his tastes. For example, in 1911, photo documentation exists showing six different light sets, two different windshields and at least two top designs. The vendor’s preference was for the eisenglass windscreen and therefore he opted for the externally braced top to add strength at speed. Finally, two types of rear fenders were available, and the vendor chose the “flying” style rather than the more rounded design. Auction Source: 2011 Amelia Island Auction by RM Auctions