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One of Our Merry Oldsmobiles

by Willy Vinton

Last week was a busy one here at the museum. We moved several cars out of the galleries for servicing and their yearly exercise. This included our 1909 Oldsmobile Palace Touring. This Model D is one of only a few left in existence. Before coming to Alaska it toured several thousand miles around the country.

The 4-cylinder L-head engine is rated at 40 HP. The car performs very well in traffic and on the road, comfortably cruising around town at 35 mph or so. Olds Motor Works bragged that the Model D "had an ample surplus of power for every possible contingency."

This was a very luxurious auto in its day, with such features as a coat/robe rail, adjustable foot rest and very graceful lines. The Olds Palace Touring was one of the the first open automobiles to have an enclosure for the driver and front-seat passenger (notice the half-door on the driver's compartment in the top photo).

Like most of our cars in the museum, when we get them out in public, they always draw a crowd. It also helps if we dress in period clothing. This photo was taken last week when we visited the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center in downtown Fairbanks.

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