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1917 Olds Model 45 7 Pass Touring Cabriolet


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I have inherited a 1917 Olds Model 45 7 Pass Touring Cabriolet. It has been in closed/dark storage for 48 years. It's last owner purchased it in 1954. It was placed in storage in 1960. It was originally purchased by an Indianapolis Funeral Home for use as their limosine. The odometer reads 1,226 miles. It has beveled glass in the back window and a tilt steering wheel to aid driver entrance.

This car has been appraised as a 69 pointer of 100 due to the fact that some racoons got through a hole in the storage and trashed the top and interior. Also due to the fact the engine had not been prepped for initial start and therefore cannot be driven yet. Removed wheel bearings and was amazed to see roller bearings instead of ball bearings. They looked in brand new condition. The same for the Left tie rod pin ( no wear and shined like a mirror).

There are some rarities about this car that are being pursued to help verify the information obtained so far by an appraisal firm. These rare items are listed as follows:

1. The engine is an L-head V8 with 2 piece block casting date of 5/20/17 . (Olds produced a cast iron

V-8 from 1915 to 1923.) This particular engine has aluminum pistons, aluminum intake, aluminum cylinder heads and Pemberthy/Ball & Ball fuel injection. The previous owner had purchased some spare parts includeing a cast date 9/23/18 engine that has all cast iron parts and a Stromberg carb. The light engine has a different oil pump than the cast iron engine. It appears to have a high volume gear driven rotary pump. It has a large 6 volt starter as well as a crank. The engine cranks over with one hand with the plugs out.

2. The fuel is supplied to the engine via a large electric fuel pump with glass fuel bowls and ceramic filters mounted to either end of the pump.

3. After removing the oil pan to clean and inspect the crankcase components, it appeared that the tappets were not flat. They appear to have rollers riding on the cam at the base of the tappets. This is not evident in the 1918 block.

( The inside of the light crankcase is immaculate and all visible moving parts are shiny.)

4. The history that is being pursued is the fact that Oldsmobile was asked to produce some engines for Liberty/Lycombing to use in some WWI aircraft. They used the original design of the cast iron V-8 with the aluminum and fuel injection to make the engine lighter and perform better at high altitudes. Olds then decided to put some of these engines in a few cars to see how they would perform.

If anyone has any information that might be of help, it would be greatly appreciated. I would like to find an owners manual or service manual for this also. I would post some pictures if I could figure out how.

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I would be extremely interested in ANY information on the "Pemberthy/Ball & Ball fuel injection".

The Penberthy Injector company made injectors for steam engines. I am unaware of any fuel injection system manufactured by Penberthy, although the non-Penberthy literature of the period often is somewhat misleading. The Penberthy literature that I have does not mention fuel injection, but of course there may be a piece that does. If such an animal existed; I would like to know more.

The Olds model 45-A engine used a two-barrel updraft carburetor manufactured by the Penberthy Injector Company. This was a model DV carburetor.

Jon.

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Further identifying information on the "supposed fuel injection". This unit is 8" long from front to back of air inlet and 6" tall from bottom of unit to where it mount to intake. It is made completely of brass and has a large round brass fuel bowl ( holds about a pint of fuel ) that is sealed top and bottom with a small valve on top with a flat spring tab that sits on and over the valve. The main body has ( 2 ) 1" diamater solid brass air mixture adjusting screws that have wire tension springs that engage around the perimeter of the caps in indentations around the caps and are located at the air horn end of the unit. It is side drafted toward the rear of the engine and mounted under the intake thusly up drafting into the manifold. There are ( 2 ) levers (cable activated) at the air horn of the unit that I assume control air flow and choke ( haven't looked inside of the horn yet ). There is a throttle cable that extends down the driver side of the unit to the main body. There are no idle or air mixture screws anywhere that I can see yet. Casting date on side of engine is 5/20/1917.

The only identifying marks are cast into the brass lid of the fuel bowl and reads

" Ball & Ball, Penberthy Injector Co. Detroit Mi. "

Now, I have the spare 9/23/1918 cast iron engine he purchased somewhere. Here are the idendifiers for the fuel system:

It has a 1 barrel carburetor that is only 6 " long and 5 " bottom to manifold flange. It has only 1 cable to control the throttle and 1 cable for the choke. There is only one fuel mixture screw and 1 air idle adjuster screw. It appears to be made of cast iron.

The only identifying marks are cast into the sides of the fuel bowl on both sides and reads Stromberg, South Bend, USA.

Now, tell me what you think we have here?

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Some interesting facts on Olds engines. The first fuel injection Olds engine was on the safety vapor stationary engine made around 1898. It had a pump that when the engine went on the intake stroke would squirt a set amount of fuel into the intake passage. Engine speed was controlled by a ball type governor on the flywheel and the fuel amount had to be set according to normal operating load. They were a real pain to use if the load varied. Carburetors as we know them just didn't exist then but some engines may have used what are called "Mixers" but have no compensation for load or speed. They also used roller tappet cam. The 2 V8s you have are known as the light 8 and the standard or heavy 8. Both are hard to find in running condition, but are out there in rough shape, just have to go to Chickasha and walk around with a sign. I met 3 people who had V8 Olds in one day there, none running and all rough. Last year I met a guy from Oregon I think who has a very nice running one he restored. When Olds was done with V8s the tooling for the light 8 engines was sold to Wills StClaire auto company, but I have no idea if they ever built any. In 1917 the CID was 247. Some years later when the light 8 was made about 1921 and 22 the cubic inches were for the model 46 was 247 cid and the model 47 had 234 cid and had the aluminum crankcase, pistons, waterpump, and a few other parts. my book says it was designed by an Olds engineer named Robert K. Jack. It was machined and built at Oldsmobile. The all Iron model 46 engine was the "Northway V8". The Libery engine was a V 12 and is covered in an Audells manual I have somewhere around here. I think they are WAY different.After the war they were a popular engine to use in early racing boats. There used to be one on display at the R.E.OLDS museum in Lansing. The Army contract would have been cancelled very soon after the war ended on Nov 11, 1918. A lot of companys were "stuck " with a lot of material and equipment the Gov ordered. The Army was quick to cancell "big ticket" contracts. Even when I was a kid in Indy back in the 60s there was still brand new WW1 stuff sitting around town in buildings left over from cancelled contracts. 2 Large 1918 crawler type tractors made for pulling large howitzers through the mud in France (and never used, but sat outside for years) were sold at an auction just north of Indy a few years back that had that fate. They were a mishmosh of parts from different companys, large "Winton" engine, "Best" (pre-Catapillar) tracks and under carriage, "Diebold Safe Company" made the armor plating around the engine and radiator, but the poor driver sat way up and in the open as an easy target. Good luck with your car, would love to see it out at a show sometime especially since it came from Indy!

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Wills definately made a V-8 in the early 1920's, but if memory serves correctly, it was an OHC engine. I know they used a Zenith carburetor rather than the Penberthy. The Zenith was a odd looking two-barrel with dual inlets as well as dual outlets, but it did function well.

Jon.

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I now have photos of the roller tappets on an SD disc but still need to find out how to put them on the web. I now have a partial manual for this car and have learned that this engine has a 20 to 25 percent improvement in horse power over the earlier cast iron engine. Does anyone know what is comparable to the 600 weight gear oil need for the tranny and differential?

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Don't use modern gear oil in either the rear end or tranny if it uses bronze bushings which it most likely does. The lower tranny shafts are usually set on bronze and the sulphur additive in modern gear oil will eat the bronze right out of it. Restoration supply company near San Diego California carrys 600 wt non sulpher oil. It is a Lubriplate product and may be available near where you live. If you already put modern stuff in it then by all means drain it and flush it out with kerosene.

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  • 11 months later...

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