Dean Davis takes to the streets of Walton in the 1909 Oldsmobile Model 20 that his father rescued from a field and pieced back together more than 60 years ago. Max Davis had to cut down a tree growing up through the middle of the brass era car to get it out of the field.
A stylish car with its brass-trimmed radiator, headlamps, cowl lights and steering column, theis 104-year-old Oldsmobile was painted a brilliant red in honor of Max Davis' time as fire chief in Walton.
Davis' father replaced the Chevrolet engine that been installed in the car with a correct 4-cylinder power plant that he rebuilt, but never started. Oldsmobiles of this vintage used both Olds and Buick parts and Dean Davis believes this engine is a Buick model. Note the shaft-driven water pump and magneto.
Oldsmobile was trying to compete with the Model T Ford in 1909 and used a very similar drive setup, with reverse, low speed and brake pedals. A high-speed lever was mounted on the driver's right side, along with a hand brake, just in case.
The beautifully crafted wooden dashboard box held ignition components, including the on-off switch for the magneto seen on the front of the box. The glass dome to the right is the oil level indicator; when the engine is running, it fills with hot oil.
Max Davis brought a lot of the Oldsmobile home in cardboard boxes. Parts he could not find, he handmade himself, like the radiator core and the brass shell that surrounds it, complete with the appropriate Oldsmobile script embossed into the soft metal.
A reproduction advertisement of the period touts the $1,200 Oldsmobile's equipment list, which included Michelin tires, both gas and oil lamps, a horn and a full set of tools. That $1,200 in 1909 translates to $31,177 in today's dollars.