The Oldsmobile has a factory radio that is reported to have never been switched on during the seller’s ownership.
Ambulances like these, modified from luxury cars, were common sights around U.S. military hospitals in the early 1970s. This car, said to be a former U.S. Army ambulance, is a conversion of a 1972 Oldsmobile 98 performed by Cotner-Bevington of Blytheville, Arkansas, which operated from 1959 through 1975 and built custom ambulances exclusively on Oldsmobile chassis. This example is one of many such conversion ambulances that were forced from service in the mid-1970s when new federal regulations covering rollover protection for patients essentially obsoleted the vehicles. Of course, that means that private collectors had an opportunity to purchase these vehicles. This Oldsmobile passed through several private owners and is now said to be mainly used for parades and shows. It was also featured in the February 2017 issue of Military Vehicles Magazine (see image galleries below). This 1972 Oldsmobile 98/Cotner-Bevington ambulance would be an ideal find for a collector who specializes in professional vehicles of the past like this one.
POWERTRAINThis ambulance is powered by the 455-cu.in. version of Oldsmobile’s OHV Rocket V-8. With a compression ratio of 8.5:1, the engine received its fuel mixture via a Rochester 4MC four-barrel carburetor and was rated by the manufacturer at 225 horsepower. The engine in this ambulance is said to be original, with no rebuild history, and to start readily after its fuel makes the long trip from the tank to the carburetor. The seller says that the radiator has been cleaned and bored, the exhaust manifold covers replaced, and a riser installed beneath the carburetor. The Turbo Hydra-Matic 400 three-speed automatic transmission’s functionality is termed “excellent,” and the seller is unaware of any powertrain leaks. The engine bay presents as stock and generally clean in the photos.
EXTERIORThe paint on this Oldsmobile is believed to be original, with blemishes said to be limited to a few scratches. No interior leaks are known, and the seller says he is unaware of any rust on the vehicle. The Olds is fitted with full warning devices that are said to be functional, including dual Federal Beacon Ray warning lights and a siren backed by a 100-watt speaker that is termed “new.” The roof beacon is said to be a standard item for Army ambulances of this era. The seller reports no issues with the glass, and says both the road and emergency lighting is operable. The underside shows areas of surface corrosion.
INTERIORThe rear of the ambulance has an array of medical equipment, including a gurney and plumbing for patient oxygen supply. The Army Olive Drab vinyl seating surfaces present as being in very good condition, with no visible evidence of tears or discoloration. The factory carpeting appears to be in very good condition, with no visible holes. According to the seller, the headliner is in “excellent” shape. The driver position is fitted with controls for the warning lights and siren, plus a Motorola transceiver. The Oldsmobile has a factory radio that is reported to have never been switched on during the seller’s ownership. The instruments, air conditioning, and heater are all reported to be operable.
CHASSISThe date of the Oldsmobile’s most recent chassis service is unknown, but the seller reports no damage or functionality issues, noting that the ambulance will “cruise comfortably at 80 mph.” The tires are said to have covered about 500 miles since being mounted in 2012.
DOCUMENTATIONThe seller states that this vehicle will be sold on a clean Texas title in his name. This 1972 Oldsmobile 98/Cotner-Bevington ambulance appears to be a complete example of a historic professional vehicle with much of its equipment intact. It has also been regularly awarded at the McAllen International Carfest in multiple categories. At shows, the seller applies Ghostbusters magnets and displays the ambulance with memorabilia inspired by the movie, which has proven a hit with kids and adults alike.
A case of "lost in translation" Bill.......my statement was meant as tongue in cheek.....I ABSOLUTELY thought it was funny.......and my response to the original quote was "it went from Military to civilian"..thats what the conversion was.....but..again lost in translation...?We know that, but the question was asked and I thought it was funny, didn't you?