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Oldsmobile: the oldest American automobile brand

Ian Harvey

The firm Olds Motor Vehicle Co. was founded by Ransom E Olds in 1897 and rapidly became the top car company in the United States.

In fact, it was the first mass-produced gasoline-powered automobile manufacturer, although Columbia Electric was producing larger numbers of electric and Locomobile steam-powered cars.

First Oldsmobile – 1897.

First Oldsmobile – 1897.

 

1900 – Oldsmobile, curved dashed runabout, 1 cylinder.

1900 – Oldsmobile, curved dashed runabout, 1 cylinder.

 

 

1901 – Oldsmobile , curved dashed runabout, 1 cylinder.

1901 – Oldsmobile , curved dashed runabout, 1 cylinder.

 

1902 – Oldsmobile, curved dashed runabout, 1 cylinder.

1902 – Oldsmobile, curved dashed runabout, 1 cylinder.

 

 

1903 – Oldsmobile PIRATE special 1 cylinder racer, holder of 1 mile straight record.. 1903

1903 – Oldsmobile PIRATE special 1 cylinder racer, holder of 1 mile straight record.. 1903

 

1904 – Oldsmobile , curved dashed runabout model 6, 1 cylinder

1904 – Oldsmobile , curved dashed runabout model 6, 1 cylinder

 

1906 – Oldsmobile model L, 2 cylinder

1906 – Oldsmobile model L, 2 cylinder

 

1907 – Oldsmobile Model AH, 4 cylinder

1907 – Oldsmobile Model AH, 4 cylinder

 

1908 – Oldsmobile Model Z, 6 cylinders

1908 – Oldsmobile Model Z, 6 cylinders

 

1908 – Oldsmobile Model Z, 6 cylinders

1908 – Oldsmobile Model Z, 6 cylinders

In 1901 Olds produced 425 cars. In that year the Oldsmobile Curved Dash became the first mass-produced car (the honour is often given to the Ford Company, but Ford was the first to make cars on a moving assembly line).

However, this was after the factory was destroyed by an accidental fire and the prototypes of all other models were lost. Olds left the company after a dispute in 1904 and formed a new firm, the REO Motor Car Company.

1910 – Oldsmobile Model 23-24, limited, 6 cylinders.

1910 – Oldsmobile Model 23-24, limited, 6 cylinders.

 

1911 – Oldsmobile Model 27, 6 cylinders, Limited.

1911 – Oldsmobile Model 27, 6 cylinders, Limited.

 

1912 – Oldsmobile Model 33, 6 cylinders.

1912 – Oldsmobile Model 33, 6 cylinders.

 

1913 – Oldsmobile Model 40, 4 cylinders.

1913 – Oldsmobile Model 40, 4 cylinders.

1914 – Oldsmobile – Model 54, 6 cylinders.

1914 – Oldsmobile – Model 54, 6 cylinders.

 

1916 – Oldsmobile – Model 44, 6 cylinders.

1916 – Oldsmobile – Model 44, 6 cylinders.

 

1915 – Oldsmobile – Model 43, 4 cylinders.

1915 – Oldsmobile – Model 43, 4 cylinders.

 

1917 – Oldsmobile Model-23 – Four – 37 Five Passenger Sedan, 6 cylinders

1917 – Oldsmobile Model-23 – Four – 37 Five Passenger Sedan, 6 cylinders

 

1918 – Oldsmobile – Model 45, 3 cylinders.

1918 – Oldsmobile – Model 45, 3 cylinders.

Olds Motor Vehicle made its last car, a Curved Dash Oldsmobile in 1908, when General Motors acquired the company.

The cars, especially the Curved Dashes, were commonly known as ‘Oldsmobiles.’ Bill Murray sang a popular 1905 song, In my Merry Oldsmobile.

It was adopted by General Motors as an advertising jingle, modifying the lyrics which were considered risqué. In 1910, Oldsmobile, now under the direction of General Motors, presented the Limited Touring.

1919 – Oldsmobile – Model 37-A, 6 cylinder.

1919 – Oldsmobile – Model 37-A, 6 cylinder.

 

 

1930 – Oldsmobile – Model F-30, 4-Door Sedan.

1930 – Oldsmobile – Model F-30, 4-Door Sedan.

 

1931 – Oldsmobile – Model F-31, Deluxe 4-Door Sedan, 6 cylinder

1931 – Oldsmobile – Model F-31, Deluxe 4-Door Sedan, 6 cylinder

 

1932 – Oldsmobile – Model F-32, 6 cylinder.

1932 – Oldsmobile – Model F-32, 6 cylinder.

It was powered by a 60 hp (45 kW) 707 CID (11.6 L) straight-six engine and could carry four passengers. It featured a Bosch Magneto starter and goatskin upholstery.

One could choose a speedometer, clock, and a windshield. It cost $4,600 (more than $106,000 today), and a limousine version could be purchased for $5,800. Only 725 were sold in its three years of production, though it secured its place in history by winning a race against the famous 20th Century Limited train.

In 1926, the Oldsmobile Six was introduced. It ushered in a new General Motors body style known as the GMB platform.

The style is shared with Buick. In 1929 Oldsmobile marketed the Viking brand as a higher standard vehicle but discontinued it the next year, even when 353 cars were advertised as 1931 models. Six years later a four-speed semi-automatic transmission, built by Buick, was introduced to the Oldsmobile.

1934 – Oldsmobile – Model F-34, 6 cylinder.

1934 – Oldsmobile – Model F-34, 6 cylinder.

 

1935 – Oldsmobile – Model F-35, 6 cylinder.

1935 – Oldsmobile – Model F-35, 6 cylinder.

1936 – Oldsmobile – Model L-36, Touring Sedan, 8 cylinder.

1936 – Oldsmobile – Model L-36, Touring Sedan, 8 cylinder.

 

1937 Oldsmobile.

1937 Oldsmobile.

 

This had a conventional clutch. The driver presses the pedal and selects ‘low’ or ‘high’. ‘Low’ encompasses first and second gears. ‘High’ shifts between first, third and fourth.

Classic car enthusiast?- Here is another interesting story from us:In 1912 Henry Ford & Edison came together to conceive a low-priced electric car

Despite the successes of the Oldsmobile right up to the 1990s, profitability declined, and the organisation was shut down. The last car was finished on April 9, 2004.