Ransom Eli Olds was successful in selling his Curved Dash Oldsmobile, but when he resisted dropping it in favor of a more modern, expensive automobile he was forced out of his own company. The name REO represented the initials of automotive pioneer Ransom E. Olds, for whom the Oldsmobile was named. Olds launched the REO after leaving Oldsmobile in 1904.
The REO Company manufactured automobiles and trucks from 1905 through 1936. Their first car was completed in October of 1904 and shown a few months later at the New York show in January 1905. The model lineup consisted of a sixteen horsepower twin-cylinder car that had a base price of $1,250 and a single-cylinder car priced at $650. This put them in the Olds Curved Dash price range which made management at Olds nervous, as the REO were a lot more car. By 1906, REO sales surpassed Oldsmobile's. In 1907, it was one of the top four automobile manufacturers in the United States, based on sales. After 1908, the demise of the REO Company began due to competition from Ford and General Motors. Their single-cylinder cars would continue in production until 1910.
This REO runabout was found in an upstate New York barn in relatively complete condition. It was restored to award-winning condition in 1966 (Antique Automobile Club of America Senior Award) and was acquired by the current owner in 1968.
The one-cylinder, water-cooled motor is rated at 10/12 horsepower with a top speed of 26 miles per hour. The lamps and horn were standard equipment at the base price of $500, but the windshield and top were extras, $25 and $30, respectively.