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. Unable to use the Oldsmobile name, he started a new company using his initials.
In August of 1904, Ransom E. Olds founded the Reo Company. The REO Company manufactured automobiles and trucks from 1905 through 1936. 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.
The Depression and a courageous effort to offer vehicles in multiple price ranges ultimately led do the downfall of the company. The company was under the direction of Richard H. Scott from 1915 through 1933. The company was profitable from 1915 through 1925, but after 1933, Ransom Olds came out of retirement to get the company back on track. He resigned a year later and in 1936 the REO Company ceased production of automobiles.By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2006
Sold for $38,500 at 2009 Vintage Motor Cars of Hershey by RM Auctions.
The Oldsmobile curved-dash was America's best-selling car when founder - Ransom Olds found himself quarreling with his principal investor Samuel Smith, and Smith's son Frederic and Angus who were managing the Olds Motor Works. Olds left in the early part of 1904 and soon founded the R.E. Olds Company, changing it to Reo Motor Car Company, using his initials, after the Smiths complained.
In January of 1905, the first Reo car was completed and exhibited at the New York show. It was powered by a twin-cylinder engine offering 16 horsepower and selling for $1,250. The twin-cylinder car was soon joined by a smaller single-cylinder sibling, and offered at half the price, at $650.
Soon, REO sales surpassed Oldsmobile's in 1906. Single-cylinder cars were continued until 1910, the cars gaining two inches of wheelbase in 1908.
This Model B REO was purchased by the current owner in 1994. It has been given a total restoration and then earned a First Junior award from AACA in 1996 and a Grand National Senior in 1998. It again received a Senior Grand National in 2008.
The car has a mother-in-law seat, side curtains, a buggy top, and a toe board in diamond-pattern aluminum. The engine is a 106.3 cubic-inch horizontally L-head single-cylinder engine offering 8 horsepower. There is a two-speed planetary transmission, two-wheel mechanical drum brakes, and a 78-inch wheelbase.
In 2009, this example was offered for sale at the Vintage Motor Cars of Hershey presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $35,000 - $45,000 and offered without reserve.By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2009