Sold for $17,600 at 2007 Vintage Motor Cars at Hershey.
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. A few months after leaving he created his own company named R.E. Olds Company. The name was later changed to REO Motor Company, using his initials, after Olds' principal investor, Samuel Smith, complained.
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.
In 1912 Ransom Olds was preparing to leave the automobile industry. The car to showcase his accumulated automotive talents and his ultimate achievement was called 'Reo the Fifth', or ST5. It was given some important improvements such as to the shifting mechanism which was now done with a center-mounted lever. Traditional shifting methods used an outboard shifter. Both service and parking brakes were operated with foot pedals with the service brake pedal also operating the clutch. Pressing the pedal part way down threw the clutch out. Further pushing the pedal all the way applied the brake.
This 1913 Reo Model ST5 Roadster 'Reo The Fifth' is painted in yellow and black paint and treated to a modest restoration during the 1960s. Since that time the paint has begun to degrade and lost much of its luster. There are dings and dents in the fenders, scratches throughout the body, and the upholstery is hardening. The frame and body appear to be solid, the Gray and Davis headlamps are tarnished nickel, and the top bows and hardware are in good condition.
The engine is a four-cylinder F-head unit which displaces 240.5 cubic-inches and produces 35 horsepower. There is a three-speed manual transmission and two-wheel mechanical drum brakes. The 112-inch wheelbase is held in place by a solid front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and a live rear axle.
This car was offered for sale at the Vintage Motor Cars sale at Hershey, PA presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $10,000 - $15,000. It was offered without reserve with bidding reaching $17,600 including buyer's premium. The lot was sold.By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2007