Oldsmobile HistorySource: General Motors Corporation
In 1897, Olds Motor Vehicle Company, Inc. the oldest unit of General Motors Corporation, was organized by Ransom E. Olds. The company was started with capital of $50,000. This $50,000 translated to 5,000 shares of stock at $10 per share. During that year, their first automobile was produce.
In 1899, Olds Motor Vehicle and Olds Gasoline Engine Works of Lansing merge to form Olds Motor Works. This new company is incorporated on May 8, 1899 with $500,000 capital. The first factory specifically for automobile manufacture in the United States is built by Olds in Detroit on Jefferson Avenue East.
In 1901, the curved-dash Oldsmobile becomes the first American car to be manufactured in quantity.
Oldsmobile became the second company to join General Motors when Olds Motor Works is sold to GM on Nov. 12, 1908.
In 1929, Olds introduces the Viking, an all new V-8 new model for a more expensive market. Sales drop as the depression advances and production ceases in 1930.
In 1939, Hydra-matic, the industry's first completely automatic shift transmission, is introduced by Detroit Transmission Division (later Hydra-matic Division) on Oldsmobile's 1940 models.
In 1947, Oldsmobile celebrates its Golden Anniversary.
In 1948, Cadillac and Oldsmobile introduce the industry's first high-compression V8 engines. The Oldsmobile 'Rocket' V-8 engine goes into production and the 'Rocket Era' begins.
In 1952, power steering is offered by Cadillac, Oldsmobile and Buick.
In 1953, 12-volt electrical systems, developed by Delco Remy Division, are installed on Cadillacs, Oldsmobiles and Buicks. Power brakes are offered by Buick and Oldsmobile.
In 1954, the industry's first four-door 'pillarless' hardtop sedans are offered by Buick and Oldsmobile on 1955 models. The following year, Cadillac offers the feature on the 1956 Sedan de Ville.
In 1965, the industry's first four-door 'pillarless' hardtop sedans are offered by Buick and Oldsmobile on 1955 models. The following year, Cadillac offers the feature on the 1956 Sedan de Ville.
In 1977, GM offers the first domestic diesel engine on its 1978 U.S. passenger cars - the Olds Delta Eighty Eights, Ninety Eights and Custom Cruisers.
In 1979, GM introduces newly designed front-wheel-drive compact cars, the Buick Skylark, Chevrolet Citation, Oldsmobile Omega and Pontiac Phoenix X-body models.
In 1984, a new organizational structure for GM's North American Passenger Car Operations is formed. Two integrated car groups, Chevrolet, Pontiac, GM of Canada (C-P-C) and Buick, Oldsmobile, Cadillac (B-O-C), each have complete responsibility for their respective products, including engineering, manufacturing, assembly and marketing.
In 1987, Oldsmobile begins production of the Quad 4 engine at its Delta Township plant near Lansing, Michigan.
In 1988, GM introduces its 'GM10' family of newly redesigned midsize cars -- the Buick Regal, Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, and Pontiac Grand Prix.
In 1989, four-door sedan versions of the 'GM 10' Pontiac Grand Prix and Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme are introduced.
The Pontiac Trans Sport and Oldsmobile Silhouette all-purpose vehicles debut. These models feature the largest plastic panels ever put on any vehicle.
In 2000, General Motors announces plans to phase out the Oldsmobile brand line of vehicles. Plans are also announced to close the General Motors assembly plant in Luton, England.
The last Oldsmobile, a 2004 Alero, rolls off the assembly line at the Oldsmobile assembly complex in Lansing, Michigan, 107 years after the first Oldsmobile was produced. This last Olds is put on display at the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum in Lansing before being moved for permanent display at a new GM Heritage Museum.