Ransom Eli Olds is generally considered to be the father of mass production with his Curved Dash Oldsmobile, significantly predating Henry Ford's Model 'T'. Although dabbling in steam and internal combustion-engined cars from as early as 1887, it was not until March 1901 that his business seriously took off. A disastrous fire at the factory saw just one gasoline-engined runabout rescued from the blaze. It was a simple curved dash, lightweight, single-cylinder engined runabout that was rescued from the fire the rest is history. Factory manager Frederick Smith referred to the fire in later years as "the best move ever made by the management".
That runabout featured a rear-mounted, four-stroke engine, driving through a spur-geared two-speed transmission with centre chain drive. Two steel longitudinal springs ran fore and aft, forming side members, and the lightweight vehicle checked in at just 700 lbs. The ride was comfortable on its cantilever springs, responding to the thump of the single-cylinder engine and the high ground clearance and wide track were designed specifically for the rutted roads on which it was originally designed to run.
This Oldsmobile was bought as a restoration project for the Meldonfoot workshops but changes in plans have stalled its restoration. Nothing is known of the history of this vehicle, imported from New Jersey, U.S.A. The engine number suggests an early model and therefore a 5hp car. The body appears at some stage to have been the subject of restoration and the wings appear also to be in good order. It comes with a set of wooden wheels wire wheels were an option. Notably missing are the steering tiller and the starting handle both relatively easy items to fabricate. Prospective buyers are advised to examine the project most carefully to establish completeness or otherwise. This project is offered strictly as viewed and without documentation.