1902 Oldsmobile 5hp Model R Curved Dash Runabout  Engine no. 8700

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Lot 616
1902 Oldsmobile 5hp Model R Curved Dash Runabout
Registration no. BS 8486 Engine no. 8700

£ 29,000 - 32,000
US$ 39,000 - 42,000
1902 Oldsmobile 5hp Model R Curved Dash Runabout
Registration no. BS 8486
Engine no. 8700

Footnotes

  • 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 early 5hp model is liveried in traditional Oldsmobile black and red with gold coachlining, and beautifully upholstered with deep-buttoned black leather. It sits on correct American-style white tyres and has the attractive 28” wire-spoked wheels of the early models. It is equipped with brass oil side lamps, retains its correct carburettor and comes with handbooks and other interesting literature. The car was restored in the USA during the period 1986 to 1988 and proved a good reliable car in tours and other club events in that country. Now British-owned and U.K. registered, the car is offered with a Swansea registration document and current road fund licence and MoT certificate through to April 2009. This car’s 1902 dating and 5hp capacity ensure that all-important early start in the first 150 or so cars on the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.
1902 Oldsmobile 5hp Model R Curved Dash Runabout  Engine no. 8700
1902 Oldsmobile 5hp Model R Curved Dash Runabout  Engine no. 8700
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