Sympathtic restoration of a ban discovery ,1906 REO Four Seater Runabout  Engine no. 16579

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Lot 460
Sympathtic restoration of a ban discovery , 1906 REO Four Seater Runabout
Engine no. 16579

US$ 30,000 - 40,000
£ 22,000 - 30,000
Sympathtic restoration of a ban discovery
1906 REO Four Seater Runabout
Engine no. 16579
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’. Olds had developed a steam car in his Lansing works as early as 1887 but it was not a success. In 1896 he followed the general trend, shifting from steam to gasoline power. In 1897 the Olds Motor Vehicle Co. was founded to manufacture the new 5hp model but production was on an exceptionally small scale. Substantial financial backing from lumber millionaire, Samuel L Smith, saw significant changes, the company being under the management of his sons, Frederick and Angus. Much experimentation took place in 1899 – 1900 but despite the capital injection no great success was achieved. In March 1901 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. Frederick Smith referred to the fire in later years as “the best move ever made by the management”.

While the Smith family capital was rapidly utilised in developing mass production techniques, output rising from 425 units built in 1901 to no less than 4,000 in 1903 and 5,500 in 1904, when they looked to develop new products, this led to a parting of ways with Olds who it is said did not agree with the phasing out of the model which had brought them so much success. Although it was first thought that he would retire, not long after he founded the R.E. Olds Company and when that upset the Smiths it was abbreviated simply to REO, or Reo Motor Car Company. He began producing 16hp Two cylinder cars and quickly these were joined by a 7 ½ hp Single as offered here, both of which proved to be very popular – it’s worth noting that REO were second only to Ford and Buick in production terms by 1907.

This charming REO was found approximately 2 years ago in a Pennsylvania barn, where it is thought to have been laid up for many years and had been in the same ownership since the 1940s. Following a closed auction sale the car passed to the present owner in whose custody a sympathetic rebuild has been undertaken by Sean Brayton of Red Star Auto. Carefully balancing the car’s true patina with refurbishment that is in keeping with the same appearance, the car has been returned to a usable touring prospect. Its motor is in good running order, with a new drive chain and water pump rebuild.

The seat squabs and rear seat have been re-trimmed, but the button back portion of the front seat appears to be very old and may well be original to the car. The hood has been repainted, the fenders restored and repainted, while for the most part the bodywork has simply been lacquered to protect its patina. Top iron mountings are fitted to the front seat which suggests that it may have had a top at some stage, a feature which could easily be replicated. Equipped with a pair of scuttle mounted brass sidelights, period style white road tires complete the presentation.

It is described by its owner as being ready to tour and would naturally be eligible for events of the Horseless Carriage Club of America or Veteran Car Club of Great Britain.
Sympathtic restoration of a ban discovery ,1906 REO Four Seater Runabout  Engine no. 16579
Sympathtic restoration of a ban discovery ,1906 REO Four Seater Runabout  Engine no. 16579
Sympathtic restoration of a ban discovery ,1906 REO Four Seater Runabout  Engine no. 16579
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