Oldsmobile Model R Curved Dash Pie Wagon

After early experiments with both steam and electric propulsion, Ransom Eli Olds switched to the internal combustion engine for his automobile. His light runabout, with a unique curved dash layout, was completed in 1900, and readied for sale in early 1901. However, a fire at the factory delayed the start of production, and the first production Oldsmobiles did not reach the public until the late summer of 1901. The 650-pound vehicle sold from $650 when new.

Propelled by a horizontally mounted, single-cylinder engine under the seat, the Oldsmobile featured a two-speed planetary transmission and driver controls on the right, with a central-mounted steering tiller. The chassis design was simple yet elegant, with a long leaf spring on each side connecting the front and rear axles. The wooden body was attached directly to the top of the springs, while a small transverse full-elliptic spring in front damped out any rocking motions from the front to the rear. The cars were carefully refined, and a set of truss rods were added to the axles in 1902. The car’s popularity grew and grew, surpassing the steam-powered Locomobile as America’s best-selling car by 1903. There were successive improvements, and the curved-dash models remained in production through 1907, by which time they were joined by a straight-dash model, as well as larger models, including a four-cylinder, 106-inch wheelbase car.

Resplendent in black, the Oldsmobile is complemented by red accents, gold leaf “Oldsmobile” scripts, black 12-spoke wheels and “No Skid” tires. It also includes a collection of rare and attractive period accessories such as a set of Badger Brass Solar Model 56 kerosene headlights, taillight, brass handrails and a brass railing on the footboard with “Oldsmobile” integrated within it. The passenger area features handsome, period correct button-tufted upholstery as well as two storage compartments beneath the seat. The rear cargo compartment is lined with beautifully finished wood paneling.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in March of 2009 at the The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida.

7hp, 95.4 cu. in. horizontal single-cylinder engine, two-speed planetary transmission, solid front axle and live rear axle with single chain drive, suspension by a single longitudinal leaf spring on each side, and mechanical brakes on differential and transmission. Wheelbase: 66"

Source: RM Auctions

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