Oldsmobile French Front Touring Runabout

By 1903 the famous curved-dash Oldsmobile was America’s best-selling car. Although destined to survive for seven years, the popular iconic model was joined by other variants in 1904. The first of these was the Touring Runabout, soon nicknamed “French Front” for its attractive little hood at the front. It suggested a front engine, which was its purpose, but actually it merely housed tanks for fuel and water. At the very front was a stylish brass radiator cooling the engine, which was still mounted horizontally under the seat.

The first Olds with a steering wheel, the Touring Runabout was larger than the curved-dash Model 6C, riding a 13-inch longer wheelbase. It had seats for two and a sloping rear deck. The engine, shared with the curved-dash model, featured pressure-feed lubrication and jump-spark ignition. It had single chain drive and the same longitudinal leaf springs on each side but added a small transverse leaf spring at the front. Colors were dark red or dark green, and brass side lamps were included in the $750 price, which was just $100 more than the curved-dash.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in October of 2011 at the Hershey Lodge, Hershey, Pennsylvania.

7 hp, 117.8 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 with transverse leaf in front, and mechanical brakes on differential and transmission. Wheelbase: 79"

Source: RM Auctions

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