Oldsmobile Model R Curved Dash Runabout

After experimenting with steam and electric propulsion, Ransom Eli Olds switched to internal combustion. His light runabout, the famed curved-dash model, was completed in 1900 and ready for the market early in 1901. The 650-pound vehicle sold for $650, a very large sum of money for the average customer at the turn of the century. Propelled by a horizontal single-cylinder engine under the seat, it had a two-speed planetary transmission and driver controls on the right, with steering by center tiller. The wood body attached to the top of the springs, and a small transverse full-elliptic spring in front damped out any fore-aft rocking motion. The car’s popularity grew and grew, surpassing the steam Locomobile as America’s best-selling car in 1903.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in March of 2011 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida and in October of 2011 at the Hershey Lodge, Hershey, Pennsylvania.

7 hp, 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, mechanical brakes on differential and transmission. Wheelbase: 66"

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel

Gallery: Oldsmobile Model R Curved Dash Runabout