Oldsmobile “Model R curved dash”, 1903.
Founded by Ransom Eli Olds in 1897, the Oldsmobile is the oldest American automobile industry; in 1904 Olds left the company to found the REO, and in 1908 the Oldsmobile firm was purchased by William C. Durant and it became part of the newborn General Motors Company.
The Model R Curved dash runabout was introduced in 1901: simple, economical and practical had an immediate success and remained into production until 1903; it can be surely considered the first mass produced car in the world. The light wooden bodywork still shows specification resembling a horse carriage rather than a car: at the rear plate sides there are the supports to fasten the horses to be used in case of need, while the basket on the passenger side, today used as an umbrella stand, originally contained the riding whip. To notice the characteristic steering control: a long bull tail shaped lever.
- SPEED VARIATOR with 2 forward gears plus REVERSE.
- Guide with OX-TAIL RUDDER, nickel-plated. (In Europe, nickel plating will only spread to cars in the 1920s). The steering control is central bar, with direct drive of the front linkage.
The engine is started by operating the CRANK located on the right side of the seat.
- External CONTROL LEVERS above the crank: the hand throttle, brake and speed variator levers.
- The accelerator and brake PEDALS are placed on the floor.
- Physiognomy was closer to a carriage as shown in the front HORSE ATTACHMENT.
- The ENGINE is rear.
- On the back there is a WICKER BASKET also used for picnics. In this period the car was used on Sundays for outings.
- Side basket for UMBRELLA HOLDERS, the umbrella was mainly used to SHADOW. On carriages this basket was also used for horse whips.
- OIL LAMPS in brass.