Founded by Ransom E Olds in 1897 as the Olds Motor Vehicle Company of Lansing, Michigan, the company began the serious manufacture of cars in 1901, that year manufacturing 425 - not many by today’s standards but at the time it was enough to make Olds the first high-volume car manufacturer of the day. Olds left the company following financial difficulty to form the REO Motor Car Company, the last of the famous “Curved Dash Olds” being manufactured in 1907 before a GM buyout in 1908. Developed a well deserved reputation for innovative firsts, including the speedometer
(1901), out-sourcing of parts, chrome plating, mono-block V8’s and automatic chokes.
In the mid 1940’s Oldsmobile
were the first to offer an automatic transmission
in more mainstream models, their “Hydra-Matic” is widely considered the forefather of every automatic transmission
offered to this day. The “Rocket” engine of 1949 was the first mass-produced, high-compression OHV V8, then in 1962-1963 Oldsmobile
released the “Jetfire”, the first turbocharged
passenger car featuring an aluminium-block 215 in³ V8 engine with turbocharger
, producing one horsepower per cubic inch. The Toronado
of 1966 may not have been the first front wheel drive
American built car, but it was the first to be successful and gain acceptance with the motoring public. It would go on to win the Motor Trend Car of Year award in 1966 for its unique and innovative styling.
Also see: Oldsmobile Car Spotters Guide
| The History of Oldsmobile (USA Edition)