Although his curved-dash Oldsmobile was America’s best-selling car, Ransom Olds found himself quarreling with his principal investor, Samuel Smith, and Smith’s sons Frederic and Angus, who were managing the Olds Motor Works. After a blow-up with Fred Smith, Olds left in the early part of 1904. He didn’t stay away from the auto industry very long. That summer he founded the R.E. Olds Company, changing it to Reo Motor Car Company, using his initials, after the Smiths complained.
The first Reo car was completed that October and exhibited at the New York show in January 1905. A 16-hp twin-cylinder car selling for $1,250, it was soon joined by a smaller single-cylinder sibling, with an engine just half its size and priced at $650. At curved-dash Olds prices, it was a lot more car, and Olds no doubt felt vindicated when Reo sales surged ahead of Oldsmobile’s in 1906. Single-cylinder cars were continued until 1910.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in October of 2010 at the Hershey Lodge, Hershey, Pennsylvania.
8 hp, 106.3 cu. in. horizontal L-head single-cylinder engine, two-speed planetary transmission, solid front axle with ¾-elliptic leaf springs, and live rear axle with full-elliptic leaf springs and single chain drive, two-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 78".