1902 Oldsmobile Curved Dash RunaboutSOLD
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Estimate: $40,000-$60,000 US

Offered Without Reserve

AUCTION RESULTS: Lot was Sold at a price of $66,000

4.5bhp, single cylinder engine with two speed transmission and center chain drive, leaf spring and solid axle front suspension and leaf spring rear suspension, mechanical brakes on transmission. Wheelbase: 66"

An inveterate tinkerer, Ransom E. Olds began building prototype automobiles in the late 1880s. However, it would not be until 1897 when, upon receipt of major financial backing, Olds formally incorporated his company, the Olds Motor Works. Over the next few years, Olds developed more than 11 different prototypes to evaluate for production, but no decision was made until a fire destroyed the entire plant, sparing only one single-cylinder gasoline runabout.

Coded the Model R, the lucky runabout is better known today as the Curved Dash. Although the effects of the fire were devastating, automotive historians credit the event as being the catalyst for the company’s ultimate success. The relatively low price and simplicity of the curved dash allowed a large portion of the public to afford and operate one. In its first three years, annual production of the Model R went from 425 to 3,924 in 1903.

The 1902 Oldsmobile Model R Curved Dash Runabout presented here was acquired by Mr. McMullen in the mid-nineties. The previous owner, who was an early automobile collector located in Traverse City, Michigan, treated the Oldsmobile (which was an impressively complete original car) to a comprehensive mechanical and cosmetic restoration. To the best of Mr. McMullen’s knowledge the car has never been shown, and has only been exercised occasionally to maintain its proper working condition.

Properly stored in the McMullen’s climate controlled buildings, the Oldsmobile has preserved its restoration commendably well. The gold pin striping and cherry colored accents were clearly professionally applied to the period correct black paint and remain beautifully presented.

Offering both driver and passenger a comfortable ride atop the black diamond-tufted leather seat, the Curved Dash rolls on large wood spoke wheels and period correct white “smoothies”. Illuminating the way are nicely polished Neverout insulated kerosene safety lamps patented by the Hose Mfg. Co. of Philadelphia, PA. Devoid of the traditional steering wheel, changing directions is achieved by a highly polished tiller. To truly understand and appreciate the development of the motor car, every enthusiast ought to have the opportunity to enjoy driving an early Curved Dash such as the Runabout offered here.

Reference Number 8706

as of 4/18/2007

Car 1902 Oldsmobile Curved Dash Runabout
VIN 6785 
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