When Oldsmobile closed its doors on this day in 2004 it was currently the oldest automaker in the United States at 107 years old. The Olds Motor Vehicle Co. was founded by Ransom E. Olds in 1897. Throughout its century and seven year existence it produced more than 35 million cars. It’s early history included becoming the first high volume gas powered auto manufacturer, making 425 cars in 1901, and being the top selling brand in America in 1903 and 1904. The 1901 to 1904 Oldsmobile Curved Dash was the first mass-produced car and it was made on the first automotive assembly line, an invention that is often miscredited to Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company, as Ford was the first to manufacture cars on a moving assembly line. General Motors purchased the brand in 1908. For many years Oldsmobile was thought of as a luxury brand, as well as revolutionary one. For the 1940 model year Oldsmobile (along with Cadillac) was the first car to offer a fully automatic transmission, called Hydramatic. Fast forward to 1964 and the world is introduced to the Oldsmobile 442. Originally 442 stood for 4-barrel carburetor, 4-speed manual transmission, and 2 exhaust pipes, but when the vehicle received a 400 ci engine tit was changed to “4” hundred CID V8 engine, 4-barrel carburetor, and 2 exhaust pipes.
While Oldsmobile remained relatively successful over the following decades it failed to make its mark in the late 1990s, prompting GM to make a December 2000 announcement stating a probable shutdown of the brand. The final production day for Oldsmobile was April 29, 2004. The last car built was an Alero GLS 4-door sedan, and it was signed by all of the assembly line workers. It’s now located at the GM Heritage Center in Sterling Heights, Michigan. 1904 Curved Dash Olds by DougW at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Undead_warrior.Ransom Eli Olds