March 9, 1901 – Olds factory fire destroys prototypes

Ransom E. Olds founded the Olds Motor Vehicle Co. in 1897 and began building prototypes. By 1901 as many as six horseless carriages of different design were built and were being stored inside the Olds factory in Lansing, Michigan. A number of the cars were set to go into production but a fire broke out at the factory on this day in 1901, destroying the facility and all but one of the prototypes, an original Curved Dash, which was rescued by workers fleeing the fire. A new factory was built and with only one prototype to work off of the Curved Dash went into production as Olds’ sole model. Olds produced 425 vehicles by the end of 1901, making it the first automobile company to mass produce an internal combustion engine powered vehicle. The Curved Dash would continued to roll off production lines through 1907 and Oldsmobile, as it was called by then, would be sold to General Motors the following year. 1903 Olds Curved Dash1897 Olds, likely the first internal combustion Olds built.

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