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June 3, 1864 – The founder of Oldsmobile is born
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June 3, 1864 – The founder of Oldsmobile is born

Ransom Eli Olds, the founder of Oldsmobile, was born on this day in 1864 in Geneva, Ohio. He originally found the Olds Motor Vehicle Company in Lansing, Michigan, on August 21, 1897. In 1899 Samuel L. Smith, a copper and lumber business man, bought the company. He renamed it Olds Motor Works and moved it from Lansing to Detroit. Smith, as President, kept Olds on the team as vice president and general manager. By 1901 Olds produced 11 prototype vehicles, at least one powered by gasoline, one by electricity and one by steam. Unfortunately, a March 1901 fire burned the factory to the ground. The story goes that a single Curved Dash Runabout prototype emerged from the flames, leading to its production. However, more than 300 orders for the cars had been placed before the fire broke out. ...
April 29, 2004 – Oldsmobile shuts down
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April 29, 2004 – Oldsmobile shuts down

When Oldsmobile closed its doors on this day in 2004, it was currently the oldest automaker in the United States, at 107 years old. Ransom E. Olds founded Olds Motor Vehicle Co. in 1897. Throughout its century and seven year existence it produced more than 35 million cars. Early company highlights include being the first high volume gas powered auto manufacturer. In 1901 the company built an astonishing 425 cars, even more impressive considering the plant had a massive fire that year. Above: 1904 Curved DashTop: The last Oldsmobile Between 1901 to 1904 the Oldsmobile factory churned out the Curved Dash model, marking the first mass-produced automobile in the American auto industry. An automotive assembly line made mass manufacturing of the Curved Dash possible, a revolution at t...
For Sale: 1903 Curved Dash Olds
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For Sale: 1903 Curved Dash Olds

I won't waste your time because I know you're burning to know. This is a replica, but a darn fine one at that. Found on Craigslist in Lakeland, FL for $9,800, this 1903 Olds Curved Dash replica is reported to have been built in the late 1950s by the E.W. Bliss Company. The business built approximately 500 of these full scale models and some 40 are known to survive. This particular one is in running condition, but the seller states it has a few loose ends to tie up. The Curved Dash is credited with being the first mass produced automobile. In 1901, the first year of production, 425 rolled off the assembly line. The model remained the staple of the Olds lineup until about the time General Motors purchased the company win 1908. A fire that broke out at the Olds Motor Vehicle Co. facto...
March 9, 1901 – Olds Motor Vehicle Co. prototypes destroyed in fire
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March 9, 1901 – Olds Motor Vehicle Co. prototypes destroyed in fire

Ransom E. Olds founded the Olds Motor Vehicle Co. in 1897 and soon started rolling out prototypes. By 1901, he had many as six horseless carriage prototypes stored inside the Olds factory in Detroit, Michigan. Plans to put multiple models into production went up in smoke when fire broke out at the plant on this day in 1901. The flames destroyed the facility and all but one of the prototypes, a Curved Dash rescued by fleeing workers. Above: The Olds Motor Vehicle Co on fire in 1901Top - An Olds prototype destroyed by the fire Inside a surviving building reserved for corporate affairs, workers installed a production line. Curved Dash models soon began rolling down it. The automaker produced 425 of them by the end of 1901, making Olds the first company to mass produce a vehicle pow...
February 16, 1843 – Henry Leland, founder of Cadillac & Lincoln, is born
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February 16, 1843 – Henry Leland, founder of Cadillac & Lincoln, is born

Henry Leland, founder of Cadillac and Lincoln, was born on this day in 1843. He began his professional engineering career in the firearms industry, including time spent at Colt. His exceptional eye for toolmaking, manufacturing and parts interchangeability resulted in him and partner Robert Faulconer founding Leland & Faulconer Manufacturing Co. in Detroit. Faulconer, left and Leland, right, at their Detroit office. Though he worked on engines as early as 1870, it wasn’t until the automobile industry’s rapid expansion that he found it lucrative, initially as the engine supplied for Ransom E. Olds. Then, in 1902, partners of the already defunct Henry Ford Company approached Leland & Faulconer to conduct an appraisal of the Ford factory and toolings prior to liquidation. L...
December 12, 2000 – GM announces end of Oldsmobile
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December 12, 2000 – GM announces end of Oldsmobile

At the time Oldsmobile closed its doors in 2004 it was the oldest surviving American car brand at 107 years old. It was a fate that was first announced on this day in 2000 when General Motors (GM) stated its plans to phase out Oldsmobile.  Ransom E Olds. Top: Olds Curved Dash Ransom E. Olds founded the company in 1897 as the Olds Motor Vehicle Company in Lansing, Michigan. It soon became the first high output manufacturer of gas-powered automobiles. The company produced 4,000 units in 1903 at a time when other automakers averaged just 1,272. The numbers grew with the introduction of the first automotive assembly line, which churned out the Olds Curved Dash. Henry Ford would later enhance automobile production using first the moving assembly line in the industry. GM cited...
November 12, 1908 – GM buys Oldsmobile
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November 12, 1908 – GM buys Oldsmobile

On this day in 1908 the newly formed General Motors snapped up another automotive Brand. When GM buys Oldsmobile, the holding company immediately went to work to turn the struggling car company around. At the time, Oldsmobile was losing money after their latest product, a six cylinder model, failed to sell in the volume of the popular Curved Dash Runabout. The Curved Dash has received recognition as the first mass produced American automobile. Top 1909 Oldsmobile Model 20. Above: 1903 Oldsmobile Curved Dash. By Brian Corey Following the purchase of Oldsmobile, GM introduced the Model 20 for 1909, which more or less mirrored another General Motors product, the Buick Model 10. Comparatively, the Model 20 featured a longer wheelbase and had some minor differences in its exterior st...
October 18, 1934 – Automatic transmission patented
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October 18, 1934 – Automatic transmission patented

Oscar H. Banker, an Armenian-American inventor born in 1895, filed for a patent for a new type of automatic transmission on this day in 1934. The automatic transmission wasn’t a new idea at the time, but it had hardly been perfected. General Motors and REO each debuted a semi-automatic transmission the same year, but both were found to be quite unreliable. Even though Banker’s patent, which used hydraulic force and had no need for a manual clutch mechanism, was viewed as more durable, safe and easy to use, it took years for any automaker to give his invention a shot. General Motors offered the first mass produced automatic transmission vehicles using queues from Banker’s design with the release of the 1940 Oldsmobiles and Cadillacs. Above: Oscar Banker. Top: 1940 Oldsmobile by Sicn...
October 14, 1965 – Oldsmobile debuts the Toronado
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October 14, 1965 – Oldsmobile debuts the Toronado

The 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado was introduced on this day in 1965. The vehicle is historically significant because it was the first mass-produced front wheel drive American car since the Cord ended production in 1937. The Toronado won the 1966 Motor Trend Car of the Year Award in the U.S., and placed third in the 1966 European Car of the Year contest, a feat no other American automobile had accomplished before or since. The path to earning those accolades all started with a painting. Top: 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado By Karrmann - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0Above: 1967 Oldsmobile Toronado. By Marcin Zieliński - Own work, CC BY 2.5 Oldsmobile designer David North completed a design painting in 1962 titled, "Flame Red Car." Originally nothing more than an exercise, his design would prove to be j...
October 14, 1965 – Oldsmobile Toronado debuts
This Day

October 14, 1965 – Oldsmobile Toronado debuts

When the Oldsmobile Toronado debuted on this day in 1965 it had been nearly 30 years since an American front wheel drive car was mass produced. FWD had been buried with Cord and its coffin nose in 1937, until now. The original design was conceived in 1962 by Oldsmobile stylist David North. Shortly after he completed the design GM have Olds the go ahead to build a personal luxury car for the 1966 model year to compete with the likes of the Ford Thunderbird. North's design, which was never intended for production, was green lit. 1976 Oldsmobile Toronado Development of the front-wheel drive system, which became known as the Unitized Power Package (UPP), lasted more than seven years. Through that time components were driven upwards of 1.5 million miles to ensure reliability. 1985 Ol...

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