The automobile featured in this article is an original 1907 REO Model G.

reo cars
1907 REO

Ransom E. Olds is considered by many to be the founder of the American auto industry. Legend has it that Olds built his first steam car as early as 1894. He followed that up two years later with his first gas powered automobile.

Olds is also credited with using the first assembly line. This was a stationary line that enabled him to quadruple his vehicle output. Henry Ford was the first to use a moving assembly line and very successfully.

Ransom E. Olds departed from the Olds Motor Works Company and founded the REO Motor Car Company in 1904 in Lansing, Michigan. His share of REO was over fifty-percent and he served as president and general manager. Their first vehicles began coming out in late 1904. The company that Olds had departed from to form REO, the one with his name, would eventually become the Oldsmobile Division of General Motors Corporation.

1907 reo model g photosThe REO Company built cars and trucks from 1905 through 1936. In 1907, REO was one of the four largest auto manufacturers in the U.S.

REO car sales began to decline in 1908 due to heavy competition from both Ford and General Motors. After 1936, REO, due to losses and the general Great Depression era price wars, produced only trucks. To give you an idea of how the Depression hurt REO car sales…sales figures for 1930 were 12,000 units1931 were 6,000 units and 1932 numbers were just under 4,000 units. Why REO ceased car production in 1936 is easy to understand when you look at production numbers for that year. 1936 saw truck production at 11,600 units and car production at just under 3,000 units.

By the end of 1938 the REO Motor Car Company declared bankruptcy and truck production stopped.

Mergers took place and REO trucks were manufactured under company names such a Diamond REO and REO Giant right into the 1990’s.

Cross Country Success

In 1912, REO made history with the completion of a 4,176 mile journey across Canada.  Fonce V. (Jack) Haney (mechanic and driver) and Thomas W. Wilby (journalist) drove a REO touring car from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Vancouver, British Columbia.

When The 1907 REO Model G

The 1907 REO Model G had a one cylinder horizontal L-Head engine that produced 8 HP. The car employed a chain drive.

Transmission was a two-speed epicyclic gearbox.

The vehicle sits on a 94 inch wheelbase.

This was an early automobile that was built during the American Brass Era of auto history. This was an era that spanned from about 1890 to 1919. Brass Car Era occurred between 1890 and 1919.  It marks the beginning of automotive history, when steam engines had brass fittings and brass lanterns. Manufacturers believed that the brass fittings were a perfect addition to what would replace the horseless carriage.

The REO Speedwagon

reo model gWhen speaking about REO we have to make a mention of the legendary REO Speedwagon. The REO Speedwagon, a well known name, and as it turned out the name of a popular band, is considered the forerunner to the modern pick up truck.

The REO Speedwagon made it’s debut in 1915. Competitors came out with variations over the next ten years. The Speedwagon is credited with several firsts.These included electric starters and lighting, shaft-driven axles, and pneumatic tires mounted on steel wheels.

REO produced approximately 125,000 Speedwagons by 1925. They also expanded the line into heavier vehicles up to two tons.

You may also enjoy the Auto Museum Online articles/ photos on the links below…..

1908 Maxwell Model LC

1914 Air Cooled Franklin

References for this article included the Route 66 Museum, Springfield, MOTruck Trends.

brass era automobiles






(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)