REO Speed Wagon

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For the band, see REO Speedwagon.
Badge from an REO Speed Wagon Fire Truck
An REO Speed Wagon, from a 1917 advertisement
A REO Speed Wagon Fire Truck at Jack Daniel's Distillery, Lynchburg, Tennessee
REO Speed Wagon Truck 1939

The REO Speed Wagon (alternatively Reo Speedwagon) was a light motor truck manufactured by REO Motor Car Company. It is an ancestor of the pickup truck.

First introduced in 1915, production continued through at least 1953[1] and led to REO (Ransom Eli Olds) being one of the better known manufacturers of commercial vehicles prior to World War II. Although the basic design and styling of the chassis remained consistent, the Speed Wagon was manufactured in a variety of configurations (pickup and panel truck, passenger bus) to serve as delivery, tow, dump, and fire trucks as well as hearses and ambulances. Other manufacturers[2] provided refits for adapting the Speed Wagon for specialized purposes.[3][4] The Speed Wagon used REO's "Gold Crown" series of engines and was well regarded for power, durability, and quality.[5]

While REO produced some wagons based on its automobile chassis (the Model H) starting in 1908 and had organized a division to produce trucks in 1910 with success, the Speed Wagon's introduction in 1915 was a significant step and a sales success. The company was soon offering a variety of Speed Wagon models with many options and by 1925 had produced 125,000.[6]

After years of roughly equal car and truck emphasis, REO shifted its focus completely to trucks, ending automobile production in 1936. Production for the civilian market was suspended during World War II, resuming in 1946.

The rock and roll band REO Speedwagon took its name from this vehicle, but pronouncing the name with each individual letter instead of as a single word. Founding band member Neal Doughty recalls seeing the name written on the board in his History of Transportation class at the University of Illinois and later suggesting it to his bandmates.[7][8]

Models[edit]

  • 1915 model featured 1-ton weight, four-cylinder engine, three speed transmission and aimed to be faster than the 10-15 mph average speed of contemporary trucks.[9]
  • 1917 model featured 3.25-ton weight and canvas top and sides and cost $1125.[10]
  • 1925 model featured six-cylinder engine
  • 1929 model featured REO's "Gold Crown" 268 cubic inch, 67 horsepower, six-cylinder engine.[3]
  • 1933 Model BN [9] featured REO's six-cylinder "Gold Crown" engine and combination of parts from the companies Flying Cloud and Royale luxury cars. It is a rare, relatively fast panel delivery truck with wooden body.

References[edit]

  1. ^ In 1936 REO abandoned the manufacture of automobiles to concentrate on trucks.
  2. ^ "Standard Body for Reo Chassis". Bus Transportation 1 (12): 655. December 1922. Retrieved 22 March 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "1929 REO Speed Wagon Camper". Woodland Family Automobile Collection. Estrella WarBirds Museum. Retrieved 22 March 2011. 
  4. ^ 1915 police patrol wagon "Departments Police History". City of Bloomington, Illinois. Retrieved 22 March 2011. 
  5. ^ Liptrap, Jim. "REO Motor Car Company". Retrieved 22 March 2011. 
  6. ^ Senefsky, Bill (May 2009). "REO Speedwagon - The World's First Pickup". Diesel Power. 
  7. ^ "Review of LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, PLEASE WELCOME…". Film Threat. Retrieved 23 March 2011. 
  8. ^ Verbrugge, Allen; Sowell, Jody (2002). Ladies and Gentlemen, Please Welcome…. 
  9. ^ a b Auto Editors of Consumer Guide. "1933 Reo Speedwagon Model BN". howstuffworks. Retrieved 22 March 2011. 
  10. ^ "REO Speed Wagon (The Vehicle)". Timebinder. Retrieved 22 March 2011. 

External links[edit]