Oldsmobile Curved Dash

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Oldsmobile Runabout
Oldsmobile Curved Dash Runabout 1904 2.jpg
Manufacturer Oldsmobile
Production 1901–1907
About 19000 built
Body and chassis
Class Entry-level car
Body style Runabout
Engine 95 cu in (1,560 cc) horizontal one-cylinder[1]
Transmission Planetary 2-speed
In My Merry Oldsmobile songbook featuring an Oldsmobile Curved Dash automobile

The gasoline powered Curved Dash Oldsmobile is credited as being the first mass-produced automobile, meaning that it was built on an assembly line using interchangeable parts. It was introduced by the Oldsmobile company in 1901 and produced through 1907. 425 were produced the first year,[2] 2,500 in 1902, with over 19,000 built in all.[3]

It was a runabout model, could seat two passengers, and sold for US$650. While competitive, due to high volume, and priced below the US$850 2-seat Ford Model C "Doctor's Car"[4], it was more expensive than the Western 1905 Gale Model A roadster at US$500. The Black went as low as $375,[5] and the Success hit the amazingly low US$250.[6]

The flat-mounted water-cooled single-cylinder engine, situated at the center of the car, produced 5 hp (3.7 kW),[1] relying on a brass gravity feed carburetor. The transmission was a semi-automatic design with two forward speeds and one reverse. The low-speed forward and reverse gear system are a planetary type (epicyclic). The car weighed 850 lb (390 kg) and used Concord springs.[citation needed] It had a top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h).[7]

The car’s success was partially by accident — in 1901 a fire destroyed a number of other models before they were approved for production, leaving the Curved Dash the only one intact.[8]



  1. ^ a b Rogliatti 1973, pp. 270–271.
  2. ^ Posthumus 1977, p. 48.
  3. ^ Georgano 1985, p. [page needed]
  4. ^ Clymer 1950, p. 37.
  5. ^ Clymer 1950, p. 61.
  6. ^ Clymer 1950, p. 32.
  7. ^ Sedgwick 1962, p. 36.
  8. ^ Wright 2000.


  • Clymer, Floyd (1950). Treasury of Early American Automobiles, 1877-1925. New York, NY US: Bonanza Books. 
  • Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly (January, 1904)
  • Georgano, G. N. (1985). Cars: Early and Vintage, 1886-1930. London, UK: Grange-Universal. 
  • Posthumus, Cyril (1977) [1977]. "The Motoring Boom". The story of Veteran & Vintage Cars. John Wood, illustrator (Phoebus 1977 ed.). London: Hamlyn / Phoebus. pp. 36–49. ISBN 0-600-39155-8. The 1901 output was 425 cars, and this figure rose to 2100 in 1902, 3750 in 1903, and 5000 in 1904. 
  • Rogliatti, Gianni (1973). Posthumus, Cyril, ed. Period Cars. Feltham, Middlesex, UK: Hamlyn. ISBN 0-600-33401-5. 
  • Sedgwick, Michael (1962). Early Cars. Putnam. 
  • Wright, Richard A. (2000-03-08). "detnews.com | Michigan History". Apps.detnews.com. Archived from the original on 2013-03-28. Retrieved 2009-06-27. 

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