REO Speed Wagon

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Badge from a REO Speed Wagon Fire Truck
A REO Speed Wagon, from a 1917 advertisement
A REO Speed Wagon Fire Truck at Jack Daniel's Distillery, Lynchburg, Tennessee
1929 REO Speedwagon EX REO at the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum. 6 cylinder Flathead "Gold Comet", 4-speed transmission, Top speed of 35 MPH
REO Speed Wagon Truck 1939
1948, 2 1/2 ton REO Speed Wagon truck used to haul grain on the Camas Prairie, Idaho circa 1953

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

First introduced in 1915, production continued through at least 1953, and made REO (the initials of its founder, Ransom Eli Olds) one of the better-known manufacturers of commercial vehicles in America prior to World War II.[1] 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.[citation needed] In 1967, Diamond T and Reo Trucks were combined to form the Diamond Reo Trucks Division of the White Motor Corporation.

The rock and roll quintet REO Speedwagon took its name from this vehicle, which was, in turn, later adapted into a main character in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.[7][8]


  • 1915 model featured 1-ton weight, four-cylinder engine, three speed transmission and aimed to be faster than the 10–15 mph (16–24 km/h) 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 cu in (4.4 L), 67 horsepower (50 kW), six-cylinder engine.[3]
  • 1933 Model BN [9] featured REO's six-cylinder "Gold Crown" engine and combination of parts from the company's Flying Cloud and Royale luxury cars. It is a rare, relatively fast panel delivery truck with wooden body.


  1. ^ Lorek, Ken (June 24, 2015). "Tailgate - 1935 REO Speedwagon Bus". Retrieved November 17, 2023.
  2. ^ "Standard Body for Reo Chassis". Bus Transportation. 1 (12): 655. December 1922. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
  3. ^ a b "1929 REO Speed Wagon Camper". Woodland Family Automobile Collection. Estrella WarBirds Museum. Archived from the original on December 9, 2010. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
  4. ^ 1915 police patrol wagon "Departments Police History". City of Bloomington, Illinois. Archived from the original on February 29, 2004. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
  5. ^ Liptrap, Jim. "REO Motor Car Company". Retrieved March 22, 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. Archived from the original on September 22, 2012.
  8. ^ Verbrugge, Allen; Sowell, Jody (2002). Ladies and Gentlemen, Please Welcome….
  9. ^ a b "1933 Reo Speedwagon Model BN". howstuffworks. October 17, 2007. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
  10. ^ "REO Speed Wagon (The Vehicle)". Timebinder. Retrieved March 22, 2011.

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