Oldsmobile Curved Dash

Ransom Eli Olds developed the first mass-produced car with interchangeable parts. It was the Oldsmobile Curved Dash presented by the Olds Motor Works in 1901. Ransom developed a string of models for the year, but when the main production facility burned in a large fire only one car was salvaged.

Two workers pushed out the Curved Dash model, saving the future of the company in process. A new factory was built with a modern assembly line that allowed a rapid increase in production if needed.

People loved the small two seat runabout model priced at $650. During the initial year 425 cars were produced the first year for eager buyers. As the word spread and Oldsmobile reputation grew, the total sales followed suit. In 1902, around 2,500 models were sold on the American car market.

Competitive price made Oldsmobile Curved Dash cheaper that the Ford's model, while the assembly line kept the overall costs as low as possible. Oldsmobile Curved Dash was powered by a single cylinder engine capable of generating 5 horsepower.

Located in the center of the vehicle, it was connected with a brass gravity feed carburetor and a semi-automatic transmission. Curved Dash model weighed 850 lb and reached a top speed of 20 miles per hour. Simple design offered another advantages as well. The car parts could be easily repaired by almost any blacksmith, which was very important at the time.

Rural country roads posed no problem for Oldsmobile in comparison to competitive models. In 1903 Oldsmobile Curved Dash was the most sold car in the United States. Ransom Eli Olds developed the model further by adding optional equipment such as an auxiliary seat and a folding top in either rubber or leather.

Exactly 4,000 units were produced that year, breaking record after record in the early American automotive industry. Ordinary people wanted to see their favorite car in action, so Oldsmobile organized speed and durability tests. Famous engineer Roy Chapin drove a Curved Dash for an entire week from Detroit to New York to prove the reliability of the model.

Positive features earned the model nickname Old Steady by winning numerous endurance and performance trials. Perhaps the biggest advertisement came from the United States Post Office when they bought it as the first mail delivery vehicles.

Oldsmobile management devised a marketing campaign to promote their primary car and planned to create an image of a mechanically perfect scientific wonder. Americans were attracted to positive vehicle characteristics such as low noise levels, decent speed, sturdy chassis and safety features. During the next four years, the general public wanted bigger and more powerful cars.

Ransom Olds believed in the original Curved Dash that made him famous, but his partner Frederic Smith used the ownership influence to remove him from the company. Soon, a number of Oldsmobile variations were developed and sold. Nevertheless, it was not enough to keep the company in the leading position on the emerging car market. In 1907 the last Curved Dash was produced, with total production numbers reaching 19,000 units.

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