Monday, April 13, 2015
1904 Oldsmobile Curved Dash Runabout
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 examples were produced the first year, 2,500 in 1902, with over 19,000 built in all.
It was a runabout model, could seat two passengers, and sold for US$650. While competitive, due to high volume, and below the Ford US$850 "Doctor's Car", Western in 1905 produced the Gale Model A roadster at US$500, the Black went as low as $375, and the Success hit the amazingly low US$250.
The flat-mounted water-cooled single-cylinder engine, situated at the center of the car, produced 5 hp (3.7 kW), 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. It had a top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h).
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.