Oldsmobile Runabout
File:Oldsmobile Curved Dash Runabout 1904 2.jpg
Manufacturer Oldsmobile
Production 1901–1907
About 19000 built
Class Entry-level car
Body style(s) Runabout
Engine(s) 95 cu in (1,560 cc) horizontal one-cylinder[1]
Transmission(s) Planetary 2-speed
In My Merry Oldsmobile a2701-1-72dpi

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[citation needed] examples were produced the first year, 2,500 in 1902, with over 19,000 built in all.[2]

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",[3] Western in 1905 produced the Gale Model A roadster at US$500, the Black went as low as $375,[4] and the Success hit the amazingly low US$250.[5]

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. 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.[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Rogliatti, Gianni (1973). in Cyril Posthumus: Period Cars. Feltham, Middlesex, UK: Hamlyn, 270–271. ISBN 0-600-33401-5. 
  2. G.N. Georgano Cars: Early and Vintage, 1886-1930. (London: Grange-Universal, 1985)
  3. Clymer, Floyd. Treasury of Early American Automobiles, 1877-1925 (New York: Bonanza Books, 1950), p.37.
  4. Clymer, p.61.
  5. Clymer, p.32.
  6. " | Michigan History". (2000-03-08). Retrieved on 2009-06-27.


  • Clymer, Floyd. Treasury of Early American Automobiles, 1877-1925. New York: Bonanza Books, 1950.
  • Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly (January, 1904)
  • G.N. Georgano, G. N. Cars: Early and Vintage, 1886-1930. London: Grange-Universal, 1985.

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