REO’s original speed wagon.

Ransom E. Olds wanted to his car company on the map, and what better way then racing? In April of 1902 he took his racer named the Pirate to the beach’s in front of the Ormond Hotel in Florida.

The Pirate was the first car to make a timed run during Florida's first unofficial speed trials. The following March, Olds returned and brought his speedster back for the first sanctioned official event that was held and hosted by the American Automobile Association (AAA).

Horace Thomas drove the Pirate to a record speed of 54.38 mph in the gasoline-powered 1,000 pound class.

Pretty respectable numbers for a car in 1903 with an 95 CID Single-Cylinder pumping out just 7 horsepower at 500rpm. The Pirate borrowed its parts from Ransoms Curved Dash Oldsmobile Runabout, The best-selling car in America at the time.

The car had long semi-elliptical springs forming the frame rails, and had bullet shaped oil and fuel tanks for less wind resistant. the driver say at the tail behind the rear axle and held on for dear life.

Mr. Olds is credited as the first person to use a stationary assembly line in the auto industry. 10+ years later Henry Ford would go a step further, being the first to use a moving assembly line to manufacture automobiles. With Olds new approach to building cars, He more than quintuple his factory's output, from 425 cars in 1901 to 2,500 in 1902. By 1903 he was the largest automobile manufacturer in the U.S.

Olds founded his original company in 1897, but sold controlling interest to outside investors in 1899. he and the investors clashed over some company issues causing them to split ways and Ransom left the company, which had been renamed Olds Motor Works, he would go on to form REO Motor Car Company.

Over 35 million Olds/REO/Oldsmobile cars would wear this automotive legends name.

Rest In Peace Oldsmobile


~Blanton Payne



Oldsmobile Club

Automotive Hall of Fame


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