1903 Oldsmobile Curved Dash Runabout

Summary

When it inspires a song, you know it's popular. This Olds was the bestselling car in America from 1902 to 1905. Automobiles had an emotional appeal. A driver in 1901 said that controlling a car satisfied "an almost universal sense, the love of power." Despite the attraction, cars were not a significant player in the transportation world. In 1903, 4000 people bought Oldsmobiles, but more than 900,000 bought buggies and carriages.

When it inspires a song, you know it's popular. This Olds was the bestselling car in America from 1902 to 1905. Automobiles had an emotional appeal. A driver in 1901 said that controlling a car satisfied "an almost universal sense, the love of power." Despite the attraction, cars were not a significant player in the transportation world. In 1903, 4000 people bought Oldsmobiles, but more than 900,000 bought buggies and carriages.

Artifact

Automobile

Date Made

1903

Driving America
 On Exhibit

at Henry Ford Museum in Driving America

Object ID

30.1303.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Olds Motor Works.

Material

Metal
Wood (Plant material)
Leather
Rubber (Material)

Color

Black (Color)
Maroon

Dimensions

Height: 56 in

Width: 62 in

Length: 97 in

Diameter: 23 in

Wheelbase: 67 in

Inscriptions

Oval insignias on each side (one under crank): OLDSMOBILE/DETROIT

Specifications

Make & Model: 1903 Oldsmobile runabout

Maker: Olds Motor Works, Detroit and Lansing, Michigan

Engine: 1-cylinder, L-head valves, 95 cubic inches

Transmission: 2-speed manual

Height: 56 inches

Wheelbase: 66 inches

Width: 62 inches

Overall length: 97 inches

Weight: 650 pounds

Horsepower: 4.5 at 600 revolutions per minute

Pounds per horsepower: 144.4

Price: $650

Average 1903 wage: $489 per year

Time you'd work to buy this car: about 1 year, 4 months

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