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Auto Review Oldsmobile Album AR197

Product Code: AR197
|
$6.41

Ransom E Olds set up the Olds Motor Vehicle Co in 1897, and for many years Oldsmobile was the oldest American car marque still extant. Oldsmobile closed in 2004, however after producing more than 35 million vehicles, almost half of them built in Lansing, Michigan. 

Ransom Olds didn’t stay with his creation for long, however, leaving in 1905 to set up a company in competition, Reo, which is also described here. Oldsmobile survived reasonably well in the 1920s and 1930s, with only one hiccup; its Viking ‘companion car’ was launched in 1929, but it only survived for 18 months. Oldsmobile had a tradition of promoting its chief engineer to be general manager of the company, which meant that the brand was often at the forefront with new ideas and promising technologies. Hydra-Matic Drive, the first fully automatic transmission, was first seen in an Oldsmobile in 1939, two years before Cadillac adopted it. The postwar Rocket V8 engine made Oldsmobile the car to beat at the traffic lights grand prix, the 1962 Jetfire was the first US car to be powered by a turbocharged V-8 engine and front-wheel drive was introduced to big American cars in 1965 by the stylish Toronado. Oldsmobile was carefully positioned in the GM roster of marques at a lower price than a Buick, yet offering a better-trimmed car than a Chevrolet or Pontiac. Its reputation for offering more luxury for its price level in the mid-market, sometimes with more performance as well, gave Oldsmobile a loyal following. As these regular buyers aged, however, younger buyers were less interested, preferring to buy imported luxury cars.  An entirely new GM brand, Saturn, created to compete with the imports, is also noted in this publication; it only lasted two decades. 

After years of fighting a losing battle against falling sales, General Motors finally closed Oldsmobile down in 2004. 

 

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