Salute to the <i>Old</i>est carmarker

Stacey Vanek Smith Nov 24, 2006

TEXT OF STORY

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Time to open the vault again and take a look at the History of Business. This week, the country’s oldest carmaker.


STACEY VANEK-SMITH: This week back in 1897, Ransom Eli Olds was granted a patent for his “horseless motor carriage.”

Olds started out making steam-powered vehicles, but found gas engines were safer and more reliable.

After patenting his gas motor, Olds founded Olds Motor Vehicle Company in Detroit. Its first big seller was the Curved Dash Olds.

It looked a little like a sleigh on bicycle wheels. Its one-cylinder engine could go about 15 miles an hour. The Curved Dash became the first mass-produced car in the U.S.

But all good things must come to an end. After more than 100 years and 35 million cars, the last Oldsmobile rolled off the assembly line in 2004.

I’m Stacey Vanek-Smith.

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.  

Need some Econ 101?

Our new Marketplace Crash Course is here to help. Sign-up for free, learn at your own pace.