Olds Transportation Museum Lansing superb auto history display
The R.E. Olds Transportation Museum in Lansing, Michigan, pays tribute to American automotive industry pioneer Ransom Eli Olds, and the history of the two major American automotive brands that he created. The museum has several displays on Ransom Eli Olds, the automotive inventor and innovator, and a nice representation of various models of both Oldsmobile and REO vehicles.
Ransom Olds claimed to have built his first steam car as early as 1894 and his first gasoline-powered car in 1896. He founded the Olds Motor Vehicle Company in Lansing, Michigan, in 1897. Samuel L. Smith purchased the company in 1899, with Ransom Olds as the vice president and general manager. Olds is credited as a pioneer in the use of the modern assembly line and used it to build the first mass-produced automobile, the Oldsmobile Curved Dash, in 1901.
Most people would recognize the name Ransom Olds as the founder of the more well known brand created by Olds that would become Oldmobile, but his association with that company lasted only a few short years. Having various disagreements with his backers, Samuel and Fred Smith, Ransom Olds would leave the Olds Motor Works in 1904. General Motors purchased the Olds Motor Works in 1908. The Oldsmobile brand was discontinued by General Motors in 2004.
In 1905 Ransom Olds started the REO Motor Car Company Lansing, Michigan. Ransom Olds would serve as president of REO Motor Car Company until 1925, and would serve on the board of directors until he stepped away entirely from REO in 1936. While Ford began modifying technology to produce cheaper vehicles, Ransom Olds favored a bigger, more expensive automobile. Many REO vehicles on display would appear to support that thought. REO merged with Diamond T Trucks in 1967 to form Diamond-Reo Trucks. The company went out of business in 1975.
We made a special point on our road trip to visit the Olds museum. It is an excellent specialty museum that focuses on the brands created by Ransom Eli Olds. The R.E. Olds Transportation Museum is located in downtown Lansing, Michigan. It's not that difficult to find, and there is free parking for visiting the museum. If you are planning your Michigan road trip of auto museums, Lansing is roughly 90 miles west of Detroit.