Oldsmobile: A Pioneer in Automotive Technology
Oldsmobile was an auto company with many firsts. In its 106 years of existence, it has provided the industry with various technologies that are still commonly used today. Oldsmobile was at the forefront of discovery and innovation until its demise in 2004. But nevertheless the legacy of Ransom E. Olds and his Oldsmobiles lives on in the manufacturing techniques and automotive designs we see in all kinds of cars today.
Oldsmobile's Curved Dash Model R: The first speedometer
The Curved Dash is far from a technologically advanced car by today's standard. But with its introduction 1901, the Dash also introduced a technological advancement that modern cars can't live without-the speedometer. Speed measuring devices have been in use since the earliest years of man's travels. From the Roman's wheel revolutions to Columbus' knotted lines, measuring the rate at which one is going is essential to man's mobility. The Oldsmobile Curved Dash was the first car to be equipped with a mechanical speedometer. Thanks to this automotive addition, cars today enjoy more accurate and efficient speed readings.
Oldsmobile 66 and 68: Hydra-matic Drive
While a lot of drivers enjoy the ease of driving an automatic, few are aware of its origins. The Oldsmobile 66 and 68 is considered to be the forefather of automatic transmission. Developed by General Motors engineer Earl Thompson, the Hydra-matic Drive allowed drivers with less skill to drive smoothly. It featured planetary gears and a conventional friction clutch that provided easier shifting. It was even advertised as the
Oldsmobile Tornado: The first airbag
greatest advancement since the self-starter and has helped generations of drivers all throughout its life span.
In the mid-1970s, drivers were less likely to wear seat belts while driving. Oldsmobile was the first to create other safety measures that were more reliable and proactive, particularly the airbag. The 1974 Oldsmobile Tornado was the first passenger car to be equipped with airbags. This technology featured a flexible piece of fabric that inflates during collision, allowing the passenger to avoid head-on injuries from the steering wheel and dashboard. This innovation also sparked international interest in automobile safety and resulted in various other motoring safety inventions.
1996 Eighty-Eight LSS and Toronado Trofeo: The GuideStar
The demand for Oldmobile's started to decline in the early 90s. But this did not stop GM from reviving the Oldsmobile's technological sophistication. One such innovation is the GPS-based navigation system found in 1996 Eighty-Eight LSS. The system, called the GuideStar, was the first navigation equipment to be installed on cars. It gave drivers greater control of the streets and enabled them to become more defensive drivers. While most cars nowadays are hardly seen without a GPS system, it was a so-called "grandpa car" that started it all.
The R.E. Olds Transportation Museum: Immortalizing the Classics
While the music industry has Michael Jackson and the sports industry has Babe Ruth or Muhammad Ali, the icon for today's modern vehicles is the Oldsmobile. First introduced in 1897, Oldsmobile automobiles have been THE car every other car looks up to. So it's only fitting that a museum was built to honour this automotive icon. The R.E. Olds Transportation Museum in Lansing Michigan features Oldsmobile's innovative marvels, from its 1896 prototype down to its more streamlined cars. Let's take a ride down memory lane as we take you through a museum that fulfils every car enthusiast's dream.
Oldsmobile cars from past to present
A trip to the museum is like going thru a slideshow of automotive history as each section featured cars from a particular era. It even houses a collection of vehicles from the REO Motor Car Company, another company that Ransom Olds founded after leaving Oldsmobile. A dark cherry metallic Alero sedan is just one of the residents of this informative museum. With the discontinuation of the Oldsmobile brand, GM motors donated the 500th of Final 500 collector's edition Oldsmobile to give tribute to the automotive pioneers of modern day cars. But not all automobilias are owned by the museum itself. The 1987 Olds, the earliest Oldmobile model, is on loan from the Smithsonian Institution. Nevertheless this top-rated automotive museum boasts of a diverse collection of Oldsmobile that will take you back to the roots, and heart, of automobile design and innovation.
A tribute to the Father of Oldsmobiles
If classic cars are not your thing, then maybe a walk through Lansing's rich transportation history would knock your socks off. Aside from the Oldsmobile retro cars, the museum also houses artifacts, such as Michigan licensing plates and old traffic signs, to give you an idea of the era in which the great Ransom E.Olds accomplished so much. Be part of the Oldsmobile traditions with the various family and company memorabilia at every corner of the museum. Upon entering the museum, you can even encounter a life sized statue of the man himself as he looks over his achievements. Signs in and around the museum also explain how the Olds family has been building engines long before putting them in cars. From bikes to military equipment, Olds and the Oldsmobile was not just a pioneer in automotive design but as well as anything that moves with an engine.