1905 REO 16hp Touring Car
Founded in 1904 by Ransom Eli Olds after his acrimonious departure from Oldsmobile, the Reo took its name from the great man's initials. Olds' split with his backers had resulted from their intention to cease manufacture of his successful Curved Dash single-cylinder runabout, so it surprised no one when a similar model appeared under the Reo name. The new company's first introduction though, was a 16hp twin-cylinder, planetary/chain-drive tourer with detachable tonneau.
Dating from the first year of production, the car offered here is a very early example of that first Reo automobile. The chassis and engine number are both numbered '9', which could very well be the lowest Reo serial number surviving. The present owner bought the Reo from Massachusetts, USA in September 1994 from Vintage Automobiles of Northfield, which had purchased it from the son of a deceased collector. The latter, living in Northern New Jersey, just outside of New York City, had purchased the Reo from its original owner while in his early twenties and kept it until his death.
According to correspondence on file between buyer and seller at the time (1994), the car retained its original paint, upholstery, and wooden fenders, a claim supported by the presence of the original painted scripts. This documentation also reveals that the engine was a non-runner at that time.
Shipped to Belgium and cleared in the Port of Antwerp on 22nd November 1994, the Reo comes with the original customs clearance document and the original purchase paperwork, enabling it to be registered in Europe. The car was placed in the owner's private museum and seems to have remained untouched until its recent resurfacing. As far as ownership is concerned, the information on file suggests that this 113-year old car has only had four owners in its entire life. Opportunities to purchase cars of this age in such original condition and with so few owners come along only rarely, making this historically early Reo a must for the serious collector.