The Curved Dash Oldsmobile (aka CDO!) which was launched in 1901 is often regarded as the first properly mass produced vehicle as it was built on an assembly line using interchangeable parts. They have become one of the most popular veteran cars with over 130 Brighton Run eligible vehicles listed in the Veteran Car Club’s Members Handbook. Many of the owners are enthusiasts who have had their CDOs for many years and simply will not part with them and the model is also frequently chosen by people as their first London to Brighton car.
One obvious appeal is that they are real value for money but it isn't only their price which makes them attractive as they are very good cars in their own right. Apart from being quite charming to look at they are very easy to drive, they have more than adequate power, very simple to use gears (you don't have to worry about double declutching) and light precise tiller steering which may seem a bit unfamiliar at first but soon becomes second nature. They are also, like most American cars of the period, relatively simple to maintain and very robustly made.
This car is in really fine condition both cosmetically and structurally with sound bodywork and mechanicals, excellent paintwork, very good leather upholstery and what appear to be almost new wheels. Its detachable rear seat can be readily removed and replaced with its separate engine cover which has an attractive brass railing to locate a trunk or a hamper should you wish to carry one.
Its water-cooled 1½ litre single cylinder mechanically valved engine has a decompressor so hand starting is easy though some people do fit electric starters to CDOs if they feel so inclined. Out on the road the engine (which has very recently been stripped, thoroughly inspected, repaired and rebuilt) is quiet and pulls very well, the gears are also quiet and very easy to use, the steering is precise and the suspension is good, the ride is comfortable, the brakes are up to their job and all in all the car feels reassuringly well built.
The car carries a brass plate confirming that it was formally dated by the Club and issued with certificate number 1370. In addition the under-seat panel carries a good number of plates confirming its participation in many Brighton Runs. There is also a very comprehensive collection of data on Curved Dash Oldsmobiles including CDO guru Gary Hoonsbeem’s Curved Dash Manual, a copy of Philip Seigler’s collection of CDO engineering drawings, a 1903 Automobile Journal article entitled “The Oldsmobile Petrol Car” and a good selection of CDO Club newsletters plus some personal letters and invoices for work done on the car.
Originally intended to be a runabout for relatively local use, the Curved Dash soon proved its long distance credentials with Hammond and Whitman's 1903 run from New York to San Francisco. In fact the model proved immensely popular selling in relatively large numbers from the outset and a good look at and drive in this car will soon explain why!
P.S. Also available by separate negotiation is a specially built lightweight trailer which should easily be towed by a family car!