Oldsmobiles were first manufactured by the Olds Motor Vehicle Co. in Lansing, Michigan, a company founded by Ransom E. Olds in 1897. In 1901 (the same year that Horace and John Dodge won a contract to produce transmissions for the Oldsmobile company), the company produced 635 cars, making it the first high-volume gasoline-powered automobile manufacturer. (Electric car manufacturers such as Columbia Electric and steam-powered car manufacturers such as Locomobile had higher volumes a few years earlier.) Oldsmobile became the top-selling car company in the United States for a few years around 1903–1904. Ransom Olds left the company in 1904 because of a dispute with sales manager Frederick Smith, who was questioning production techniques and wanted Mr. Olds to certify that each car that left the plant was free from defects. Mr. Smith then set up an experimental engineering shop without Mr. Olds' knowledge or consent, causing Mr. Olds to leave in 1904 and formed the REO Motor Car Company. This was a similar situation, with the smaller Oldsmobile Autocrat Series 32 having 36-inch wheels.Henry Fordencountered when he was forced out of the company he founded, the Henry Ford Company and started the Ford Motor Company in 1903. After merging with Diamond T in 1967, Diamond Reo Trucks also lasted into the 21st century, folding in 2013. Oldsmobile was the first auto manufacturer to offer a fully automatic transmission, called the "Hydramatic", which features four forward speeds. It has a gas pedal and a brake—no clutch pedal. The gear selector is on the steering column.Starting in 1941 and continuing through 1999, Oldsmobile used a two-digit model designation. As originally implemented, the first digit signifies the body size while the second represents the number of cylinders. Body sizes were 6, 7, 8, and 9, and straight six- and straight eight-cylinder engines were offered. Thus, Oldsmobiles were named "66" through "98".Until January 1, 1942 the Division was still known by the still official name of Olds Motor Works, when it was changed to the collective names the cars were known as "Oldsmobiles". Thus it was officially christened the Oldsmobile Division of General Motors. The last pre-war Oldsmobile rolled off the assembly line on February 5, 1942. During World War II, Oldsmobile produced numerous kinds of material for the war effort, including large-caliber guns and shells. Production resumed on October 15, 1945, with a warmed-over 1942 model serving as the offering for 1946.Notable achievements for Oldsmobile in the 1960s included the introduction of the first turbocharged engine and a factory water injectionsystem in 1962 (the Turbo Jetfire), the first modern front-wheel drive car produced in the United States (the 1966 Toronado), the Vista Cruiser station wagon (noted for its roof glass), and the upscale 442 muscle car. Olds briefly used the names "Jetstar 88" (1964–1966) and Delmont 88 (1967–1968) on its least expensive full-size models in the 1960s. In 1968 the split grille appearance was introduced and remained a traditional feature until production ended in 2004. The 1970s and 1980s were good years for the Oldsmobile division; sales soared (reaching an all-time high of 1,066,122 in 1985) based on popular designs, positive reviews from critics, and perceived quality and reliability, with the Cutlass series becoming North America's top-selling car by 1976. By this time, Olds had displaced Pontiac and Plymouth as the third best-selling brand in the U.S. behind Chevrolet and Ford. In the late 1970s and again in the mid-1980s, model-year production topped one million units, something only Chevrolet and Ford had achieved.The very popularity of Oldsmobile's cars created a problem for the division in the late 1970s, however. At that time, each General Motors division produced its own V8 engines, and in 1977, Oldsmobile, Chevrolet, Pontiac, and Buick each produced a unique 350-cubic-inch displacement V8. It was during the 1977 model year that demand exceeded production capacity for the Oldsmobile V8 and as a result, Oldsmobile began equipping most full-size Delta 88 models (those with Federal emissions specifications) with the Chevrolet 350 engine instead. Although it was widely debated whether there was a difference in quality or performance between the two engines, there was no question that the engines were different from one another. Many customers were loyal Oldsmobile buyers who specifically wanted the Rocket V8, and did not discover that their vehicle had the Chevrolet engine until they performed maintenance and discovered that purchased parts did not fit. This became a public relations nightmare for GM.

GC-071 A 1976 Oldsmobile 98 Regency Sedan Cream Gold.

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