Cars On Display

1933 Reo
Model S-2
Semi-automatic transmission and cork running boards

The 1933 Reo model S-2 has a Reo built motor of 268 cu. in. displacement and 85 bhp.  The engine block is made of chrome nickel alloy (7 times harder than traditional cast iron blocks).

Another fine automobile that was made by Reo was the Reo Royale produced between 1931 and 1934.  Its straight 8 engine was conservatively rated at 125 bhp (some independent estimates place it closer to 150 bhp) and was also manufactured of chrome-nickel alloy.  This outstanding vehicle was offered in various forms, from Standard models with 131 inch wheelbases, to the Custom series with 135 inch wheelbases and many custom coach built models with wheelbases of 148 and 152 inch chassis.

Their performance was outstanding, too.  Top speeds were in excess of 110 mph... a mostly stock model (the heaviest vehicle in the field) was entered by an indivdual (with no factory backing) in the 1931 Indianapolis 500 and placed ninth in the field of 33 cars... only behind vehicles that were painstakenly developed specifically for the Memorial Day Race.

Information courtesy of James Kozbelt, Past President, "Reo Club of America"

The '33 Reo has a Reo "Gold-Crown" engine, not "Continental." Some cheaper Reos ("Wolverine" '27-'28, "Mate" '29-'30) had Continentals but not the "main-liners." The big "Royales" (eights) and the "Flying Clouds" (6's) were "Reo-built" 7 main-bearing "Chrome-Nickel" blocks.

Information courtesy of W.B. "Bill" Hamliin, California, March 23, 1973

The Reo was made in the U.S. from 1904 - 1936.  In 1904 the Lansing, Michigan company, known as R.E. Olds Co., was renamed to Reo Car Co. and then Reo Motor Car Co.

The Reo name derives from the initials of Ransom E. Olds who left Oldsmobile to form a new company.  The first Reos were single-cylinder 8 hp runabouts with under-floor engines, dummy bonnets, planetary transmissions, and chain drive.  They sold for $685, reduced to $500 by 1909.  A companion 16hp twin at $1,250 had a capacity of 3.4 litres and a carburetor for each cylinder.  These represented the company's main effort up to 1909, though a short-lived four had been marketed in 1906.  1911/12 brought the Reo The Fifth, another 4-cylinder car with 3.7 litre ioe engine, which offered central change and left-hand drive for $1,065.

Reo cars were steady cars right up to the Depression of 1929 - 1931, and the company did very well with their subsequent ioe fours and sixes, which were made with V-radiators during the World War I period.  In 1918, 4-cylinder cars sold for $1,225.  By 1927 there was a switch to side valves and hydraulic 4-wheel brakes, and in 1928 the company offered the Wolverine, a cheaper car with a Continental engine which sold for $1,195.  This was the company's best year with 29,000 sold.

The Wolverine was dropped in 1929, and production centered on two versions of the Flying Cloud.  In 1936, the Reo dropped production of private cars.  Trucks and buses continued to be made from 1957, as a division of White.  A 1967 amalgamation with Diamond T led to a new brand name, Diamond-Reo, and in 1971 this was sold by White to become an independent make.

Source:  The New Encyclopedia of Automobiles, 1885 To The Present

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