Sunday, July 31, 2022
Temperature 84 Degrees, Abundant Sunshine, Patchy Clouds
REOlds Transportation Museum
This is just a quick follow up to yesterday’s post. I just want to share with you some of the more unique automobiles that were at the museum. They’re only a few so for those of you who like Ms. Barbara believe that a car is a car is a car and once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all this should be painless.
This was a time when what won on Sunday sold on Monday. Hence, all the manufactures were heavily involved in all forms of automobile racing.
This car was a huge step forward for Oldsmobile. It was the first U.S. produced front-wheel drive automobile since the Cord ceased production. Of course now-a-days almost every automobile produced is front wheel drive and this is how it got started. It won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year and in Europe it was the third-place finisher in the European Car of the Year competition.
No room in the back seat for not even one passenger! This promotional tool for Oldsmobile automobiles and Hurst shifters had not one, but two 425cu-in Oldsmobile engines, one up front where you would expect an engine, and the second where the back seat used to be. It was used strictly as an exhibition car and brought a lot of attention for Hurst and Oldsmobile. The word on the street was that the car was a beast to drive and control. Hence, it appeared for only one year and then was retired.
This was an entirely new and radical engine design that had never been tried before. However, it proved so successful that today all American automobile engines are based on its design. It took a bit of work, though, to have it accepted by the general public. Toward that end Oldsmobile developed the Aerotech vehicle program to demonstrate the engine’s capabilities by setting several closed course speed records, many of which still stand today.
Finally, I’ll close with this. This really speaks to the wonderful relationship that existed between the community of Lansing and R.E.
This is what I discovered about the Club House.
Built in 1917, the REO Clubhouse was the cultural hub of Lansing, hosting free movies, wedding receptions, basketball games, dress balls and patriotic gatherings during the First and Second World Wars. Known as the “Temple of Leisure,” the building comprised a two thousand-person capacity dining room, an auditorium, a library, four bowling alleys, a fireproof movie booth, and smoking lounging and billiard rooms. Use of the clubhouse by employees was one of the policies implemented by REO to cultivate the loyalty of its workers. Years after the Diamond REO plant closed in 1975, former employees recalled the sense of family fostered by the company. The clubhouse was razed in 1979.
This was a small museum which took a bit of doing to find and get to. It was, though, well worth visiting. It’s amazing how much more there is to the history of the automobile in America than most of us really know. That’s why I for one was extremely glad to have had the opportunity to visit here and learn about R.E. Olds and his significant contributions to the automobile in America.
Much more yet to come on a couple of other places that we visited. But for now it is time play Rummikub!
Thanks again for spending some time with us. It’s always great to be able to share our story with family and friends. Comments? Feel free to share them with me. And always remember, cherish every moment of every day that God gives you and live those moments to the fullest.
Our continuing mission remains the same: to explore as many new states as possible, to seek out new acquaintances and make new friends, to boldly go where we have not been before