History of the Reo

Ransom Eli Olds founded the REO Motor Car Company in 1904 after leaving the Olds Motor Works Company (Oldsmobile) which he also founded. When he left Oldsmobile, he was precluded from using his name (Olds) for another auto company, so he chose to use his initials (REO). By the fall of 1904, the new company began producing its first vehicles. REO produced a variety of cars and trucks (Speedwagons) until 1936 when car production ceased due to the effects of the depression. Through a series of mergers, etc., REO trucks (under names like Diamond REO, REO Giant, etc.) continued to be produced until the 1990's.

Click the link below for a chronological history of the
REO Motor Car Company
REO Motors, Inc.
Diamond REO, Inc.

Historical Articles

Michigan State Archives and Historical Collection, REO Motor Company Records

Diamond REO, The Truck That Came Back

Rife Motor Company, Inc.: Spanning the REO-Diamond REO-Giant Eras

A Video History Of Oldsmobile
The first half mentions Ransom Olds and some of the Oldsmobile history.
The second half shows some real beauts from Oldsmobile.

A Video of Ransom Olds, his works and the city of Lansing, MI
This video is narrated by Bill Adcock, director of the REO Transportation Museum in Lansing.

The Wanger REO Collection
Click above to go to the library site.
For those members in the Lansing MI area or planning a visit, the "Wanger REO Collection" is available at the Capital Area District Library.
The archival collection contains papers, photographs and artifacts that cover the history of the REO auto company and its products.

Click here for the Wagner REO Collection indexes


Contact the Historian