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.

2004 Centennial Meet - The REO Story
Courtesy of J.C. Taylor

Genealogy of the Model B REO Wolverine / Model B-2 Flying Cloud Mate / Model 15 Flying Cloud

The following are multiple factory photos of REO's through out the years.
Compiled by Harley Goff.
REO's through the years

Books about Ransom E. Olds and His Vehicles

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
The "Wanger REO Collection is no longer available online, it is still available in hard copy at Lansing, MI Capital Area District Library.
The archival collection contains papers, photographs and artifacts that cover the history of the REO auto company and its products.

Collection of REO Emblems in American Auto Emblems
Mike Shears has set up the American Auto Emblems website for the interest of researchers and enthusiasts and that he invites comments, corrections, observations and additions to improve the website.
Mike Shears can be contacted at

Remembering Jay Leonard by Jim Neal, Historian

From the Archives

Contact the Historian

Contact the Historian