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1901 Oldsmobile curved dash replica


Lt Dan 560
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Hi, I am new to the forum. I am interested in a 1901 Oldsmobile replica but I don't know much about it and neither does the seller. It has a modern 2 cyl engine with 5 forward speeds. It has running chains on both rear wheels with disc brakes. It has a clutch and brake and the throttle is below the seat and moved by hand. It has kerosene lamps at the front. It has an electric starter. The seller thinks it will do 20 MPH but I hope it will go a little faster. The seller states it does not need signal lights or stop lights. Is this true, it is in NYS? It is actually listed in MV as 1901. It looks like it was build 20 to 30 years ago because it is in good shape. It has wooden rims. No roof. Does anyone know what the value is? I know different companys build these, does anyone know what years they were build? What company built it? Any idea on speed? Any info would be appreciated.

Thanks

Dan

1901 Oldsmobile.jpg

1901 Olds emblem.jpg

1901 Olds rear.jpg

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I do not like being the bearer of bad tidings. But these things are looked upon more as toys than automobiles. They are NOT historic vehicles in any real sense. They do have a following. People find them, restore them, and enjoy them. Technically, they ARE antique automobiles by definition, as they are over 25 years old and some of them were at some time licensed for limited use on public roadways.

 

Check the subsection of the AACA forums way down on the forums list;

 

https://forums.aaca.org/forum/98-factory-built-replicas/

 

There were several companies that manufactured similar replicas back in the 1950s marketed to a passing interest in nostalgia. Bliss was one of the better known companies, and manufactured hundreds of similar cars, patterned after several early automobiles. The "Curved Dash Oldsmobile" was the most popular model. In addition, kits and plans for building your own were also sold through popular magazines.

 

These things are a headache for antique automobile clubs as people not knowing any better find them and get sold on the idea of an antique automobile, often paying way too much for an undesirable vehicle. They are NOT early 1900s automobiles, nor do they qualify for the Horseless carriage Club of America or dozens of other clubs and activities set up specifically for EARLY automobiles.

 

They CAN be a lot of FUN! BE aware that "value" for these is VERY subjective! They show up often on places like eBay and Craig's list (probably facebook marketplace but I never look there!). Reasonable (???) selling prices can be anywhere from a few hundred dollars to maybe as much as $7000 to $10,000 (those would require something REALLY special!). Most good ones sell for less than $5000 in very nice condition. 

 

Even back in the 1950s, sometimes these things did manage to get "Horseless Carriage" licensing. HOWEVER, even then, they DID NOT legally qualify for that licensing in most states, and such licensing was through error of DMV personnel that did not know their own rules. That factor has added to the confusion over what these things are or are not.

 

Know what it is, know what it is not. Know what you want, and what you want from it. Make an informed decision that works for you. ME? A hundred times over and over again? I would rather have and work on a real model T Ford than a fake curved dash Oldsmobile. But that is me.

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I should add, WELCOME TO THE HOBBY! And to the best forum on the web for antique automobiles! Wherever you decide you want to fit in? Good people here can help you find your way. There are forums especially for the so-called replica cars, I am not familiar with any of those myself. However, other people here are (I have read comments from them before!). If this isn't the best place for you? People here can help you find the place that is. And maybe, just maybe, you will see something here that will make you want to stay?

Automobile history is very important in many ways. It goes hand in hand with all that made possible the world we live in today.

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Thanks very much for your insight. I realize it is not a real antique but it could be fun for a small amount of money but I have to be careful of the cost. I do have classic cars of the 60's and I have considered a model T. Anyone that has anymore info, it would be appreciated.

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You should be aware also, that this particular time of the year is a "slow down" time for the forums. The last week of September are busy for many people getting ready for the great Hershey swap meet and car show! It is without a doubt one of the largest and most important antique automobile meets and gatherings in the entire world! And the first week of October is the meet itself, followed by several more days of travel and cleanup after the Hershey Meet!

A LOT of the people most active on the forums and a lot of the people with the advice you (or almost anyone?) desires are simply not available for over two weeks! So you may have to wait a bit, and then bump your inquiry back to the top of the list in a week or two to get the advice you seek.

 

Good luck!

 

 

Certainly, one consideration for you should be whether you would want to participate in local parades and such? And if your area even has such local activities? These replica cars can be a lot of fun for local parades if that is something you are interested in?

It all boils down to what you want? And what you expect from it?

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Welcome to the forum. Thats a great looking little buggy. As you stated you know its not 'real', however the comment of what you expect out of it, is what the "driving" force should be. My only knowledge on these is what I  have gathered reading on here over time and pretty much what Wayne has already stated. There are sales, although I dont know how many with public knowledge so getting a comp may be hard. If you really want this then the value is what you are comfortable paying, not so much as the asking price. 

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Have you ridden in or driven this "car"?  You may find that you wouldn't want to go more than 20 mph in it.

 

If you actually plan to take it out on a road how comfortable are you with holding up traffic? How comfortable are you sitting up high unprotected by anything and with no way to brace yourself? How comfortable are you with an approaching car and a closing speed of 55-60 mph (20 + 35/40)? While mulling these thoughts over take a look at the placement of the tiller and think about what happens when you "launch" with even a minor accident. 

 

If those don't at least make you a little bit anxious go for it !

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It is pretty hard to lose 100% of the money you spend making a mistake. Figure out how much you can afford to lose in a sale if you don't like owning it. Manage your risk. If you don't want to keep it and give a good sales presentation you might make a few bucks on it.

 

Being naked in traffic is not a good feeling for me. Flimsy cars like Motel T Fords and open Model A's were great to dream about. Once I experienced being in traffic with them they quickly left my wish list.There ain't much there when the other driver's mission is "how close and how fast".

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I have a real Curved Dash Oldsmobile.  It's a hoot to drive, and I've done 100-mile days in it, but it can be mighty scary.  It will turn much faster than your passenger can stay in the seat.  Consider:  You're starting a right turn. You move the tiller to the left, over your passenger's knee.  Your passenger starts to lean to the left and there's nothing over there to keep him from falling out.  To save himself, he reaches for something on the right; instinct will have him grab the tiller, and he'll pull it further to the left, tightening the turn.  You will both end up upside down with the car inverted on top of you.

 

My son is into serious boating.  I had him rig me a length of stout rope with a big knot in the end, between the seats.  I tell my passengers to hang onto it, especially in right turns.  It looks like hell and is totally non-authentic, but it might save the car and our squishy little bodies.  Even with that said, if we ever get hit by anything more massive than a kid on a tricycle - - - 

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I am sorry I have not been able to respond with the sudden death of our Library Director I have had little time nor energy for the forum.  Spending most of my time (not ashamed) wiping away the tears.  It is also Hershey week coming up and somehow we have to be ready.  This forum does provide a lot of help for people and this one I could have answered easily.

 

This is a custom replica.  I have owned several real CDO's and still own a 1903 CDO which were made from 1901 to 1907.  I also have owned a couple manufactured replicas we used in parades for my Olds dealership.  This one is clearly home built and I am guessing based off a manufactured vehicle and then modified.  The builder had some talents although typically with a two cylinder it would do way more than 20 MPH!  Given what looks to be even a higher center of gravity this vehicle would be of great concern to me going over 20 MPH even with the beefier wheels and tires compared to most replicas. A typical real CDO can do in the neighborhood of 28 MPH plus or minus and in the wrong hands as mentioned above could lead to disaster.  

 

I rarely come out strongly on these things but I am 100% convinced this is home crafted so the value is yours to decide.  Peter is correct that normal replicas run usually from $3,500 all the way up to $7,500 depending on condition and if they are a Bliss or a more modern unit.  The suggestion to drive it is an excellent one but please be very careful that you do not get over your head in this thing.  

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16 hours ago, edinmass said:

Steve M received his 1903 Olds as a high school graduation gift

Is that the car Ken Purdy wrote about when he said the young man told him "you can't buy them. One only gets them as gifts". I was always suspicious that he disguised it as an MG in the book.

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