The Reo Speed Wagon Rat
Have you ever heard about REO Speed wagon? What’s the first thing that comes into your mind? It Is probably the American rock band from the ‘70s and 80’s. In fact, that band got its name from this truck that was produced by REO Motor Company.
The REO Motor Car Company and REO Speed Wagon
If you’re not familiar with REO Motor Car Company, they are from Lansing, Michigan and they are manufacturing automobiles and trucks from 1905 to 1975.
Ransom E. Olds founded the car company called Olds in 1897. This company was eventually called Oldsmobile and it became a part of GM. Ransom E. Olds left Oldsmobile in 1905 to start his new company called REO Motor Car Company in Lansing, Michigan.
The REO Motor Car Company was one of the four most successful car manufacturers in 1907 but their success lasted only for a year because numerous car companies such as Ford and GM emerged in 1908.
Before Ransom Olds gave up his position as the general manager of REO Motor Car Company, he released his last creation, The REO Speed Wagon.
In 1915, the REO Speed Wagon was introduced with variety of configurations. This truck can be a pickup, panel truck or passenger bus. This truck was a huge success and each year, its sales were increasing.
Starting with the 1915 model, the REO Speed Wagon was powered by a 4-cylinder engine with 3-speed transmission. This set up remained constant until 1925. REO Motor Car Company mounted a 6-cylinder engine for the 1925 model and over 125,000 units of 1925 REO Speed Wagon were produced.
Due to increasing competition, The REO Motors quickly improved the Speed Wagon and the “Gold Crown” 286 cu in engine with 67hp was introduced.
The Gold Crown engine was used until the 1933 model. The 1933 model was the most deluxe REO Speed Wagon that they have ever produced. They combined the parts of their Plying Cloud and Royale Luxury Cars when developing the 1933 REO Speed Wagon.
The Speed Wagon Rat
The truck below was a 1948 model of REO Speed Wagon by Bob O’Neal.
Wondered why this pickup truck looks so odd compared to the usual Speed Wagon released by REO factory? It’s because the owner of this truck used it as the basis for his rat rod project. This old truck can easily catch your attention because it uses various parts from muscle cars.
This ex-farm truck resembles some manifestations of a drag machine. When you pay attention to its wheels, the front wheels that are used in this truck were typically found on classic cars from 1950s while its rear wheels are inspired by large wheels that are used on drag strips. Additionally, the aluminum fuel tank that’s sitting behind its back is usually found on modified muscle cars.
This Speed Wagon was powered by a small-block V-8 with a very old cleaner on top of it. A front disc brake can also be found on its front end. While the interiors of this truck remained the same, a cow-skin front seat covers are used because that’s what a classic farm truck should look like.
This old truck was absolutely awesome. Another home-built machine with totally obscure design. I can honestly say that this rat rod was truly one of a kind.
Reference and Photo Credits