This isn’t your great grandfather’s Oldsmobile

1904 Oldsmobile Model NStanding next to this piece of history at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance was a bit humbling.

Consider that the Wright brothers had just achieved flight in December of 1903, and the first portion of New York’s underground subway opened in October of 1904. That’s old.

And here before me was an automobile from that same time period.



Where’s the tiller?
1904 Oldsmobile Model NActually this old, old Oldsmobile sported some advancements and was a step up from the Model R Curved Dash which had been introduced in 1901.

Like the Curved Dash model (sold through 1907), this Model N could be considered a mid-engined car. That’s because their motors are positioned beneath the seats.

However, unlike the Curved Dash model, Oldsmobile’s new-for-1904 Models T (Light Tonneau) and N (Touring Runabout) had actual hoods in place of the curved panel.

If you were paying attention, you might be wondering what could be under the “hood” if the car’s engine is located under the seats. Good catch.

1904 Oldsmobile Model N "interior"That’s where Oldsmobile stuck the gas and water tanks, and the battery.

Another advancement Oldsmobile introduced on the two new models was an actual steering wheel in place of the archaic-looking tiller.

I suppose this picture to the left is an “interior” shot but I find it hard to distinguish interior from exterior parts on a car this old. There’s not even a windshield.

Even though I called the Model N “mid-engined”, it’s obviously far from a performer.
1904 Oldsmobile Model N rear
It’s powered by a horizontally-mounted, one-cylinder engine. With a bore and stroke of five and six inches, respectively, the displacement is 118 cubic inches. Output is a whopping seven horsepower.

For 1904, Oldsmobile produced 200 Model Ns. The car had a starting price of $750 which was a lot considering the average household earned less in a year.

This particular car has been restored to its original colors of bright green with yellow pinstripe. And check out those white-rubber tires.

Continue below to the photo gallery which includes larger versions of the images above.

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