The Pick of the Day is a vehicle that The Standard Encyclopedia of the Automobile called “the most fabulous Reo of all,” the Royale. Specifically, it is a 1932 REO Royale 8-35 convertible coupe advertised for $124,999 on ClassicCars.com by a dealer in West Pittston, Pennsylvania, although the vehicle is located in Idaho.
But before we get into the details on the car, let’s get some perspective on the pioneers of the American automotive industry.
Although Henry Ford may have pushed its process forward and faster, historians who have done their homework will tell you it was Ransom E. Olds who created the automotive assembly line, his Curved Dash model of 1901 the first vehicle to be mass produced, with more than 12,000 of them rolling off the Olds line in 1904.
As was typical in the early days of the American automobile companies, inventors and investors had different objectives and Olds, like Ford, was bought out of the company he’d founded. At first, Olds launched the R.E. Olds Company, but the owners of Olds Motor Works objected (in 1908 they sold out to Billy Durant and his General Motors Corp.) so R.E. switched to using his initials and started the REO Motor Car Co.
Olds’ father had a machine shop and while R.E. studied bookkeeping, he helped turn the family machine shop into a producer of steam and gasoline engines. He completed his first steam-powered vehicle in 1887 and in 1895 earned a patent for a gasoline engine he used to power a 4-wheel carriage. In 1897, vehicle production began.
In addition to the production line, Olds pioneered a list of motorcar innovations.
In 1931, and as he approached 70 years of age, Olds produced the Royale.
“The REO Royale is a true American Classic as recognized by the AACA and featured modern design features such as wind tunnel testing, hydraulic brakes, mechanical fuel pump and a robust 8-cylinder engine producing 125 hp on its 135” wheelbase,” notes the dealer offering the convertible coupe for $124,999.
“This stunning convertible is one of fifty produced, and only 9 are known to be left.”
The car — serial number 35N8119 — has been driven only 54,000 miles since new and, the dealer adds, “very few (miles) since the restoration.”
The restoration was done in two-tone Jade Mist and Elk Green.
“The convertible top has been refitted with new oak bows, steel mechanisms and a new beige canvas,” the dealer adds.
“Recent work includes a new green interior, final assembly of refurbished original parts and a complete new wiring harness. All of the mechanical components are in very good condition and the massive 8cyl engine easily starts and runs smoothly with good compression.
“This is an excellent ‘driver class’ restoration of a true American Classic. This vehicle has been meticulously maintained and garage kept since completion; records of the restoration and vehicle history are available.”
Footnote: The Royale was a last hurrah for R.E. Olds as an automaker. His company struggled to survive the Depression and its aftermath and announced in 1936 that it would produce only commercial vehicles. Already in his early 70s, Olds resigned from the company (he lived until 1950.