Student shows off 1910 Reo

Jul 15, 2004

It's been in his family for 20 years, and is on its way to the 100th celebration of the Reo Motor Car Company the weekend of July 16-18.

Randy Salvatora, a senior from the Pittsburgh area, and his father, William Salvatora, provided a special treat for the car lovers of Kettering by putting the family's 1910 Reo on display July 15.

"This car was originally built in Lansing, so my father and I will be driving it there this weekend," said Salvatora, who is a Mechanical Engineering major with a co-op at Bendix Brakes in Elyria, Ohio. "We drive this car about 2,000 miles a year."

The 1910 Reo was the first four-cylinder engine built by the company. The car features unique 36-inch tires and a 35-horsepower engine. It has a hand-crank starter, although the family has added a modern starter for convenience.

"This is so awesome," said Andrea Cullimore from St. Clair Shores, one of the many students who stopped by to enjoy the antique vehicle. "It's awesome to look at. It's a classic!"

Another Reo admirer is Steve Zaban of Williamston, Kettering's "Ring Guy" from the Herff Jones company. "My club volunteered to help out at the centennial celebration this weekend," he said. "We think they'll be about 100 cars coming to mark the 100th anniversary."

Zaban said the Reo (named for Ransom Eli Olds, the founder of Olsmobile) was built from 1904 to 1975. The company produced the classic-design automobiles for many years but later switched to building trucks and lawnmowers. Zaban noted one piece of trivia about the company -- the rock group REO Speedwagon took its name from one of the company's large, powerful trucks.

For more information on the Reo Motor Car Company 100th celebration, visit the website of the Lansing State Journal at www.lsj.com.

Written by Patricia Mroczek
(810) 762-9533
pmroczek@kettering.edu